31 October 2013

Blogger Seeking Susan

© Flickr/Jason A.Howie

Hi everyone, glad to say that the storm earlier in the week was not as bad in the North as was predicted, though I feel for anyone who was affected in the rest of the country. There seems to be a quiet calmness here at Kease, which is probably because I am slightly naive about what it actually takes to get a business up and running successfully, as there always seem to be trials and tribulations popping up that I was previously unaware of.

This week I have found some great companies on Twitter that hold a huge amount of information to help small businesses, with ideas to promote your company both within social media and outside of it, with one of them being @ingeneousbrit. There you can find plenty of motivating tips and ideas that you can really try from finding finance, and other topics like management and sales.

However most of the help and advice generally available does seem to be aimed at people a lot further down the line with their businesses and they probably have been through their first initial years of trading.

I have found that you need to keep asking people around you as you never know where help may come from and this week I spoke to someone who may be able to find if I would be entitled to some funding for future Trade Fairs and also website costs. Although funding does seem to be in short supply, it is worth asking around. The two main objectives I need is marketing to distribution and attracting and selling to retailers.

I find the question of whether to attend one of the larger trade shows quite daunting, as although I know that is the best place to find retailers, the costs are so high for a new business that if you dont sell as many products or find leads that will turn into sales the show itself could bankrupt you! I have actually tried to contact businesses that have shown at the trade fairs for their advice via Facebook but to no avail, just another closed door!

On a lighter note sales for this month are excellent and continue to rise but mainly by returning customers and word of mouth, which does show there is interest and a liking for the product. Internet based sales continue to be slow, which also confirms the need to continue allowing costs for marketing and I will continue to use my small budget for that on Google ads.

Another thing I would like to do is approach some Fashion Accessory Bloggers, but I am unsure if there are bloggers dedicated to purely accessories and I have been trawling through various blogs to find the correct type of content my product would best appeal to. I have added some local Manchester fashion bloggers on Twitter and hopefully after some more research I will better understand this. (Or I may email an inspirational role model Julie Deane, The Founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company, as apparently she does take time out to help new start-up businesses and owes much of her initial success to bloggers) 

So the plan for now remains the same.

With Kease, I need to continue to improve my social media avenues, with the hope of opening a Facebook shop when my following becomes high enough. Funds are key and I need to raise more from my sales plan, whilst gift wrapping stock in the run up to Christmas. Finally, I will continue to promote myself, by speaking to all and sundry!

Personally, I need to find time within all of this to attend university open days with my youngest son. He wants to study product design, so at least I will have a top designer in the future! Budgeting needs a serious revamp over the next twelve months, and I may even have to find another job. Amongst this, I need to make sure my friend enjoys her 50th birthday in style and decide whether or not to run away to France over Christmas! On top of all that, I will continue to clean, cook and plan for the fragmented life that seems to have become the norm.

France is definitely looking favourite!

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