5 Reasons your business is not at 6 figures – yet

by Jane Button on March 5, 2012

Getting your product business to six figures is a milestone and goal for many creative entrepreneurs. It's a milestone and a mindset – and generally the starting place for great things to happen within your business. You may have started at home in your spare time but reaching that mark somehow shifts your mindset. 

 
Once you get there, you’ll realize it’s not such a big daunting number. Then you will see it is scaleable. Once you have done it you can repeat it. It’s – rinse – repeat and grow! 
 
But you’ve got to get there first!
 
If you’re going to make it to 6 figures in 2012 the good news is there is still time! But you’d better get going now. I’ve made up a list for you outlining the 4 top reasons you haven’t reached that milestone – and what you need to do if you’re going to make it before the end of 2012.
 
5 Reasons your business is not at 6 figures – yet
 
1.You’re not doing the math! When I tell a client to “do the math” I often get a blank     stare until we put it on paper so they can visualize it. The first thing you need to know is

 what $100,000 represents – and then break it down so it makes sense.

Let’s say you make hats. The hats wholesale for $20 each. If you want to gross $100,000 in sales that means you must sell a total of 5000 hats.

 
If your minimum opening order for a wholesale account is $1000, that would be 50 hats per store. You will create your own pre-pack for whatever your product is, but that is another subject.
 
Starting from ground zero – that means you need to sell to a total of 100 stores during the course of a year. That is 2 stores per week. It is $2000 in wholesale sales per week – or 100 hats per week or 20 per day in a 5 day week. When you look at it that way, the $100K number is not nearly as daunting.
 
It does not take into account re-orders. It’s all about averages. So what are your numbers?
 
Now you’ll want to know where to sell these products – Let’s make your “Hit List” for those 100 stores.
 
2.You don’t have a “Hit List”. Sales are the life blood of your business. If you don’t have sales, you have a hobby not a business. Hobbies cost money businesses make money.
 
Create a list of stores where your products should be located. Start with those within 50 miles of you or your closest city. It’s easy to go online and find out what other brands they carry – and even if they carry a competitor’s line don’t dismiss them completely. You have no idea if they are happy with the competitors line – maybe your competitor ships late; has quality issues – you don’t know.
 
Don’t be shy about creating this list. Don’t negate a store for any reason other than they aren’t your target market list. What I mean by that is – you probably don’t want to select Walmart and Nordstrom.
 
Starting with your 50 mile radius – branch out to where your target customers are located. If you need 100 stores – create a list of 150-200. Here’s what you want to know:
 
      Name of buyer / maybe buyer/owner if it’s a boutique
      Check them out on Pinterest AND/or Facebook
      What are other brands they carry?
      Contact information
 
3.You’re not marketing enough or to the right target! We used to have huge conversations about whether product or marketing comes first in a business. The answer is, you can have a warehouse full of merchandise (visualize it as stacks of dollar bills sitting on shelves) but if you’re not marketing no one knows you have products they might want to buy.
 
Marketing for your product business is the most important part of your business. Yes you have to have a product – then it has to be marketed if anyone is going to see it to buy it. 
 
Marketing includes
  • Marketing materials for selling to stores & direct to the consumer
  • A fantastic website – average is no longer good enough
  • Social Media (at minimum) Business page on Facebook – Business account   on Pinterest
  • Advertising – trade publications and consumer ads – it all depends on your products as to where the best places are for you to be seen
  • Editorial reviews – get into magazines via editor reviews – check out magazines editorial calendars to be on top of their schedules
  • Appointments with buyers
  • Trade shows and other exposure to your market
 
4.You don’t know how to sell. Learn to sell and pitch your product. I’ve had many clients who are “afraid of selling”. What they don’t understand is selling is sharing. It’s sharing what you have to offer. It is not a bad thing – sales are good. 
You’ve been selling all your life – since you were born. Selling your product is something you can learn to do – it is learning how work with a potential buyer to get then to yes. Going through the features and benefits of your product – and knowing exactly what they are and in what order they should be presented.
Benefits sell products – knowing what your main benefits are will help you and help your buyer make a decision.
Selling is about conversation – get yours down pat – and anticipate questions. 
 
5.You’re still doing everything yourself.  You MUST learn to let go – and start outsourcing. You simply can’t do everything in your business if it’s going to grow and prosper. Not only will you completely wear yourself out, but the truth is you’re not good at everything and when you’re not good at something – it doesn’t get done.
Have I hit a nerve here?
Write up a list of everything you Love to do in your business. Then write a list of everything you know needs to be done but you keep putting off. Now you have a starting place of what you can start outsourcing.
The number one comment I get on outsourcing is: “I’ll outsource when my business gets bigger and I can afford it.” My answer is, “If you wait you’ll never be able to afford it because you can’t grow without it.” It’s the biggest myth because you cannot grow if you do everything by yourself.
 
My question to you now is, are you willing to do whatever it takes to grow your business to 6 figures in 2012? I challenge you to do it this year!
 

 

 

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I wanted you to see these happy faces – this picture was taken at the very end of the first Platinum Mastermind Retreat of the year! We spent two full days working on their BIG Ideas. – from children's products to beautiful art to inventions to wearable 

art! (And by by the way -Charlie Bear is standing in for his companion who was our photographer.)

 

When they left beautiful Phoenix, AZ each one had a blueprint, map, and calendar for getting their creative products out into the marketplace.
 
It's so important to surround yourself with supportive people – and spend concentrated time working on your business – not in your business. This is how dreams come true and businesses come to life!

I have no doubt these creative entrepreneurs are going to rock some industries and make some serious money with their unique ideas. We're looking at a few major launches this year and timing is everything with product launches!

What sets them apart from other creative entrepreneurs is their passion – passion for what they do – and their persistence and resolve. Every single one of them has made the decision to do whatever it takes.
 

That, my friends, sets them apart from the wantrepreneurs!

 

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A few days ago I was asked (on twitter) to critique a website to see if I could offer any help about a creative product. I checked through it pretty quickly and my immediate response was: there are 5 things I could tell you right away about what you could change that would completely alter your bottom line, increase your sales and turn your great idea into a REAL business.

I'm thinking that maybe if that was you, and you were looking to become a profitable business, you might want to know the 5 things you could change. So I am going to share those with you, and add a bonus two items, so here they are:

 

The 7 Things You Can Change in your Creative Product Business So You Can Make MORE MONEY NOW:
 
1. Unless you are an artist who lives for making one of a kind artwork (that is a whole different business) DO NOT offer choices and custom made products. First of all when you offer your potential buyer too many choices it is hard for them to make up their minds and they become confused. A confused customer does not buy, and leaves with nothing. Offering choices of fabric designs, colors, etc. forces the potential buyer to make a decision. Don't have them make the choice – you make the choice by offering your products by style and color with separate style numbers for each. If you truly want to be profitable by selling products to stores and one by one to individuals – then you have to change this mentality. NO MORE CHOICES – and especially on your website! I'm sorry it was too confusing, I could not figure out which one I would want to buy.

 
2. If you still want to allow customers to "design their own" make it well worth your while. My rule of thumb is at least 3 times the regular retail. It's CUSTOM work and requires a custom price. So if someone is insistent you can make the offer and a profit. The reason for this is: You'll have multiple emails and communication going back and forth – time is very valuable.  If you are making just one of something whether doing it yourself or hiring someone to do it – one item is SO SLOW – you have to pay yourself or someone to do it. If it is a wholesale order require a minimum number of units and make sure it is either prepaid in full or at least a 50% deposit for custom orders. Custom order means custom cutting, fabric, perhaps embroidery or other special touch that you normally do not sell off the shelf.

3.Include individual photos of items with a "buy" button. I know, I know this sounds so elementary – click to buy, but amazingly enough this is not standard. I think what happens is people get so carried away with getting photos up on their site, they forget that the purpose of the site is to sell their products. Each product MUST have a style number and a description. So if your product's name is "Rose Garden Tote" and has a style number "123RGT09" and when your client clicks to buy it goes into a shopping cart and "ta da!" both you and the customer know what the purchase is! Each individual product needs to have a buy button – even if you offer the same product in a different color or pattern. Remember get rid of the confusion!

 

4.Photos must be clear and show off the product. These are not snapshots of your vacation; these are good clear photos of your product's design and features. Great to show someone using the product, but also up close and personal is important. When people are buying online they want to know exactly what they are buying – so they need to have good close-ups as well as the whole product. I encourage my clients to show all features so potential buyers can see the workmanship. Remember these folks have not seen your products in person, so you want to convey the quality, design and workmanship. And by the way, if you really want to show off your products post a video explaining the benefits and features of an individual product or your company. To get an idea of what to say and do, I suggest watching HSN or QVC for pointers.

 
5. Have a way for people to pay. Again, sounds simple but unless you offer a way for people to buy with a merchant account (you can accept major credit cards) or PayPal, how do they know they can really buy? My suggestion is to have a shopping cart – I personally like 1ShoppingCart because it is easy and works with nearly all merchant accounts including PayPal and further it's easy to change prices and create many items. Remember – MAKE IT EASY TO BUY

 
6. The Main Page or Home Page of your site must be enticing and exciting – think of it as an invitation. The design as well as the graphics, headlines and the copywriting are all critical. Most small product businesses have people directed to their home page. When your potential customer comes to that page you need to WOW them so they will look further into the site and make a purchase. So on the main page, you might have "deal of the month" featuring a popular item – or a story about a customer – with leads to get them to a page to make a purchase. Make them curious about what you have to offer.

 
7. Sell your products wholesale. In the long run this is the only way to stop making one of a kind and start making money. Would you rather sell 100 units to one buyer or 100 units to 100 buyers? It's as simple as that. Going wholesale means your life will change. Going wholesale means taking your business to the next level. So if you sell designer aprons – sell them wholesale to restaurants, delis and food stores. And sell them in packages – not one of! You'll want to make sure this is visible on your website for all to know – because you never know who might visit.

And lastly I want to say do not get discouraged. It's usually not as much the product that is holding back sales, it's the other component parts. You can do it!

Love and Success,

 

Jane
 
Jane Button

www.Design2MarketSuccess.com

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There's a question I get a lot. It's often from people who've been selling their creative products for awhile at the retail (one on one as in Etsy) and they're starting to get that itchy feeling about how they could grow bigger, make more money, get more exposure and streamline their business if only they could sell wholesale to stores.

 

The question I get is: Where do I start – how do I go about selling to stores? They want to know the process; what they need to do to get started

 

If you've been following me or working with me for any length of time you already know how I feel about you selling your products to stores at the wholesale level. Selling to stores is critical for a creative product business to make money. There is no question at all in my mind.

 

I have private VIP coaching programs, small group programs and classes teaching ways to take your BIG Idea from concept to market. But once you have your product there is one thing that can catapult your results faster than anything else – and that is perfecting your sales pitch and techique so you can comfortably get in front of a buyer and close the sale.

 

Without sales you don't have a business and without knowing what to say in front of a buyer you can squander an opportunity. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

 

I've given a lot of thought about how many of you who are on your way with products ready to roll and some sales under your belts. My thoughts have been, "How can I help them get to the next level without all the trials and tribulations I went though, so they can sell more products quickly?"

 

And it came to me as I was coaching a VIP client working on her presentation. While I can't work with everyone individually for a full 2 days, I can work with a select small group of motivated creative clients who really need my help.

 

What would it mean to you to be critiqued and coached by someone who has taken a cottage industry and turned it into a multi 7 figure business?

 

Would it be worth it to you to work in a small workshop of like minded creative product business owners to really get your "perfect sales pitch" down so you could feel confident in front of a buyer and learn exactly how to close the sale?

 

Would it be worth it to you to create all your marketing materials so you had everything you need to show a buyer you mean business and are serious about your products?

 

I've offically opened the doors for 12 select people who want to take 2 days to work very hard with me August 12 & 13th, 2011.

 

Introducing the first ever "THE PERFECT PITCH WORKSHOP"

 

I am so excited and honored to work with 12 of you.

 

Here are the PERFECT PITCH details with a special early bird price

 

If you're feeling a little resistence, not sure if this is the right time for you, it probably is. As one of my mentors says, "When in doubt take the next step."

 

Isn't it time for you to make more money, make a difference and get noticed – after all you no longer have a hobby – you have a real business!

 

 

 

Love & Success – you CAN do it!

 

Jane Button

Your Creative Product Business Coach

 

www.design2marketsuccess.com/perfect-pitch 

 

  

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Know Before You Go | How to Steal The Show at a Craft Festival or Trade Show

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Have you ever attended a trade show, craft fair, festival or juried show and wondered why some booths are jam-packed with wall to wall people and other booths are completely empty? Some companies seem to be magnetic – pulling in people and customers.

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Creative people ask me questions all the time about their creative product businesses. All sorts of questions – and usually they want to show me the products they’re making and ask me if they’re viable in the marketplace. I’ve discovered the reason for this question is not what I originally thought

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