Here is the first in a series of blog posts, that will hopefully give you a little help if you are thinking of starting your own small business. So if you want to make Curtains for a living here is our first TIP: Remember this Proverb.
"Charge nothing and you'll get a lot of customers”
In other words don’t end up being a "Busy Fool”. BEWARE, you may well go through the following cycle as you set up.
- Learn how to make the curtains and blinds on courses, tutorials etc
- Decide you need more practice, so make your own, then make blinds/curtains for family and friends really cheap.
- Get loads of repeat business from family and friends cos you are so cheap. (you feel you can’t put your prices up)
- Your friends and family highly recommend you - because you are so cheap.
- Your skills improve, you are making good quality products now.
- Everyone wants a deal. You get every job you price for.
- You are working really hard but don’t seem to be making much money.
Congratulations you appear really successful but you are in fact now a “Busy Fool"- (don’t worry we have been too).
That is the alarm BELL - "You get every job you price for", which means you are almost certainly too cheap.
So, what to do?
Firstly you need to get to stage 5 "making good quality products” which will take time, mistakes and a lot of hard work. If you get the opportunity to work in another workshop don’t underestimate how much this will improve your skill levels and knowledge. Then...
- FOCUS ON QUALITY (Make sure the quality of what you make and the service you provide is the best it can be.)
- VALUE YOUR TIME (Running your own business involves paperwork as well as making.)
- VALUE YOUR SKILL (Think, what are you being charged by your Plumber/ Electrician/ Mechanic/ Chimney Sweep per hr.)
- PUT YOUR PRICES UP and earn a living.
Remember anyone can find cheap fabric - It’s much harder to find a good maker.
Believe or not we don't think you should attract every customer. If someone declines your quote - That is good news!! You are finding the right price point. Have you ever heard of the Pareto 80:20 rule?
- 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers
- 80% of your hassle comes from 20% of your customers
In our opinion those customers that are very price sensitive (I need a deal! I can find it cheaper on the internet! Can you price match this? I haven't got much money to spend on this!......) are very likely to be the in the 20% that create 80% of your hassle. So our advice is don't be a busy fool and a bottom feeder, focus on making quality products at fair prices to YOU as well as your customers.
Next Blog - Our thoughts on Pricing: How to charge and How much to charge??