Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Effectively Organized: Top 10 Principles for Success

I am a big fan of my Artfire marketplace store. The CEO and COO produce a weekly podcast. I have become addicted to it. Here is the official blurb about the podcast, "CEO, John Jacobs and COO, Tony Ford give handmade sellers an inside look at best practices and tips for promoting your business and your handmade brand. Marketing techniques, business tips, upcoming and new features."

Personally, I geek out over the technology things they cover that relate to growing my business. (Example: they covered Google Wave. I'm drooling over the potential.) They cover marketing ideas, SEO, and social media suggestions that help me grow as a small business owner. They aren't just owners of a marketplace for artisans. They also share their own personal experiences with running online businesses and use these examples in relating to the artisan audience.

Their 12/24 podcast summed up the "best of" their podcasts for the year and distilled it into a useful list of Top 10 Principles for Success. In fact, I found it useful enough that I wrote it down in my journal. They had a good dose of "reality" sprinkled into this list...yes, we're going to deal with difficult customers, yes, the business activities will sometimes make it hard to carve out the creative time, yes, we need to make products the buyers want. With John and Tony's permision, I am summarizing the Top 10 and giving a few links to the page with the 12/24 podcast.
  1. Decide if you are running a business or a hobby.
  2. Make products the buyers want.
  3. Try hard to compete on value, not price.
  4. Take magazine style pictures.
  5. The business activities of a successful business will take more time than you expected.
  6. Make your own marketing mix. Test and measure every channel you use and invest in the ones that work and keep testing.
  7. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - make friends with Google by understanding your buyers, running your own tests, and getting links.
  8. Utilize social media by having frequent and unique content, engaging in the community, and by being entertaining and teaching and not being only sales-focused.
  9. Hang up your customer hat and put on your merchant hat.
  10. What happens if your business becomes successful? You will have more work, stress & complexity than you thought possible.
I'm three years into my creative journey and just over two years into running a creative business. I left the bullet points deliberately generic because the podcast itself is worth the time to get more in-depth thoughts from John and Tony. The link again.

Thought it was worth sharing!