Tuesday, March 18, 2014

3 Important Lessons I Learned That Doubled My Business in 2013

Last year, my bead store grew incredibly.  My sales more then doubled from the previous year.  Want to know what I learned that helped increase my sales?  These are the 3 most important lessons I learned in business in 2013. 

OK, I do have to say that I had more time for my business last year.  I opened Tiger Bead Store online in August of 2007 and for the first 5 1/2 years, was only able to work it part-time because I also had a "regular" job.  Last year was the first year I was able to devote all of my time to growing my business.  That helps. 

That being said, I have found these to be the MOST important lessons I have learned...

Lesson 1 - You have to have great product that people want to buy.  

Are people interested in what you have to sell?  Are they more interested in some of the items you sell over other items you offer?  Say rings, instead of necklaces?  Focus your creative energy on making more of what sells.  If you focus on what you want to make, but your customers want a different item, they will go somewhere else to find that.  So stay in touch with your customer's needs and desires.  Maybe even check out other sellers that sell similar items to what you sell, and see what sells best for them. 

When I started Tiger Bead Store, I started with selling beads.  And then I began adding other beading and jewelry making supplies that I liked and wanted to share.  Crystals, stampings, etc.  When I added gemstones, my business really began to grow.  I was filling a need and desire that people wanted, and then that became my business's niche.  That's what sells well for me.  I try every now and then to add new supplies, but the bulk of my business is gemstones.  So that is where I spend my money and focus my attention.  To finding and selling the best gemstones that I can. 

Lesson 2 - Answer your emails as quickly as possible.

Your customers are your bread and butter.  And their needs are yours.  I get emails all the time and I try to respond as quickly as possible.  I can tell you, that leads to sales.  People cannot commit to making a purchase if they don't have all the facts to base a decision on.  I think this is especially true with online sales.  People can only see what you show them in your photos, and your description.   But you may have left something out in your description that may not make any difference to you, but is the determining factor for a buyer.  Quick email responses make a huge difference.

Lesson 3 - Quick shipping.

Once a customer has placed an order, you can bet they want it as soon as possible.  So quick turn around time is essential for your business growth.  As a supplier, I ship 3 times a week.  And I know my customers appreciate that because mention that and over again in my feedback.  Because I ship so often, most packages that I send out are 1st class mail.  But you can offer, or make standard for your shipping, Priority Mail. 

I think the most important thing here is communication.  In your policies, let it be know how often you ship, ex. every 1-3 business days, etc.  This will give your customer a realistic idea before hand as to what to expect.  And if you can get your product out faster, that is always another way to WOW them.  Of course, if you take more time than you agreed to in your policies, contact the customer.  Communicate with them.  This can often diffuse a negative situation.

These tips are not rocket science, as you can see, but I believe they are the foundation to growing an online business.  They have helped me grow my business, and I think they can help you with yours.  

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