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Why You Should Start NOW (and Grow Your Business Organically)

 

 

 

 

 

I was asked a question recently by reader Jenni-Ann, relating to the ‘right time’ to start building a website for her business. I said ‘yes, the right time is RIGHT NOW’.

I realised that the same can be said for your business in general.

So many people hang back from starting their new venture because they’re waiting for the ‘right time’.

Waiting for when they feel like they’re ready.

Waiting until they know everything they need to.

Waiting for their next holiday, when they’ll have more free time.

Waiting for their kids to be born/grow up/leave home.

Waiting until their spouse gets that promotion.

Waiting, waiting. Always waiting.

And they wait for their entire lives, and their dream never moves from their minds into the outside world.

I know every single person reading this has a dream that they want to make tangible reality.

There is truth in the adage that ‘you can do anything, but not everything’.

However, don’t get tripped up by the idea that to start something – to start a creative business – you need to be at a certain ‘level’.

You don’t.

All you need is an idea. Then, you need to put it out into the world, in whatever form it’s in right now, and let it grow.

It’s just like planting a seed. You don’t plant an acorn and expect it to be an oak when you wake up tomorrow, do you?

Of course not.

Your business is just like that.

You have an idea – a seed – but until you plant it, it will never grow.

You can keep it safe – your seed idea – in a jar in the back of your cupboard. Sure, it will stay there, and it will stay viable. But so long as you keep it in the jar, it will never have the chance to bloom into what it could be.

 

Plant it and let it grow.

 

Let it stretch and branch and form organically into what it can be. There is no ‘right’ way for branches to form on a tree. They form according to the conditions that they grow in.

Your business will grow according to the conditions it encounters.

A tree is never finished growing.  Neither is a business.

It will never be done or finished.

Therefore, it is impossible for your business to be ‘perfect’ – ever.

If you’re waiting until your business is perfect in conception before you test it against reality, you will never launch it. {click to tweet}

No tree is ever perfect. Neither is any business.

A business is not a static thing. It is alive. It is always growing, changing, evolving, bending, breaking, healing.

You will never know everything you need to know to make your business successful. But you can always learn. You can always experiment. You can always apologise. You can always try again. You can always move in a new direction.

You can – and will – always grow.

 

Monday Viewing – Harish Manwani: Profit’s Not Always the Point

Harish Manwani – Profit’s Not Always the Point from TED

This TED talk really drives how that the purpose of your business is SO much bigger than you think. Harish is the COO of Unilever, but you’ll soon learn that the purpose of Unilever is not to make astromical profits from soap. Rather, they mean to save millions of lives and empower women the world over. After watching this talk, I spent a good hour thinking about what the bigger purpose of my business is all about.

So now I want to know: What is the purpose of your business?

~ Megan

C&T Recommended Reads – Week 29, 2014

From Megan:

From Jess:

 

 

 

Three Questions with Megan Auman – July 2014





Please welcome the fabulous Megan Auman - jeweller, business strategist, artist, designer, brilliant entrepreneur, and my lovely friend. Megan is going to be stopping by every other month to answer three of your burning questions – think of her a little like a whip-smart, no-nonsense business advice columnist.

Take it away, Megan…

I am starting my craft business online but want to know how to create a terms and conditions page. Details like what I need to cover to make sure both parties are safe would help.

To really cover yourself, you should actually talk to a lawyer to make sure everything is really above board.  But to get you started, I’d recommend taking a look at the terms and conditions pages for other businesses in your industry.  Depending on what platform you’re using to build your online shop, they may even have recommendations or help you auto generate a terms and conditions page.  For example, Shopify will let you generate terms and conditions for your site inside your admin panel.  (See this article for more details. - http://docs.shopify.com/support/settings/checkout-and-payment/where-are-my-refund-privacy-and-terms-of-service-policies-shown-on-my-website )
At the very least, your terms and conditions should include information about returns, refunds, and damaged and/or lost goods.  Your policies should also include information about privacy, collection of personal information at time of order, security, and use of any third party services that track browser information and IP address.  (Such as Google Analytics.)  And, if your website uses cookies, you need to disclose those in a privacy or terms and conditions page.
Ultimately, terms and conditions can feel a little scary (all that legalese) so when it doubt, it’s always best to contact a lawyer.  (And just a quick reminder, I am not a lawyer and none of this should be construed as legal advice.)

In the last 6 months I have started my own small business and am in the process of developing a product to sell online and in retail.  My question is how to I protect my product from copy-cats? Any top-tips?

I know myself it’s very, very easy to get loads of great ideas from Pintrest and Etsy and other websites – and there will always be people who will be able to copy my product at home.  But how do I put them off being able to copy mine?

There is no foolproof way to keep people from copying you, and while copyrights, trademarks, and patents may help in certain situations, they can be very costly to police and defend and aren’t always applicable.  (For instance, copyright usually isn’t applicable in fashion, which can make it hard to protect designs in certain product categories, such as jewelry.)

There are a few ways to keeping copycats at bay.  One is to avoid overly simple or basic processes and forms.  I had a jewelry teacher once tell me that any piece that you put into production should take at least five steps to make, because it’s unlikely that most people will be dedicated enough to copy that many steps.
You also want to avoid putting any tutorials or how-tos out onto the Internet.  Even though it’s tempting to create these as part of your marketing, your true customers aren’t really interested and you’ll just be helping others make your work.  (Plus, if someone really did copy you, you wouldn’t have a strong legal case since you put your trade secretes out onto the Internet.)
Ultimately, the best defense against copycats is building a strong and recognizable brand.  If you build a clear and consistent brand image, it will be more likely that other people will notice if someone copies you and will recognize the copy cat as a knock-off.
The best brands are those that focus their energy on constantly designing, creating, and innovating.  You won’t be able to stop everyone from copying you, but you’ll be such an original that in the end it won’t really matter.

How often should you check in with your wholesale shops to see if they need a re-order?

There actually isn’t a straightforward answer here, because not every shop turns merchandise over at the same pace.  Within my wholesale accounts, I have stores that order every few weeks and stores that may only order once or twice a year.
Ultimately, you want to get to know which shops sell the quickest, because those are the shops you’ll want to touch base with every few weeks.  A good rule of thumb is to follow up a few weeks after you’ve sent the order to make sure everything and then check in once a quarter to see if they need to reorder.
At the minimum, you should reach out to your stores every six months, usually to coincide with the major trade show buying seasons.  But it never helps to reach out more, especially a month or so out from major shopping holidays (like Valentine’s Day or Mothers Day) and two months out before the Christmas season.

Got a question for Megan Auman?

Leave it in the comments below or email it to megan@createandthrive.com (that’s direct to Megan Eckman, Assistant Editor).

#CTMonthInTheLife – A Photo-a-Day Instagram Challenge for Creatives – Coming August 2014!

 

With the blessing of my gorgeous, talented and super-lovely friend Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim, who’s #fmsphotoaday challenge inspired this idea, I’m running a month-long Instagram #photoaday challenge in August!

This challenge is for makers, artists, and creatives of all stripes.

I know how much I love seeing behind the scenes of other creatives’ lives and work, and I know I’m not alone in that bit of loving voyeurism, am I right?

So, I created an opportunity for you to share all sorts of behind-the-scenes snapshots of your work life with us.

I want to see a month-in-the-life of your work. I want to see your space, your materials, your life, your passion. I want to see what motivates you, what your materials look like, what you DO every day!

Who wants to play?

 

Join us for #CTMonthInTheLife!

 

Below is your handy-dandy reference image that lists the challenges for each day. Please feel free to take and share this image on your own IG, blogs, and any other social media.

I’ll be posting each day’s prompt on the Create & Thrive IG account throughout August with a little blurb that explains a little bit about what it is. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory though!

We’ll kick off on August 1st, and play through till the 31st.

Please be aware that I’m running on Australian Eastern Standard Time – so for those of you on the other side of the world, we’ll be a little ahead of you time-wise – but just play when each day rolls around in your timezone!

 

If you have an iPhone, I recommend you give Chantelle’s app – Little Moments – a go for this challenge.

I also wrote a post outlining all my personal favourite Android Instagram apps (including a few photo creation and prettifying apps) here.

Make sure you’re following us on the @CreateAndThrive IG account.

I’ll be doing a round-up of my faves each day for the previous day’s prompt, so make sure to tag your post #CTMonthInTheLife AND @CreateandThrive so I see it!

I can’t wait to peek inside your creative lives… will you be joining us?

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