Changing Direction without Burning Bridges
This month is all about taking stock and when I sat down with my friend, Tara Gentile, to discuss my business, she showed me a few things that both terrified and inspired me. While my business has been chugging along well, I slowly had been feeling that I was stagnating. I had hit a limit because what I wanted to create would not be bought by my current customers.
That terrified me! Here I am creating things that I love but there’s nobody in my current network to appreciate them as much as they should be appreciated. So what to do…. How do you change directions in your business without burning bridges?
While many people would just continue to trudge on with this stagnating business, I’ve decided to take the terrifying leap to split my business and leave behind my current clients. Now, I didn’t make that decision overnight but after many chats with friends, family, and business friends, I realized that by splitting things to focus on the market that includes my most valuable customers, I’m saving myself years of hardship and stress. It’s best to notice that your boat has a leak when you’re just a few feet from shore than when you’re out on the ocean, right?
Now, I know that many of you are not in this position but I think each of us needs to take a really clear look at where our business is now, where we want it to go, and the customers we currently have. Are they in sync? If yes, then you’re in a good spot. If you’re like me and people don’t appreciate (and buy repeatedly and excessively) the work that makes you feel most fulfilled, then it’s time to shake things up to grab the attention of the people who will appreciate (and buy) your best work.
Wondering how I plan to move my business to grab the attention of my most valuable customer? I’ll be splitting my business into two parts: fabric/embroidery and fine art. The fine art will only offer high-end, canvas prints that start at a price point that aligns me with the galleries I secretly (okay, not so secretly) want to see my artwork in. I’m ditching the paper prints that sell occasionally (because they’re too expensive for shoppers at craft fairs) and focusing on grabbing those art lovers who aren’t afraid to pay gallery prices. My embroidery patterns and kits will stay at their price point (and thus not burn any bridges) and that’s what I’ll be taking to trade shows and craft fairs because they’re already selling like crazy.
So how can you get to your most valuable customer if you’re not reaching them yet?Ask yourself these important questions:
- Are you offering your product in THEIR price point? (My bet is they’re willing/wanting to pay a lot more than you assume they will.)
- Are you selling your product at a place that THEY shop? (So for me, people who are art buyers/art snobs don’t buy at craft fairs. They buy at local galleries and online galleries.)
- Can your product be improved to increase its value to better catch their eye? (For me, that’s making my prints on canvas instead of paper. No framing required and it looks like a million bucks on the wall.)
Changing your business structure to find your most valuable customers is scary but it’s so important if you want to make your business the best it can be.
These changes can eliminate a crisis where, after several years, you realize your profit has been slowly becoming less and less and less. So take action and take stock of your business now!
Is your business where you want it to be? If not, what do you plan to do to fix that? Let me know in the comments below. I’m happy to help and put my mind to work for you.