Your 11 business week steps for your jewellery venture

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As part of Jewellery Business Week we’ve been bringing you top business tips all week on Facebook. Now here they all are in one place as handy guide.

1.   Identify what makes you special/ unique

USP –Unique Selling Point – every business needs to have something special about it that makes it stand out from the competition and offers that WOW factor. Think about what you offer that others don’t such as using unique materials in your work, offering excellent customer service or being based in an excellent location. Or it could be a mixture of things.

If you have a business or are thinking of starting one, think about two key things that you think make you and your business special.

2.   Make sure you have excellent photographs to show of your pieces

Pictures need to be of outstanding quality especially when selling online as they are all your customers have to go from.

If you need some help with taking your own pictures you might want to take a look at the LJS photograph jewellery 1-day class.  http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/jewellery-business/photograph-your-jewellery/

3.   Make a plan and work really hard to achieve it

I can’t stress enough the importance of writing your business plan, it will help guide you through the process of setting up and building a successful business.

Click on the link to see a very useful video in how to write your own business plan and what to include https://www.gov.uk/write-business-plan

finance-20114.   Keep a keen eye on your finances

Without money you don’t have a business so you need to make sure that from the get-go you have a good handle on your finances.

Keep all receipts and invoices, update your accounts at least monthly and track how well you are doing year on year so that you can compare and see your progress.

5 – Build your social network – facebook, twitter, pinterest, blogs

It is crucial these days to be promoting yourself online and particularly through social networks, it is such an excellent opportunity to engage potential customers, send out your key messages and generally promote your brand.

6 – Learn from your mistakes

Mistakes are fine as long as you learn from them. ooopsEvery business owner in history has made mistakes but the key is to recognise them before its too late and make changes in your business to head back towards success.

One mistake I made early on was not creating a business plan, so I was effectively going in to business blindly. Luckily I realized I really did need one after abut 9 months in business and once I had created it, it made such an impact to the direction of my business, not to mention giving me some much needed confidence.

7 – Take advantage of the resources on offer to you as a small business owner/ start-up.

There are plenty of resources that can help you on your way, see some of out favorites below and if you have any of your own you would like to share, then please leave a link to their website below:
British Library and IP centre – http://www.bl.uk/bipc/
Business link – https://www.gov.uk/browse/business
The guardian small business network –http://www.guardian.co.uk/small-business-network
Creative choices – http://www.creative-choices.co.uk/
Get mentoring – http://getmentoring.org/
Smata – http://www.smarta.com/
LJS blog posts (of course!) –https://blog.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/
Jewellery Business Distance Learning Course –http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/distance-learning/jewellery-business-distance-learning-course/

package8 – Make packaging part of the experience.

We all know from buying jewellery that the packaging can be almost as important as the actual piece. When your customers open their intricate hand-made order for the first time the way it is packaged is all part of the experience. So consider your packaging carefully and make sure it is suited to the jewellery you are selling.

9. Build a mailing list of customers and potential customers and send out a newsletter a few times a year to remind them of what shows you are doing, info on your new collections, sales and discounts available or exciting new developments that would interest them.

Always remember to get permission before adding anyone to a mailing list.

A great programme to use for doing professional mailouts is mailchimp and whats more is free to start, check it out – http://mailchimp.com/

10. Get practical! Make sure you fulfill all of the legal requirements of setting up and running a business includingfiling copy
– Registering as a sole trader or limited company with HMRC
– Setting up a professional business bank account
– Making sure you get the basic insurance needed to cover all your activities
– Registering for hallmarking if you are selling precious metals
– Register for VAT once turnover has exceeded the limit
– Complete your annual accounts on time and submit to HMRC or companies house

Sorting all of these out early on will really help to put your mind at ease that you are on top of everything.

11. Share your business story

A great way to give your business meaning and stand out in peoples mind is to share your story, why you got in to jewellery making, what is special about the type of jewellery you make, what does it mean to you, what things have you had to overcome in your personal/ business life to get to the stage you are at now?

All these things give your business a real-life, personal touch that customers can relate to.

Don’t forget there is still time to get the special jewellery week 15% discount on our distance learning jewellery business course which covers all aspects of running a successful jewellery business from legal and tax issues, to budgets, selling and pricing and marketing your products.  The course includes over a hour of videos, a workbook and case studies of successful jewellers, as well as including a year’s membership of LJS which gives you discounts from suppliers and a listing on the LJS Members’ Directory.

To get your discount buy the course before midnight on Sunday 20 January 2013 and enter the code LJSDL13 at the check out. Please note the discount is restricted to one per person.

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