Tag Archives: business planning

Creating a marketing and PR strategy for your business

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Whether you’re just starting out or your business is established it’s important to invest some time into planning your business focus and actions. Business people often prioritise writing a business plan, but for success a marketing plan should also be a priority. Business tutor Anna Campbell gives you a step by step guide to help you write your marketing strategy.

A marketing plan or pr strategy is a blueprint for your marketing and advertising goals within a timeframe. It is helpful to spend some focussed time working on this as it will help direct your marketing actions for the year.

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Identify your current situation

Your first step is to honestly identify your current situation in terms of sales and marketing. What activities have you done up until now to promote sales? What has worked well? What hasn’t worked? Why do you think it worked or didn’t work?

Block out half a day to work on your plan and start with a SWOT analysis and look at:

Strengths – what is working well for your business? What advantages do you have e.g. contacts that have been helpful, social media following etc

Weaknesses – what hasn’t worked so well? What gaps do you have? What do you want to prioritise?

Opportunities – look to your strengths and weaknesses and consider how you can capitalise on the strengths and overcome the weaknesses

Threats – threats can be external issues that you have little control over e.g. economic issues, amount of time you have to work on your business etc. Think creatively about how these can be turned into opportunities for example, if there is an economic downturn in the area you sell in consider the types of product you are selling and work on a more affordable range.

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For your SWOTs think about the ‘w’ questions to give you as many ideas as possible. These are –

Who – about you, your business, your customers, your outlets

Where – online, markets, craft fairs, shops, galleries etc

Why – what is your focus? Why are you building your business?

What – focussing on product, packaging etc

When – set targets and goals (see below)

How – think about how you are going to prioritise your time in your business

Goal setting

Once you have spent some time thinking about the status quo your focus should move to what you want to achieve with your marketing. Is it to create sales, build awareness of your brand, get repeat sales, sell at prestigious locations? This may sound obvious to you but your goals may be different to someone else.

Be specific about your goals and set a time limit to help you focus.

Your customers

You also need to consider carefully your current customers and your ideal customer. When deciding where to market your product – online or offline – you need to ensure you are targeting sites and publications that your customer will read.

Also, you will have different types of customers – some that don’t know about you yet, some that know about you but haven’t bought, some that have bought once and some that are regular customers. Have a look at this previous blog post for more detail on how to address these different types of customer with your marketing.

Restrictions

You may have restrictions such as the amount of time you have to devote to marketing in your working week or financial restrictions on paying for advertising. Plan a budget for both your time and money and try to ensure you focus your marketing actions on those things that will bring you closer to your goal.

Also ensure you set some time limits on your goals e.g. I’d like to be selling in three different shops by December 2017. This helps you focus on the important goals when you are caught up in the day to day.

It may seem like a big task to plan your Marketing and PR but it will save you time in the long run as it will be clear what activities do and fit within the plan which can save you both time and money.

What other tips do you have for making the most out of your time dedicated to Marketing and PR?  Tell us in the comments below!

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Special Business Week offers

Our founder, Jessica Rose is hosting a FREE webinar masterclass on 26th January at 6.30pm on Boosting your Online Sales.  Grab your spot on the webinar here.

And don’t forget our special offers on business courses for this week only we are offering 25% off business day classes held here at the School using the code 23011701.  This code can only be used over the phone so please call on 020 3176 0546 to book your place.   This discount is only available on bookings made during Jewellery Business Week 21-27 January 2016 inclusive.

Click here for more details of all the business courses included in this offer.

And our New 8-week Online Jewellery Business Bootcamp will be starting on 27th January so if you would like more help with your jewellery business we would love you to join us!  

If you’d like to be kept informed of our jewellery business courses, free articles and offers subscribe to our jewellery business list

Author: Anna Campbell

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Finding supplies for your jewellery business

As you build your jewellery business you will need to buy materials, findings etc in larger quantities. Building relationships with suppliers and finding wholesale deals for buying larger amounts could bring significant savings to you jewellery business. For example, a single strand of a bead might cost £1.30 but you might find the same supplier sells them at £1 if you are buying 10 or more. But there are plenty of trade off in finding the best deals so we’ve put together some top tips.

  1. Start with suppliers you are already familiar with or can find out about easily. Look at the trade account options for bigger suppliers you might know off such as Creative Beadcraft, CooksonGold, International Craft for example – if you can’t find anything on their website, give them a call and ask if they do different prices for bulk orders and if so how much do you need to order.
  2. There may also be eBay suppliers that you’ve dealt with before to buy small quantities of materials and like the supplies you’ve received. It is worth contacting those sellers to see if you can negotiate deals for buying in bulk. It is something we have done successfully at London Jewellery School – the supplier will still make a profit and reduce their risk of being left with unsold stock.

    Ordering in bulk can save you money

    Ordering in bulk can save you money

  3. Quality is important – there is no point in ordering a large number of substandard items. If you are thinking of ordering from a new wholesale supplier ask to see samples first. Buying poor quality items, or ones where the colour doesn’t match the photograph, however cheaply, is a cost you may not be able to recoup.
  4. Make sure you check exactly what the wholesale deal is. Does the price you are being quoted include VAT or not? A whole sale price of £1 per item against a retail price of £1.25 is gret but if the wholesale price is “ex VAT” the actual cost will be £1.20 per item (unless you are VAT registered). Make sure you know exactly what you will be charged.
  5. Check what the wholesaler’s minimum order is – you might need to buy a lot to get the cheap deal per item.
  6. Make sure you don’t over-order. It is easy to get carried away when you see something sparkly at  a great price. But ordering 100 of something to get the discount when realistically you’ll only use 30 is unlikely to make good business sense.
  7. Plan before you order in bulk. It is important to sit down and plan what you need. Try to predict how many of a particular piece of jewellery you expect to sell and what materials you need to produce it. Do this for each piece/design you produce. This will give you a realistic estimate for the materials you require.
  8. Be willing to contact suppliers and bargain.If your calculations say for example you will need 250 of a particular bead and to get the wholesale discount you need to order 1,000, is this a worthwhile deal? However, if the company sells in lots of 25 or 50 at its retail price, it may be well worth your time contacting them to find out if they would offer you a discount on ordering 300. This won’t be as cheap per item as the full 1,000 wholesale price, but it will be better than the retail price.

And one last thought. Researching new suppliers can be time consuming, so remember to value your time and set limits on your research so that you still have time to make and sell your pieces.

 

Jewellery Business Week: Five ways to streamline your jewellery business

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Running your own jewellery business is rewarding but you often have to be a jack of all trades. Here is some advice from tutor and jewellery business owner Anna Campbell on how to streamline your efforts

1. Schedule your time so you focus on one thing a day

 

This advice comes from business writer Robin Sharma and helped transform the way that I run my business.

Firstly, spend some time planning your week in advance. I tend to do this on a Sunday. Use a diary or calendar to fill in everything you have to do during the week. For example, as a tutor I will sometimes have classes I need to teach so I will add them into my weekly planner.

Then structure your week so you try to focus on one thing per day.

For example, one day for

  • making new stock
  • designing new ranges
  • working on your social media
  • packing and going to the post office (if you guarantee delivery within 5 working days you can go to the post office once a week)
  • paperwork, administration and ordering new stock

If you try to do everything every day your concentration gets scattered and you get less done but if you focus on one main task per day you can achieve so much more. If an idea comes up that would be best done on a different day simply write it down and get back to what you were doing.

2.Daily to do lists

If your to do list is so long and daunting you find it difficult to even look at it then try this.

By all means keep the long master to do list but then break this down into daily tasks. This way you know what you need to accomplish on any given day (because you have planned your time at the start of the week) and you don’t get overwhelmed about where to start. You also get a sense of achievement when you are able to do what you’ve planned for the day that you don’t get with a master to do list as it’s never all done!

I started using bullet journalling (a paper-based method of structuring to do lists and notes) and I’ve found it very helpful.

3. Hire around your weaknesses

If you’re not good at something chances are you are either avoiding it or you take longer to do it than someone else could. Consider hiring someone to do the things you’re not good at or bartering with someone that you know could help you out. Have a look at people per hour, a site where you can post a job and get bids for the work from all over the world.

Also consider the ethos of Tim Ferriss author of ‘The four hour work week’. The premise is that our time is worth a certain amount of money per hour. If you can pay someone less to do certain tasks that need to be done it frees you up to do the work that earns you your best hourly rate. For example, if you do the cleaning in the house could you pay someone else to do that for you? It would free you up for that time to do the work that is more lucrative.

4. Utilise free online services

There are a number of free online services that you could utilise to help save you time, particularly when working on your social media presence.

Try bufferapp, a free service that allows you to schedule messages in advance to go on Twitter, Facebook, Google plus and Linkedin.

If you write a blog, spend a day writing some blog posts and schedule them to publish periodically.

5. Keep paperwork up to date

Whether you’re a sole trader or have a limited company, you will need to ensure you keep your paperwork up to date for your tax return. If you leave it to the last minute there’s a big panic about getting your return in on time and I’m sure you will end up paying more as you will not log everything.

Schedule a day a week to keep on top of your administration. Work out a system that works for you. I bought a lovely small filing cabinet drawer (it’s a gorgeous teal colour). All receipts to be logged go in there. I log everything on Go Simple Tax (I adore this service). It’s so straightforward to use and when you’re ready to submit your tax return the information is automatically put into the correct format and uploaded to the gateway). I put a felt tip dot on all receipts that I have already logged online and file them away in case they’re needed.

What business advice would you give? Please comment below and share your wisdom with us all

Anna Campbell is a tutor at the London Jewellery School and runs her own jewellery business Campbell Hall Designs. She sells online from her website and at the Things British shop in Greenwich, London.

Get 20% all jewellery business classes booked between 22 and 28 February 2015 – offer includes all business day classes and tasters, Business Bootcamp, and the 6-day Jewellery Business Intensive. For details of included classes click here

Call 020 3176 0546 to book – this offer is not available online

Jewellery Business Week: Build your business tool kit

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Before you start a jewellery business it is important to prepare just as you would before setting out to make a new piece.

To kick off Jewellery Business Week we’ve created a check list for your “business workbench” – the things you need to have thought about, gathered together or researched before you start.

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Prepare for running your business as you would making a piece – gather your knowledge, tools and materials

Ask the hard questions

Just because you are thinking of starting a one-man band, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think like a big business. A large company or one of the Dragon’s Den panel wouldn’t launch a new venture without having a clear plan and setting out their targets. So here are a few questions to consider – the answers will help you plan:

  1. Why do you want to start your business?
    You are about to embark on a lot of hard work, so be clear about why you are doing it. This is important for your motivation.
  2.  How much time do you want/are able to devote to your business?
    Be realistic – 20 hour days, seven days a week is not practical. You need a work-life balance however much you love jewellery.
  3. How much money do you need to make from the business? Again be realistic. If the business is to be a fulltime job, make sure your budget is realistic and that you will be able to pay the bills. Even if it is a part-time venture, you should make sure you replace any income you are giving up and value the time you give to the business.

Describe your business

Can you describe your business, what it does, what it stands for and who your customer is?

You need to have a very clear idea of what your business is and who it’s for before you finalise a name and decide on your branding. There’s no point in commissioning a logo and packaging in flurescent orange, if you are planning an eco-friendly business aimed at women over 40. (We’ll be talking more about these issues during the week – so check back with the blog each day).

Get on the right legal footing

Before you start trading or become self-employed, find out where you stand about tax and national insurance, whether you should start a limited company and check out what insurance you might need.

For example, you may need to register as self-employed with HM Revenue and Customs and start paying National Insurance contributions. Or even if you a running your business around a job, you’ll need to complete self-assessment tax returns each year. HMRC has helpful guides to work out what you need to do.

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Don’t be scared of the taxman. Inform HMRC of your plans and they’ll be able to give you advice on your legal obligations

If you are self-employed you will need to pay Class 2 National Insurance at the flat rate of £2.70 per week. By registering as self-employed with HMRC you automatically register for Class 2 NI.

As for insurance for your tools, for public liability and to check what types of insurance you need, have a look at insurance companies’ websites to see if they have a section for small businesses. Some, like Hiscox insurance, have guides on different types of insurance or blogs for small businesses. But even if a company has useful guidance, shop around and to get the best deal.

Invest in your business skills

You have invested in developing your jewellery making skills, so don’t neglect your business skills.

Making lovely jewellery is only one part of making your business a success. So write down a list of all the skills you need for the business and get training for the parts you are missing.

London Jewellery School runs lots of business courses designed specifically for jewellery makers and it is also worth checking out if there are any local enterprise organisations that will provide you with support and training.

And even when you do get training, don’t forget that seeking advice is still an important option. Find mentors and firends to share problems and questrions with and don’t always assume you can find the right answer without help.

You may be a one-man band but there is plenty of support out there for you.

During business week, London Jewellery School is offering 20% off all day and taster business courses plus the Business Bookcamp if you book between 2 and 9 February 2014. To get your discount call 020 3176 0345 and book your class quoting BIZWEEK20.