3 ways to help your passion project grow into a business

When you’re cramming your growing retail business around working full time, the idea of being able to devote your time to your business seems like a dream.

That is, until you get there. Suddenly, the salary safety net is gone and the pressure is on.

But you didn’t grow your business into a full-time job without a good dose of hustle. So this isn’t the time to take your foot off the gas.

Here are three ideas to help pave the way to a successful retail business:

1. Stick with what’s working

You might not want to spend every Sunday with your stall at a trade fair or a farmers’ market, but if it’s working for your business right now, it’s important to keep doing it.

Instead of stopping abruptly, create a transition plan so that you can either bring your existing customer base to your physical or online store, or hire and train an employee who will be able to represent your business.

While you’re still out there on the weekends chatting to customers, this is a valuable time to get direct feedback – something bigger businesses pay good money for!

Bring new products you’re developing and get their opinions. If you’re changing your branding, ask them what they like.

Find out what they think of your existing products – what tweaks could you make, or which lines could you start selling?

Don’t forget to bring your clipboard and collect email addresses so you can add them to your mailing list.

READ: Turn your side hustle into your main game

2. Use your reviews

Just as getting direct feedback from your customers is golden, customer reviews are hugely important to the success of your new business.

No matter what you’re selling, it’s important to pay attention to your Google and Facebook reviews.

Do some research and figure out which other platforms are likely to be useful to your business.

If you’re looking for a neat trick to increase the number of Facebook reviews, Socially Sorted has identified a helpful hack: ask customers to ‘check in’ at your business.

Within a day or two, they’ll get a notification from Facebook asking them whether they want to submit a review.

READ: 3 powerful questions to ask for better marketing

3. Know your position

As you grow your business, you should look for opportunities to create additional revenue streams.

So if you’re selling wholesale, you could consider a retail outlet. If you’re happily running a bricks and mortar store, you could begin an online off-shoot.

Having more than one way that your business makes money both limits risk and builds flexibility.

While you’re growing your business, it’s especially important to have a good handle on your financial position.

Chances are you’re using a bookkeeper or accountant, but in order to make the day-to-day decisions that affect your business, you need to be able to access the important information easily.

Choose accounting software that you’ll easily be able to get to grips with, so you can always access updated information.

Then when you’re planning to build an online store, or considering whether you can buy the supplies to fulfil that big wholesale order, you’ll be make an informed decision about what you can afford.

 

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