Saturday, May 1, 2010

So much for weekly updates!

It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything since January, but I am still lacking the discipline to update my blog regularly.  Blogs are very important tools for small businesses and I need to make sure I keep mine up to date.  *Gentle slap delivered!*

I think this blog is evolving into my journey, potholes, breakdowns and all, towards starting my own business, promoting my love of knitting and crocheting.  So far, there has been much more theorising and dreaming than actually building!  I’ve been held up by the lack of NEIS funding (which I mistakenly reported earlier was cancelled, which it isn’t) which has put me in a bit of a limbo situation.

I was told a month or so ago that I am now on the top of the list to start NEIS in June or July, which is a far cry from the January I was first promised.  The good thing about this delay is that I have had time to re-think my ideas and have done more research and training.

I picked up a book called “Tea in the Library” at the Good Sammy Op shop in Fremantle.  It is a fascinating account of the rise and demise of  Annette Freeman’s dream to open a book cafe in Sydney.  I am treating it with as much importance as any text book on Business Management.  After reading it, I realised that opening a retail shop is a huge undertaking and that even if I had started NEIS in January, I would have had no hope of achieving even a fraction of what my original dream was.

My current vision is to start my business online, selling patterns and kits for small items, ie, hats, cowls, bags, baby items, along with a selection of yarns and patterns.  I am working on my own designs (more of this in the next post!). 

The big thing when you are starting a business is to define and promote your USP – Unique Selling Point.  If you have a look at any product available these days you are swamped by the variety available.  How on earth do all these companies survive?  Just how many dogwash (for example) companies can the world sustain?  Now, I’m no expert on washing dogs, but I do recognise that to consistently be the best or most popular, you must offer something that other companies don’t OR your product or service, while similar to others, must be offered in a way that your competitors aren’t.

So, looking at my own business dream, what do I have to do that will allow me to survive and thrive along with all of the other woolly businesses?

1 – Offer something that other online businesses don’t. 

2 – Add value to each visit to my website.  This might be links to YouTube videos (starring me of course!), free patterns, links to related sites.

3 – If I can’t offer something truly unique, then I must offer the best service possible.  Of course exceptional customer service is a given.  I’ve worked in CS for many years and know how vital this is.

4 – Appeal to a wide range of knitters/crocheters, from beginners to experts.

And finally, here is a pic of the first of my designs that has actually worked!  I just need to finish writing the pattern and find someone to do an independent test knit.  I have knitted several tests so far.


Until next post….