Question :
I appreciate the tautoko here so much. Thank you.I’m anxious at the moment. I started this small biz and am working on building awareness about my brand and marketing some new products.  I’m new at this though.  I’m worried about whether I’m making the right decisions about where to invest my time and money to help my business grow in a sustainable way.  And that matters.  It really matters.  I can’t waste either of those things now. I watch similar businesses going real hard on marketing and being creative with how essential they are. No hate to them – we’ve all got bills and families. But it’s exacerbating that feeling of being behind the 8-ball, being left behind.  If I had more clarity on the best way forward for my business that would dampen the crazy noise which tbh is mostly someone yelling f***k, f**k, f**k in my head and running from action to action like a lunatic. Even having an updated strat and plan doesn’t help cos I wrote them.So I guess my question is, how can I find a mentor or people who can eyeball what I do, how I do it and what I think is a good strategy for growing my biz and tell me whether I’m on a good track or not?

Question submitted 18/04/20 @ 01:01pm
Industry: Business Growth
  • Hi Lisa. It certainly is a trying time for many business owners. You are not alone in this. If you can tell us more about your business, it would help the team provide some more specific feedback. Kia kaha.

    Im wondering if you have applied for any of the government wage subsidy

    Kia ora and thank you for responding. Currently I design and craft handmade goods for people and homes. I set up my website and built a good new following on Instagram. Scaling and biz sustainability is challenging with a handmade business so my planning for 2020 (pre-covid) had a phased introduction of items from other makers, potentially outsourcing some of the making as well as one product which isn’t in the market at the moment which I’m excited about but am in the very early stages of seeing if I can find anyone to produce it in NZ. I think it’s got potential to do well.

    While my usual markets weren’t available during lockdown I brought forward my collaboration with other makers and as soon as we’re in level 3 will be able to release some limited runs of gift boxes to test the market. It’s also a way to tautoko other makers in this time. In lockdown I don’t have access to supplies which would mean I could outsource some of the making.

    My website traffic isn’t huge being new and so I’ve got traffic building mahi happening concurrently.

    So I’m making the goods, managing the collabs with other makers, building traffic, updating the website, managing social media/channels, building awareness, trying to figure out the best marketing campaign for the giftboxes, planning around access to supplies post lockdown 4 – I can operate fine with the conditions required in lockdown 3, deciding if I should be pursuing the new product sooner rather than later, etc etc.

    Altogether it makes for wheelspinning through late nights and probably not great decisions about the most effective place to put my time and money. I love being productive. Love a late night doing mahi. But it’s clarity I’m missing over which plates need spinning now and which I can just eat my non-existent lockdown baking on.

    Kia ora Graeme, yes I did thank you. It was fantastic and I’m so grateful about the whakaaro around supporting small businesses. I’m just being cautious about shifting sums of it away from supporting whānau and domestic needs which I’ve primarily tagged it for, towards the small biz. A big part of that caution is because of my current lack of clarity over the best way to invest that money to move my business forward.

    There’s always uncertainty and always risk and I’m not adverse to either of those. I feel like I’m too IN the mahi at the moment and taking a breather to look down at the biz from a more strategic level hasn’t helped because I don’t have enough experience in some areas to stake one decision/direction over another.

    Kia ora Lisa

    Look at you go! You are doing heaps. It could be worth taking a step back each day and reflecting on what worked well, what didn’t and pat yourself on the back.

    Can you set up some feedback loops? So each new thing you try – you track whether the market has responded and whether it is worth carrying on or tweaking. e.g. if you post about the gift boxes, what was the reaction like on Insta?

    As long as your strategy is responsive to the market, you will be able to tack the ship as you go.

    The gift boxes sound like a good thing to focus on right now. I have a few birthdays to acknowledge so I would love a link to see where I can support you.

    Perhaps you could start looking at generating orders for the boxes now. Then you know how much you need to hustle once we go to Level 3.

    I hope that is helpful.

    Keep going.

    Ngā mihi

    I think Bee’s ideas are great – focus on a very specific niche that will still be problematic in Level 3- birthdays are great. Plenty of birthdays are going under-celebrated right now.

    What might be helpful is as a part of stepping back, to get some clarity on what very specific opportunities you think are best return on your efforts, and make a commitment to serving that niche better than anybody over say the next 100 days. If you don’t commit to something that you can excel at and build confidence in, you will always be looking over your shoulder at what everybody else is doing and wonder whether you should be doing that.

    Whenever you’re building any kind of business – large or small – you have to make a decision at what you want to master, and what you want to offer as core to who you are. The more specific and differentiated it is and the more true it is to who you are, the better. Once you’ve made that decision you need to execute with full confidence for an extended period of time to be able to know whether you were right or not – ie are people buying what you’re selling…before changing tact or retreating. 🙌🏻

    Kia ora Bee, that’s a great nudge. I’ve set up some good analytics so I can track what’s working. I’ve only got a limited run of the boxes so I can do some good testing and put more money into the things that sell. I’ve got a few options within each of the boxes too which will help test the contents as I go.

    I’ve been holding back on pre-orders just as I’m not sure how long my small biz suppliers will take to ship the goods to me to ship out and I don’t want to disappoint anyone with māmās day coming up. But I could manage that in the copy to make sure I’m clear with customers.

    I’ll send you a link! I’ll update the site to take pre-orders too. Ok I’m excited – the weekend mahi is a bit clearer. Thanks Bee!

    Aroha mai, I don’t know where my reply to you Derek went!

    Just wanted to mihi to you and thank you for the advice. It really helped my focus last night and going forward. Putting a service lens on the things I commit to and will focus on in the next few months has been incredibly helpful.

    It also helped after thinking on your whakaaro to reflect back on the values I have in my biz, my differentiation and how to best answer the needs my customers have.

    Thank you so much.

    I saw your post
    I have created a website which would help you promote and sell your product
    its helps any business present their products or services which they have offer.
    You create your own store, which every product you add, generates your own mini catalogue.
    Every single mini catalogue / store, that has a product added, pushes that product into our front facing catalogue so anyone can find what they are looking for fast.
    We have not launched yet, but once we get a lot of businesses signing up and adding product, shoppers will come.

    We will look to be running in about 4 weeks, but you could setup now as that functionality is available.
    Check out Shopper at https://www.shopper.co.nz

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