Saturday, January 19, 2013

Taking Steps to Survive a Nasty Recession as a Small Business

These BLOGS are sponsored by my businesses.
Misty Hollow Carvingwas launched in October 2008
Misty Hollow Digital Images were launched on September 26, 2012.
“Crop Circles’ Web Site” where all my images are available.

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Taking Steps to Survive a Nasty Recession as a Small Business
Recently I stated to a group of small business people I stated that one of my Goals for 2013 was “to survive the Recession”.  It was kind of a broad overall statement that is not measureable in some folk’s mind.  How can it be a Goal?

Some have stated that they wish to double their income in the next year.  Fantastic!  Good on them!

However with shrinking orders at times the small business that is struggling to keep going is a reality. Recession bites deeply into the pocket books of the little guy.

I started my business just before the Recession hit. I saw the potential success of my business and did very well for a period of time before the bottom came out of my bucket.  The year after launching ‘Misty Hollow’ the crunch came.

I was doing the same things that I did before the crunch came and nothing was working.  I did more of the same ‘harder’ and ‘faster’ but that didn’t work either.

It was then that I asked the magic question that I had asked before I began ‘Misty Hollow’.  The question was, “What can I do with what I have?”  And “If what I have done is not working, what can I change to make it more appealing for my potential customers?”

A secret shared with me by a customer recently, as she stopped by my weekly table presentation at the Mall, was invaluable. The secret shared with me was, “So what do you have new on your table today? I love the things that you make. You are so creative.  What do you have new today?”

The first reaction could be from the small business owner, “What’s wrong with the old?  Do you know how much time I have put into this product!?”  But I didn’t give that inner feeling away.

I listened.

These are all potential customers coming. And all these potential customers have felt the pinch the same way that ‘Misty Hollow’ has felt it.  But they have stopped by to be inspired and tempted to buy. They do have a special season of gifting coming up, anniversaries and weddings, and they will need a unique gift of some sort.  This moment that they drop by is an opportunity to seed their imagination.

So my first ‘Recession Beater’ is ‘Something New’!  I need to take time to create, carve, and build ‘Something New’.  I cannot stop making the stuff that sold well before but I can make less of it when the stock is built up.  In fact my times when sales are low is a time to build up what may be needed later.

Another customer gave me a huge hint that I really needed to hear.  After she asked the price of the carved feather and I had told her that the feathers were between $80 and $150 each. She then made a statement that was vital for me to hear… if I was listening.  She asked/stated… “Do you have anything less expensive?  I really want to buy one from you but I cannot afford that much money right now. Things are very tight for us!”

My answer was quick and just for her… but maybe more for me as well… “Yes I will have one soon. In fact it will be just for you within the next two weeks.  I can carve feathers that are not as expensive.  When you drop by again I will have something for you!”

The feathers will not be as thin or take as long to do… but they will be beautiful.

As a small business owner, creator and operator I have a very short turnaround time. I can have something made new or made to order within two days… not two months, two years, of a lifetime!  It can happen now!  “Immediate” is a great step to breaking the Recession Blues.

If some of you have followed my adventures by way of this Blog over the past three months you will remember that I was challenged by a new friend of mine to do something very different from my carving.  I was asked to work on a 100 year old statue of Jesus – for a local Catholic Church.  The statue was painted white.  Now they were looking for someone that would be willing to bring back the original colours of 100 years ago.

This was a very new idea for me. It was a whole new direction. It was not what ‘Misty Hollow Carving’ is all about.  It was not what I started out to do in the first place.  It was very great challenge that would take a lot of time and effort to do it right. There was also a great risk involved in that ‘Misty Hollow’ could potentially screw it up and earn a huge black mark against its reputation!!!

Fast forward from three months ago… the Jesus Statue looks better than it did in 1903.  The congregation is thrilled with what they see. And yesterday I began work on Jesus’ Mother – Mary.  Mary is a whole new challenge in that the detail is greater than on Jesus.  And when Mary is looking great I will begin working on Joseph.

“Change is good”.  That is one of my Recession Proofing steps to earn that Goal for 2013.

‘Misty Hollow Carving’, the original name for my business, is now better known as ‘Misty Hollow’.  ‘Misty Hollow’ is bigger than a Carving Shop in a mysterious village somewhere… it is a vibrant business that will survive a nasty old Recession – with flying colours.

Gotta run now.  I have a New Feather to carve today… and some new “Tatted Lace – Button Angels” to get done as well. One is headed to England and the others to parts of Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New York, and North Carolina!

Recession = Busy, not Dead!

~ Murray Lincoln ~
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