4 December 2007


Ship, Ship Sailing Game

The last week has flown in a flurry of adding yet more new skills to my repertoire. Having mastered the management of my own website I also had to set up shop within the NOTHS store and this of course involved a completely different system to my own. Reams of advice, rules, regulations and 'how to' appeared on the screen. Not very encouraging. I had orders calling me back to the sewing room, but knew that having invested my money I needed to get this new site up and running to maximise the selling potential for Christmas. I worked all through Sunday, most of Monday and a bit of Tuesday, and finally it was ready for me to click the activation button. The site was live by Monday evening and actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be to do. I suppose I actually know what I am doing now rather than feeling the world of websites is beyond me.

So, to todays lesson....don't let yourself be put off.

A business needs a website in this computer savvy world and therefore it pays to learn the skills. Most of the sites, whether a package set up such as www.moonfruit.com , the one I used for my own site, or a portal site such as NOTHS there is usually plenty of info to guide you through. It may seem off-putting but, trust me, it is just a case of sitting there and doing it. Anyone who has filled in endless forms for Child Benefit, Tax Credits, etc is more than capable of working through this kind of information. What you need to remember is that these companies want your business; it doesn't pay them to make it impossible for their customers to do, espeially as anything internet based is already part of a highly competitive market.

And lesson no.2....TIME.

These sites are your showcase. They are your way of reaching a potentially wider marketplace than any number of shops, fairs and occasional magazine articles can ever do, not that these aren't all worthwhile and necessary means of promoting a business too. The global market is huge and can be accessed by most, but for it to be effective you must be competitive - the layout, the copy used to sell your goods and the images all have to work together as the problem with such a massive market is that the competition is also massive. All this takes time and effort which will take you away from producing the stock you need. It's a dilemma and definitely suggests paying a website designer would be the way to go, but for most small businesses this is an impossible cost to justify.

What's the answer? Determination and endless energy I suspect! Certainly scheduling in time for this important work is a definite must. Though not difficult once you are familiar with the format, it is not something to be considered an after-thought and, as with any good shop, there is a need to move things around and add/remove stock periodically to avoid a stale look which will stop people from returning. Again more time. Certainly in my own case where I am now effectively maintaining two sites, it is time for me to move away from lists on bits of paper and move to an organised yearly planner where all these things are given an allotted space and do not get pushed to the backburner (soory Zoe, bit slow but I got there in the end!).

Time...don't underestimate it.

Oh and before I go, a little update on NOTHS - my store went live on Monday evening and yesterday I received two quite substantial orders; the beating heart is stilled...just a little.

Pipany x


Cowgirl said...

Hi Pipany, Sorry have been laid up with the Pox and missed your dilemma regarding the NOTHS store. For what its worth I think you have done the right thing - with tabbed browsers these days its so easy to search alongside a website for a specific companies website to glean more info - I do it all the time. Hopefully it will bring you in tons more exposure whilst still having people order direct from your own site (The Perfect World!!!) The fact that you have secured two good orders in a very short space of time is fab!

Re: the website skills - yay you!!! The only way I reckon is just not to be scared (they can always be fixed, and usually there is a backup copy with the firm hosting it) just get in there and play around. I am my own webmaster whereas my girlfriend (also with B&B) employs one to do it for her which costs 6 times what I pay just for hosting, plus my site is always, always up to the minute which I think is critical (and surely the whole point of a website?) My pet hate is out of date sites. Good on you, hope the Christmas orders flood in!! xx

toady said...

I am bowled over with admiration. My advice is - take your own advice. If you'd listen to me you'd have missed out on two orders! Mind you that's me all over, glass half empty kinda gal. Very impressed with your determination. Well done you.


Well done that woman!!!As you know I am very impressed with not aonly your quality products but your determination!!

Frances said...

Pipany, you are a wonder!

Just wait until the media comes calling to interview you. Tell us, Pipany, ... how did all this begin. What was it like in the first years when you were starting out...?

It is such fun to be in on these first months of your business.


Faith said...

Ditto everything Toady said. Truly you are worthy of admiration, o great one!

annakarenin said...

Wonderful to know it has already started to pay. I love the photo shot of the bag below. It is incredible how professional it is all looking with you in such a short space of time. From little acorns me thinks.

LittleBrownDog said...

Wow, well done indeed, pipany! And very pertinent advice as far as I'm concerned. My work has been very stop start (well, mostly stop recently, I'm afraid), so I, too, was thinking in terms of a website. I will definitely investigate your site people - hoping they're not too, too expensive... (Your site is very impressive, by the way).

Casdok said...

Well done! Very impressed!
All the best!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Congratulations on going live. You have worked so hard and deserve all the custom you get which I am sure will be a great deal. Your website is fabulous. You clever bunny!

Crystal xx

Blossomcottage said...

Your products are fantastic, I will be back to purchase just need to decide what I want.
Blossom x

Suffolkmum said...

Well done Pip, orders already, you are a star! You'll be getting entrepreneur of the year next! I love your stuf ftoo and also nee to make my mind up as to what I want.

Two Crofters said...

congrats to you from another NOTHS seller!
i love your items and cannot wait to see what else you make.
tracy x

Milla said...

well done Pips, you're working so hard and am glad it's going so well.

Jane said...

I'm glad that it is working out for you.