So as 2018 draws to close most of us sit back and reflect on the year that has passed, the good, bad and all things in between. We often only remember very good or very bad, we tend gloss over the everyday bits that make up most of our lives and in the case of a small craft business like this one, it's the small things that we need to get right. There is little point in thinking about market dominance if we are unable to get the basics right, like answering the phones, posting orders on time, good face to face relationships with our Customers. That's why I believe small businesses have a unique selling point that the big firms don't have, Customers can speak to the makers and in my workshop are able to watch their piece being hand carved, i'm not sure there are many big companies an offer that unique experience.
On the subject of usp (unique Selling points) another area where we small business are able to meet our Customers is at local craft Markets, some of these markets are huge affairs but we mostly only attend the smaller ones, again there is no point in taking 20 commissions when I an only realistically fulfil 12 a week, so I concentrate on getting the basics right and if i get that right, I am confident that word will spread about my excellent products and Customer service.
To keep up with the digital world I attended 2 Social media seminars this year, now when I was starting my apprenticeship 41 years ago my boss was adamant that if we were good, Customers would come to us out, only firms who didn't have enough work advertised, at the time that sounded perfectly acceptable explanation. Oh how things have changed, if you are not digital ready, not advertising and not on social media how will the Customers know where to find you? So grasping a little of the new found knowledge we have pages on facebook Gower stone art, Twitter @art_gower , pinterest www.pinterest.co.uk/rnivek1961/ and instagram as well as its own etsy shop I'm not sure what my old boss, or even my younger self would of thought of all this time not doing productive work, I just have to accept that updating a status or adding a hashtag to something is part of my job now, its not an option that I an dip in and out of, it is as much a part of what I do as is setting out a piece for carving, i'm trying to embrace it as Customer Service.
The Business also moved workshops twice this year, the second time when an opportunity came up to have a workshop at Gower Heritage Centre, an opportunity that we just could not refuse, so within 3 days of Contacting the reception, we were moving in to our new workshop. Now this workshop is also the Treehouse pottery so I am now the resident potter as well s resident Stonemason, Tour guide and several other jobs besides.
So in nutshell, from beginning the year in full time employment, starting the business in room in a rented house and using their garage, the business now has a workshop, Customers, stock, a digital presence, all driven by the barmy idea that I wanted to do less site work and more so wishes can come true, I guess its just a matter of being careful what you wish for but i wouldn't change anything, sure it would be good to have paid leave and sickness benefits but I only answer to my Customers, there is no one else to pick up the slack, so if i don't do it, it doesn't get done.
I have enjoyed the journey over the last year, and I sincerely hope that 2019 is just as exiting (without the 2 moves though). I look forward to seeing existing Customers and welcoming new ones in the new year, as always the workshop will be open from the 2nd January and Gower Stone Arts stall will be attending many Markets and Craft fairs too.
Lastly I would like to wish everyone a very happy, prosperous and healthy new year,
blwyddyn Newydd Dda