Friday, 3 January 2014

A New Year

The 1st January marked three years since I decided to start Melissa Morgan Designs.  I didn't start it with any particular goals in mind.  I'd made a few headdresses and thought I'd set up a facebook page to see how much interest they got.  Whilst it didn't feel like it at the time, it was a slow start.  I watch fledgling businesses now and they seem to burst out from nowhere and get everywhere in no time at all.  Personally, I didn't have the confidence, knowledge or money for this.  I didn't have any funds at the beginning, and so many people seemed to believe that making any kind of profit creating wedding jewellery was such a silly idea, that the thought of risking money on it was absurd to me.  What I did (and still do have) is perseverance and that's the one thing that has bought me this far.

Things built gradually.  After a few bespoke orders and sales in an etsy shop, I made enough to buy new supplies and try out a few wedding fairs.  Sales grew and I started to find the best materials to use, learn the easiest way to do things, network with other creatives and develop my business.

For the first two years there was no profit.  I worked purely for the joy of knowing I was building and creating.  Getting home and busying myself with my business was fun and getting positive feedback from those around me was empowering.

This year saw a turning point, with MMD making slightly more money than I needed to pump back into it.  Not a fortune, certainly not enough to live on, but enough to make be believe that maybe, just maybe, this business could really be a business, not just a hobby with a bit of profit.  This year MMD paid back the small loan for setting up with NOTHS, furnished the studio and added the last injection of funding to make our house move possible.  I rewarded myself with a shopping trip, a new piano and our final splash of 2013, a new sofa.  Small things yes, but things that have been purchased from our sweat and tears, our hard work, our many, many hours of hard work.

So now we can see a profitable business, it changes everything. But this means how we run things needs to change.  No more 'going with the flow' but more practical, sensible  approaches to business.  Ruling with the head a little more than the heart.

With all of this in mind, we have some 'resolutions' in place for 2014...

Set targets for sales, monitor these and react appropriately

Targets have played a big part in every job I've had, and yet I've never put them in place for MMD.  This year is all about target setting and reacting if/when the targets I've set aren't met. And of course, adjusting the targets if they seem too easy!

Keep the blog up to date

The last few days I've really knuckled down with the blog and I've found it so therapeutic.  I've learnt a lot from trying to organise my own thoughts.  I plan to be realistic about how often I can post, but stick to at least twice a week.  The blog is the home of MMD so it needs to be updated. I will remember that not all posts need to be long and wordy, sometimes just an image is enough. It must be fresh and up to date. 

Increase our number of facebook likes

So much of my business comes from facebook that continuing to grow our family of likers is really important.  Over the Christmas period I've watched how some really successful business owners create interest in their page and whilst I do post regularly, this year we'll be pushing facebook even more.

Create 'collections'

I've always approached making and creating as a bit of a game.  Selecting some sparkly things and seeing what will happen.  This year I will be taking a step back, and creating collections of items that work together, planning a little bit more.  I hope that this will add a professional edge to our offering and make it easier for our customers to find what they are looking for. 

Learn new skills

I'm a firm believer that learning should never stop, no matter how old we get.  This year I already have plans to learn pearl knotting and how to work with silver clay.  These skills may or may not find their way into the business - but I know I'll have a lot of fun learning!

Read more

I never read enough, of any material.  This year I'd like to read more for pleasure and for the business.  I've seen some recommendations for business and social media books that have already made my reading list and I plan to continue sourcing the best information and advice the web has to offer for small business.  Seeing the successes others have and how they got there is inspirational and incredibly motivating.

Don't let the 'bad guys' get me down! 

There's at least one out there, another business, trying to get me down.  Well it won't happen. Someone very wise told me that it's when you start to annoy others that you must be doing something right.  I don't run my business like I'm an entrant in a last one standing competition.  It's not healthy.   This year I'm not going to let anyone spoil things. 

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