What Makes One Creative Business More Successful Than Another?
Updated: Mar 1
Every business is unique in some way, if for no other reason than they are run by different people with different approaches. But what makes one business more successful than the other, especially when dealing with a creative business such as interior design, upcycled furniture, wall art, or handmade home décor and crafts?
Well, my research boils it down to pretty much one philosophy - as with so many things in life, what you put into it will directly relate to what you get out of it. Or, to put it another way, investment.
Why time is your most precious resource and how to use it wisely
What exactly is investment, and how can we translate that into a successful business?
First things first, let's have a look at the word investment. Most people believe that investment equals money, but that is definitely not the whole picture.
We are not necessarily talking about pounds, dollars, or any other currency, for that matter.
Investment comes in many forms. However, it is fundamentally putting something in to get something out. .
As far as I can see, and this is open for debate, three critical investment areas will make a business successful, whether you trade online or on the High Street.
Namely: A positive attitude, time, and money.
Adopting, cultivating, and maintaining a positive attitude is essential to running your own business. That doesn't mean you have to be firing on all cylinders every waking minute of every day.
But it does rely on your having an intrinsic belief in yourself and your abilities. A positive attitude shines through in everything we do: words, deeds, actions, body language, and our work. So, whilst it is vital, it isn't always easy, especially when it feels like you've hit a dip in sales and motivation.
"Maintaining a positive attitude" is worthy of a novella in its own right, but for the time being, if you need an extra boost, refer to this blog titled "How To Avoid Burnout and Stay Motivated Running Your Own Creative Furniture Painting Business."
We all have the same amount of time allocated to us in a day. 24 hours. That's non-negotiable.
If you factor in sleeping, eating, and non-business-related chores, you probably have between four and eight hours a day to dedicate to your business (we're generalizing and talking averages here).
So, it goes without saying that you have already committed a considerable amount of your available time to your business. If you're happy with the results of your efforts, then keep scrolling.
But if you feel you are in a never-ending cycle of being busy, with little to no improvement in your growth or income, it's not about how much time you spend but more about where you're spending your time that makes the difference.
Nowadays, it isn't enough to rely on your product, service, or offer to sell itself, no matter how good it is. After all, even if you're the best at what you do, customers only know that AFTER they buy from you. But how do you get them to purchase from you or trust you enough to invest in you in the first place?
If you want to compete successfully, you must proactively market your business and give people a reason to work with you. But that doesn't mean working more hours.
Far from it. What is it they say? "Work smarter, not harder."
Have you thought that taking some of your working hours and allocating them to a different task might reap rewards? Here are a few ideas:
· Spend time on social media to see what's trending and where the demand is.
· Focus on building your email list. Make sure that what you are sending out in the way of communication is going to people who will appreciate it and read it.
· Write a few emails as a stopgap for when you are away from your business.
· Take a busman's holiday – go and visit an auction house or vintage furniture showroom or take an advanced painting class to extend your skills.
· Do some active market research. Know your market, know your customer.
· Get up-to-date on all your business admin. Stop putting it off – it's a crucial part of your business and needs dedicated time. Systems are a Godsend here. If you don't have them, you're spending time on the wrong things.
· Stop telling yourself you don't have time to invest in your well-being. Make it a priority. Without you, you don't have a business.
We are all very aware of purse strings these days, but that doesn't mean we should stop spending altogether. If that were the case, we wouldn't have any customers at all.
But if you ARE thinking of investing money into your business, here are some ideas.
· Technology, technology, technology. Love it or hate it, tech is here to stay. Stay abreast of it. If you aren't using it, you are most definitely losing it.
· Ask Google for information and see if there are any local training courses to help you with the basics. Or better still, ask around on The Furniture Artist's Collective open access Facebook group.
· We've put together a team with expertise in tech, e-commerce, marketing, copywriting, and photography – and all with specialist knowledge of the creative industry.
· If you don't have a website and are mainly product-based, why not invest in a Shopify website? They're good value for money. In the TFAC, we have e-commerce specialists who will help you with the build.
· If you're feeling particularly flush, have a WordPress site built for you. Again, you can save an awful lot of time and money in the long run if you're prepared to invest in getting the right help and guidance.
· What about investing in a small business accountancy app? They're easy to master and reduce the time and effort you have to put into doing it all manually.
· Plus, it can reduce the time your accountant takes (and therefore their cost or the amount of time you need to spend) doing your tax return.
· If you're not a member, consider joining the TFAC: Game Changers program.
Don't know what we do?
We are a success-driven trade association and membership offering unrivalled marketing education and ongoing mentorship and support in every aspect of your creative business.
Our community of dedicated experts and like-minded business owners have been where you are. They WILL have the answer if you're stuck or need advice, direction, inspiration, or hands-on help.
Whether you're a furniture upcycler, course creator, stockist, brand, or service-based home décor business, there's one thing you need more of, and that's customers.
And by customers, I mean people who value what you do and are willing to pay you what you're worth.
Without a solid lead generation strategy, your business will founder and be a drain on your energy and your resources. Speaking of energy and resources….
Stop doing everything yourself.
You have access to brilliant staging and photography, technical support, professional high-converting copywriting, and an opportunity to learn from a specialist marketing trailblazer with years of experience. The learning never stops. If that sounds interesting to you, learn more here.
The bottom line is there are as many secrets to business success as there are businesses, but there are definitely 3 vital attributes that work hand-in-hand.
• A positive attitude
Maintaining a positive attitude is fundamental to success. You must believe in yourself, your ability, and your product. It's not always easy, but it's essential. With a positive attitude, you can overcome any obstacle and achieve your goals.
You must be willing to invest time and effort into your business to see results. Success rarely happens overnight, but with patience and dedication, you can achieve what you want.
Lastly, investment is key. Successful people understand that investing money in training and development can save time and effort in the long run.
Conversely, unsuccessful people often try to save money by investing time, but this approach is often detrimental to their success.
Whilst it’s true that some may succeed without any cash investment, given enough time, most businesses require a significant injection of money, time and positivity to thrive.
So, are you willing to invest in yourself and your business?
The choice is yours.