This last year has given me a wonderfully new perspective into the world of business and I have learned lot of things that I would like to share about the growth of our small company. Ever since the day my wife and I started this online soy candle and cold process soap shop, we have been faced with many challenges as well as many exciting successes and all of these experiences have been woven deeply into our story. Like all good things, progress comes with time, but along the way there are certain tips you pick up that seem to help speed up that process. However, we are still learning as we go and any further tips and pieces of advice you might have to offer the comments section would be always be greatly appreciated.
Before discussing the growth of our company, I should explain a bit about what we do. One of our favorite contributions to this business is the art of cold process soap-making. Unlike typical generic, store bought soap, cold process soaps are handmade, artisanal crafts of art that are far superior. While most bars of soap contain skin-drying chemical additives, cold process soaps are made with olive oil and coconut oil as well as other natural ingredients. They are called cold process because the method of their creation relies on an ancient technique of mixing lye and cold water. It can be a dangerous procedure and therefore I will not be providing any tutorials because of safety issues, however, our products are created by professionals and we are very pleased to share them with you.
Once an artist's craft has been mastered, it will become time to show the product to the world, but sometimes that can be a tricky process. Naturally, you will want to pump social media full of beautiful pictures of your product while dropping links to your website in every group imaginable, but as you'll soon find out, social media has a way of catching on that you are spamming your business and you will inevitably be tightly restricted from doing so.
One solution to this is to follow strict rules of self-organization when implementing this practice. You should limit your content to no more than two posts a day of anything, and be wary about including an actual link to your website on Facebook or Instagram (a link in your bio would be preferred). I have noticed that posts with links in them are not often top priority on your friends' feeds and this can be a frustrating issue.
Having said that, the deeper problem with posting on social media is that your posts will typically only reach your friends. In the beginning days of a new company, you will see that almost all of your customers are friends and colleagues, yet the greater goal should be the ability to reach out to a farther, organically-attained audience who you have never met. Perhaps the best way to do that exists in a short list of tips which I have put together to help you.
Here is a short list of websites you need to familiarize yourself with, and we are going to assume you are keeping a blog somewhere (this is so important!):
If you already have an account in any of these, you will immediately be in a better position than I was when I started this pursuit. It takes time to accumulate followers on any platform, but in this case they will not be the focus of our lesson today. Once you have created an account in each of these, you must simply copy and paste your blog posts from your website to each of these platforms in whichever form that platform requires (i.e. Quora has 'spaces', Linkedin has 'articles'). Do this every other day for six months and soon your website should be receiving organic traffic and you will be doing so with the merit of your writing skills alone and that is a great accomplishment!
It has always been my hope for our company that we could reach people who we have never even met. It makes my heart smile so big when somebody from six states over leaves a loving comment on our Instagram telling us how much they enjoyed our products. Things like this give me hope in the growth of our business, because as I said, we are still very new and have a long way to go.
I believe in us though. I believe in our process and I absolutely believe in the integrity of our product. Nobody wants to spam websites with a product that sucks, I'd rather lovingly share our creations among those who might be interested. As we watch people from far away become turned on to our products I can only sit back and wonder if perhaps it was something I wrote that hit them and for that I will continue to lovingly do what I do.
My closing piece of simple advice to new business owners is to truly find out who your customer is. This is something that something that seems so self-evident, yet surprisingly difficult to achieve, because there are billions of types of people in the world. However, you will eventually find your specific niche if you pay close enough attention. We are still finding ours, but it's becoming more and more clear to us as time goes by. Nobody likes to see things they don't care about on their social media feeds, but others will completely support what you are doing and be very happy just to watch your company grow. Keep these people closest to you because they will always be much more valuable as an old customer than a new one.
Whatever your pursuits with small business may be, make sure you operate your company lovingly and always leave time for yourself. The benefits of working for yourself far outweigh the negative consequences, however they do indeed exist and you must never forget that you are doing what you love simply because you love it.