As the old year wanes and the new year beckons, I am jotting down a few personal resolutions, but I am also taking stock of my Etsy business, and beginning to formulate goals for 2012.
Thankfully, I've had some inspiration and guidance from April at the Blacksburg Belle blog. http://www.blacksburgbelle.com/2011/12/3-books-thatll-increase-your-success-in-2012/
In her video post, Three Books That Will Increase Your Success in 2012, one of the titles April highly recommended was Simon SInek's book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. It was published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc. in 2009. ISBN: 978-1-59184-280-4. He also has a website: www.startwithwhy.com.
Now, as a fledgling Etsy entrepreneur, I hardly consider myself a leader, but, in a sense, I am the leader of my little online shop. To borrow a phrase from Barbara J. Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job, I'm a "self-bosser."
Sinek observes that most businesses attract customers or clients through manipulations – sale prices, promotions, or other marketing gimmicks and ploys. Manipulation works – in the short-term. But it does not inspire loyalty or generate long-term success.
Sinek proposes an alternative—to inspire action rather than manipulating people to act. How to do that? Well, as the title suggests, you start with WHY you do/make/sell what you do. He draws a Golden Circle, with WHY in the middle, then HOW, and finally WHAT. Most people and companies get it backwards. And I'd have to confess, I am one of those people. If asked what I do at Pasque Flower Creations, I'd be tempted to answer, "I sew boutique children's clothing and other fun and functional fabric items." Or I might quip, "I'm turning my stash into cash." That's WHAT I do. I might then say that I make these items using high quality designer cotton fabrics, linen and silk. That's HOW I do what I do. But WHY? What is my purpose, cause or belief that caused me to launch this business? (Making money is not the right answer.)
According to Sinek, people don't just buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it. If we do business with those who believe in our WHY, trust emerges and we will have happy loyal customers. We'll see. I'm still working on my WHY Statement. I think it is rooted in a philosophy expressed by my old friend and law school colleague, Mary McCusker, when she said, "Always buy pretty postage stamps. They don't cost any more than the plain ones." I do like using pretty stamps. And recipients like pretty stamps, too. Same-o for functional items made with fun, colorful, and sometimes whimsical high-quality fabrics.
I've reworked my Etsy Profile to include a beginning of my "why" statement. Here it is. My philosophy: Why settle for ordinary or boring, when there is a colorful, comfortable, or sometimes whimsical alternative at a reasonable price?
P.S. Here is a link to another great blog about year-end planning from Meylah: http://meylah.com/meylah/8-quick-tips-to-get-your-business-ready-for-next-year
Happy New Year!
LeAnn aka pasqueflower