Have you ever felt like you have too many business ideas? Do you wonder if you should spend time on Twitter or Facebook—or both? Do you spend hours thinking about ways to fix your business problems?
What would happen if you stopped doing all the stuff that didn’t work and focused on the stuff that does work? What if you had a simple way to make business decisions?
According to Jim Collins in Good to Great, great companies spend just as much time figuring out what they should not do and stop doing as they do figuring out what they should be doing.
The Creative Entrepreneur’s Dilemma
One of the biggest dilemmas I see creative entrepreneurs struggle with is the “too many ideas syndrome.” I constantly have new ideas, and so do all other creative entrepreneurs. So, if everyone has great ideas, why do some makers succeed and some fail?
First, the successes are extremely smart about the ideas they put into action. Second, they actually put those ideas into action.
You can come up with out-freaking-standing ideas, but if you don’t follow through and put in the hard work to make them happen, you’ve got nothing.
The Simple Solution
I’ve got a simple solution for you. You need to have 1-3 business goals. These can range from doubling your sales within 6 months to launching a new jewelry line. When choosing your business goals, push yourself but be realistic.
Write those goals down on a chalkboard, whiteboard, or on a poster. Make sure they’re visible in your office, art studio, or craft space.
Each time you have a new idea, ask yourself, “Will this help me get closer to reaching my goals or will this take me further away from my goals?” The answer to this question will be your answer on whether you should put that idea into action.
You might not always know the answer, because you can’t see the future. You don’t know if improving your pictures will help you double your sales in 6 months—but you can take an educated guess that it will.
Once you reach your goals, add new ones and work toward those.
Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work
Do you get caught up trying to figure out why something doesn’t work?
I used to spend more time trying to fix the things that didn’t work than I spent on the things that worked. After I realized I was doing this and changed, my business changed.
If you add a knitting pattern to your shop and it doesn’t sell, spend some time making sure that you’re targeting the right market and marketing it well. But, if still doesn’t sell, stop spending so much time on it. Spend time on the handmade scarves that you can’t keep in stock, because they sell out.
I’m not saying you should give up on something right away. For instance, marketing your products on your blog takes time. You have to build up a readership and give your readers time to get to know, like, and trust you before you’ll see an increase in sales. But, in my opinion, it’s well worth the investment of time.
But, if something really isn’t working, stop. Put your energy towards something that does work.
Do More of What Works
This might seem obvious—but I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of, “Okay, that worked. Now what?” For instance, you might write a blog post that gets lots of comments, gets linked to by other bloggers, and sparks a lot of interest. Instead of saying, “That was great. Now, what should I write about?” ask, “What made this blog post so popular? And, how can I repeat that?”
If your line of new earrings sells really well, make more. If you use different product descriptions for similar products, try to figure out which one works the best and use it for all of your products. If you notice that the products that include a picture of your packaging sell over your products without those pictures, add the picture to all of your products.