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Looking for New Business Ideas and Inspiration

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 16 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Business Inspiration Ideas Research

When you’re running a business over a period of time, you need to continuously think of ways of generating new business, targeting the market and gaining more customers. So in what ways can you find inspiration and ideas?

To help your business grow and evolve over time, you need to keep up with what’s going on in the world around you, especially as far as craft trends go, and be prepared to move with the times. How you work and run your business initially may work extremely well and produce good results in the early years, but you must be prepared to evolve, embrace new ideas and change in the future if you are going to continue to thrive. Whilst some business models may work well for years and years, others can end up stagnating, causing sales to dry up.

Keeping up with the trends and ideas going on in the world around you is one key way of finding new business inspiration. In some ways, this is much the same as doing your market research when you first started and it helps to look in many of the same places. For example:

  • Reading trade and consumer craft publications.
  • Looking around trade and consumer craft shows to see the types of products being sold and being bought.
  • Talking to other craft sellers and producers, to see what new things they’re working on.
  • Keeping up with the news and views of expert crafters, for example through reading their books or reading their website or blog.
  • Attending craft demonstrations and workshops as a crafter, to see what’s being taught.
  • Watching relevant craft TV channels to identify new ideas and trends.
  • Watching craft podcasts online.
  • Reading craft forums and gauging what crafters want.
  • Carrying out market research amongst your existing client base.

Being a creative business has its benefits. You may already have creative tendencies that you can apply to your crafts business in a way that a hard nosed business person may otherwise overlook. It doesn’t always work though, and if you find that you can’t see anything new, or aren’t inspired by what you’re seeing, then you may benefit from trying a completely different method.

During your inspiration hunting sprees, you may well come across new product ideas or trends that you think could overlap into the crafts arena. Sometimes it’s a case of taking a chance with products or ideas, as it’s hard to know what will be successful, so you’ve got to weigh up the pros and cons of each idea. A softly-softly approach, such as buying in a small quantity of products for promotion, can help you test the waters and see if new ideas will work.

Embracing Technology

It’s also useful to keep up with new technology and examine the ways in which you could use technological methods to enhance your business. For example, over the last few years many crafts businesses have utilised technological advances such as blogs, podcasts and social networking.

Blogs are great for keeping in touch with your customers, as you can let them know what you’re up to, what new products you stock, any special discounts or events you’re running and provide project and crafts ideas. But they only work if you promote them and build up a regular readership, which is where the hard work comes in. Likewise, social networking can be used very effectively for promoting your business and you can add in links to your website or blog to any mail or forum signatures.

For crafts businesses in particular, podcasting has brought with it heaps of benefits. With the ease of producing and uploading a video onto the web improved greatly, you can now – if you have the motivation and enthusiasm to give it a go – create videos of live demonstrations and upload them to your site or public video sharing websites, such as YouTube.

If you’re not proficient enough with technology yourself, or feel it would take you too long to learn how to use the techniques, then consider employing someone who’ll get you started with it all. It could be money very well spent.

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