I’ve interviewed over 200 product-focused entrepreneurs. Here are 5 things that successful people have in common

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My love affair with product-driven businesses goes back a long way. I have found such purpose in championing product-driven entrepreneurs like myself, especially those who bring an artistic point of view to the home and lifestyle industries.

And no, I’m not saying that a greeting card, a planner, or a new pillow for your couch is going to pay your bills or cure an illness. In the world of Covid, it’s almost as if we’ve been programmed to subconsciously determine “essential” versus “non-essential” with every decision we make.

Yet, especially during the pandemic, many of my clients and their product-focused businesses have thrived. To me, it’s no secret why. Taking the time to write a letter to a friend or send someone a new trinket for their home accomplishes something universal for all of us. Something every human needs to survive. And that something is a connection.

Let me pause here and say that while my opening words sound like owning a product-based business is all sun and rainbows, it is absolutely not. These small businesses found success during a tough time because they kept pushing forward, making new products and finding ways to let their customers know they were always open and ready to delight. . These companies also built strong relationships with their wholesale accounts, which was key to staying afloat financially.

Related: 8 Steps to a Perfect Product Launch

After interviewing over 200 product-based business owners for my podcast, I realized that there are five fundamentals you need to have if you’re looking for long-term success for your product-based business. And let’s be clear, long-term success means preparing for the next recession or downturn in the economy. Because if there’s anything we’ve learned over the past two years, it’s not a question of “if” your business will go through tough times, but “when.”

With that, let me share the five things that all of my successful clients have in common.

1. They value the importance of community

Running a business can sometimes feel very isolating, especially for independent entrepreneurs who don’t have a team or co-workers. Having people to bounce ideas off of and share struggles and tips for success not only improves your mood and mindset, it also benefits your business decisions. During your toughest times, you’ll want access to a community of business owners who understand the trials and tribulations of running a product-based business.

2. They are comfortable growing their business in their own way

Let me tell you, the beauty of business ownership is that you set the rules. You can apply whatever systems or processes work best for you and stick with them. With physical stores, e-commerce, and social media, there are plenty of ways to increase sales and revenue.

Over the years I’ve had clients turn to a variety of different business strategies to make their business work for them and the lifestyle they want to have. For example, one client of mine wanted to simplify her income streams so she could start focusing more on custom work. Another client of mine decided to split his business into two different brands to more clearly serve his custom audience. The goal is to find what works for you and run with it. And if you find that what you’re doing isn’t working anymore, then don’t be afraid to change things.

Related: 7 Steps to Starting a Small Business Online

3. They understand that their work as a creator matters

No one is more aware than I of how some product-driven business owners tend to cut back on their work. “Oh, I only sell greeting cards.”

But whatever the size of your business, you need to recognize your work Questionsespecially if you want to do it for the long haul.

My advice is to celebrate your successes, big or small! A great way to do this is at the end of the month to reflect on your biggest success of the month and write it down. Better yet, share your success with others. Do you remember the community we talked about above? Hold each other accountable to share and celebrate successes. Often what seems like a small win will end up leading to bigger, business-changing wins.

4. They learned not to talk anymore

Lack of boundaries will only hold you back. There were two milestones in my business where, if I look back and reflect, I think the reason I was able to achieve them is because I allowed myself to say ‘no’ to opportunities. that weren’t going to move my business forward.

In 2016, I made the decision to stop speaking at other people’s live events and instead devote that time and energy to starting my own podcast. In 2020, I made the decision to slow down on press outreach and interviews on other people’s podcasts so I could focus on teaching my family and kids remotely (as I’m sure many other mothers who own businesses have had to do this as well).

Saying no has also worked well in the past for my clients. A client said no to a brand partnership deal that wouldn’t have been financially beneficial. Another client shut down a revenue stream that was taking a lot of time, energy, and focus, but not producing the revenue or results they were hoping for. In both of these situations, saying no actually opened up new and better opportunities for them—opportunities they wouldn’t have been able to take if they hadn’t turned something down in the first place.

Saying yes too often can distract you from your real priorities, which is why I like to say be open to opportunities, but intentional in your decisions. Could saying “no” more actually help you grow your business? If my background is any indication, saying “no” just might be your secret recipe for success.

Related: 3 Things You Need to Know About Starting a Commodity Business

5. They realize that good things take time.

As much as we would like, sustainable and profitable businesses do not happen overnight. They take years of trial and error, success and failure, and pivot to achieve that success.

That’s why I’ve always been a proponent of slow and steady growth. In fact, I’ve run one of my most lucrative programs for my business, Paper Camp, nearly 40 different times in my 10 years in business. What’s crazy is that every time we do it, we think of new things to tweak or change to make it even better next time.

The same goes for my clients. Some of their best-selling products are actually items they created years ago, but they’ve kept it fresh by expanding on what already works for them. Instead of changing the product entirely, they focused on updating the packaging, marketing, and functionality or materials used to make the product. These small iterations and tweaks allowed them to improve the way customers use and love their products, and it also improved their business operations.

Most companies don’t stick with anything that long, and I think that’s a huge mistake! Instead of being afraid of our mistakes, why not use them to improve ourselves and our businesses?

In closing, if there’s one message I can leave you, it’s this: Your work and your artistic vision Questions. Creating and selling objects that promote human connection is not frivolous, it is necessary. Keep up the great work and know that I am shooting for you.

Related: The Formula for a Successful Commodity Business

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