Friday, August 29, 2008

The mobile business

I am posting this from a car zooming 75mph through the desert of Eastern Oregon. I have been away from home all week, on the road for 8-10 hours a day. I've made sales from my shop, replied to queries from customers and taken on two new wholesale accounts.

I may go on vacation but my shop never closes.

With today's technology there is almost no excuse for not keeping your shop open 365 days a year. Closing your shop puts you at risk of losing precious sales momentum and we all know how hard it is to build that momentum. I'm not saying there is never a legitimate time when you truly are on vacation, I'm referring to closing up shop every time you leave home for a few days.

Every year for Thanksgiving my family goes to the Oregon coast to a house that has few digital amenities. The first year I opened my Etsy shop I would "close shop" when I went away. As there was no internet access at this house I did the same. Big mistake. All the momentum and sales I had gained during this critical holiday sales period vanished and I feel I really missed out on Christmas sales that year.

As I have gotten more technically savvy (due mainly to my tech savvy spousal unit) I see how simple it is to keep things running smoothly. Even at 75mph through the desert.

The key is merely communication. I put an announcement in my shop that I am gone but I am open for business and will ship items when I return. When I make a sale I convo each customer in case they didn't see my notice, and to apologize for the delay.

Use every gadget you own to it's fullest capability. If you want to be a professional business learn and love your gadgets. You can email customers, post blog articles, update your website, upload pictures to Flickr (more on this later) and your customers need not even know you are away from the "office"

This can be done quickly and with no fancy gadgets. Whether you go to a local library or an internet cafe, or have mobile wireless access with an aircard (as I do now), it only takes a hour at the end of the day to keep things running.

Next time I'll go into more in detail about how many different ways to utilize your gadgets and keep your business running smoothly even when you're on the road!

As I read this more than 3 years later it's amazing how far technology has progressed and me with it. while many of the tips I posted here are no longer very valid the over-all idea is still the same. Use your technology to make your life easier, not harder!