Starting a home based woodworking business is fun. You gather the plans of what you’re going to make. You splurge on new equipment and you set up your shop. You start making things. And then, you wait. You wait for people to notice. You wait for people to come buy these great things you’ve made. But if you wait too long, you won’t be in business any more.
When you have a home based woodworking business, whether you are making bunk beds, cabinets or chairs, you need to become your own best salesforce. Even if your products are the best on the market, people can’t buy them if they don’t know about them. You could spend a lot of money on advertising, but you probably don’t need to. There are a lot of things you can do on a tight budget. If you’ve learned woodworking, you can learn how to do sales too.
1) Set aside time for the sales and marketing side of your business. You will need more time when you are getting started or if you want to grow. You need to spend time every week, and may be every day on reaching out to customers. Build that in to your schedule. Some people like to get it done first thing in the morning. Others prefer to make things first and work on sales later. It doesn’t matter, as long as you do it.
2) Determine who your best customers are and what they’re looking for. What matters most to them? Is it quality? Price? Design? This will help you determine what to highlight when you talk to them.
3) Get business cards and create a flier describing the benefits of your products. It can be as simple as a photo of your product, a bullet list of why your customer needs what you make and your contact information. Bring it to places where people who might want what you have often go. This could be the library, a store or gas station.
4) Use your built-in sales force – the people you know and your customers. Ask your friends, family and customers to help spread the word. These are the people who know you and know your work. They are in the best position to reach other people.
5) Follow up with people who have made inquiries. After you have talked with a potential customer, jot down their name and phone number on your calendar and call them in a week or two to see if they’re interested. If they don’t want to buy right away, ask if you can call again in a few weeks. And then do it. Some people take a long time to make up their minds or they get busy and forget to call you. They will appreciate hearing from you.
As you set time aside and work on your marketing, keep in mind that you are making something people want. You just have to find those people.