Getting Back On – A Business Update

On Saturday, April 26, my friend Marty texted me:

“If you are going to skip out on kickball, the least you could do is write a blog post during that time so those of us who care can read something about what you are up to each week. ”

I told him I would post on that day… but I didn’t.

I’ve been failing recently at following through.  It can be hard when you’re a solopreneur because you don’t have somebody holding you accountable.

Nobody asks me if I accomplish what I was planning to accomplish. Nobody makes me explain myself when I fail.

As we all know, when you fail – when you fall off – the only thing to do is get back on.  The best time to write that blog post was on Saturday, April 26.  The second best time is now.

Scrunchie Dog Logo

Cue Business Update

There have been several things happening recently so I’m not going to be talking about any one thing in too much detail. If you’re only here to see how my facebook ads worked out, scroll to the bottom. :)

Contract Sewing Manufacturing

I read the book “Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing” and will be meeting with the author, Kathleen Fasanella, on May 18th & 19th.  We will be rapid prototyping the leash construction and meeting with a sewing contractor to discuss leash manufacturing.

You can see her site here: http://www.fashion-incubator.com/

I’m working hard on the leash design and finding fabric sources to make sure I’m ready for this meeting!

This is in an effort to make production scalable so I can begin marketing to retailers and going to…

Pet Expos

I’ll be signing up for several pet expos over the next few months in order to market the leashes to customers and retailers.  My hope is at-expo sales pay for most of the expo and the exposure continues to pay-off after the fact.

I really want to focus on developing good relationships with retailers.  They know what their customers like.  If I have to change the leash or switch to a different product altogether, they are the ones who will help me get there.

While there are many independent expos available, I’m planning to use the Amazing Pet Expos network (http://www.amazingpetexpos.com/) since I can get a multi-expo discount.

I’ll be locking in my expo dates around the end of May, after I get an idea of production schedule from the meeting on the 19th.

My Interview on the Chris Cerrone Show

This interview was actually recorded a couple weeks after Scrunchie Leash launched on Jan 23rd, but it finally went LIVE on April 25th.  Check it out! I think I only say a few dumb things…

http://www.cerroneshow.com/jacob-karasch-scrunchie-leash-chris-cerrone-interview/

National Small Business Week

Starting production and expos is going to put a major strain on my finances.  In order to help fund these expenses, I’m going to making a big sale push for National Small Business Week NEXT WEEK.

So on May 12 – May 16 you can get 10% off AND free shipping!

Here’s How:

  1. Buy a leash at http://www.scrunchieleash.com/
  2. For 10% off use the code: NSBW10
  3. For free shipping use the code: SHIP4NSBW

These codes are stackable, so you can use them BOTH during that week.

I will be posting on this blog, on the scrunchie leash blog, on twitter and facebook about this sale.  Please share the deal with your own network! I really need this sale to be successful so I can move forward with production.

Every post and share really helps.

Ok, on to the last topic in this already LONG post:

Facebook Ads

As you may know from reading previous posts, I’ve been experimenting with facebook ads.  This really needs it’s own post, but here are a few quick lessons learned:

  1. My ads rarely convert directly to sales, so running my ads for sales conversions doesn’t really work. Running ads for site visits works a lot better.
  2. Retargeting those who have already visited my site reminds people we’re still there.  It seems to be effective.
  3. Ads performed MUCH better when I made them more specific to the target audience.  For instance: ads that said “Check out Greenville’s new dog leash” performed better than ads that said “Check out this new dog leash” for my target audience in Greenville SC.
  4. The ads seem to take some time to soak in.  I ran the ads for a couple weeks with very few sales, BUT the sales kept coming after the ads stopped. I’m not sure I’m quite at a positive ROI yet, but there is definitely some good potential.  More learning is needed.

 

As always, if you have any comments or feedback, please leave a comment! I love hearing from others and it always helps to have people to chat with. :)

 

Month 1 Business Review

Yesterday marked 1-month since I launched http://www.scrunchieleash.com. Here is a quick review of how the month has gone.

Sales

25 Leashes Sold

  • 0 Retailer Sales
  • 20 Scrunchieleash.com Sales
  • 5 In-Person Sales
  • 0 Etsy Sales

4 Retailers Contacted

1 Online Retailer Added (http://mrchowsemporium.com/)

Marketing

1 Blog Review (http://hismuddypawprints.blogspot.com/2014/02/scrunchie-leash-review.html)

1 Blog Review Pending

6 Facebook Posts by Customers

27 Shelter dogs walked (ahead by 2)

Outlook

This was a good first month. We got some steam on the launch and made some sales. One concerning fact is that the majority of sales and activity was in the first 2 weeks. There was a drop-off after launch so I need to figure out how to reinvigorate myself and my marketing campaign.

My biggest challenge right now is time. I work a full-time job during the day and I’ve been taking grad school classes in the evenings. As the semester has been picking up, my time and energy available to scrunchie leash has diminished. I need to rework my schedule and get back in the game.

Another huge challenge I’ve been having is developing content for the scrunchie leash blog. I’m going to go more in depth on this in a later post.

My goals for this next month include:

  1. Add 5 retailers
  2. Get 5 blog mentions from doggy blogs
  3. Write 2 scrunchie blog posts per week.

I see retailers as my best sales channel going forward and I see blogs (both mine and others) as the best way to reach new customers. As you can see with my goals, I’m planning to focus on those.

As usual, I’m always looking for feedback! Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!