Crafting a business plan for your Zazzle efforts is the first step in creating a viable growth-oriented business. A business plan will outline important details of your Zazzle business and provide daily guidance for your activities.
Coming up with a business plan is not difficult. Any yet, most Zazzle sellers don't have one.
Creating a simple business plan can be the first step toward the success you're hoping to achieve. A plan will help you focus on the most productive activities that will help you reach your goals.
Here are some easy steps you can take to create a working Zazzle business plan:
1. Company History
Begin with a summary of your business: its history (your story), your vision, and most importantly, why you believe your business will succeed. The more specific details and facts you can include to support your statement, the better picture your plan will paint. Include why you went into business and describe why the market needs your products and designs. It's not enough to have pretty products in order to be successful with Zazzle. Sometimes creative people forget that their products actually have to sell. Figuring out how that's going to happen will lead you to bigger success. Explain what sets your business apart from other Zazzle sellers.
2. Your Best Buyer
Determine your ideal customer. Who is going to buy your products? If your niche is motorcycle images, your ideal customer might be someone who rides motorcycles or wants to give a gift to someone who does. If your designs are feminine and youthful, your ideal customer might be girls and young women between the ages of 14 - 25. Knowing who your ideal customer is will help you make more appropriate product, design and marketing decisions, thereby maximizing the use of your time and creativity. Jot down a description of your customer with as many relevant details as you can provide. Maybe your business has several niche stores. Include them all.
3. Are You Here To make Money?
We are. Treating your Zazzle business like a real business will give you a new daily perspective. Your plan should include details such as how things will be organized, the processes you use to create, merchandise (organize your store), and market your products. Many businesses begin this process with a recognizable brand tied into the name of your business.
Our main Zazzle store is organized around a group of categorical shops within our larger store. The name Your Shop of Shops reflects that organization. Getting a logo for your business will provide you with a pictorial representation that helps consumers recognize you in marketplace. Consistent use of your brand in communications and tools such as your store header, email, business cards and social media will bolster your unique identity as a Zazzle business.
How will you market to your ideal customers? Social media and niche websites that showcase your products come highly recommended by Zazzle and others. Include your marketing plan within your business plan. Be specific as to what you will do. Include a timeline.
We are strong believers in easily remembered custom web addresses. We use them for our web sites but also for our Zazzle stores and even for Zazzle categories. For a short while longer, FabulousPhoneCases.com will continue to point to a Zazzle category. Then it will be retargeted to a new Weebly web site. We use GoDaddy for our custom urls because they are easy to use and inexpensive with frequent sales. Most of our custom urls are less than $10/year.
Weebly sites are easy and inexpensive to build (You are at one now). You get your first one free. Others use platforms like Joomla and WordPress for their websites. For your business to grow, you will have to grow, also. Don't be afraid to learn new skills such as web site building. What is the worst that can happen? Business growth requires an ongoing investment in time, learning and resources.
5. Financial Benefits to Legally Organized
Make sure your business entity is properly organized from a legal and tax standpoint. Include your organization choice in your business plan and say why you chose that option.
We chose to incorporate our business as a Limited Liability Company. Your legal and accounting professionals can advise you of the advantages of the various business entities available. Treating your business as a real business can be a reality check. Setting up a business account with your bank into which your Zazzle payments are deposited is part of this. The additional benefit is that expensing items related to your business activities against your Zazzle income can be advantageous when tax time rolls around.
6. How Few Peanuts Will You Work For?
Determine what your time is worth and make it part of your plan. This will help you make quick investment decisions. For example, some years back a young man we know created a file of 24 transparent clock faces that were ready to drop onto any Zazzle clock or watch. All the numbers and hash marks were laid out and his price was $10. I figured it would take me at least a two hours to build just one clock face. Since I value my time at more than $5/hour, it was a no-brainer to be one of his first customers. It took less than an hour to add clock faces to all our existing clocks and watches. What an improvement!
There are a great number of promotional and informational services available to Zazzlers. Once you've determined what your time is worth, give them consideration. You will find many on the Accelerate Here page here on Zazzle How2. If you have experience with others, let us know about them in the comments.
7. Get Involved
Develop a support plan. Network with others who are working with Zazzle and other PODs. Schedule time daily or weekly as part of your business plan. This pays off in information, contacts, referrals and help when you need it.
We spend time in the Zazzle forums, Facebook groups, on social media pages (Did you know there is a Linked-In Zazzle group?), and searching the web. This type of relationship building is valuable when you're seeking answers to take your business to the next level.
8. Time to Think
Finally, nurture your creativity. Plan for and budget regular time for brainstorming and quiet reflection, stress reduction and connection with others and nature, all of which lead to inspiration. I regularly get up from the desk every couple of hours and go for a short walk.