Jan 14 2009

David-Louis – word from the street, or rather Warstone Lane.

Well the New Year has arrived and we have all crossed over from the fantastic frenzy that is the Christmas rush.

I wanted to look at how creative enterprise and entrepreneurs can avoid the dreaded credit crunch and somehow come out stronger when it passes, which it will eventually. It does call for action though and simply doing the same thing year on year especially when moving into quieter times will not create growth in any business.

In my own business (es) we have come up with a few commercial strategies to combat the potential fall out from the dreaded credit crunch, the words on all entrepreneurial lips at the moment. Some of these are real world bricks and mortar strategies and others are online – where the potential for growth is incredible.

How can a creative enterprise flourish in this climate? Well, I believe the answer is to target you product online to people that adore what you do.

This is a valid strategy as far as sustaining the Jewellery Quarter and holding onto heritage. The income streams comes form both local people, just down the road who find you online and indeed order both online and visit you in your workshop and also from global customers that are looking for high quality individual work.

The key is to actually get very specific, sell specific products online and target specific niche markets by using strategy, the generic term or keyword ’silver ring’ will get you nowhere on the internet, you must describe the attributes of the ring that the customer will use when enquiring about a desired item. Text based content is king.

At the moment I am working in several ways to encourage new, emerging and existing makers to think strategy not just ad hoc responses to enquiries.

I am currently writing a business course for the BA Honours Design for Industry course at the School of Jewellery and will deliver it over five days in January and February 2009.

Update: here is a news artice about Rachel Briggs from the BA about her designs going on sale in Jewellery Quarter after winning competition: http://tinyurl.com/bcpz5h

The business content of the course I am writing gives an overview from the initial stages of concept development all the way through set up of the business to delivery to market using current trends in distribution and marketing while supporting traditional routes – the emphasis is on strategy and sustainability – we want designer makers to succeed in business and to stay in business as a career and life long makers and designers (Lifers) not simply to open what I will call ‘spring flower’ businesses that explode in a burst of colour only to fade away after one season.

I am emphasing the fact that the bottom line is… the bottom line, in other words a creative enterprise should capitalise on low cost systems to attract a new audience to the business in question.

Sustainability is achieved through strategy and foresight this takes planning, January is a great time to look at your strategy for the next year and I would encourage all designer makers to sit down for one day and think as opposed to do. It will reap rewards.