Friday, 23 October 2015

A Strange Week with a Business Focus

It's been a funny old week this week.  There's been ups and downs, disagreements, altered plans, unpleasant surprises, disappointments, and some good stuff too, might I add.  Just the regular stuff of life I guess.

To take my mind off things, my main focus has been on trying to boost sales and find new revenue streams for my small business.  Things have been going reasonably well and seasonal sales have been improving slightly on last year, which was my best year yet, so I can't grumble.

I cannot, however, sit on my laurels, as has been demonstrated this week, as there are always new sellers coming to the market, with new ideas and products and lower prices, so I have to make sure I'm offering value for money and something a little bit different from other sellers.  I find it challenging in a good way, as it forces me to get a bit more creative.

I sell mainly on eBay, and it's a very competitive market.  I know that sometimes eBay does get a bad press and some people don't like it, and I myself do have the odd negative experience when buying, but on the whole I do find it a great place to trade. I don't necessarily sell at the very cheapest prices, , but I do like to think I provide good value, a good prompt service and that my customers are happy. It also provides me with lots of different challenges which I relish.

This week, for example, I have noticed that sales have dropped off a little compared to previous weeks and this may be because we are approaching the end of the month and people don't have any spare cash, but it also may be that new sellers with cheaper prices have come into the market and I have lost sales through this, which is disappointing, but it's life. At times like this I always look around at what other sellers are doing and think of ways that I can make changes to improve sales.

At first, I was a bit worried, I wondered and still do wonder if my sales will continue, but they are still trickling in, so I'm a little reassured.  I'm still trying to counter competition by being innovative where I can and introducing new products that no-one else is selling.  You can't always just lower your prices and get into a price war, as who knows what each seller's buying price is, it can vary depending on volumes.  I also don't believe in selling things at a loss just to keep selling, unless it's a case of wanting to sell off old stock.  That isn't really the point of being in business to me.

Having said all of this, I do like selling on eBay, and my customers are great.  I also come across some great sellers too, as I like to trade with other eBayers and support other business and individual sellers within the eBay community. It is also a very convenient place to buy and sell, as most things get sent from and delivered to my front door.  I do of course shop outside of eBay for some things, which helps me to offer things that are new and not replicated hundreds of times over.

Selling online also has the added advantage of not having the overheads that I might otherwise have, if I sold any other way and in addition, to be able to do the work from my kitchen table and spare bedroom is also a very important bonus.  I would never have imagined that I could be doing this 15 years ago, when I used to wish I could have my own shop and run my own business.  How things have changed, and for the better in many ways.

It also amazes me how my sales reach the farthest flung corners of the UK and I am constantly amazed, from a buying point of view, at how even the most difficult thing to track down in your local vicinity, can be found with a very quick search.

This is not an out and out advert for eBay, but I do appreciate it as a market place and I thought a post on what I do on a daily basis, might be of interest to some people out there, who might have considered this as a possible venture.  It might not make me a millionaire, but it has certainly been an adventure for me and one I'm still enjoying.

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