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Small business, really struggling this year, gone quiet - anyone else?(5 Posts)
I have been SE for the past 4 years and built up a business selling luxury products between £28 - £145 average price being around £60 - i have built it up via facebook and also have a website. Facebook is my main source of advertising and have 30,000 likes and a good customer base here in the UK and the USA mainly . Prior to February this year i was turning over 70k a year and sales where doing really well and business booming , sales the previous year where also climbing. However from about feb this year sales have rapidly decreased - i have a seller paypal account which is excellent for comparison figures from the previous year and sales have dropped by 40%. I have literally gone from doing an average of 15 - 20 sales per week to around 5 a week if i am lucky! i have gone days between sales where as i was taking up to 9 a day on a good day and could more or less guarentee i would have at LEAST one sale per day. Facebook has also started not sharing posts very well if you don't pay to sponsor (less than 500 people) however if you pay less than £8 the views are still poor, so you have to spend at least £8 per post per day to generate enough people to even see it! I don't understand, i have still been getting up to 200 plus likes and views and comments on my posts (all very positive) yet no one is buying!!! Its so difficult to make a sale, the website has been quiet regarding sales too.
I want to know if anyone else who runs a small business is also struggling, particulary if you are using FB as main source.
Its so disheartening, i normally get busy around Novemeber for Christmas so will see how it goes.....i am having to find a part time job now to supplement our income as i am making no money at all, money that i am seeing is paying for stock and materials which i need.
I'm an accountant with about 50 small business clients. It's a very mixed bag at the moment. Some are growing, some shrinking and some staying steady. So, no, I don't think there's a general downward trend. We're just not seeing the position we were in a few years back when virtually all businesses were growing without having to try too hard (due to growing economy etc).
What I do see is that the "lifecycle" of businesses and products is a lot shorter these days. A few years ago, if you had a good website or a good product, you could let the business virtually run itself and it would keep ticking over with new orders, etc. These days, due to the internet and the sheer number of people starting their own businesses, there's just so much quick competition and it's so easy for others to copy what you're doing, whether it's copying your products or competing against you for facebook views or google rankings. You really have to work at your business nowadays to stay ahead of your competition - continually searching your competitors' websites, following your competitors on facebook, etc., so that you can react quickly to whatever they're doing.
I think that eBay is dead and buried. Do you also sell on amazon?
I have grown slightly this year, but only through expansion of product ranges and selling sites. I primarily sold on eBay (have never used social media for sales because it was always far too much effort for little reward) but have been focusing my efforts on other sites with great success. I am expecting a better Christmas than last year. Last Christmas my turnover was double the previous years, so if I can beat that then I will be very happy.
If you want to grow, you need to think outside the box. It is very easy to become stagnant if you have products that sell well but don't expand on that range and just expect them to keep selling. Keep your business fresh and new and remover that page likes don't equal sales. Also, don't keep all your eggs in one basket. I run four online stores plus social media pages.
Have you reviewed the conversion rate on your website? It seems like you've had a huge drop in conversion as opposed to engagement.
I'd start by thoroughly testing your checkout process to make sure everything is optimised. I'd also invest in some customer retention/re-engagement methods, e.g. review & abandoned cart emails, and offers to your most loyal customers.
If your minimum FB spend is £8 to get any results, that to me sounds like there's some misalignment between your message and your audience. I'd do a quick check to see if you have many spam/fake followers and remove them, which should help.
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