Have you ever looked at a business owner and thought to yourself, “She just makes it look so easy?”
Well, no matter how Instagram or Pinterest makes it seem, owning your own boutique can be really challenging. I mean, sure, there are plenty of fun parts – ordering pretty new pieces, making your customers’ day, seeing new orders roll in. But then, you’ve also got to market your business, run a team, fulfill orders, and keep track of inventory… and those responsibilities aren’t always the picture-perfect things you’d like to spend all your time doing. (Sometimes, they’re more of the pull-out-your-hair or need-a-three-hour-bubble-bath-just-to-recover things.)
If you’ve already started an online boutique, you’re halfway there. MAJOR props to you for taking that leap of faith and starting your own thing! But while your killer sense of fashion and your unrelenting hustle will certainly be an asset, there are still a few key things you’ll DEFINITELY want to make sure you avoid doing. (It’ll make your life way easier!)
Here are the top 4 mistakes new boutique owners make – and how you can steer waaay clear of them.
1. Trying to Do Everything By Yourself
Burnout is super common among entrepreneurs. As a business owner, you often wear a lot of different hats. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and pass a few of those berets off to someone else.
As American businesswoman and entrepreneur Jessica Jackley says, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” No one achieves true business success without a little (or a lot of) help. Sure, you may start out doing everything on your own, but as your business grows, your team should too. Hire a freelancer, go in with a partner, find a personal assistant, get a customer service rep – whatever it takes to make sure you don’t wear yourself too thin.
2. Blending in with All the Rest
I’m going to get real with you for a second – there are a lot of boutiques out there. If you don’t make it clear how yours is unique, your ideal customers just might pass you up for a different one. Here are a few ways you can start differentiating your online boutique from all the rest:
- Show up in your business
Don’t just pick out the sort of items you like the best – get really specific about who you’re selling to and what she would like most.
- Have a clear target customer
There’s one thing that makes your business completely unique – you! Letting your audience get to know you better as a person will make them feel like they know you and want to support you.
- Build a unique brand
Your brand makes your company more memorable. Communicate your culture, values, voice, and style through your brand.
- Offer excellent customer service
Be friendly, responsive, and helpful to all of your customers and prospects. Ask for feedback from past customers to continually improve your business.
3. Choosing the Wrong Vendors
I don’t mean to be a downer, but a lot of wholesalers out there are really just middlemen, out to make as much of a profit off of you as you can. (Especially the ones you find aggressively advertising online.)
Your margins are SUPER important. Think about it: the more you pay for your inventory, the more you’ll have to mark up your items to make a profit. If you could find a supplier of wholesale boutique items that’s cheaper, you’d dramatically cut your operating costs (and dramatically raise your profits!)
Supplied is a better, easier way to shop wholesale – no middlemen required. When you shop from our online marketplace, you’ll get factory-direct access to over 25,000 unique items – and you’ll save up to 75% or more off of wholesale prices. Supplied is also great if you’re looking for flexible payment schedules and no minimum order requirements.
4. Not Having a Marketing Plan
Finding your customers is just as important (if not more important!) than sourcing the things you’ll sell. Marketing is something that’s too crucial to just wing it. Come up with a comprehensive, consistent marketing plan that will help you get your brand in front of the right people. Here are a few things to consider:
- Do your research
You’re not just trying to get the most eyes on your boutique as possible – you’re looking to attract the RIGHT people. Get really specific about who your customer is, then figure out the best way to reach her – whether that’s by offering an email freebie she’s interested in, putting up a billboard she’ll pass on her morning commute, or running paid social ads.
- Social media marketing
Figure out where your ideal customer spends most of her time, and make sure you show up consistently there. For example, if she’s constantly scrolling through IG, create an Instagram account devoted to your boutique and start looking for influencers you could partner with.
Search engine optimization (SEO) makes it easier for customers to find you from Google. Identify a few target keywords you’d like to rank for, then make sure you incorporate those words or phrases throughout your website and product descriptions. Creating regular, high-quality blog content can also boost your rankings. If your website is powered by WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin is a great resource.
Listen, I get it – this is A LOT to take in. Just remember that mistakes and small failures are a normal part of running any business. No business ever made it big without plenty of obstacles, trials, and even plain old dumb decisions along the way. So if you encounter a few hiccups, don’t get too discouraged. Do your best to learn from your mistakes and adjust accordingly. Your business will be much better off because of it.
All of us here at Supplied are here to help. Our goal is to make it easier for new boutique owners to find success – without having to make quite so many mistakes along the way. Create a free account today to start making running your boutique way easier (and less expensive!)