For many small and start-up creative businesses expensive consultancy and training courses are just not an option which is why it is essential to grab any opportunity to learn from others. If you come across a challenge or a problem, the chances are someone, somewhere has come across the same issue.
At the moment the Guardian’s Small Business Network (GSBN) is offering an amazing opportunity to learn from 100s of other businesses. Its Showcase campaign gives small businesses the opportunity to sing their own praises and share their experiences online.
In each category companies can submit up to 250 words explaining how they have innovated or found solutions to particular challenges. So far you can read about innovative solutions for running your business from home, ways to market yourself on a budget, logistics for small enterprises and cashflow management idea in entries from a wide variety of enterprises.
It is well worth the time of any budding entrepreneur or small business owner to take a couple of hours to read through all the entries on the site – you will certainly get some inspiration for your own business – but to get you started we’ve picked out a few samples from creative businesses. What you will discover is none of them has reinvented the wheel but they have sought out solutions and tools that work for them and that is useful for all of us.
Anniebee Bags n Designs gave her handmade bags as gifts to the presenters of Loose Women in the hope they would be seen using them, generating valuable buzz.
The Sheep Shop Cambridge wanted to be better known locally so it teamed up with other local businesses to create events such as arm massage session for crafters, a book launch and a quiz featuring wool themed questions.
The Funky Giraffe Bib company used social media to gather and share stories about families using their innovative baby wear. Then celebrities start buying the bibs which led to them appearing in photos in magazines like OK, allowing for even more social media opportunities.
Photography is a big consideration for small creative businesses but using a commercial studio can be too expensive, Mona Pink solved the problem by building her own photo studio area old cardboard boxes to fit her limited space.
Bella’s Accessories is run from two people’s homes. They use Skype for meeting and the plan the day or the week to avoid using up valuable time travelling to each other when the business already has to operate round other commitments such as the school run.
And silversmith Robert St-John Smith, RSJS Studios Limited, worked out a costs-per-unit system to help him forecast costs for the products he aimed to sell in his first year.
Dolapo James is the creative director of Urbanknit creating handmade fashion and home accessories which are sold online as well as through a few shops in London, Oxford and Lagos. When Royal Mail became to expensive she sought out an alternative delivery solution.
And if you have a solution to share, why not join in?