Closing The Books

Closing the Books is a phrase I only read about last week, and yet it’s something I have done for years. I run financial and statistical books for both my business and my personal life that allow me to keep tabs on progress, problems, where things can change in the coming year and weak points to watch for.

Mine are often tricky since no year is the same as its neighbours. There will always be unexpected or unusual costs such as moving house or business premises, adapting to new financial commitments such as changing living arrangements. I have moved both house and business premises this year. My personal spending has gone up, my business pending has gone down. Somewhere, they meet in the middle, so in all it hasn’t been the worst of years financially. And I think it has given me a much needed kick up the backside business wise. The end of this year has been transitional. I need to work on it intensely in 2019.

As far as business is concerned, it’s easy to get lost in the day to day of sales and views. Keeping tabs on the bigger picture is a reminder that my efforts are paying off even if there are plenty of days when I wonder if it’s worth the effort. I also have to remind myself that changes to how I work have only been in effect for three months. It’s not the be all and end all of where I want to be, but for now it’s a good thing to focus on. I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions, but 2019 needs a strategy or I will quickly lose sight of where I need to be.

Without the back up funds to rent shop space, or even space in someone elses shop, a market stall or the funding for fashion shows (which I have tried without success), I have to be creative with the solutions that are left. I have friends who run successful fashion businesses and still fail at runway shows because they aren’t the right platform for sales. Even Chanel is only using the runway as an advertising hoarding. Shows also incur a lot of expense and stress for small designers who often end up managing their back stage teams themselves and do their own publicity. The quality of the final production is often below what’s promised in my personal experience, and the post show results are always disappointing.

Instead, I am ruminating on how things have progressed from when I first joined Etsy all the way back in March 2012 and I am using that as a bench mark going forward. In terms of traffic, this year has been my best and it’s my second best for sales. Given that I wasn’t trying up until three months ago, 2019 should be a very good year.

With sales, the spike (sales are in blue) in 2013 is an easily explained ‘freak occurance’, a job lot of sales, and not a trend. Everything else (views are the red lines) points to what I have been doing recently, as heading in the right direction, so I want to carry on down this route. I won’t reach conversion if I don’t keep working on these numbers but conversion is still a long way off. It is not as easy as you might at first think:Screenshot_2018-12-31 Etsy - Shop Stats(2)I wanted to add the table shown below, which illustrates how numbers have changed over recent months, to demonstrate just what can be done in a short space of time with a little work:

Month Views (clicks by visitor) Visits (individual visitors)
July 819 349
August 722 345
September 785 372
October 1394 669
November 2513 1368
December 2240 1097

Within the year itself, it’s an encouraging set of figures. It’s those last 3 months you need to watch:

Screenshot_2019-01-01 Etsy - Shop StatsAbove all, this makes me determined to make Etsy an important part of my business. Seeing the results so far, and despite the difficulties of our sales climate, mean I have something to aim for. There are no quick solutions, but if this is anything to go by, 2019 should be a much better year.

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