Why you should diversify and keep your business safe

Earlier this week my internet access decided to have a little holiday. It didn’t request a holiday therefore I had no warning. One minute it was there, the next, gone.

What ensued was me scrambling around on the floor, dismantling sockets, inspecting the router for buttons I’ve never noticed before, switching plugs on and off in the hope that a miracle would occur and rebooting my computer thirty times in an hour.

Eventually, once I’d realized that I was not going to be able to fix the problem myself, my husband helpfully put a call in to our internet service provider (which is probably what I should have done originally) and spent over an hour on the phone with them telling him to do exactly what I’d been doing all afternoon – reboot this, unplug that, press this button, wiggle that wire etc.

They couldn’t fix it either and the problem was escalated to a visit from an ‘engineer’. This happened two days later.

The engineer couldn’t fix it either and so the problem was escalated to the telephone line provider where I was informed there would be another 24 hours wait.

Honestly, when something like this happens, it puts a whole new slant on the phrase ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’!

You need a back up plan

A huge part of my business pretty much revolves around having a working, reliable internet connection, so on several occasions this week I have found myself holed up in random coffee shops offering free Wi-Fi and I’ve also been sporadically logging in via random signals that I’ve been picking up from my neighbours’ ISP’s.

Neither of these solutions is obviously ideal as firstly these are unsecured connections and secondly there is the worry that I could lose the connection at any moment.

I didn’t really want to go and spend money on a portable dongle that I’ll only use a couple of times either, so these options have had to suffice. Thankfully this approach has done the job.

Now, this was a situation that was totally out of my control. You can’t really have a back-up internet service (unless you already have a dongle) so there is little I could have done to avoid this situation happening – it’s just bad luck and in fairness this is the first time this has ever happened to me.

But in other areas of your business there are ways of making sure that you ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ and you won’t suffer a complete nightmare should something go wrong.

Take your sales for example. No matter how long you have been selling for, you will find that there are times when it can be rather an unpredictable business. But, that’s the nature of business wherever you are selling.

Ideally you should be continually researching and sourcing new products so that you always have a hot new item to add to your inventory as others decrease in popularity, or your supplier goes bust or discontinues the product and of course you should sell across a range of different niches, or alternatively choose niches that have some relevance (however small) to each other so that you have the opportunity to cross sell when you can as this will help you avoid a dry spell should one of your products encounter a dip in sales.

Now let me assure you that I have experienced both of the scenarios I’ve just mentioned and to counteract this I have somewhat of a fixation with researching and sourcing new products so that I am always prepared.

It is very likely that at some point you are likely to face one or both of these scenarios too and you will find your sales going through something of a slump.

This is completely normal though, so please don’t worry. Stay on the ball, keep researching and sourcing and you’ll always have a back-up product.

Protect your income

Not only should you have back-up products though. If you want to protect your income, you should without doubt, consider diversifying the methods that you use to generate your sales. Establish other income streams so that you will never suffer from a prolonged dry spell.

I’m of course talking about introducing your products to customers via other selling venues such as Amazon or your own website.

Consider selling on eBay, Amazon and through your own website…in that order!

Whilst you don’t need your own website right from the word go, most successful sellers that I know of do have their own websites and they sell on Amazon too.

Why? Well firstly and very sensibly, top sellers do not wish to be at the complete mercy of eBay, who we know are wont to change the rules at a moments notice. With Amazon, rules rarely change and with your own website, it’s you who makes the rules and it’s you who is in charge.

Secondly, successful eBay sellers have realised that eBay is actually a very powerful tool which can be used to generate traffic to their own websites. This opens up numerous doors including the opportunity to start building a list of clients and/or subscribers to a newsletter or similar, increased credibility and the opportunity to create a ‘brand’.

But there is a third reason too; and that’s that you can make even more money selling through your own website. It’s not unusual to price a product at a higher price on Amazon or on your own website compared with your eBay price.

So, it’s very important that you diversify and grow your business. There are many advantages to spreading your business around, but in my opinion, these are my top five:

  • If something goes wrong in one area it’s not the end of your business
  • Less immediate competition
  • The opportunity to create a bigger brand
  • Increased credibility
  • More sales – more profits

So, weigh it all up!

Diversifying should definitely be on your list of things to do. Your decision should also be based on whether in the long term you want to create a brand, build your business and give yourself options, rather than just sell in an ‘ad hoc’ type of way!