How to Improve your Small Business (100+ Easy Ways)

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When you run a small business, it’s easy for a to-do list to become overwhelming.


Day to day, there are so many tasks to take care of.


You may have product photos to take, descriptions to write, social media content to create, orders to package, emails to answer, post office trips to make, supplies to buy, etc.


Lots of small tasks.


Small tasks are often rushed through to be able to check a big task off the list.


For example, creating a new Etsy listing is often viewed as a bigger, money-making task.


It involves several small tasks to complete, such as:

  • Take product photos
  • Upload photos to computer
  • Edit photos
  • Upload photos to Etsy
  • Add product title
  • Add product description
  • Add attributes
  • Add tags
  • Select shipping options
  • Publish listing and share a link to it on social media


Be honest…


Do you ever rush tasks like these or mindlessly complete them?


There’s a big opportunity within the small tasks we tend not to pay much attention to.




Why small tasks matter more than you may think


Let’s say I wanted to lose weight.


I would initially think of the big things I could do, such as running for 30 minutes every day or cutting out sugar.


Those are good goals, but they’re big ones that require significant time and energy. Not to mention, they can be difficult to stick to.


Instead, imagine I made a list of small, simple goals, that when compounded, helped me lose 1 pound per week.


Perhaps I implemented:

  • Using smaller plates
  • Eating slower and chewing food longer
  • Putting unhealthy foods out of sight and in harder to reach areas
  • Reducing sugar in my coffee from 3tsp to 1tsp
  • Drinking a glass of water before each meal
  • Consuming 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day
  • Eating more protein
  • Doing 10 push-ups each day
  • Using avocado oil instead of vegetable oil
  • Going to bed 30 minutes earlier each night
  • Etc.



Individually, each goal seems insignificant and won’t help me lose much weight.


But when I make a small improvement to each area of my life that impacts my weight/health, together, they can help me make a big change.


These little efforts throughout the day will feel much easier to complete than the big effort of running for 30 minutes or avoiding sugar completely.


At the end of the week, when I’ve lost 1lb, I’m not likely to be jumping for joy, which is why it’s easy to dismiss these seemingly small “tasks”.


However, at the end of the year, I will have lost over 50lbs with just a small amount of effort.


In every (seemingly) small task you complete, there’s an opportunity for small improvements.


Lots of small improvements accumulate into significant changes.


Although editing photos, deciding on a product title, and choosing tags may seem like small tasks that don’t hold a lot of value, when combined, they help you complete an important task; adding a new listing.


Imagine if each small task could help you make $1 more per week (by reducing costs and/or increasing profits or revenue).


There are 10 steps listed under “create new Etsy listing”.


That adds up to an additional $10 per week and $520 per year.


Now imagine if you made small improvements to the hundreds of little tasks you complete in a week or month.


That’s a lot of extra cash!


It’s important to look at everything you do and consider if it can be done quicker, cheaper, and/or better.


No task is too small.




1% Better Every Day


“1% better” is a concept from the book Atomic Habits.


The “1% better” concept is covered in just a small section of the book, but it’s one that stood out to me.


The author shares a story about the British Cycling team that had a pretty embarrassing track record when it came to winning competitions. Until they hired a new coach.


The coach analyzed everything that goes into riding a bike and found tiny margins of improvement.


He aimed to improve each area by just 1%, but across hundreds of areas.


For example:

  • Making the bike seats more comfortable
  • Changing racing suits to be lighter and more aerodynamic
  • Educating riders on how to properly wash their hands to reduce their chances of catching a cold
  • Changing each rider’s pillow and mattress to help them get a better sleep
  • Etc.


As these small changes added up, the team started winning way more competitions.


The story demonstrates how small improvements may not seem worthwhile on their own, but they amount to big wins when compounded.


If you make a 1% improvement each day, you’ll be 37 times better by the end of the year.


>> You can check out Atomic Habits here


This concept can be applied to your small craft business.


Let’s look at how.




Where to Make Improvements in your Craft Business


The first step is to look at everything that goes into running your small business.


No task is too small.


Each business is different, but below is a list of common areas a small handmade business can dive into.


This list isn’t exhaustive, and not all items will be applicable to you. Use it to get started and add to it based on the details of your business.


Start by looking at the main areas of your business. I like to break tasks down as follows:


  • Creating – any element that goes into the creation of your products.


  • Marketing – tasks you work on, and money you spend, to spread the word about your business and products.


  • Selling – platforms you use to sell your products and tasks required before, during, and after a sale.


  • Admin – additional tasks required to run your business that don’t fall under creating, marketing, or selling.


The following are examples of tasks/elements that fall under each area (creating, marketing, selling, and admin).



  • Products
    • Materials
    • Designs/Collections
    • Pricing


  • Packaging
    • Tags/Labels
    • Wrapping
    • Shipping


  • Production
    • Methods
    • Tools/Equipment


  • Workspace
    • Setup
    • Organization




  • Paid ads
    • Target demographic
    • Target keywords
    • Network/platform (e.g. Facebook, blogs, newspaper)


  • SEO
    • Keywords
    • Linking
    • Site speed


  • Social Media (look at each individual account: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)
    • Frequency of posting
    • Cover photo
    • Bio
    • Posts
    • Keywords


  • Email marketing (i.e. newsletters)
    • Signup forms
    • Email content
    • Email subject line
    • Send frequency


  • Promotions
    • Sales & Discounts
    • Product launches


  • Branding
    • Target Market
    • Messaging
    • Visuals




Look at each sales channel you use (e.g. Etsy, website, craft shows, retail stores, etc.) and the tasks required for each step of making a sale: before, during, and after.


  • Before – tasks required to set up a sales channel and prepare it to make sales.
  • During – tasks required to complete a sale.
  • After – tasks required to deliver your products to customers, ensure they’re happy, and encourage them to buy again.


Sales Channel: Website

  • Before
    • Website design and navigation
    • Product photos
    • Product descriptions
    • Website content


  • During
    • Checkout process
    • Shipping options and fees


  • After
    • Processing orders
    • Shipping orders
    • Customer retention


Sales Channel: Craft shows

  • Before
    • Display design
    • Signage
    • Props


  • During
    • Sales pitches
    • Cash desk
    • Payment system


  • After
    • Customer care
    • Customer retention


Sales Channel: Retail

  • Before
    • Lookbook
    • Outreach


  • During
    • Invoices
    • Shipments


  • After
    • Customer retention




  • Customer service
  • Tracking sales and expenses
  • Filing taxes
  • Maintenance of tools/equipment




100+ Easy Ways to Improve your Business

Once you have a detailed list of everything that goes into running your business, start exploring the ways you can improve each task or element of your business.


Consider how you can complete a task:

  • Quicker
  • Cheaper
  • Better


“Better” will mean something different for each task.


When addressing product photos, “better” may mean photos that look more professional. “Better” product designs may mean researching what your target market wants or offering new trends.


If you’re not sure how to improve a task or area of your business, try Google-ing “how to improve _____”.


For example, “how to improve product photos”.


This will help you come up with a list of ways to make small improvements.


Remember to keep improvement ideas small.


Smaller actions mean you’ll be more likely to implement them.


Below are several ideas to get you started, but I’ve only offered a couple of ideas for each bullet point. You’ll be able to come up with many more on your own.


Many of the ideas here can also be broken into smaller tasks (I’ve provided examples in some areas).




  • Materials
      • Reduce time spent shopping for materials:
          • Plan product collections for each quarter so you go into the craft supply store with a plan and only need to make one trip per quarter.
          • Create shopping lists before heading to the craft supply store
      • Source different suppliers or buy materials in bulk for lower prices.


  • Designs/collections
    • Design a new collection based on a current trend, season, holiday, etc.:
        • Research trends
        • Source materials
        • Sketch designs
    • Develop a signature style to create cohesion among products and create a more professional-looking product line (here’s how to create your signature style).


  • Pricing
    • Explore ways to lower costs to reduce prices or increase profits:
    • Check the current prices of products to ensure you’re profiting:
        • Track all expenses (set up a business bank account)
        • Check profit margins

> Here’s the right way to price your products to ensure you’re profiting



  • Tags/Labels
      • Improve the design of labels to be more professional or on-brand.
      • Edit the content of the label/tag to highlight product selling features (e.g. adding “Natural, Organic, Cruelty-Free” to a soap label).


  • Wrapping
    • Source different suppliers for tissue paper, stickers, shopping bags, etc. to lower costs.
    • Increase the perceived value of products by improving wrapping:
        • Use colored tissue paper that matches brand colors
        • Print branded stickers


  • Shipping
    • Reduce shipping costs by sourcing more economical shipping boxes/envelopes.
    • Brand shipping boxes/envelopes with sticker/stamp.



  • Methods
      • Take a class to improve skills and improve the quality of products (which will allow you to raise prices).
      • Implement techniques and methods to speed up production:
        • Time-block each production step (e.g. Mondays are for cutting pattern pieces, Tuesdays are for sewing seams, Wednesdays are for pressing seams, etc.)


  • Tools/Equipment
    • Invest in new tools that will help lower production time.
    • Schedule maintenance of tools/equipment to ensure they work properly and last longer to reduce replacement costs (e.g. sewing machine tune-up).



  • Setup
      • Streamline workspace to create stations (e.g. cutting station, packaging station, etc.).
      • Add elements that help inspire or motivate you while working.


  • Organization
    • Clean workspace at the end of each day to make it easier to start work the next day.
    • Organize materials and/or tools so it’s quicker and easier to find what you need.




Paid ads

  • Target demographic
      • Target new demographics to see if it improves conversion rates of ads.
      • Get more specific with the target market your products are right for and the target market you want to reach with an ad (the number of people you can reach will go down but click-through rates should increase).


  • Keywords
    • Edit the keywords you target for your ads (i.e. which keywords your ad will appear for) (e.g. instead of a jewelry maker targeting the keywords “handmade jewelry” for their ads, they may try “demi-fine jewelry” or “healing crystal jewelry” to reach a more specific shopper, and one who’s closer to the buying stage).
    • Improve the content of ads to be more appealing to your target market:
        • Include keywords target market is searching (learn how to find good keywords here).
        • Highlight benefits target market cares about most (e.g. instead of “small-batch handmade soap”, one may try “100% natural & toxin-free soap”).


  • Network/platform (e.g. Facebook, Etsy, newspaper)
    • Explore a different advertising platform.
    • Research how to improve ad performance for a specific platform (e.g. how to increase ad views on Etsy).



  • Keywords
      • Conduct keyword research to find high volume, low competition keywords to target.
      • Update product listings to implement target keywords.
      • Write a blog article that uses keywords you want your website to rank for (e.g. if I sell charcoal soap and want to rank for “activated charcoal soap”, I might write an article titled “Top 5 benefits of activated charcoal soap”).

>Check out Etsy SEO tips here


  • Linking
    • Check your website for broken links and fix them.
    • Create a backlink campaign:
        • Make a list of authority sites in your field (i.e. a website you would like to link to your website).
        • Create content other website owners will want to link to (e.g. if I make jewelry, I may write a helpful article on the best ways to clean costume jewelry and include images, a video, or even an infographic. A fashion blogger may share the article with their followers).
        • Contact a website owner to let them know about your helpful resource (e.g. the jewelry cleaning guide)


  • Site speed
    • Optimize site images
    • Enable compression


Social Media (look at each individual account: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)

  • Frequency of posting
      • Slightly increase or decrease the amount of posting depending on the return on investment it gives you.
      • Use a scheduling tool so you can time-block posting and improve consistency.


  • Cover photo
    • Create a new photo for a social media account that is current (e.g. Christmas themed photo).
    • Update cover photo for a social media account.


  • Bio
    • Update bio to include keywords your target market may search on social media.
    • Add a current/relevant call to action to bio (e.g. “Visit my website for stocking stuffers under $20”).


  • Posts
    • Research competitor’s posts on a specific social media platform to see which ones get the most engagement and make a list of post ideas you can implement this month.
    • Create a content schedule to streamline the posting process.


Email marketing (i.e. newsletters)

  • Signup forms
      • Create an incentive for people to sign up for your newsletter (e.g. a jewelry business may offer a jewelry cleaning guide pdf to subscribers, or a discount code).
      • Add a signup form to more pages of your website.
      • Promote your newsletter on social media and link to a signup page.



  • Email subject line
    • Create a folder in your email account for catchy subject lines; when you receive an email that catches your attention, place it in that folder and use the folder for inspiration.
    • Avoid keywords that trigger spam filters (here’s a list).


  • Send frequency
    • Try sending one or two more newsletters in a month.
    • Create a newsletter schedule to stay on track with send frequency, or schedule newsletters to auto-send on the date you want.



  • Sales & Discounts
      • Create a schedule for when you’ll run sales throughout the year.
      • Create product bundles offered at a slight discount (e.g. a bath and body business may bundle a bar of soap, bath salts, and lotion, and price it slightly lower than if items were purchased individually).
      • Create a referral program so customers receive a discount if they refer a new customer to you.


  • Product launch
    • Create a product launch schedule based on when you’ll create new product collections. Try to aim for one product launch per quarter.
    • Make a detailed list of tasks that must be completed before, during, and after a launch to help you streamline the process, be more efficient, and complete all necessary tasks.



  • Target market
      • Clearly define your target market.
      • Create a list of places your target market can be found to conduct research about them and market to them.

> How to Find a Goldmine of Customers will help you find a profitable target market and uncover details that help you sell more to them.



  • Visuals
    • Create a mood board for your brand to define the key colors, fonts, icons, etc. that communicate the feel of your brand.
    • Choose one product, marketing, or sales channel element to apply brand visuals to or strengthen brand visuals:
        • Update Etsy cover photo to follow the vibe of your brand.
        • Review all products and remove any from lineup that don’t align with your brand.
        • Brand your shipments (e.g. branded boxes, tissue paper, etc.).




Sales Channel: Website

Before a sale

  • Website design and navigation
      • Create a new shop section for the current shopping season (e.g. stocking stuffers) so it’s easier for visitors to find what they need.
      • Refresh home page photo to be on-brand and current (e.g. update to a Christmas-themed photo of products or a photo of your current best-selling product).


  • Product photos
    • Create a lightbox to photograph products in so it’s simple to set up and photos look professional.
    • Update a few product photos by adding seasonal props (e.g. add a sprig of evergreen and a couple of pine cones to a product shot to add a winter or holiday vibe).


  • Product descriptions
    • Improve the product description for a product listing (here’s a template to help you). Start with your best-selling product and improve one product description per day or week until all of your product descriptions have been updated.
    • Implement a few relevant and highly searched keywords to product descriptions (e.g. during the holidays, you may add “Christmas”, “gift”, “gift for ____”, etc. to product descriptions).


  • Website content


During a sale

  • Checkout process
      • Look for ways to streamline the checkout process so it’s quick and easy for shoppers to checkout:
          • Eliminate unnecessary steps or pages
          • Reduce fields shoppers must fill in
          • Offer more payment options
      • Improve your “buy” buttons:
          • Use clear CTA’s (call to action) for button text (e.g. don’t use “I want it now” button text instead of “Buy Now” or “Add to cart”; simple and clear is better).
          • Change the color of “buy” buttons to be on-brand and bold so it catches the eye.


  • Shipping options and fees
    • Consider adjusting product prices to be able to offer free shipping, which will help lower cart abandonment (here are more ways to lower shopping cart abandonment).
    • Offer more shipping options/fees to accommodate different types of shoppers (e.g. “economical” for people who want to save, “express” for shoppers who need items quickly, “overnight” for shoppers who needed the item yesterday, “pickup” for local shoppers, etc.).


After a sale

  • Processing orders
      • Reduce the time it takes you to process an order so customers get their purchases sooner.
      • Improve communication with customers so they know the stage their order is in:
          • Send an automated confirmation email when order is received, when it’s being processed, and when it’s been shipped.


  • Shipping orders
    • Streamline shipping process to save time
        • Choose one day of the week/specific time each day to package orders for shipment.
        • Create a shipment fulfillment area in your workspace.
    • Brainstorm ways to improve customer experience when unboxing (e.g. include a handwritten “thank you” note).


  • Customer retention
    • Include a coupon with each shipment to encourage future orders.
    • Set up an automated email that sends a week after orders are shipped to check in with a customer and ensure they’re happy with their purchase.
    • Send an automated email that asks customers to leave a review if they’re happy and to contact you if they’re unhappy so you can correct any issues.



Sales Channel: Craft shows

Before a sale

  • Display design
      • Improve the layout of your craft show display to be more shopper-friendly (here’s how to improve your craft show layout).
      • Update display fixtures to be on-brand (e.g. if your brand colors are hot pink, black, and white, spray-paint sign holders a bright pink).


  • Signage
    • Add lifestyle photos to table display (e.g. a vendor selling knitted hats may display a photo of a model wearing a hat while on a winter walk to help shoppers imagine when, where, and how they might wear the hat).
    • Update signs to use fonts that are on-brand and to have clear messaging to accommodate shoppers who quickly scan a table.


  • Props
    • Update tablecloth or add a runner to add a seasonal touch (e.g. a red and green plaid runner for Christmas craft shows).
    • Add an on-brand prop that might be found in the setting your products are commonly used (e.g. a vendor selling bath products may add a tray with a candle, loofah, bottle of wine, and a wine glass to get shoppers thinking about a relaxing bath).

> Try the free email course: 5 Days to a Standout Craft Show Display


During a sale

  • Sales pitches
      • Brainstorm product benefits shoppers will care about and that can be worked into sales pitches.
      • Make a list of open-ended questions to ask shoppers and can be used to break the ice (find examples here).


  • Checkout
    • Organize shopping bags, tissue paper, etc. to streamline the checkout process
    • Place lower-priced, add-on items by checkout and prepare a pitch to increase items sold per transaction (e.g. a soap vendor may place lip balms near the checkout and ask each customer “Would you like to add a lip balm to order for $3.99?”). Here are ideas for add-on products.


  • Payment system
    • Offer more payment options (e.g. get a square credit card reader to accommodate shoppers who don’t carry cash).
    • Research payment system options to find one with the lowest fees.


After a sale

  • Customer care
      • Create a flyer to include with each purchase that shares product care instructions.
      • Communicate to each customer how to get in touch with you if they have any questions about their purchase.


  • Customer retention
    • Bring a tablet to the craft show and encourage customers to sign up for your newsletter to be notified of promotions (here’s how to start a newsletter, even if you don’t have a website).
    • Print flyers that share the dates and locations of your upcoming craft shows and hand them out at each craft show.
    • Include a coupon with each purchase to be used in your online store or at a future craft show.


Sales Channel: Retail

Before a sale

  • Lookbook
      • Create a list of retailers to ship lookbooks to or to drop off in-store.
      • Create a schedule for when each season’s lookbook must be completed by to accommodate retail buying schedules.
      • Find a cheaper printer to produce lookbooks.

> Here’s how to create a lookbook


  • Outreach
    • Join a wholesale marketplace.
    • Research trade shows that attract retail owners.
    • Broaden your options to online retail stores that may buy wholesale or offer dropshipping.


During a sale

  • Invoices
      • Streamline invoicing system (e.g. create SKU numbers for each item, automate invoice sending, etc.).
      • Offer additional payment options to retailers.


  • Shipments
    • Adjust pricing to be able to offer free shipping for orders that meet minimum requirements.
    • Create a shipping schedule and deadlines to encourage retailers to place orders early.


After a sale

  • Customer retention
      • Create a template for follow-up emails to ensure a retailer is happy with their order.
      • Offer an exclusive line to top-selling wholesale accounts.



Those are just some examples of the tasks you can work on to make small improvements in your business.


Continue brainstorming ideas that will help lower costs, increase profits, and boost revenue.


When you’re done, you’ll have a list of ways to improve your business quickly and easily.


Implement at least one idea per workday and stay consistent.


Small consistent efforts lead to big changes.



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  1. Thank you for these great ideas!

    I’ve added some to my calendar to make small improvements.
    I love the concept of small changes adding up to a big impact!

    Best from Germany

  2. Made Urban says:

    I’m so glad you found it helpful Jana! Let me know how it goes as you implement some of the changes 🙂

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