With all businesses come successes and failures, some big and some small. Our adventure owning a business in the Western Industry has brought us just that, success and failure.
The C&L Saddle Adventure
My husband has worked in this industry since 1997, by owning his own saddle shop, by shoeing horses and putting on ropings, family rodeos, and various other equine events.
In 2004, however, the saddle shop really took off. We added some western clothes and accessories to our product list, which went over very well. Then in 2006 we opened a new location to house the boots and clothing side of our store. We felt we were really on fire and accomplishing something in our business.
“What should we do next?” we asked ourselves. The World Wide Web is what came to mind. We knew nothing about building websites…where to start?
Our neighbor’s son seemed to know a lot, so we put him on the job. He taught us how to upload product, analyze our traffic, and process orders. We were getting around a 1000 hits a day and a few sales a week. We were pretty pleased, but we thought we could do better. Plus, we were using a theme (pre-bought template) and we felt it was hindering our creative progress. Little did we know or understand.
So, we decided to go with a custom built site and put as MANY products on as possible. Our theory, the more we offer…the more chance to make a sale.
Learning from our Failures
Here is where we failed. We didn’t learn the new system. We didn’t maintain the old site (while building the new one), so we lost followers and customers. In addition, we didn’t learn to put products on the site ourselves. Our site featured everyone else’s products, but not our own custom products. We didn’t know how to analyze the new site. Furthermore, we didn’t even know how to check and see if we got any orders.
We went from 1000 hits a day to 23. Unfortunately, we thought it would all just come together on its own. We heavily depended on our employees to make things happen.
I can’t tell you how helpless I felt. I was unable to turn anything around or fix anything when it came to our online business. We lost income. My husband was ready to throw in the towel, and for a while we were stagnant and just avoided the web issue all together-spending money every month and reaping no benefit.
The moral of the story is “Don’t make other people responsible for your dreams.” As business owner and blogger Ruth Soukup once said “taking responsibility for your own success” is fundamental in being successful.
Once I realized this valuable piece of information, I enrolled in a 12 week online course and started an informational blog with my husband. I have also watched about a gazillion online how to videos and have reevaluated our entire business vision.
So as a result of this one big online failure, we have jointly started a new adventure where I feel inspired. I’m excited to talk about it, work on it and learn how to do it. You can see it here.
All was not lost, you can check out C & L Saddles and Lucky Six Outfitters new updated website at www.candlsaddles.com.
Don’t let your failures hold you back…keep plugging along and pick yourself up. Maybe you just need to reevaluate what is important to you and put your focus there.
We are greatly looking forward to helping and growing stronger with you!
PPS Please let us know how we can fix the new site! Or how we can better serve you…it is a work in progress and we never dreamed we would have to learn so much about technology. Thanks in advance… firstname.lastname@example.org