Now is not the time to be complacent and sit tight. You need to aim for steady growth at a manageable pace that will provide you with a steady income. To do this you need to launch new products regularly, remain in the public eye and keep an on-going marketing programme.
Keep an eye on your business practices to steadily improve them. If you spot any problems, throwing money into marketing isn't necessarily the answer - especially if your cash flow is low and tight. Consider reassessing your payment terms or your work force to produce more before increasing your marketing budget.
There will always be new goals to reach and growing markets to cover. This is a great opportunity to adapt your products to fit a new market or a niche group. You may find that anm offshoot project can open up income streams, especially if they are not too labour intensive like a licensing agreement for example. What about writing a book on techniques or if a book is too scary then a magazine column? Do you struggle with the written word? Then what about teaching a workshop - something I would LOVE to do!
In business it is important to accept you will go through changes. For a period of time you will be heading in one direction and then suddenly veer off in another way. This is perfectly acceptable so long as you ar enot altering the identity of your business. Marketing efforts are aimed at getting your brand recognised, if you change this too frequently or too quickly you will destroy all of those efforts. Maintaining consistency is absolutely essential.
There is no specific criteria or path to follow that will make your business successful - believe me I wish there was! There will be highs and lows and varying levels of profitability in between. Lows may break your heart like having an order returned because it was damaged or faulty. But then you will receive fabulous reviews by a customer that will cheer you up.
As a small business you must learn a lesson from every experience. Only you can define what is successful - it might be your bottom line, gaining fame and recognition or simply the fuzzy feeling of pride and happiness that you are producing work you love based on your creativity and living your dream. I have a sign that hangs by my computer and it simply says
If at first you don't succeed,
Coming next time: Time management tips