Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The 1000 Fan Model....modified

I found out about the idea of 1000 Fans through the Polymer Clay Notes blog. She recently pointed her readers to The Technium blog of Kevin Kelly where he outlines the 1000 Fan approach to building a business.

What he points out, and I believe can be easily missed, is that the 1000 number is a bit arbitrary. It is a number that represents a goal or target. A number that can be imagined, counted, created. It is a concrete representation of what you want to work towards to build a business that allows you to make a living.

So how many True Fans do you need to make a living?? That depends to some degree upon your business model. How do you sell your work? Retail or wholesale? Either way, what is your average sale? About what proportion of your sales come from repeat customers? Finally, what level of income do you want to acheive?

Based on looking at this information, I now have a target goal for a total number of wholesale accounts. 100. (0r more!) What I like about this is it establishes a measurable goal. Right now, I have 40+ active accounts. So, if I can get to 70 to 80 active accounts by the end of this year, I will be moving a good way towards that goal.

I like the idea of having a number of accounts as a target. I have been dissatisfied with measuring my business solely by sales, or by profitability. Those numbers matter, don't get me wrong. But, in my head, target a specific number of new, active accounts feels more viable than aiming for a growth in sales dollars. And in today's economic decline, getting those accounts lined up now, could potentially postition me well for when things turn around. And they will turn around. They always do.

This model of a number of fans can work for retail as well as wholesale. It can work if you teach to generate income. How many loyal students do you want to have? How many collectors? The bottom line is to convert your goal for making a living with your work into a target number. And then get busy, and work towards that target!


Jenny Patterson said...

Someday I am gonna come to your house and pick your brain! I read the same article, but did not come out with such a clear idea of how to actually use the information!!

Judy said...

Jenny, I wish I could say that it leapt out to me immediately....but it didn't! I had to think about how would I use this in real life. It is a great concept, and the examples he gave were intriguing, but how do I make it work for me. I hope this helps you figure it out for you!