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Best laid plans...... | Joolzery | Handmade Sterling Silver Gemstone Freshwater Pearl Jewellery
Best laid plans......
So you have written your business plan, you have got the funding and you have set up your business.
This is where the fun really starts, because what you planned in your business and what actually happens can be two entirely different things.
Case in point, as soon as I started Joolzery, i set it up to be an online business taking card payment via merchant services, however I then became acutely aware that I needed to get the name out there in the public domain, and the easiest thing was to start doing craft and arts fairs.
Once that decision had been made my first flory was at the Summer Arts Market in St George's Hall, Liverpool. Once I had been accepted I realised that the probability of a customer wanted to pay by credit or debit card, was high, especially with my price point and the impulse buy.
So began my lesson in best laid plans, I started by approaching my bank, to see what card payment options they had, but unfortunately for the number and the way that I intended to do my craft fairs, their payment schedule was ridiculous for my business needs.
Based on that I actually lost £300 worth of sales at this market, due to my inability to take card payments, however what I did gain was some insight on what other crafters was using to take card payments, and I was told about the iZettle company.
So I rushed home, did a bit of research about both iZettle and it's competitors, but settled on going with them. I downloaded the app, set up my account, brought the card reader and connected it to my bank account.
And waited, and waited, and waited, sent an email enquiring where my little black box of tricks was, and waited, and then it finally turned up.
Sorted, well so I thought.
The plan was that I would use my wifi iPad to connect to my iZettle card terminal, and then take card payments.
However what I found was that technology, mainly wifi hotspots, and old building do not make ideal bed fellows.
This became painfully apparent when I did my next arts and craft fair, in an old ornate church, a fantastic building with fabulous stained glass windows, with all the pillars and the usual church paraphernalia, but as soon as you stepped inside the church, the wifi signal was lost.
Luckily for me that day no one wanted to pay by credit card, so it was back to the drawing board for me.
Unfortunately, for me I am a blackberry girl at heart, and currently iZettle do not have an app for the system for the blackberry, so I had to invest in an Android phone, to overcome the wifi issues I was having with my iPad. I downloaded the app on my new phone, and thought I was ready to take card payments at my next arts and craft fair.
So all packed raring to go, armed with my iPad, my Android phone and my iZettle, I rock up to the Venue, another old building that has been restored and converted into a multi use community centre. I'm excited because, now there is no way that I am going to loose any impulse sales today.
Well that was the plan, but obviously these old buildings have a mind and agenda of their own!
Along came the customer who had seen a pair of earrings she wanted to buy for her friend's birthday, she asks do I take card payments, and excitedly, like a puppy, I say yes. I load up the iZettle app on my android phone, Bluetooth it up to my little card reader, they're talking to each other, so all the signs are good.
I punch in the amount and press the charge button, and it requests the customer insert her card and then enter her PIN number, and the we wait, and wait and wait, before we get the heart breaking message, card time out!
We try a number of times, but to no avail. The customer then asks what time we are there till, and says she will get the cash, and then come back to purchase the earrings, in my heart of heart I didn't think she would but me being positive I hope she would prove me wrong!
Human nature being what it is, she didn't return, and counted a loss of a sale of £25.
It's at this point that I decided that I needed to sort this wifi issue out once and for all, I noticed another stall holder, displaying a sign "We take credit card payments", so I asked her how she manages to this?
She said that she takes payments on her 3G iPad on contract, but was thinking of changing because of the cost.
So armed with this new information, I decided to turn my Android phone into a mobile hotspot, that I would tether only to my iPad. It took 5 minutes to set up and test, but the real test would be when I revisited these old venues.
The next weekend I was back at my old technology nemesis the old church, I turned on my hotspot and tethered it to my iPad, entered the church, and I still could access my website and the internet, the signs were promising.
I Blue-toothed my iZettle to my iPad and all 3 pieces of technology was singing harmoniously, like a church choir, but I had to see if it could take a card payment.
The chance to see whether I could accomplish this feat came 30 minutes later, when a repeat customer came and ordered a bespoke piece of jewellery, I started up the app, on the iPad, my little iZettle terminal came to life, I punched in the details and the amount and pressed charge, it asked the customer to enter their card and enter their PIN number, which he duly entered, and waited with baited breathe....
Up on my iPad screen it had the words that it had taken 3 months to achieve, "Payment Accepted", I almost danced and kissed everyone in the vicinity, but had to keep a professional decorum about me, which was a hard feat, trust me, so I could finish off the transactional administration.
I was on a high, I can now finally take card payments.