Strictly speaking Sir Richard isn't talking specifically about craft businesses (and I may have had a little photshop fun), but I wanted to make the point that it can be incredibly useful to apply tips from helpful start up business websites like www.entrepreneur.com, www.startupbritain.org , www.enterprisenation.com and www.startupdonut.co.uk to your craft business.
Richard Branson on how to grow your [Crafty] Network:
"These days it’s much easier to connect with people who can help you launch and grow your [craft] business. Just think: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter [he missed out Pinterest and Instagram!!!] all provide opportunities for you to meet and interact with fellow entrepreneurs, experts in the field and innovative newcomers [in the craft world]. However you go about making connections, from the very first moment you begin to realize that your idea is worth pursuing, the first step on the road to success is building a network.
To get started, attend industry events [craft fairs / trade shows/ wedding fairs] and meet key players; join regional business associations [The Design Trust / Craft Council / Craft Blog UK !] and start learning about local market conditions. Also remember that you can meet potential mentors at schools [and craft workshops], clubs and business groups. Someday, when you get stuck or when something goes wrong, these contacts will be the people you’ll turn to for help. (Finding investors is a step that follows: People buy from people, so if you’re limited in terms of who you can access, talk to and sell to, well, you probably won’t get very far.)"
Organised EntrepreneursI recommend you start a file in your blog reader (I use Feedly) specifically for social media tip sites, startup tip sites and business skills sites. Also, start a Twitter list and add a few entrepreneurs that you admire in the business world. Try and think big and directly apply what you read to your own small business.
You will find really useful information that you can apply to your craft business from networking skills to how to go about finding funding. Make time to scan through the latest post - even if it's just once a week!
If you don't come from a business background, you will also find you learn all sorts of new phrases and terminology. Whilst being creative is vital for a craft business, for a successful outcome you also need to take your business seriously right from the start.
We need creatives that care about the world's resources and sustainability, to flourish and grow and spread the word and maybe teach some of the huge corporations a thing or two - so do your business studies homework and grow your business!