Lessons learned from the market

2020 is the year of uncertainty for most people who struggle to keep afloat and we are among them to join the race. We do not want to miss the boat if the uncertainty uplifted.

We can’t sit back and relax watching everyone make a move during this pandemic because we want to have a share on that piece of cake if the economy blooms in years to come. 

Hence, since the middle of August last year,  we have begun selling cupcakes in the market, every single day has been a lesson for us.

The opportunity that we get, we put into good use and we do appreciate the lady who opens this door for us.

It is a baby step for us. There are many more to learn and yet to come.  Nonetheless, we want to share the lessons that we have learned throughout this five months journey of venturing in a small enterprise. 

  1. Put aside the shyness 

In the first place, we never thought of this path before. It all happens coincidentally by not letting the opportunity bypass us. 

You see, both of us (my mother and I) are introverted. We are a bit apprehensive to ask for help despite having trouble and would do it on our own to find a way.

However, one fine day, when my mother spoke herself up by asking the lady to get her permission to place our cupcakes, it was a gift that we really appreciate.

This is because we had been rejected by a restaurant owner and grocery shop staff before that. 

That moment of anxiety had changed into a moment of excitement the minute the lady said yes to us. 

Thus, that is the first lesson we learned is to put aside our embarrassment of asking people for help and just do it. We might be being let down by others but that means a redirection to another route. 

2. There will be an anxious moment for beginner

Trial and error is a normal thing for a person facing in the new circumstances. Like others, we do not know how much to put the price that can be received by the customer. If too low we gain nothing and if too high people are reluctant to buy.

Gradually we managed to find the right amount of the price and sell one cake each instead of three per packet. 

Now we have that momentum on each passing day. In addition to placing our products at the coconut stall, we made an effort to introduce our product to other sellers in the market. 

These steps too are not on our plan. Why? The shyness so to speak.

When there is no sale on the day we have to do something. Thus, we put the shyness to the side by making an effort to sell the cupcakes by approaching sellers at the market on the weekend. 

This venture bore a fruitful result by making quite a large number of cupcakes for our service, providing morning breakfast for the seller in the market. We rename the service Quick Bite Service.

We provide this service because the seller could not leave their stalls to tender the customer and they need something to eat.

So we see this opportunity to increase our sales by providing the service. We offer them cupcakes to buy by not leaving their stall during peak hour.

We have done this service for about a month now. It is very impressive. Sales have increased compared to when we only placed the cupcake in the lady’s stall.  

I believe this is part of marketing that I need to make so that more people know about our existence. On top of that, since I have been learning marketing through online courses, it is a time to place those lessons into use.

On the first day, it was not so easy especially with my introversion,  I had trouble sleeping the night before I made the first service. I am afraid the worst thing might happen. 

However, to my surprise, it was a splendid experience!.

I have started to know many sellers in the market and I learnt how to approach them and be a part of the community. 

3. Learned everything about the product

In doing my morning rounds at the market once in a while, I will be having a chit chat moment with my customers.

One day, one of the customers shared about his medical condition. He wants to eat sweet things but is afraid of doing so. 

However, knowing the ingredients and the process of making the cupcakes made me able to explain to him. This valuable experience gives me more confidence to market our cupcakes in the future.  

Thus, another lesson that I have learnt is to be your own product specialist. The knowledge about the product made you an expert even though you sell a single item. 

4. Buying is a process 

Making a prospective customer buy our product is not an easy task. I learnt it has a phase that we need to be through. 

Referring to my marketing lecturer, “buying and selling is a process”.

People need to know about a product first. Then, they will make a comparison if they found out there is a similar product with a different brand available in the market. 

Once the comparison is done,  then only then the prospective customer makes the decision to purchase. If they are comfortable with us, they might do repeat purchase in the near future. 

I myself used to buy things from the grocery that I already went before this. And I believe that people will buy from a seller that they already know. 

So in order to repeat this vicious cycle, once need to know about a product before they purchase. 

5. Dealing with unhealthy competition

On the note, to competition, we have struggled with an unhealthy experience. To not make things into tougher, we acknowledge the challenge does exist and at the same time improving ourselves.

Despite those, we made a new circle of connection in the market and somehow it does benefit us in a certain way. Once in a while the lady that provides us with an opportunity to sell the cupcake, will give us fresh produce like vegetables, grated coconut or coconut milk. 

In summary, I have learnt that an expert was once a beginner.

Each day is a lesson for me to learn. There are always going to be uncertainty and challenges that we need to embrace.

Despite that, there is always a positive in every situation. Looking at a  different angle, sometimes it does help. 

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