"Building competitiveness through cooperation and innovation: Accessing export markets for handicraft products"

First training – Training for “Managing a small business and e-marketing”

In the period from December 5th to 8th, in “Continental” Hotel in Skopje, training on “Managing a small business and e-marketing” was held, which included 33 artisans, 17 from Kosovo and 16 from North Macedonia. After the completion of the four-day training, the following segments regarding the realization and evaluation can be summarized:

Program and objectives of the training

The training “Managing a small business and e-marketing” was conceived in such a manner as to enable maximizing knowledge, experiences, skills and motivation among present artisans as current entrepreneurs who have the desire and capacity to develop their own business.

The training program was designed according to the latest world trends in e-marketing as an exceptionally dynamic sector, as well as according to current economic trends in the creative industries.

The main goal of the training was for the participants to gain a set of practically applicable knowledge, experiences and skills that they will be able to apply immediately after the completion of the training, which will contribute to the growth and development of the existing business or founding business.


Several methods and tools were prepared and realized for the needs of the training, in order to achieve maximum results, in addition to the oral presentation:

Power Point presentation with textual content, photos, infographics – a simple guide to the topics covered in the training.

Flipchart and poster presentations – which help in visual display and emphasized visibility of set situations and expected results.

Structured questionnaires – aimed at structured questions to help craftsmen assess and analyze existing business capabilities and determine future action steps.

Interactive sessions – where all participants have the opportunity to share personal experiences, problems and needs, share knowledge and experiences, and create common solutions.

Educational games – a fun way of involving all participants in interaction and allows certain knowledge to be confirmed, new ones to be created, and new thinking perspectives to be opened up.

Simulations – that encourage creative thinking by setting tasks which the participants need to find the most appropriate and optimal solution for.

Working in groups – an effective method for mutual introduction, networking, teamwork, generating common ideas, suggestions, and solutions.

 Realized curriculum

The first day of the training was dedicated to small business management, familiarization with the basic elements of management (planning, organizing, delegating, controlling) and creating a business plan as a first and basic step for efficient management and control of all aspects of business activity. Through structured questionnaires, the participants were able in an easy and simple manner to review and analyze the actual situation, current situation of their business, and that by developing a short-term and long-term operational plan they can realize their vision and position their business highly.

Participants learned how to identify the actions they need to undertake, how to classify them, how to appoint executors, delegate tasks and how to successfully coordinate.

Through poster presentations and educational games, the participants realized the importance of clear and effective communication as a basic element of entrepreneurial skills: supervision, motivation and leadership.

Participants learned how to set performance standards, how to measure current performance, how to really identify the reasons for deviations, and how to set feasible corrective actions.

Determining the quality and quantity of current and potential markets is one of the basic elements in building business strategies and therefore this topic was explained in detail. Through practical examples, participants learned how to determine the quality (financial) potential of the market, and how to determine the quantity (size and numbers) of the market.

By analyzing these two market aspects, the primary and secondary markets can easily be identified and further developed and developed sales and marketing strategies for their conquest.

Defining the competition is also an important aspect in the successful management of small businesses. Participants learned how to segment direct and indirect competition, which research methods to use in analyzing competition, and how to determine and define their competitive advantages.

On the first day of the training, methods for analysis and identification of existing and potential buyers were presented and several tools were offered for building the geographic, demographic and behavioral profiles of the buyers according to which production and price offers, as well as sales and marketing strategies are developed.

Adopted topics and terminology:

Basic elements of management, planning, organizing, delegating, controlling, analyzing the actual situation (where am I/ where do I want to be), planning as a decision-making process in projected situations (What to do, when to do, how to do) short term plan, operational plan,  long-term plan for development, identification of activities, classification of activities, appointment of executors, delegation and duties, coordination, supervision, motivation, leadership, communication, control, establishment of performance standards, measurement of actual performance, identifying reasons for deviations, identifying corrective actions, primary and secondary market, quality and quantity on the market, defining competition, analyzing performance of the competition, analyzing their customers, analyzing their market , methods for researching competition, determining the ideal buyer, geographic profile, demographic profile, behavioral profile.

On the second day of the training, students were introduced to the basic online strategies and their basic characteristics, what is the meaning of SEO marketing, content optimization, content marketing, content creation for various on-line platforms, e-mail marketing, establishment of e-shop, the use of influencers etc.

In conditions of digitalization and globalization of the world, the possibilities to use digital platforms in order to achieve their business goals are huge, hence the need for adopting basic knowledge of the way of using digital platforms for the promotion and sale of products and business management. The participants were presented with the basic advantages of e-marketing in terms of classical, standard marketing (a wide range of targeted audience, reduced marketing costs, quick and efficient results, receiving feedback, precise measurement) and the importance and necessity of improving this area and to base their further activities on the possibilities that digital marketing offers.

Personal branding is particularly important when it comes to businesses in the creative industries, because it is usually an entrepreneur who is at the same time an author (usually a complete performer of his/her own products) and it is necessary to take into account the importance of personal branding in parallel business branding. Participants learned the best ways to build and develop personal branding, methods and tools to use, how to achieve consistency in authentic communication with customers and which Internet platforms to use.

In parallel with personal branding, craftsmen should build their brand and brand recognition, participants learned how to best tell their story using an innovative and creative approach in language (colors, symbols, slogans) and how to establish an emotional connection with their buyers as the strongest element in building loyalty and trust in the brand.

E-mail marketing is one of the most effective ways of direct marketing and therefore, within the training, special attention was paid on the best ways the participants can use this marketing tool. Participants learned how to structure a sales-oriented email (attractive title, interesting content, appealing design, simple form, and call for action), how to create a list of subscribers and how to expand and segment the list of subscribers according to needs.

 Adopted topics and terminology:

Online marketing strategies, SEO optimization, content creation – portal, blog, social networks – Facebook, install, YouTube, Linkedin, e-mail marketing, e-shop, use of influencers, advantages of digital marketing, wide range of targeted audience, reduced marketing costs, quick and efficient results, receiving feedback, precise measurement, basic elements of a successful marketing plan, personal branding, building a basic brand, building authority and audience, defining opportunities, elements of branding strategies s business branding – brand positioning your recognition of the brand, logo, colors, slogan, methods for building visibility, creating a list of subscribers, expanding the lists of subscribers, segmentation of active subscribers, to structure a good email.

The third day of the training was dedicated to present the way of using and advertising opportunities of the most popular social networks: Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. These are digital platforms in which visual language dominates, and for successful business promotion and successful sales of products it is necessary to be extremely careful in building the visual identity and to follow the design trends in the selection of colors, typography and stylistic expression. Participants learned how to create photographic and video content using modern trends in visual expression.

Through practical examples, participants learned how best to structure and optimize their Facebook Fan Page, how to segment Facebook audience, how to create a sales-oriented Facebook campaign, and how to make a Facebook recruiting campaign. The participants were introduced to the term remarketing as one of the most commonly used online marketing strategies, which means remarketing and how to implement successful remarketing.

Instagram advertising, analysis and use of “hashtags”, as well as YouTube advertising and types of YouTube advertisements (Video Ads, Overlay Ads, In-Search Ads, Discovery Ads) were practically presented and explained to the participants.

Adopted topics and terminology:

Building a visual identity (color palette, typography, stylistic expression), rules of well designed content, creating photographic and video content, trends in visual content (photos, video, infographics, gif, meme), rules for well-structured Facebook Fan page (contact information, optimized photos, visualized content, content according to Rule 70 / 20 / 10), audience segmentation, types of Facebook campaigns, recruitment campaign targets for potential buyers, goals of existing sales campaigns potential customers for remarketing, installing advertisements, analyzing and using hashtags, targeted Instagram campaigns, YouTube announcements, types of YouTube ads.

 On the fourth day of the training, participants were introduced with the most famous platforms for selling creative products, the way these platforms function, how to open their own store on these platforms, how to categorize products, how to create an appealing product description, how to get make a photo which “sells”, how to create a successful pricing and sales policy. In addition to the already existing sales platforms (Etsi, Bonanza, Shopify, etc.), the artisans were also given the opportunity to open their own web store using an authentic web domain.

Adopted topics and terminology:

Marketing in sales platforms, product categorization, branding of the store, product keywords, product description, title optimization and descriptions, shop management, attractive sales policy, efficient service, professional photos, a wide range of products, discounts and vouchers.

Evaluation of the achieved results

The analysis of the completed evaluation questionnaires immediately after the training, as well as the informal communication with the participants during the training and after its completion shows that objectives set for the training have been fulfilled. The satisfaction from the participation in this training and increased motivation among the participants was evident, which indicates that the training fully met their expectations.

This website was created and maintained with financial support from the European Union, within the project "Building competitiveness through cooperation and innovation: Accessing export markets for handicraft products". Its contents are the sole responsibility of the project implementers – ZBK Creation, the Association Zenith and the Advocacy Training and Resource Center – and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.