Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paper Hearts - Treasured Finds

For more Valentine gift ideas click here.
Thank you to My Olivia Jewelry for this weeks Treasured Finds!

Business Tip of the Week :: Wholesaling

Adding wholesale clients to your growing business is a big - and sometimes intimidating - step.  Check out this article by Biz Ladies and find out the 7 Steps to Wholesaling your Craft and learn about preparing a line sheet, choosing products, and writing an email pitch!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year! Setting Goals ... and Reaching Them!

Happy New Year!

I just love a new year! There is something really magical about opening a new fresh calendar and feeling that a whole year is just waiting for you.

I've seen so many new years resolution posts, and I think it is just fantastic that no matter how things went last year, a renewed sense of energy seems to light that spark under so many entrepreneurs! However, I have seen very little goal planning in these posts to ensure that people will actually reach these goals.

So, let's look at some common goals and consider what planning needs to be done to reach these goals.

Sales and profit goals - I am actually going to leave this one to the end of this post, as I think that this is often a goal that is stated first, but should actually be a measuring tool for all other goals. Meaning that as you reach your other goals then your sales and profits should rise as a sign that you are focusing on the right other business goals.

Work, inventory, listing goals - I see lots of sellers that are focusing on building their inventory, setting a more organized work schedule, and making goals to have "x" number of listings in their shops. All of these goals are geared towards sales and productivity and most seasoned sellers will tell you that the more listings they have available, the more sales they get. This is a goal that is a good fit for most any shop, but with some discretion built in. For instance - if your current items take a long time to create, then having a goal of having 100+ listings in your shop might be unreasonable. Perhaps a more reasonable goal for you would be to increase your listings by 25% or 50%. You could also expand on this goal by trying to increase the variety of price points in your shop, and making more complimentary items that are less time consuming. Think of each listing as a net to bring people into your shop - folks may see a listing that is not something they would purchase, but it brings them into your shop to explore for something that they would purchase.

Goals for followers, readers, likes, etc - I see lots of folks that are trying to increase the number of people that they reach on various social media and blogging outlets. If this is your goal, then please consider how you are going to reach this goal. Are you going to ask people to like, follow, etc to get extra entries into a giveaway? Are you going to give a discount or coupon code to the folks that follow you on social media? Are you going to actively seek folks that would find your content interesting? Are you going to join groups that encourage followings? All of these are possibilities, but with no real guarantee that your readership will increase. There is also no guarantee that these people will stick with you and not unfollow you after the contest is over. Consider the content you are giving readers, consider if your shop is benefiting from your time to build readership, consider if these social media outlets are proven to increase the sales and profits in your shop.

Starting new endeavors - websites, blogs, facebook pages, new products, etc - I see lots and lots of folks that are aspiring to start a new endeavor. I often hear that most of these folks haven't already done these things because they simply haven't had the time. However, I often don't see them address how they are going to make the time to start it, and the maintenance involved once it is created. So, if this is one of your goals, try setting aside a certain amount of time each day or week to work on it, and then know that you will need to continue to dedicate this amount of time in the future to maintain it, promote it, and move it in a forward direction. Again, consider if these new endeavors are going to bring you sales, customers, and future profitability.

Organizing time, workspaces, etc - I think that this is a very common goal with entrepreneurs as it is very hard to really know how much time you are going to work on your business before you are actually in business. As you are planning for these goals consider your personal work style. What time of day are you most productive? Are their other activities that you need to plan for? What things are you not getting done now, could they be done by someone else, and by doing them are you improving your business or personal life? What things are you going to let go to free up time? Why is your workspace not organized already? Could you benefit by hiring a professional to organize your time or space? How do you work best?

Back to Sales and Profit - As far as business goes, sales and profit and perhaps enjoyability need to be the basis of making and reaching all other goals. Keep sales, profits, and enjoyability in the back of your head when planning all of your other goals.

So, in closing, you may feel a bit like I am not a fan of resolutions and goals. However, this is completely false. I love making goals and reaching those goals. I just generally don't start making goals and resolutions on January 1st. The beginning of my year always starts with making an action plan and thinking about the feasibility of actually reaching goals that I set. Once the tinsel is vacuumed, the decorations are down, and that new calendar is cracked open, I reflect on the past year, what I want to different in the new year, and how exactly I am going to get there. Sometime between January 15th and February 1st I put those goals on paper, and I have a clear idea how I am going to reach those goals.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Business Planning Resources

It's the start of a new year - the perfect time to make business goals and plan for the year ahead.  I've rounded up some resources to help you get started!

Tax Organization Tips via Oh My! Handmade Goodness
Free Planning Tool Set via Marie Forleo