January '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 4 P R I N T W E A R J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 9 2 4 P R I N T W E A R J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 9 EMBROIDERY EMBROIDERY What Are Your Priorities? Stitch Solutions J e n n i f e r C o x S tart 2019 off right by recognizing where your business is right now and then decid- ing where you want it to be by the end of 2019. To get where you want to go, you need to know where you are and where you want to end up. Once you know those two points, you can then fill in the blanks in between so that you do indeed shift from point A to point B. WHAT DO YOU WANT? How would you sum up 2018 for your business? Was it successful, or not as much as you had hoped? Was it challenging, or more than you could handle? Was it rewarding, or overwhelm- ing? Did you make enough money, or not nearly enough? Was your work schedule manage- able, or did work disrupt your personal life more than you anticipated? Only you know what measurements matter to you, your business, and your life. When I first joined our family business, I worked a crazy amount of hours every week because I had nothing else to do. My social life was more than two hours away once I moved home to get into the embroi- dery business. I was able to see my friends only on the weekends. From Monday morning through late Fri- day afternoon, it was all about build- ing the embroidery business. I met with customers morning, noon, and night. It did not matter to me when I was available! Then I got engaged. My now husband of 25-plus years moved to where I was. Suddenly, I was no longer as accommodating when a customer asked me to meet him at 7 a.m. or 8 p.m. at a job site. I had to revise my thinking about my work hours and what would work in my changing world. Not long after we married, we adopted our children. Once again, my priorities underwent another major revision. This is an example from my life of how I became aware of what was important to me and how that changes. For some people, it will be about how much freedom you have in your schedule, not hav- ing to answer to a boss, earning money while being home with the family, having a creative outlet for which you are paid, or creating the perfect product for that special occasion is what makes you happy. There are no right or wrong priorities, no right or wrong answers. They are your answers, and those are based on what matters the most to you. Think back over the past year. When did things go well, feel good, and make you go, "I am so glad that I get to do this"? Wouldn't it be great if you could build more of that into your business? Is it the kind of work you were doing or the people you were doing it with or for? Was it the amount of work involved, or the lack there- of, while you were making a profit? Was it the amount of profit you brought in from specific orders? Was it the time you spent meeting with customers or the time you spent running the machines? These are just examples. When you identify which parts of the process of owning and running your business are your "sweet spots," it becomes much easier to then plan ways to spend more time or effort so that you are doing the things that give you the biggest benefits. The trick is knowing what works for you and then finding ways to ensure that you are spending the majority of your time working on that aspect of your business. If you love running the machines, find someone to handle the customer side of the process and outsource your sales process. If you love the sales process, hire someone to run your machines or start outsourcing the orders so that you can talk with customers all day, every day. If you get a big boost after creating an awesome logo for a new customer but dread having to digitize it, keep the design process for yourself and send out the final design to have it digitized. If you feel good setting up and tracking the orders, handling the paperwork, and keeping the whole system moving smoothly, stay in your managerial role and hire to keep the machines running.

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