Awards & Engraving

August '19

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GROWING OUT OF YOUR HOME Let's say you've had a run of successful years and think it's time to kick the busi- ness "out of the nest." Try this formula for finding your shop some new digs. Calculate the square footage of the space you cur- rently occupy in your home — the foot- print of the production area, office space, and storage. Add 25 to 35% to that figure, allowing for future growth and room to receive and meet with customers. Find a good commercial real estate agent and have him/her show you a handful of storefronts or industrial spaces of the size you determine that your business can be transplanted. Envision the layout of workflow through the shop and where you would place your office, showroom, cash register, phones, and utilities. Have the agent quote what the monthly lease/rent payment would be for each space. No doubt, you've heard the expression "location, location, location" when the topic of value in real estate arises. Paying a bit more per square foot for an easily accessible, heavily trafficked, highly visible storefront compared to an inconvenient, dusty industrial park location may be the best decision you'll make. After you select your favorite commercial space but before you sign a contract, go back to your business and recalculate the effect a lease/rent payment would have on your price list. Many businesses factor in the cost of overhead when setting prices. You are get- ting ready to increase your overhead costs dramatically by moving your business to a bigger facility that is not your home. Since you may be months away from moving, I recommend fictitiously assuming you are now paying rent for your business and adjust your prices across the board to reflect the additional expense. If you want to announce the price increases in a stair- step manner over the next year, that's your prerogative. At least your loyal clientele won't have to endure the sticker shock of significantly higher prices on day one of your new location. SOME FINAL THOUGHTS Consider having a separate P.O. box for the business or modifying your address to include something that makes it sound like you have an office. For example, you could have your same street address, but then add "Suite A" or "Suite 100." Routinely and consistently answer the phone in a professional manner and have a professional-sounding voicemail greeting. Have professional-looking invoices. You can generate those using Quick- Books or whatever accounting software you have. Accept all forms of payment, including credit cards, and offer frequent buyer programs to reward loyalty. Finally, a smart way to position yourself as a legit business is to develop an attractive logo, memorable tagline, have an intuitive web presence, develop a friendly and infor- mative social media presence, and advertise professionally. Good luck! A&E 80 a-e-mag.com • A&E AUGUST 2019

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