GRAPHICS PRO

Start Here October '22

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32 graphics-pro.com S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 2 be a biz-dev wizard or memorize the tax code, but the off-the-cuff costing, pricing, and money management that often hap- pens when you only do occasional com- missioned craft projects isn't a long-term strategy for running a business. Do your research, look for resources that help peo- ple starting small businesses, find mentors in your local community, and be ready to hire out the critical things you can't do. FIND YOUR FOCUS You can be pulled in myriad direc- tions by each creative project's possibili- ties. ough experimentation is good, not every project, product, or technique is meant to be part of your business. Define your target customer's needs, play to your strengths, and focus on things that fit that mold, especially while you are establishing yourself in business. Always question new ventures requir- ing an equipment purchase. If you aren't profitable with your existing equipment and the new market and its processes are unclear, give some attention to your core work before taking on the expense. Adding equipment or techniques can enhance your offerings and profit, but you don't always need the newest item to bolster your business. You must know to whom you'd sell a new product or process well before you buy-in. KNOW YOUR COSTS Many early commercial embroi- derers underprice their work because they feel unsure of their skills, doing so at the peril of their businesses. is is especially true when they've made capital invest- ments and have regular lease payments looming. When setting your price, you need to know what it costs to run your machine, keep a roof over your head, and roughly know your costs for mate- rials. You must estimate how much time is involved in each job and calculate a price that not only accounts for costs but pays you a wage for the work you do and includes profit for the business. You can't do that adequately if you don't know your costs in materials, overhead, and time. When setting your price, you need to know what it costs to run your machine, keep a roof over your head, and roughly know your costs for materials. To my commercial contemporaries, my greatest tip for you is to keep playing. Take at least one hour, if not a few hours, to try something new, experiment with a wild idea, or even lurk in some home embroidery and fiber-arts circles just to get inspired. 2 3

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