After the holidays, it is only natural to look forward to a fresh start in 2016. In doing so, it is common to make resolutions for the new year. The problem that people run into is the lack of follow through. Let’s take a look at some of the top business goals you may have already added to your list of resolutions. Afterwards, we’ll give you some tips to keep those resolutions beyond the first month of the year.
We’ve gathered some ideas from various sources and added some of our own ideas. These resolutions are in no particular order.
1. Start a small business. Perhaps this is the year you take the plunge and start a new business. There is a lot involved with starting a business, so begin by researching, not just soap designs or cosmetic recipes, but all of the typically business and regulatory topics that creative people often overlook. To be successful, you need to do a lot of work before selling your very first project.
2. Evaluate your current offerings. This is not something that is often looked at by small business owners, but it is critical to your success. Look at your current offerings, list your sales for each, determine which are money makers, and remove the ones that aren’t selling. Yes, there is a little bit of work involved. You’ll need to look at last year’s sales, and if you took good records, you should be able to see exactly which products are selling and which aren’t. It doesn’t matter how much you love that gardenia body scrub, if it isn’t selling, get it out of your shop and focus on the products that do well. Also, eliminate any products you hate to make. It will become a chore to dread as time moves on. If you hate it, scrap it.
3. Focus on recurring revenue. Most business experts agree that the best way to increase sales is by keeping your current customers coming back for more, rather than continually searching for new ones. If you don’t seem to have repeat customers, talk to your one-time buyers and find out why, and fix the issues.
4. Learn something new. If you don’t know much about swirling your soap, using good manufacturing practices, following government regulations, or getting your scent to last in your products, it’s time to learn something new. We offer classes for those looking for a comprehensive program that covers all aspects of making products from beginner to advanced. If you are looking to learn a new technique here or there, try following some of the industry leaders who often share videos and tutorials on just about everything. There is a time for formal education and a time for keeping up with trends and new techniques. Decide your goals and determine if an in depth program will better suit your needs versus free YouTube videos.
5. Find a niche. Want to really grow your business, find a way to stand out from the crowd by coming up with a niche. Specializing in a certain product or experience allows you to target particular customers who are more likely to buy from you.
6. Tweak your social media. If you are active on social media, determine how much time you spend on it. If it is more than 30 mins a day, consider turning it off and working only for a set amount of time. If you are not on social media, learn more about it, including where your customers hang out. Make a plan and work no more than 30 minutes per day on implementing your plan.
7. Develop a business plan. This is scary for a lot of people, but so necessary. ‘If you want to survive, let alone grow every year, evaluate what’s going on with your business, your customers, competition, finances and operations.’ says Rhonda Abrams. Not having a plan is reckless. You don’t have to write it all in one day. Decide how to break the document in pieces and work on it throughout the year. If you have one already, look at it and make sure you are on track.
8. Increase profits. If you are not making a profit in your business, you need to find out what is wrong. Start with looking at your pricing. Did you actually decide on a profit and include it on each bar of soap or lip balm? If not, tweak your prices. If you don’t want to raise your prices, then cut costs. Shopping around, replacing more expensive ingredients with lower priced alternatives, and buying in bulk are all ways to increase your profit margin. You can also consider investing in tools that speed your production saving time and labor costs.
9. Get help. For anything you do not like to do or do not have the expertise to do, find help. Accountants, attorneys, and assistants can save you time and money, besides keeping you out of trouble. If you need help labeling products for a big craft fair, try asking family for help. You’d be surprised how much less stressful the process will be when the work is shared.
10. Face your demons. We all have fears in business. You would be surprised how many people fear failure to the point that it is detrimental or avoid asking for sales or business for fear of rejection. Don’t let these fears halt your success. Face them head on, find support, and surround yourself with those that will encourage you. I promise that every time you do something scary, it will be a little easier the next time. And if you do fail or get rejected, it is not the end of the world. Try again!
We will be addressing these resolutions throughout the year giving you more in depth advice to achieve your goals.