9 months ago
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Get Proactive --- the Crafty Retailer will Manage her Business, not simply Respond to it!
I still love new beginnings---the dreaming, the optimism, the hope. Like the rest of the world, I have my standard resolutions: this will be the year I finally deal with the family photos, lose the weight, quit giving my dog so many treats so that she can lose her weight....as well as the more important ones: speak only with respect to those I love and keep my mouth shut if I am afraid it won't come out that way...and so on. Yup, to my optimistic January self everything is possible and I have 12 months to get it done! Totally "doable!" Right? Right! C'mon...I know you know what I am talking about!
What about your business dreams? Have you been thinking just as hard about those? Sometimes I find myself so busy in the course of my day/week/month/life that it is tempting to steal time from other parts of my life just to keep up. We are all busy, yet some business owners always seem to be moving forward, while others are forever racing to catch up.
What is the Crafty Retailer to do?
MAKE THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS A PRIORITY IN 2010! My typical day is jam packed and I am sure that yours is equally so. There is never enough time. This is how my yesterday played out:
6:10 Wake up daughter, then empty diswasher
6:20 Wake up daughter again and this time, MEAN IT
6:40 Open the gate and wave good by to daughter
7:15 ASAP..get dressed and ready for the day
7:45 House is straightened and a load of laundry is merrily bouncing around in the washer.
7:50 Walk outside and travel the few steps to work (Yeah... no commute. I am really lucky). Check email and get down to business.
8:30 Leave for mammogram appointment.
9:45 Thank God THAT is over for another year! All is well in Boobland. Take a quick detour to pick up feed for the chickens.
10:30 Back to work. Oops. Almost forgot that I needed to speak to daughter's Guidance Counselor regarding a school issue. Make the call, leave a message. Back to work. Work, work, work. Give the dogs a treat because they are so darn cute. OMG! No wonder they are hungry...I forgot to feed them breakfast. Immediately stop what I am doing and go back in the house. Remember to give Rosie the diet food. Feed dogs, move over laundry. Back to the office. Take a few minutes to remember what I was doing and get back to business. Check my email. Big mistake...more distractions! Where was I? Work, work, work. Call from Guidance Counselor. Mission accomplished....now where was I? Work, work, work! Pop some popcorn for lunch. Still hungry. Drink coffee instead of eating anything else. We are still short staffed due to the holiday. Argh! I don't have time to do what I need to do. Look at the clock. EEK! Time is running out!
3:30 Daughter is home from school. Take a few minutes to connect with her and inquire about the day. Talk about what is for dinner. Nag her about homework and messy room. Try not to sound naggy while I nag. Hmm...judging by the look on her face it is not working. Oh well, I am a mom. I nag, she gets annoyed. It is what we do!
6:30 Husband home, dinner almost ready.
7:00 Eat dinner as a family. Start to decompress.
8:30 Kitchen clean, glass of wine in hand, watch TV with the family. Try to finish embroidering new felted necklace. It is so cool~I am totally loving it!
10:00 Husband watching a movie on HBO. I turn on the computer to try to do some work but I feel guilty. I will feel even worse if I don't get this done. I keep working but try to remain somewhat engaged in the show.
10:30 Decide that I cannot do it....my husband deserves some attention too. Put away the laptop and vow to wake up early tomorrow..will catch up on computer work then. Scootch closer to my husband and feel like a good wife. Do you see my halo glowing? Happy sigh.
10:40 Fall asleep on the couch. OOPS.
And so it goes...sometimes I wake up early the next morning and sometimes I don't. Fortunately, while it is true that yesterday represented a typical workday for me, it does not represent my typical work planning day. Every business owner should have one...do you?
I have one day every week---usually Wednesday or Thursday--when there is a major rule change. I do not spend time on the phone and I do not have much interaction with staff. I "hermitize" and NOTHING gets in my way. I do not meet with the accountant, I do not order merchandise, work on the blog, or put our fires. I do not handle day to day business issues AT ALL. Planning days are SACRED because they are the days when I move the business forward. I dream, I plan, I put pencil to paper. I read marketing books. I have conversations with my mentor. I read business blogs and see how I am measuring up. In short, I focus on the Business of Business!
My Planning Day, which in reality often shrinks to a half a day, has changed my life. It has clarified my vision and kept me focused on the ball. The day keeps me fresh and has empowered me. I am much less reactive, and much more proactive. You have a lot of time and money invested in your business. Don't sell it short! Give it the time it requires in order to be successful.
You might not be able to give yourself a full day each week, so start small. A few years back I was overwhelmed and sick to my stomach. The business was in a bad place and there was never enough time in the day. I happened to be stuck in traffic and I WAS TOO BUSY FOR THIS! I spent way too much time sitting in traffic. I was family chauffeur and my husband thought my business was a nice little hobby. I was frustrated and losing control.
Fortunately, I stopped feeling sorry for myself long enough to notice that the van in front of my car was marked "Dry Cleaning to Your Door. Hmmm----a mobile dry cleaning service---perfect for Too Busy Me! The business number was listed on the van and I used my cell phone to call it, right then and there. The owner answered and it turned out that he was the driver of the vehicle in front of me. Better yet, his prices were the same as my regular dry cleaner. He agreed to follow me home, took the dry cleaning from me and brought it back the next day. Whew! I found an hour and you can find one too!
In fact, I bet you can find a few extra hours if you get creative and make finding them a real priority. Get to the store early two or three days each week. Have an agenda for each of those hours and stick to it. You will be amazed by what you accomplish! YOU CAN DO IT ---your business is counting on you!
In other news:
I am organizing a small group of crafty store owners who "Fly Solo" to network together for support and inspiration. We currently have a group of ten brave souls who operate without a partner or any full time help. These ladies represent a variety of craft genres--they are bead, quilt, and yarn shop owners. If you would like to participate, please send me an email this week. We will be kicking things off next week---it should be fun and informative for all!