When you think about growing your business, what is the first thing you think you have to do? Most people automatically go to getting more sales but, very few actually have a plan on how to get there or the systems in place to support that growth.
What happens if you blow up overnight? Are you prepared to scale? Do you have the systems and procedures in place to easily outsource or hire, manage inventory, etc.? Here are a few things you can do help make sure you are setup to grow successfully
First things first, you need a place to sell. Facebook and invoicing will get old fast so, if you do not have a website, now is the time to build one.
Step One: Choose your host: Shopify, Wix, Etsy, Amazon, WooCommerce/Wordpress, Etsy etc.
Step Two: Find a good layout or theme. Remember to keep the shopper's experience in mind. You will want your site to be functional and easy to navigate. Before you upload all your products, build it out. Then upload a few products and get opinions from an outside audience on looks, ease-of-use, and branding. Watch a family member navigate your website and write down where they got confused or seemed not clear on how to navigate.
The more user-friendly, the bigger the conversion rate
Step Three: Add a pop-up to collect email addresses and phone numbers to text (we use Klavyio on our retail site)
Step Four: REVISE REVISE REVISE. Your website will take many revisions to get it perfect. It will not be done in a day, or a week, or even a month. I'd rather see you take your time and set it up right than the setup a shitty site and work your ass off the push people to your site just to have them jump off it quickly because it is not user-friendly. SO TAKE YOUR EFFING TIME - IT'S NOT A RACE.
Step Five: Upload your products
Make sure each product has your own internal SKU associated with it and those SKUs are entered into each and every one of your products online. If you are running a "made to order" model, use the raw material SKU.
Example of a SKU We use:
20 Oz White Glossy Skinny Tumbler (Raw Material): TUM-001W
20 Oz Stainless Steel Skinny Tumbler (Raw Material) - TUM-001SS
20 Oz Stainless Steel Skinny Tumbler (I'm A Fucking Delight) - TUM-001W.034 (034 is the design number we assigned to "I'm A Fucking Delight" Design)
Be sure you are somehow tracking your inventory whether it is in excel or, in a system (most systems have a monthly fee associated with it). At tcbco, we use InFlow Inventory and a barcode scanner to track our inventory. It does not sync with all our platforms but, it gives us live feeds of our inventory levels and sends alerts when a product gets low.
If you do not have a good inventory management system in place, you will NOT be able to scale in an organized manner...trust us.
Write down all the main functions of your business, even if it is just you doing all of them for now. Here's a suggested list to start with:
- COO/Director of Operations
- CFO/Director of Finances
- Listing/Administrative Associate
- Shipping/Packing Associate
- Directory of Marketing
Attach a basic list of job descriptions to each one of the important roles in your organization. This will help you choose which tasks you want to outsource or, hire for when the time is right.
I will preach this in every post I possibly can. I can not stress the importance of having the steps to the jobs you do DOCUMENTED. This makes transitioning tasks easy, hiring back-up easy, and your business more valuable.
Start by choosing the things that you do on repeat every day and document the steps. If you're doing sublimation, start by documenting how to print designs. Make sure to note the sizes for the products, how would one know which design to print, etc. Document where to find files...document every thing. At the end of it, you should be able to have a complete stranger step in and, for the most part, be able to do the job without having to be coached.
Do you have a marketing strategy documented? Even listing things like:
GROWING MY AUDIENCE:
- Post 10 Instagram photos a week with 5 relevant hashtags
- 15 stories every 3 days
- Post 1 blog post a week
- Pin 50 pins in pinterest a month
- Record and post 5 TikToks a week
CONNECTING WITH MY CURRENT AUDIENCE:
- Collect and send 3 Emails/Texts to my audience a week
- Post and engage with my facebook group at least once a day
- Go Live be-weekly and show off products/make products
This is a VERY basic numerical plan/strategy but it's SOMETHING. Then, you have to pencil in when you're going to do these things and how long it is going to take.
We do "batch working" here so, if I want to post 10 Instagram photos a week, I know I will need 2 hours to take and edit those photos. So, I block out 2 hours on a Thursday or Friday to take and edit those photos and then 1 hour to schedule and write the captions.
The more you post, the better. Just monitor what is getting engagement and what the best times to post are. Not every post will be successful depending on the time, interaction etc so, feel free to take your photo and reformat it in with Canva and schedule a re-post. Not every one is seeing all your posts all the time....one more time....NOT EVERY ONE IS SEEING YOUR POSTS. So, do not get discouraged with low engagement rates.
AT THEN END OF THE DAY, REMEMBER THIS SHIT
Remember that starting and running a business is all about morphing into a way to get your business to WORK FOR YOU. You should not have to work for your business. So, be sure you are observing what's working but, more importantly, what's not working and changing your strategy to better align with what IS working.
Also, do not be afraid to try new shit!!! Get out there, make the content, take the photos, do the lives and show off your insecurities instead of hiding them. Remember how much I hate my crooked bottom tooth? Now, I just own it and talk about it all the time.
Be the face of your business, be raw, let people see the real you and amazing things will happen!