What to do in the "Middle" of Business
During one of my “Coaching Friday” events, you guys asked me what I did in the “middle” of my business with Rebekah Scott Designs. I LOVE this question because it’s rarely talked about. There’s SO much information out there about how to start a business but not much about what to do when you’re hustling to make it grow. After 15 years in business, I have some insights for you!
1. Gather Data
- What’s working? And what is broken or not working?
- What is your current business size?
- How much have you grown since the second year or start date? What is your growth chart? What is forecasted? (Your accountant can answer these questions!)
- Ask yourself “What 20% of your job is making 80% of your profit?” and find out how to pursue that more! (Mine is going to art shows and getting to see the customers and interacting with them.)
- Conduct a customer survey (ask 5-6 questions) and get some constructive feedback! This information is SO VALUABLE!
- How much are your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) or direct costs associated with making your product? You MUST know these numbers to know what price to charge, etc.!
- What is your profit margin?
- What is your payroll percentage?
2. Study your Trends
- When did you make the most money and why? (Peak season, peak product or peak audience?)
- When are you slowest and why? (Retail or lack of something new? Or were you working IN your business and not ON the business?)
- When do your social media posts get the most engagement?
- When do you see the most involvement/engagement with your business? After a post, video or email? What day of the week, times of day, events, etc.? (For RSD, videos and Sunday night live events with Nick and I are HUGE and get us lots of engagement!)
3. Clean-Up House
- What day-to-day items could be cleaned up, regrouped or exonerated?
- Look at employees and review their job descriptions, review subscription services you no longer use or get your money’s worth from, review systems in-house such as: mailing, organizing, weekly lists, emails. Are they concise? How often do they get opened? What is your click through rate?
- Have tough conversations with yourself or ask the tough questions of your staff. (For me, it was saying goodbye to sales reps and home trunk shows.)
4. Decide if you want a growth year!
- Think on your forecast (that an accountant could give you) for the next 2-3 years and how you will get there?
- Decide if this is a growth year and how you will pursue it. How much are you willing to spend to see it grow? (For RSD, this was working with the Alluvio consulting firm. I spent a HUGE amount to grow through three phases. We only reached phase one but I still recovered my cost, just slower than expected. What I learned was to ask more questions and negotiate. Also, it never hurts to get 2nd opinions or ask for option B!)
- What growth percentage do you want? And does that require more time per week or more employees to get there or delegate work to so you can work on big ideas?
- Will you hire a marketing firm or marketing person? How much will you spend? (My marketing gal is Melissa Heckel of M.Heckel Designs and she is AMAZING! I would suggest for 20% growth, you will need to spend 20% more than your current budget and have a well thought out plan per post! It’s also important to know when to pull ads, etc.)
5. Ask yourself “What will business look like in the next 5 years?”
- Be tough but think BIG! “Where will I be?” (For me, it’s building a barn studio, employing 40 people, only designing and coordinating fabrics so no more production like serging and kit making. I want to write a 2nd book and have an national podcast, host Encourager Workshops once a month, quit working every day at 3pm, grossing X amount and designing home lines!)
Take some time, do your homework and really think this through. These shifts could cause BIG, AWESOME things to happen for you and your business!
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