Today I am going to show you the routine planning that I do every weekend using my Embroidery Business Planning Forms. I take Saturday morning to do my weekly planning but if something gets in the way, I will do it on Sunday afternoon. This helps to keep me on track and keeps my mind from wandering around trying to figure out what to do next. I always know what to do next!
Start Planning Small! If you have not been in the habit of monthly, weekly, or daily planning, you need to start today, but start small. I know that in all of the books about planning it says to start out with your entire year first, then your month, then your week, and then your day! To me, this was impossible when I first started my business. I could not relate to that because I really did not know what I was going to be doing in a year and I did not have any type of a plan in place.
I started by planning out my day at the end of the day before. I worked hard to try and complete what I had on my list to do. I also found out what I could realistically do in a day’s time. Once I got used to that and saw how much more smoothly my days started running, I planned out my entire week on a Master plan and then created the daily plan from there.
I have never found a planner that totally worked for me and I have been creating my own planning sheets for several years. Over the years they have changed and the set that I use now works out great for me. I will share those with you.
Now I have a basic plan for the year, but my Master Plan is mainly a plan for one quarter at a time. To me, that is much more realistic. I have specific goals that I set for each 90-day cycle and without my Master Plan, I would never reach them!
I have 5 sheets that I work with. I created them in a Word Doc and saved them as a .pdf and print out the set for each quarter, month, week, and day. I print out 6 pages for the week. I do not print one out for Sunday. I keep Sundays as free as possible. Saturday’s plan is usually personal stuff going on and not much business except for my planning.
Set of Embroidery Business Planning Forms
- Annual Plan – Print 1 Page
- Quarter Plan – Print 4 Pages for year
- Monthly Plan – Print 3 Pages per Quarter
- Weekly Plan – Print 4 Pages per Month
- Daily Plan – Print 6 Pages per week
You do not need to print out any more than you need for one quarter at a time. I only print out the Daily planning sheets when I need them on Saturday to start my weekly planning.
At the beginning of each quarter, I sit down and go over what I accomplished during the last quarter. Was I happy with what I accomplished and if not, what can I do to turn that around so that I can still accomplish my goals for the year?
Quarter Goal Sheet.
I figure out what I need to do during this next quarter to work toward my annual goal. I divide that goal up into 3 pieces, one part for each month.
Monthly Goal Sheet
I then add that Monthly Goal to the Monthly Goal Sheet and divide that up into 4 weeks. I look at everything that I need to do and add that to my sheet during the week that I will need to get that goal done.
Weekly Goal Sheet
I then add the 4 pieces to each of the 4 Weekly Goal sheets and figure out what pieces to get done during each of the 4 weeks.
Now it is time to go over everything that needs to be done during that week and add them to each of the 6 Daily plans. This must include your personal and business appointments, tasks, and phone calls that you need to get done. Don’t forget to allow time to go over your finances and see where are you by the end of the week.
Friday afternoon is my time to go over my numbers. This is a very important time and should not be ignored. This also gives you an insight as to what you need to do the next week in order to get closer to your goal. If you will follow this system, you will find it much easier to plan and keep yourself on track.
If you would like my set of Embroidery Business Planning Forms, fill in the form below and I will send them to you.
Here we are, the beginning of the last quarter of this year is here. It just sort of snuck up on me. Are you prepared for this last quarter? I have to admit, I really was not. Get started planning for the 4th Quarter today. When I look back on the 3rd quarter, I really did not get as much accomplished as I wanted. I was working my plan but I had a lot of life sequences get in my way, but that really is nothing new!
Last weekend, I looked back on the 3rd quarter and started planning for the 4th quarter of this year. I have to really step up on it if I want to reach my goal for the year! Have you looked back on the 3rd quarter and figured out what you really did accomplish and what you did not get done that you had in your plan?
Let's face it, we all want to have a business that we love! We all want to start each day with the feeling of I can't wait to get started today! Your business is a very serious venture and if you do not plan it out and work you plan, you are just running a hobby and you would be better off doing something else with your time unless of course this is the kind of life that you want! For me, I want to know what I am doing and what I need to do each day of my week and month. I wake up each morning with my plan in place and I know exactly what I have to get done that day and I do whatever I can to get it accomplished.
Does it always happen, No, but I sure do work at it hard enough and try to get it all accomplished? Without a written plan, I would not know what I had to get done by the end of this day, week, or this month in order to reach my goal.
Here Are 3 Tips To Help Get Started Planning For The 4th Quarter Easier!
- Set Your Goals!
Do not set goals too high that you cannot reach them and do not set them so low that they do not mean anything. Set your goals a little out of your reach so that you do have to stretch in order to reach them. Write down your Goals. I have found that if I commit to them on paper, not just on the computer, but actually writing them down they mean a lot more and I am more apt to follow through and reach my goals. You must create a plan for each one of your goals in order to be able to reach them.
- Reach Out for Help!
I used to create my plans in cycles of 60 days, but I have decided that I am going to start working in the 3 months quarters to reach my goals and get everything done that I want to be done at the end of this quarter. I have to reach out for help. I have hired someone else to help me and have given them instructions as to what I need to be done. When you are the main person in your business and the only one running it, trying to get everything done is impossible. There are tasks that you can hire out to take some of the big burdens off of your shoulders. This may be simply having someone come in and clean your home for you periodically. It may be someone that can run errands for you. Before my husband retired, I had someone do small errands for me each week, like going to the post office and making my bank deposits. This freed up a lot of time for me. I also have someone that does all of my bookkeeping for me.
I found that this was one of the areas that was really bogging me down. I have heard embroiderers say, as soon as I get enough money to hire someone I will, and it will be easier. This is the wrong way of thinking. Thinking like that will not be productive for you and you will find that that day will never come. You cannot get ahead and do everything yourself unless of course you are just starting out and you do not have much work. Once the work starts coming in, you cannot afford to try and do everything yourself because some of the other areas of your business will suffer when you are trying to get your embroidery work done.
- Find Out Where You Stand Financially!
Before I hired a bookkeeper, I was always behind with my books and before I knew it, the year was half gone and I had no idea where I was. I did not know if I was making a profit or losing money. I had a vague idea and I knew what was in my bank account, but it was very frustrating for me not to know where I stood.
If you do not know where you are financially, it can really put your whole business in a tailspin and it is usually a downward spiral. You need to know where you are at all times so that you can make the proper adjustments to change whatever needs to be changed. You must also be willing to say NO! This is another area that is a hard one for most of us embroiderers! I know that is a hard one for me, but I have come to the conclusion that I cannot do it all, and what is not creating the most profit for me is gone! You need to know which area of your business is profitable and which area is not. This is the only way that you can realistically make the right course corrections.
Tomorrow I will show my Weekly Routine For Planning! It is very simple!
In Part 1 of Organizing Your Embroidery Business, I talked about organizing your information that you use in running your embroidery business. In Part 2 I l talked about your customers design information. In Part 3 I am going to talk about your Production process.
The first step of my production process is to log in the job on the log in form, make a list of new artwork that has to be created and either gives that to the person that creates the artwork or sends it out to the digitizer. If I have to order anything for the project, I do so and put a copy of the original customer order in a plastic sleeve and hang it in the receiving area waiting for the goods to come in. A production form is filled out with the customer and job information on it that follows through the entire production process. The original order is placed into the customers file folder in the office. I connect that order and the production form with the goods when they arrive.
After the design is ready, I place that with the order and it is then placed onto a shelf ready for hooping. If you have employees, it is best to have at least one job hooped ahead of time. This creates a smoother and faster production flow. When I had my large embroidery business, I have all of the jobs hooped the day before they were placed onto the embroidery machines. I had 24 dozen hoops of the most popular sizes (12 centimeter and 15 centimeter) so that this was possible, unless the order sizes were larger than 24 dozen. Sometimes this was the case, but at least the first 24 dozen pieces for the job was hooped ahead of time.
At the time for embroidery, the baskets of hooped garments are moved to the embroidery machine area and the machine operator can start the embroidery process. The design is loaded into the machine by whatever process you use to get your designs into the machine. The garment are then loaded onto the machine and embroidered. After they are embroidered, they are removed from the machine, unhooped and placed into another basket or bin and moved to the trimming area.
The trimmer will trim, steam, fold and pack the garments ready to be shipped. In a large business this will be more than one person. You will have a person that trims and steams and another one that will fold and pack the garments ready for shipping.
The production form is filled out by the operator with all of the information about each process as it passes through production.
Part 4 of Organizing Your Embroidery Business will be about shipping and invoicing procedures.
A business plan will give you a clear direction on the steps you intend to take in the running of your embroidery business and help you to stay on track so that your business can grow.
A key element to writing a great, actionable embroidery business plan is to take it piece by piece. You can begin by planning out your day-to-day actions. A great Simple Working Plan needs to be laid out at the end of every day. Set aside a few minutes to write down the things that need to be done the following day, prioritize them, and you are ready for the next day‚’s work.
When you are in the habit of planning the next day‚’s work, you can move on to planning your week. At the end of every week, set aside some time to lay out your next week‚’s work. This will help you to know if you have spots open for more embroidery work as it comes in.
As the planning progresses and you are able to schedule out a few weeks' worths of work, you are then ready to really think about how to plan out your entire embroidery business.
An important part of any business plan is to include how you intend to check your progress along the way. Because there are so many different types of business plans, some you find may already include this, and some may not. In either circumstance, you will want to create for yourself a simple plan or roadmap to help you check your progress and make sure you are staying on track.
This simple embroidery business plan will require you to do some research on your embroidery competition, what is going on in your market and what you can do to stand out from the crowd.
You will also want to write down why you want this embroidery business and what goals you intend to reach as a result. These will be your markers and help you to create a plan that is real and one that you will actually use!
Now, if you are planning on seeking financial assistance, then you will need to progress to a formal business plan. This will take some more research so that you have the right facts and figures to present to the financial institution. Take your time and fill this in as you use your simple business plan.
It does not matter if you are using a simple plan only or if you are writing a formal Embroidery business plan, it is important to remember that you will be making changes to your embroidery business plan and will adjust it as you go, just make sure that you are referring to your plan to help keep you on course and using it to help you make the right decisions.
The Embroidery Coach
I want to share with you how to create a system for embroidering team names on jackets or shirts. This time-saving system that I came up with for embroidering team names on jackets or shirts is very simple and as indicated, it is a huge time saver! I take my list of names that I received from my customer and arrange my items in the same order as the names on the sheet.
I take the list of names and put it on my copier and increase them in size by 200%. After that, I will cut all the names apart on my sheet and then tape them to each item according to the size.
After that, I hoop all the items and then stack them in order according to how they’ll be embroidered and how the names are on my sheet because I don’t want any mistakes. That is in the exact same order that the customer gave them to me and that’s how I will be sending them back.
When I set up the names in my Pulse software, I set them up in a Name Stack. By that I mean I set up each name, put a color change between each one and then literally stack one name on top of another name in the software. This way they all start in the center and in the exact same place.
With the color change command between each name, I set the machine so that it automatically stops when it sees a color change command. When I put the first item into the machine and get it all set in place for the first name, it will embroider the first name and then stop.
This allows me the time to take out that first item and put in the next item on the list. I continue this until I am finished with the entire list of names. As the next one is embroidering, I remove the hoop, trim and stack the last one. I can embroider about 40 items in an hour on a single head machine using this method.
If you have a multi-head machine, you load the entire machine, again in the right order that the names will be embroidered, turn all of the heads off except head no. 1. Start the process with head no. 1 and when the first name is completed, turn off head no. 1 and turn on head no. 2 and continue this process until each one is completed.
You can create this system for embroidering names on jackets in any embroidery design software. It will work, trust me on that! No matter what I am charging, wholesale or retail this is a huge moneymaker! Try it, you will like it, I promise.
You can see how to go through the embroidery process inside of the Embroidery Business Academy in Skill Set No. 1. You will find it in Embroidery Production, inside of Embroidery Basics.
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