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
Having your business well organized and planned out is very important and a must if you want to profit in your embroidery business! I want to share with you the 9 steps that it takes in planning for a successful and profitable embroidery business!
Before I get started, I want to ask you a few very important questions, questions that you need to think seriously about. I also want to tell you that at the end of this presentation, I will be sharing an opportunity with you that if you take me up on it, you will be able to get your business organized much quicker and will have all of the tools to work with in order to be able to do it more efficiently. This will be huge in being able to get your business set up properly and get you on the right path to profit in your embroidery business.
- About how much planning do you think do you for your business on a daily basis?
- Do you have a Business Plan, One that you can actually use to run your business?
- Do you have a Marketing Plan?
- Do you have Specific Goals for your business?
- Is your embroidery business on track for meeting its goals this year?
- Do you have a plan in place for the lean times?
- Do you have a plan for each area of your business?
And the most important question of all!
- Do you run your business or does your business run you?
Planning for your Embroidery Business is one of the most important functions that you can perform in your business. Every single area within your business needs a plan, not only the one in your head but one written on paper.
Without a plan in place, we wander aimlessly through our day taking care of whatever problem comes across our path. The phone rings, you handle that problem, a customer comes in the door, you take care of that person, the day goes by in just this manner and before you know it, the day is gone and you feel like you have accomplished nothing.
How do I know this, I have been very guilty of this. Before I started planning out my entire business, I just handled each issue as it showed up and hoped at the end of the month I had enough money to pay the bills! This is not the way to run a business!
Your business is a very serious venture and if you do not plan it out, 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 week or this month in order to reach my goal.
If you have your goals set and your plan together it is much easier to get through your day. Crazy things happen at times that put a stumbling block in front of you, but you still try to get around that block! This is the time when you have to make adjustments
I Started With No Business Plan
You may have heard me talk about how I started my business with no plan. I had no plan of any kind! I would sort of plan out my next day but it was only a to-do list that usually did not mean much of anything. If it got through my to-do list, OK, if I did not, oh well, I just did not get it done!
I did not even know what a business plan was. It was not until I had to go to the bank to borrow some money that I found out about a business plan. I also found out that I could not borrow any money without a business plan. They also wanted a business plan that made sense, one that I was going to follow.
I went to the Small Business Administration because that is what the bank told me to do. This is where I started learning how to create a Business Plan. I also worked with my accountant to help me get through my first one. It was really tough for me and took a huge amount of time. They required that I do a ton of research and I had to create a lot of financial data for them. I had not even heard of most of the statements that they required that I create.
At that time, I had no accountant and was not at all familiar with all of the statements that they were talking about. They wanted 3 years of projections, 3 years of Cash Flow statements, A Balance Sheet, my current Income statement, What was that? I was clueless!
Going through this entire process prompted me to go to our local college and take accounting courses. I found them very interesting and I learned a ton about business that was totally foreign to me. I also took Business Law and Business Report Writing. I finally felt a little more qualified to run a business and I understood the 9 steps to profit in your embroidery business!
Saving time – Helping customers make quick ordering decisions can sometimes be very frustrating. Is your customer ordering process taking you too much time away from your production time? I want to talk about how you can cut back on the amount of time that it takes you to help your customers make a final decision.
As embroiderers we want to be able to offer our customers a full range of lettering and design options but in the process of doing so, we sometimes have the tendency to over complicate the process causing us and the customers unneeded frustration. There are 4 simple ways that will help to save time and speed up your customers ordering process.
- Embroidery Design Layout Options
- Limited Lettering Style Options
- Samples Tagged With Ordering Information
- Organized Ordering System
Today we will talk about the first in this series, the Design Layout Options.
Embroidery Design Layout Options
Create several Design Layouts Options for your customer to choose from. By giving your customer choices of different layouts for him to look at before he places his order, you prevent him from asking you to create his logo with several different options for his approval.
These Design Layout Options save time and instills confidence in the customer that you know what you are doing and know what will be the best option for him or his logo.
Create Design Layout Sheets with several design templates that you have you already set up in your embroidery design software. Give each one of these design templates a Style No. When the customer orders a specific style no. you can quickly recall the design template from your system that he has ordered, change the lettering to what he or she is asking for and your design is ready to be sewn out.
You can create two sets of identical design templates, one set to be sewn on woven fabrics and one set to be sewn on knit fabrics. These two sets of Design Layout templates will work for 95% of your customers garment or fabric choices.
Click on the picture and you will see a larger view of the Design Layout Options
Helping customers make quick ordering decisions helps your business in several ways!
- You look more professional
- It save a lot of your time and the customers time
- You have more time for production
- You will bring in a lot more revenue!
In Part 2 of this series, I will talk about Limiting Lettering Style Options.
The Embroidery Coach
Having enough cash to run your embroidery business at times can be a real challenge but this is an area that you must stay on top of at all times. It is so easy to run on a day to day basis and forget how important managing your cash flow is to the overall health of your business.
Number One Way To Manage Cash Flow
The number one way to manage your cash flow is to get at least 50% down for each sale and collect the remainder on delivery or pickup of the finished product. This is the way that all Retail and Small Business accounts should be handled. Make sure you are making a profit on each sale.
Keep An Eye On Automatic Withdrawals
Do you have automatic withdrawals from your bank account? Stay on top of these to make sure that they are accurate and up to date. If the date that they are being withdrawn is causing you issues, ask your supplier to change the date to one that will better work for you. I found some programs on my statement that are no longer useful for me but the money was still coming out every month. If this is happening to you, cancel those programs. This one action alone resulted in $119.00 more per month in my bank account.
Keep Track Of Your Payments
Keep track of when your payments are due. If they are due in 30 days, and you do not have an early payment discount, pay them on the last day that they are due. This will keep you current wit your supplier and yet you can hold onto your cash as long as possible. Make sure that you pay them within the period that they are due to avoid having to borrow from your credit line or payment any interest on that payable.
Offer Early Payment Discounts
If you have contract accounts, make sure that they are current with their payments. If you offer them a small early payments discount, many will take advantage of it and pay early.
Create A Cash Flow Budget
Create a Cash flow budget or Cash Flow Statement that you will use on a daily basis. When you write a business plan you are required to write a Cash Flow Statement and many times it just stays with the business plan and never looked at again. Bad mistake! This Cash Flow Statement should be used and checked at least once per month to see if you are staying on track. If not make some adjustments.
Keeping a close eye on your cash flow or cash outflow will help to give you the cash that you need when an emergency arises or you find a special sale that you can take advantage of. Managing your cash flow can keep you in business much longer than just having a profitable business. A profitable business can go out of business just because they do not have enough cash to run with on a monthly basis.
The Embroidery Coach
7 Key Elements To A Highly Profitable Home Based Embroidery Business
I am Joyce Jagger, The Embroidery Coach and I simplify the complex world of embroidery into easy to understand lessons for the new embroiderer. My passion is to show you how to start an embroidery business and help you get off to a fast start. I will help you, if you are an existing embroiderer, improve your skills so that you can provide higher quality embroidery and increase your profitability!
When beginning your embroidery business, it is important to start on the right foot. These 7 key elements will help you to properly plan your new business venture the right way, saving you time, frustration and costly mistakes.
It'’s important to create a simple working plan, road map or guide for you to follow. A business plan is supposed to provide you with a clear direction and act as a guide for you on how you intend to run your embroidery business and plan for future growth. With this plan, you will be able to stay on track by analyzing and measuring each step along the way to ensure that you are sticking to the plan you originally laid out.
You will need to create an off line and online marketing plan to cover all angles of your business. Marketing does not have to be scary, as it is a plan and method of helping you to stay in touch with customers and helping to create and attract new prospects. Marketing entails following channels that will help you to get your embroidery products in front of your target market (the right people, persuade them to purchase your product or service, and keep them coming back for more.
Many business people recommend that you survey other, similar embroidery businesses in order to create your own price list. This may actually kill your business. The most important thing to remember is that you are in business to make money, not just to survive. You will need to let go of any fear you have and charge what you think your product or service is worth to your customer by developing a total pricing structure that will cover every pricing scenario.
- Niche Marketing
The most common question regarding niche marketing is, What is a niche?‚ A niche is a small section of the market that you can specialize in. This section is one that others in your market have either overlooked or are not willing to service because of the special nature or size of that section. You can specialize in this particular embroidery section and brand yourself as the expert (that‚’s the marketing part!), ensuring that you always have an audience and low competition.
- Finding Good Employees
Before you begin actually looking for an employee, you will need to decide if your business is in the right place to actually pay a competitive wage and/or offer benefits to that employee. Once you have determined that, it‚’s a good idea to ask friends and family for recommendations first. If that does not yield any results, then check with your State Unemployment Service, but be sure to let them know exactly what kind of worker you are looking for.
You really need to make the commitment to investing in your education. Set aside time and funds so that you can attend seminars, embroidery trade shows, buy books and videos etc. Your business with flourish when you have the proper skills, so don’t cheat yourself of valuable information.
- Creating an Action Plan
I have a fill in the blanks Embroidery Business Plan Template for you inside of “How To Start An Embroidery Business” to download to get started. While you are working on the business plan, begin to market your product or service. Write down the steps you plan to take and break them up so that you do some each day. Then, stick to the plan! Taking action is the only way to get your business up and running.
I have created a program teaching you How to start your own Embroidery Business as well as how to plan out each area of your embroidery business. This is a course that will teach you how step by step how to write your own Embroidery Business Plan, plan out your entire promotional calendar for the year as well as your business. This is a course that every embroidery business owner should be required to take.