Saturday, August 02, 2014

The Business Chat - It's monthly staff meeting time!


Yesterday my calendar beeped at me and reminded me, hey, another month is gone, tomorrow is a new month! This is a reminder not just to make sure there’s money in my chequing account to cover bills but for another big event. On the first of the every month I sit down and have a staff meeting. Me, a latte, a cookie and my notebook. 

Every business should do this, and yes, that means you. Knowing what you want to accomplish in the next month means that you are moving towards a goal. If you don’t have a goal line how do you know if you have moved forward? Sitting down and looking at what needs to be done also helps stuff from slipping through the cracks. 

In running my little crafty venture, I try to keep it as professional and business-like as possible. This means I set daily, weekly and monthly goals. Having a set list of what I need to get done keeps me on track as we all know how easy it is to get distracted when you work in a room full of shiny objects! 

During my monthly meeting I detail out what I want to get done and then break it down into weekly tasks. If something has gone onto the list for the 3rd week of the month then I can safely forget about it for now as it will pop up on my list later. More space in my brain for this weeks stuff. 

These are the questions I ask myself and answer so that I can stay focused. Go ahead, grab your notebook and do this exercise. 

1. How much money do you want to make this month?
Say a number out loud. Write it down. Make it a reasonable number. Declare that this is the amount of money your business will make this month. Picture this number in your mind. If you want to you can post this number on your bulletin board so that you see it every day. Stick it on your fridge.
2. What will you do to get to this number? 
Are you selling at any shows this month? What about online? Can you teach a class? Sell a tutorial? Set up a home party at your friends house, what about an office party at your day job? Write down everything you can do this month and how much each thing will bring in. If it’s not enough to meet your magic number then start brainstorming about other ways to make your goal.
3. What actions do you need to take to make those numbers happen? 
If you want to increase your online sales this month by 20% how are you going to do that? Actions can include adding more listings to your online store. Holding a special sale for your facebook fans. Sending out a newsletter to your mailing list to advertise your upcoming craft show. Imagine that you only have this one month to make that number, what do you have to do to get there? 
4. Other than your magic number from the first question, what other goals do you want to achieve this month? 
This is the stuff that’s not directly tied to making money but will lead to making money in the future. Some examples are: 
      1. Increase by blog followers by 25
      2. Increase your facebook fans by 50
      3. Write a blog post once a week. 
      4. Start pinning on Pinterest.
5. What do you need help with? Where is this help coming from? 
Most of us try to do everything all by ourselves, they don’t call this the DIY movement without a reason! However sometimes we just need to get help or these tasks will overwhelm us. Help doesn’t need to cost money, there are so many resources available it’s silly not to ask for it. If you want to post weekly on your blog but don’t have the time ask a fellow crafter is they’d like to guest blog for you. If you want to start pinning but don’t know where to start pull up google and do some reading. If you need to outsource some technical work see if you can find someone who will do it on trade, or find someone on a place like elance.com.
Be realistic on what you can do with your task list, your skill set and the amount of time you have in your life. 
6. What will you do to celebrate when you reach these goals at the end of the month? 
As a boss, when your employee pulls off a really great job you reward them with a treat. Go ahead, be a good boss and treat yourself to something. It’s easier to stay focused when you know there’s something special at the end of the road. 

You should sit down at the beginning of every month and do this exercise. You wouldn’t set off on a trip without a map would you, so why start a month without a plan of where it’s going? 

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