":A year from now you may wish you had started today." Karen Lamb
I don't take goal setting lightly for Farmhouse Frocks. It is a crucial element in the success of the business. Although 2017 was very much on the upswing I look back and I can see where I didn't always put enough weight on goals. Our goals weren't set high enough and we were able to almost effortlessly achieve them. I want to change things for 2018, pushing ourselves with bigger goals and better strategy. In this post I will try to map out what some of that looks like for our company.
Share the Vision
The first thing I did was call a meeting with my staff and shared with them my vision for the company. I wanted them to understand the vision so they can come alongside me and help me plan a strategy. In that meeting I also opened up the floor so each of them had a time to share any insight they had. Their input is important to me because they are hand's on with the customers and product.
After sharing my vision with the team I showed them numbers, my "big goals" and then we had an exercise of breaking down those numbers into manageable chunks. Since some months are better sales months than others we took all that into consideration and came up with goals for each month.
This is how we broke things down.
- Set overall financial goal for 2018.
- Broke it up into monthly goals.
- Keeping in mind some months are better for sales.
- We also assigned specific goals for studio sales, online sales, show sales and wholesale bag sales.
- Came up with a plan of action.
- Discussed marketing strategies.
- Checked out our financial reports and have been implementing changes.
Plan of Action
The only way to achieve goals is to have a plan of action. This is where our sales force came in. All their suggestions were taken into account and we came up with a plan of action.
- Training is front and center in our plan of action. I have so much planned for our staff this year. I’m very motivated for it to be fun working for me and that their position in the company doesn’t feel like a job. I am focused on drawing on my employees strengths and place them in positions that fit their strengths.
- A retreat.
- There is so much free training out there on Instagram, YouTube and Podcasts that I feel confident I can pull enough new information together to come up with a great presentation for our staff's retreat. This is a big clue for small businessowners who want to train their staff and have a tight budget. You can follow some really good social media accounts who post about sales training all the time. Take time to do a little research, follow a few pros in sales and marketing who resonate with your vision. This is a great way to get tons of free information.
- Inspiration is big. There will be training on how to look for inspiration and how to use it toward our goals.
- We will be creating a lookbook.
- A lookbook is an idea book full of photographs and ideas of how to wear each individual piece. Some customers come in and tell us they aren't sure how to pair our pieces up. We are confident that having a lookbook will be a great tool for our customers and in return will increase our sales.
- There will be a lookbook to leaf through at our studio and a lookbook on our website for online shoppers to scroll through to get ideas. We are excited about this tool.
- We will have add-ons at the register. This will help our customers complete their look and help us reach our goals.
- Serving our customers with good word choices and reading their body language are ways that we hope to serve our customers better. We want our customers to have the best shopping experience possible when they are at our studio.
- Discontinue items that aren't popular and moving. This is a discipline we want to get better at. We can quickly see with all the reports on our website which items are least popular and can move them out of the store to make room for new items.
- We are tracking our goals with our Asana apps and calendars on our phones. If you don't have a goal and a plan all you have is a dream. The Asana app has been really useful in helping us track our goals.
- Improving our packaging is something we continue to do. We want to make our customers feel as special as possible down to every last detail, even our packaging.
- We had gotten a bit sidetracked with some of our patterns and and designs of our frocks in 2017. We lost some of our original look we were going for and in 2018 you will see more of the original look back. New and improved and I think some of my favorite pieces will be in this new line. I am really excited for our Spring releases.
- The fabric we use for our frocks will also improve in 2018. You will notice the quality of the fabric will be even greater.
All companies have to get good at marketing their products or they miss out on sales. We have come up with a few strategies for our marketing.
- We are excited about opening up our company to selling our product worldwide. We now have to market in those countries and will be doing so mostly through social media.
- "Lagenlook" (translation "layering look") frocks are popular all over the world because folks like to layer their clothes to hide their imperfections. We want to make sure that through social media the ladies who like this look can find us and will order from us.
- Although we have many ways we market ourselves, social media is our best marketing tool. 75% of our online sales are from social media. We cannot ignore this vehicle. This year we plan to do more of the same, plus utilizing more hashtags that will hopefully spread the word worldwide.
- Billboards are big for local traffic to our studio. We have seen an upswing of foot traffic since we have put up the 7 new billboards in our area. With so many tourists in our area, billboards prove to be a great way to advertise our company to folks who wouldn't otherwise get to know about us.
- Networking will be big for 2018. In fact, I had a meeting with Shasta Mast from the Chamber of Commerce this week. I want to get the ear of the folks who rub shoulders with the tourists. These folks are those who work in customer service at the local hotels and restaurants. We want to figure out how we can have an event where we can meet these folks and figure out a way for them to naturally suggest our studio as a great place to stop for some shopping while the inquiring tourist is visiting.
- Magazine ads are also on the agenda for 2018. We had a nice spread in a popular magazine in 2017 and it brought us a lot of new customers and followers on social media. We hope to expand on that with our ads in strategic magazines. (LENA...COULD YOU DO SOMETHING WHERE IF THEY SEE YOUR AD IN A MAGAZINE THIS YEAR THEY GET A PERK IF THEY POST IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND USE CERTAIN HASHTAGS?)
- We already do some events at our studio but we have been brainstorming how to do more events to get more foot traffic through our studio doors. Our events usually reveal new products and new displays and we serve simple refreshments.
I feel like I have learned a lot about the financial end of running a business in 2017. I want to tidy things up in 2018 and much more disciplined in how we do things. Here are some ideas of things we have already changed, or will be changing in 2018.
- Looking at our P and L reports. So often making a small adjustment reaps great benefits. Things like going directly to a supplier rather than go with a middleman.
- I pay myself now rather than doing an "owner's draw."
- Cost of labor is huge. For a little while we had sourced out a lot of our sewing to a local production company who has sewing machines and Amish seamstresses for employees. It proved to not be beneficial for both us and the production company on many levels. We quickly went back to our individual Amish seamstresses because it all worked out so much better for everyone. My seamstresses aren't looking to work full time, most of them want a little bit of side work they can fit in-between their housework and chores. The production company employs full time employees and once the work is complete they are hurting for work.
- Have a budget for everything.
- In house labor.
- Out of house labor.
- Cost of goods.
Some Advice To The Small Businessowner
There is so much to say about the subject of goal planning and achieving your goals.
- If something isn't working, you have to ditch it. Don't be afraid to try something new. You have to be inspired on a constant basis so that when something isn't working you already have new ideas to work on.
- Don't just think about it. Do it. I always say, "do one thing toward your dream every day and then your dream will happen."
- Somebody once told me only take advice from those who you would want to be in their shoes. I love getting advice from people who are much more successful than I am. I love to pick successful people’s brains on running their business.
- Being intentional on creating an experience for yourself and your customer. Your business can be fun and a positive experience if you have the right attitude. If you are having fun, your customer will also have a great experience shopping at your place of business.
When I read back over what I just wrote I can tell you I don't take any of my points lightly. I do know if we take each point serious we will achieve the goals of my vision I set before my staff a few weeks ago. It's that complicated and that simple. I'm hoping this post will inspire another person(s) to take their own dreams to the next level and not have regrets at the end of the year.
Happy Goal Setting!