This week has been one of pondering in our world. Why? Where to now? What to improve? What to ditch? What to do more of?

It really got me thinking, what is your long term vision for your business? Have you sat down and thought about it? Or do you just jump from project to project, going where the good times are?

Now, if you are jumper, I’m not judging. Perhaps your little biz is your sanity – it’s the thing you do when you aren’t doing that other thing, and the jumping around works. I’m totally down with that.

If your biz is something you want to grow, and take with you wherever you go, time to stop the jumping, grab a pen/paper and get some planning happening. Perhaps work on 1 year, 3 years, 5 years.. I kicked into 10 years this week.

Some things to think about when doing this –

  • What is it you do?
  • Why do you do it?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What works in your business?
  • What doesn’t? And why doesn’t it?
  • Where do you want to be?

Now, when you do business and strategic planning – and it’s totes hard on your own so get a mate in on this part – you need to step back and take an objective look at the overall picture. You need to honestly look at your sales, at your lines. Another really hot tip – the market is a moving feast. What sells now might not next month. What do you do about that?

I think pulling your focus into a few lines of speciality is workable. So, for me, social media marketing, skill sharing/training and small business support might be my three things for a business. Yours might be kids clothes, kids decor and kids accessories. It might be ladies jewellery – resin, polymer and glass. You see the thing – you can keep these 3 broad – but they give you focus. You don’t need to make everything, unless you are Siv, then move on – you so can!

So your plan is around those key business skills. Don’t get tempted outside them initially, unless you really get a hot tip that *insert the next trend* is your thang and you can totally kick ass at doing that!

So – for example – if someone popped into my place this week and said – I’d like you to be our next longboard skate champion, I’d quickly check my plan, thank them nicely and point them to someone I know who could be that for them. I’d also laugh a lot – though I did see a longboard at Kmart and thought about grabbing it. #40midlifecrisismuch. But you see – it didn’t fit my plan, so despite perhaps getting long blond locks and abs of steel, it’s not my thang! Boom.

This is also opens a few doors for you. Exciting hey? You might now be able to target a few other local business people to work with on collaborations. You might do the clothes, they might do the jewels. I’ve seen this work really well (think E is for Eggplant and Monet & Lily Threads (we miss you Mel)). The combo was a perfect mix of handmade love – and worked a treat.

Now the hard bit – timeframes! Well this is my bugbear, I want it all today! 1 year – do you still want to be at markets? In your own store? Stocking a few key stores in the area? 3 years – then 5 years.. then 10 if you are mad enough.

Time to sip some wine, sit back and think. How do you make all that come into fruition? Do you check out local stores – see what they need from you to stock them. Is it wholesale purchasing? Can you afford that yet? Do you have that stock ready? And if your stock is ready – what happens if you’ve used last season’s fabric/colours and they don’t move?

How is your production going to take place? Siv and I are a bit miffed ETSY recognises handmade with outsourcing the production as long as you design the product and make it clear that’s what has happened on your listing. Does that shock you? Could you afford to outsource the production on your line? How do you quality control? So many questions, no judgement!

Which reminds me – are you watching Bespoke on ABC? Missed it? Get on it – iView means you can view it anytime! The show is certainly driving some ideas for my 1 year vision. Maybe even my 3 year vision – but let’s be honest, I’m not into delayed gratification so long term makes me itch.

Now, I’ve seen creatives lose focus as things don’t sell, don’t move, or they over commit and it’s not fun anymore. It’s horrible to watch, and the heartbreak is yukky. The truth is, you need to produce to sell. Fill your items full of love, then let them go! And sometimes, things don’t sell. Think how many times you’ve cheered getting an item marked down somewhere – *ugly truth time* – sometimes those items were picked by people training in managing trends, sales, merchandise, and they didn’t sell. Yep. Even trained experts miss the mark. It’s not personal. The market is fickle!

Also, as I get reminded when I pull out my gorgeous jeans bag. Polish, market, brand, product testing is vital. I’ll post again about that later – this post is about a plan. All those parts help the plan – however – the plan guides your marketing (who are you wanting to see your product and buy it) and where you talk about it. Marketing is vital. And worth a whole post. Or some time watching Gruen (also on ABC)!

Luckily, if you are reading this, you are most likely in the handmade world. This world can be completely bat crap crazy, but mostly creatives are super keen to work, share, and grow together. Find some folks that speak your language and work with them to build your brand and your ranges. Grow together. Create uniqueness.

If you ever need a bouncing board I’m here too in store! Monday to Friday 8 to 4. Unless I nick off earlier.. which happens sometimes on quiet Wednesdays.

Is it worth us doing a workshop in store one day to work this out together? I’d be happy to hook one up so we can all share the planning journey and make Cairns boom time for handmade and bespoke markets.

My last tip – write it down. Make it a living document. Bespoke showed Wallfry’s office and she had a painted wall full of things to do, steps to take, her business visioning. I was totally keen on that – I need to see, to imagine, to make it happen. You might be an onliner – go that way. There are also apps to help with this. However you need to do it – do it. Check back in on it. Adjust it. Think about it when you find yourself flicking off Pinterest onto Etsy to just quickly purchase those *things* to start a new line. You could save yourself money, and grey hairs! If it doesn’t fit – don’t do it. Share that pin on – the world needs more sharing. Someone else’s small biz could grow doing it – and think how much love that makes in our world!

Also – I’m happy to product test. I’m the biggest breaker ever – if that helps! And my long term vision has me doing lots of insta sharing saying *sponsored*. If you want to sponsor me – go for it! I’m here. Waiting! *wine company* *noosa amsterdam* *big girls clothing* You get the picture! 😉

Happy FriYAY kids! If this post has resonated – please share it.

If you are in Cairns, or able to get here, let me know if a workshop might help? I’ve facilitated a few million of these in my time – happy to share that on to you for the price of coffee and a cake!! Perhaps a quiet bottle of sauv blanc. Let’s barter!

Small biz sign off for today

Peace out

T x

ps if you have anything to add – please do!