Thursday, October 31, 2013

Scalability and Our Handmade Business (Part IV) - what to do when we run out of hours

follow your bliss locket - shira sela and polarity
See the previous parts of this series HERE, HERE AND HERE.

If we scale our handmade business and the thing we love most is the making of our whosee whatsee, then chances are we won’t be doing the thing we most love as our production numbers increase.

That is when we either get real with ourselves, delegate stuff we don't want to do to free up time for us to make stuff, streamline our processes, figure out a way to make our hours for dollars the highest $ possible and decide that is enough

(yes, you can actually turn away business and survive)

or we train someone else to do enough of our production that we can produce greater and greater quantities without killing ourselves.

(no matter how popular our whosee whatsee, no product has a shelf life of forever anyway)

And yes, there will be a learning curve with this and yes, production will slow at first and yes, there may be weeks when we will be paying someone else more than we are making ourselves

(owners get paid last folks)

If we dream of a really huge order and our plan if we were to get that really huge order is to "do whatever it takes" which is the kind of un-planning many of us call planning (raises hand), well, this is the thinking we want something we don't really want stuff that just makes us and our business weaker.

We send life mixed signals. Mixed signals cancel each other out.

We don't get what we want because some part of us - the part that thinks we are not ready for it or thinks it will be too much work or knows we are out of our comfort zone with this - some part of us doesn't want it.

But, what if we actually made plans for that huge order and got ready for it - what if we made it feel welcome. What if we took the time to bring that unconscious part of ourselves that feels this is outside our upper limit into the game. We could write out a plan to adapt to sudden market changes. We could calculate exactly what supplies we need to buy to produce X amount of whosee whatsees, we would draw up orders for these supplies, we would find backup suppliers and production help, we would know exactly how many hours of production such a large order would take and we would have this information ready to go. We could make files marked 100, 250, 500, 1000 so a large order brings us to our sudden market change file and we would know exactly what supplies to order, our time frames and the steps we will take to make this order happen.

(we should also have pictures of our makings with white backgrounds ready to go, too - I have used Pixc for background removal - only $2 an image and they do an excellent, fast job)

This is the kind of action that attracts what we want- not just pinning pictures of what we will do with our earnings on vision boards (although if that helps with your focus do that, too).

If your business is going to scale you might have to speak in public - how can you get ready for that? Is there a public speaking class near you that you can take? If we hate networking, how can we get more comfortable with that? If you are a "go big or go home" kind of maker, then getting ready to go big is the surest way to make it happen. Just don't pigeon hole yourself - stay flexible and available to what life offers up as you take action.

If we are a maker who is more in love with creating a business than the actual making of the whosee whatsee we are producing is it possible to recreate our business in order to scale? 

Zappos shoes is the biggest online shoe retailer. If you haven't heard this story you might be surprised at how the founder of Zappos got started.

He didn’t start by stocking up huge amounts of shoes and investing in an expensive back end website. Instead he went to local shoe shops. He asked the owner’s permission to take photos of the shoes they sold and he put those photos online. When an order came in, he went to the shoe shop, bought the shoes and shipped them ... all by himself.

This is not a scalable business model. But with this model he learned that there was a demand for the service he had created. Then he recreated his business to scale.

Maybe if we are in love with the business creation more than the whosee whatsee creation we could think of our current business as a way to test our assumptions about what people want. Maybe we can then recreate our business to scale. If our love is the business making, then we can make anything.

Can we create a service from our makings business? What have we learned that other people might be willing to pay for? Can we create an add-on that would work with the "make it once sell it again and again" model? If we love the business making more than the making - can we turn our making into a kit and sell that? Less work always = scale. Should we stop thinking product and start thinking service?

The best of kickstarter 2012 is HERE - what we can learn from them? This is my favorite project right now.

To wrap this up our handmade business (without outsourcing production and I am not even going to get into that one with this post except to say it sounds like a very slippery slope to me) may never be able to create the kind of scale that has us lying on a beach during the month of November, but there are ways we can create scale and stay true to ourselves and our makings.

1 comment:

DancingMooney ♥ said...

"there are ways we can create scale and stay true to ourselves and our makings"...

sums it up perfectly. xo.