A Marketing & Business Model Checkup, Part 2: Your Business Model Clean-Up Checklist
This is the second part of a two part article written by CustomMade guest blogger Doug Turner of Turner Custom Furniture. Doug brings marketing tips to woodworkers through his own experience of running a successful, profitable custom furniture business in Atlanta, GA.
Part 2: Your Business Model Clean-Up Checklist
In the second half of this article, I want to take a look at how business models need to be kept current.
- Take a hard look at your products to see if they are still relevant and in demand. After all, the purpose of a business (even a creative business) is to make money, not products. If your products are out of fashion (orange oak kitchen cabinets for example), it may be time to freshen up your catalog. Trends come and go quickly, and if you want to compete, you’ve got to be flexible enough to change with them. Sometimes change is a good thing.
- Consider updating how you communicate with potential clients. See my article on this topic for more information.
- Your business model should make it easy for clients to do business with you now, not 20 years ago. Does your advertising ask clients to write or fax for more information or to place an order? (I’m not kidding, something like this was the inspiration for this article). Sure fax machines still serve a purpose, but your potential clients want to be able to order their new dining tables from their smart phones while boarding an airplane and listening to music. Use quick response codes to give access to your information right now.
- Review, and if necessary, renegotiate your business insurance.
- Sit down with a banker and have a look at your business accounts. Banks create new fees and new products all the time. Consider moving your money if your fees are unreasonable, or if you find a better account structure.
- While you are at it, have a look at your accounting practices. If you are using old software (or a ledger), there may be an easier way to keep track of your money and share it with your accountant.
- Speaking of accountants, talk to yours if you have one. A friend of mine recently paid $100 for an hour long consultation, but ended up saving a good bit of money using the advice he received.
- Review your shop rules and policies (or write some if you don’t have any). Even if you are a one man shop, taking the time to think about how you do things can really help save time and money. If you have employees, it’s crucial to let them know in writing how things are to be done, and what penalties there are when rules are broken (excessive tardiness etc.). You’ll avoid arguments and misunderstandings at the very least.
- Take a look at your shop layout, and think about ways to improve it. Ask employees and friends for a fresh perspective.
Very few business owners move all aspects of their businesses forward at the same time, in a nice straight line. Seen from above, I’d bet mine looks like a string looping back and forth (marketing is lagging, but the shop looks great!). The idea is to not let those loops get too big. I tackle the items on this checklist a little at a time, here and there, and that’s OK. It only matters that I do it.