As a craft business owner, there are a two ways to definitely improve the bottom line:
(1) cut expenses
(2) improve efficiency
Improving efficiency means streamlining processes so that you can devote more time to the areas of your business that make you money.
Example 1 – Quotes for custom quilts & sewing projects
For me, quoting a price for a project used to be torture. Not any more. Time spent conducting competitive analysis and figuring real costs to produce a t-shirt quilt have paid off handsomely. I developed a pricing worksheet that helps me figure pricing for various options/special services that clients request. If a client requests expensive batik fabric for the quilt, I note it on the worksheet and attach receipts to the worksheet so I remember to bill it back to the customer on the final invoice.
Example 2 – Automate wherever possible
I currently use a cloud based accounting/bookkeeping system. It’s free and it works for me. I can invoice clients, accept payments and send receipts electronically. The one thing that it does not do is allow me to track my time. If pattern editing services pick-up, I may have to revisit things. However, manual time tracking is currently working just fine.
Example 3 – Streamline steps in production process
Investing a few hundred bucks in a steam press and die cutting machine have really paid off in terms of time savings when it comes to making t-shirt quilts. So has stocking up on the interfacing and batting I prefer to use. Time spent experimenting with the best way to machine sew quilt binding has also paid off. Quality is not compromised one iota! Every little bit of time I can save translates into increased profitability for me per project.
Example 4 – Take time to plan
Every Sunday, I plan for the week ahead. I write out my goals/to-dos for the day job, craft business and home.
I keep a master list of “things to buy” and keep retailer coupons in the car. I know I’ll need a bolt of interfacing after my next t-shirt quilt. I keep scanning the craft store ads for a 50% off deal or sale. I’m also looking for 2 sturdy 6′ folding tables. When I see a good price, I’ll buy them.
These are just a few of the things I do to improve my profitability. What are some things you do?