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Reduce Turn-Around Time (TAT)
Are you ordering shirts inconsistently throughout the week? Do you find yourself placing screen print orders and then realizing that another order just came through soon after? Are you waiting for five different vendors to ship your items before you can fulfill one order? Does the vendor you order from have an extensive TAT?
Disorganization can lead to a lengthy TAT without intending to cause delay. In addition, a longer TAT could be hurting your Conversion Rate. Conversion Rate is the number of website visitors that become paying customers. For instance, if 100 people visit your site with three placing an order, your conversion rate is 3%.
Increasing the conversion rate is essential because you have successfully gotten traffic to your website, and we don't want to lose the sale. There are many ways to increase your conversion rate, with one being lowering your TAT. For example, when some visitors see 25 business days, they may bounce immediately (also known as your bounce rate).
🏃♀️ ACTION STEP: Find which process (or lack thereof) or product is reducing your TAT. Start ordering your products on the same day every week for routine or create two TATs based on product or Ready to Ship (RTS).
Increase serving your customers
If the season is slow for you, there is a good chance your customers aren't shopping because of their current situation. Running a small business connects in ways big box stores simply cannot. When was the last time you directly talked to the Walmart CEO in their community Facebook group? You have face time with your customers!
If you have trouble finding ways to connect beyond posting your offer: get to know your customers. Where do they work? What are their passions? What stresses them out? How did their grandparents meet? When you learn more about your customers beyond an order number, you will become more intuned with their needs and keep an accurate pulse on your group.
🏃♀️ ACTION STEP: Schedule these four questions as polls in your group over the next month, every Wednesday.
- Would you rather always have to have your hair in a fancy hairstyle before you leave the house or never be able to brush your hair again?
- Would you rather be the fastest runner in the world or the fastest talker?
- Would you rather go back to middle school or high school?
- Would you rather trade places with Reese Witherspoon or Sandra Bullock?
Embrace the boring
When you get serious about any changes you want to make in your life, it takes time. Motivation is a feeling, and eventually, it will leave you (for some sooner rather than later). As a result, you may question continuing when you don't see the results you had hoped for. For example, showing up on social media was fun until it wasn't. However, you can't expect your customers to show up consistently for you if you aren't consistent.
If you are having trouble with consistency, create fewer tasks to be consistent with before you burn out. For example, if you post three times a day, go down to one. If you post once a day, move to posting three times a week. You have to do whatever you can to be consistent! I know the season is slow, but this is a perfect time to get quiet and refine your routine.
Running your small business isn't all fun, sales, and laughter. Some tasks in the background may not be glamorous but can make or break your business. Handmade sellers have issues staying focused on everyday tasks: keeping their business records and tax info in order.
🏃♀️ ACTION STEP: If you struggle with keeping up with your business, I highly recommend checking out a Seller's Spreadsheet from Paper + Spark. I have been a customer since 2018. Janet's spreadsheets are a one-time expense, and you can reuse them yearly.
➡️ Shopify Seller's Spreadsheet
➡️ Paypal Seller's Spreadsheet
Destash the stash
You had good intentions when you stocked up on all the screen prints on sale or the last-chance wholesale items. However, you didn't sell all of them and are now stuck with the inventory. Oh well, just write it off on your taxes, right? WRONG! Merchandise that hasn't sold is called just that, inventory, and is not tax-deductible. So take a peek at Schedule C, and you will see "Ending Inventory" at the bottom of the form.
How do you ensure you don't get stuck with many items you can't write off? Cost of goods sold (COGS). Inventory transitions into COGS once it has left your possession. There are many ways you can typically get rid of inventory quickly by either a Bid War, Zip Code sale, Deal or No Deal, or a standard Destash. Grab a business engagement collection with a Destash graphic included.
🏃♀️ ACTION STEP: If you haven't been keeping a record of your current inventory to make tax time that much easier, check out an inventory seller tracker. Bonus: it includes a tool to help you decide how to price your items!
Review your Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
We discussed Conversion rate earlier, but there are two main indicators of revenue status: Traffic and Average Order Value (AOV). All of these KPIs can be extracted from your analytics dashboard.
Traffic is the number of visitors that land on your site. AOV is the average amount a customer spends when they place an order. If it is a slow season, you can work on increasing your conversion rate, traffic, and/or AOV.
The metric that gets the most spotlight is traffic—more content, more views, or attempting to find new customers. However, generating more traffic can be exhausting. What if you instead focused on converting the traffic you have already stirred or getting those paying customers to pay just a little bit more?
🏃♀️ ACTION STEP: Visit the analytics section of your website. Write down the following metrics for the last six months:
- Conversion Rate
Now, compare the numbers for each month. Did you offer a different product? Were you showing up more consistently? Sometimes during the slow months, we don't need to change everything. Instead, figure out what you have done well and find a way to do more of it.
Revisit your why
What is your why? Why did you start your business? Why do you keep going? Does your why make you cry? If it doesn't, you may need a new why. This person, place, or idea will keep you locked in when times get tough. You don't do this for any other reason than that why... your calling!
🏃♀️ ACTION STEP: Head to Canva. Search "vision board" and create your own. Then, save it and set it as your desktop background.
Take a break
What if this slower season means you can finally take the break you need, or your family has been asking you to take it? It is recommended to sleep when the baby sleeps. What if the same is true about business? Rest when your guests are resting.
I see the importance of regrouping during the lulls to plan your next move. I don’t suggest resting every time business slows down, but you are in this for the long run, not a quick sale. The tortoise wins the race, not the speedy hare.
🏃♀️ ACTION STEP: Plan a weekend getaway or a full day off. Silence your social media and emails. Create a bucket list of things around town you have wanted to do. Commit to doing one a month. Your business will be here when you get back.
The slower seasons can allow you to regroup; otherwise, you may not have had time. Can you clean up the office? Streamline your ordering process? This season will not last long, and you will come out of it stronger!