Friday, March 31, 2017

Brainstorming, Goals and follow-up

Small businesses face many roadblocks

Designing and building a great product is only the beginning.  Small businesses are faced with setbacks and difficulties that can be daunting - and seldom have extensive resources to deal with them.  There can be challenges in every facet of the business:

  • Design

  • Manufacturing

  • Sales or Marketing

  • Administration

  • Company facilities

    One simple technique for dealing with setbacks is 'brainstorming'.  It is a useful means of getting new ideas and finding innovative solutions to problems.

    The best brainstorming sessions are where you have:

    • A focused review of a major issue or problem
    • The right people to involve (experts AND key employees)
    • Rules for Safe engagement (no idea is a bad one) 
    • A comfortable, productive environment 



    Description of a good Initial Session

    • State the problem clear terms
    • Define a goal (dollars, savings, outcome, etc)
    • What actions are needed to achieve the goal?
    • What are barriers to the actions?
    • How can you overcome each barrier?
    • How to measure improvements/success?
    • Assign the actions to responsible parties.
    • Write it all down - Agree.
    • Determine when to review progress.

     Plans are only plans without action

    • Brainstorming is planning - but followup counts.
    • Action is the means to achieve the goals.
    • Each responsible person must fulfill their assignments.
    • Measurements must be made for each action.
    • The goal should be continually restated by all.


    Regular reviews/adjustments are critical

    • Are improvements coming about?
    • Where are weaknesses in the plan? 
    • What is not working?
    • What is working?
    • Fine-tune, Fine-tune, Fine-tune.
    • Actions that bring success = procedures.



    Does this seem too formal for your small business?

It is almost impossible to succeed without this kind of focus.  It also never hurts to focus your actions on problem solving and goal attainment.  Brainstorming and followup!

If you like this and our other posts, please take a look at our great products:

Friday, March 24, 2017

Small Business Selling Products at Booths

A niche opportunity

Since we are a small manufacturing company, we are constantly looking for ways to get our products known.  Sales on the internet come about in a very technological way.  But sales in person usually mean a retail location.

An interesting opportunity available to the small manufacturing business - is Sales via Booths.  There are some amazing venues in every state in the country which present some great sales opportunities to small businesses.  Some businesses literally produce their products until they have enough - then take it all to a venue that offers booths for a special event or periodic grouping of vendors. 

Where are booth opportunities?  Here are some of the more common ones -

          • State and County Fairs
          • Local business fairs (wineries, tracks)
          • Craft Fairs (Does your merchandise fit)
          • Traveling Shows (Outdoors, RVs, Food)
          • Large events at convention centers

Advantages of booth sales:

          •  You can hit it hard and go home
          •  Low Vendor Charges for the space
          •  You work when YOU want to
          •  Get feedback right away on products
          •  You can enjoy talking to customers

Disadvantages of booth sales:

          •  Custom tablecloths/tents/lights
          •  Hard work to set up and tear down
          •  You have to pack/transport your goods 
          •  Comply with regulations
          •  Keep good records - pay your taxes

 Secrets of Booth Success:

Being in the public eye is tough for some people.  It is important that you like to work with people and talk to people.  Know your merchandise - Be positive.  Give good customer service.  Find out what your customers like and do not like about your merchandise.  Ask them to refer others to you.  The world belongs to the go-getters!  (But don't be pesky!)  And be sure to smile!

There is so much you can benefit from, being out among your customers.  And remember - do not disagree with them. They are giving THEIR opinion.  Are the prices good?  Are the sizes, colors and features great or do they need to be tweaked a little?

When you return from the show - make yourself a 'lessons-learned' report.  

 Sometimes when you are an entrepreneur, you fall in love with your product and the way that you do things.  If you are not open to fine-tuning, your business will never grow to its full potential!

If you loved this posting, please look at our new line of language charms!: