Every New Years, people all over the country decide that it’s time to make a change in their lives; be healthier, stop bad habits, spend more wisely, learn to drive stick shift. And then, by February or March, the majority of those people just seem to forget what they were doing and quietly revert back to their routine.
Change is difficult. Being a small American business in the manufacturing industry, we are all too familiar with the difficulty of retooling a facility and modernizing our brand. It takes a lot of effort, and the pay-off isn’t always immediately apparent.
But in a small business or young brand, change is your biggest asset when you’re competing with staid names and big box stores. And what better time than the New Year to resolve to make changes that can vastly improve the success and growth of your company.
Here are three New Years resolutions to make – and keep – for your fledgling brand or small business.
1. Get Help
You can’t go it alone. Well, you might be able to for a while, if you don’t need to sleep much. But eventually, you’ll realize there are certain aspects of creating a brand or running a small business that you just can’t wrap your head around. When that understanding sets in, and you find yourself overwhelmed and unsure how to move forward, it’s time to think about getting help.
Depending on the work you want to offload, you’ll have a few options for how to go about increasing your company manpower. If you need a specific task or family of tasks accomplished (such as marketing, social media outreach, or website management), consider hiring a specialist who excels at working within your industry or for small businesses. But if you want help with a broader range of duties, someone with a jack-of-all-trades mentality would be able to handle a barrage of assignments without being overwhelmed.
This new worker has to be more than just a clock-in-clock-out employee, particularly if you are running a young or small company. When you’re considering someone to bring onboard, a prospect’s level of interest and drive is just as significant as their abilities. Finding someone willing to learn, to push themselves to work harder because they value the brand, is a huge boost to both the company and your own work ethic.
While a new employee is a huge investment for small businesses, it can be an even bigger payoff down the road. Even bringing someone on part-time to help with specific tasks or general operations can take a load off your mind, allowing you to focus on building a solid foundation for your endeavor.
2. Get Organized
Everyone has heard the phrase “a cluttered desk reveals a cluttered mind” (or something along those lines). But real organization goes beyond the state of your workspace.
Yes, a place for everything and everything in its place does help to keep track of projects and prototypes. Filing systems, sample folders, order tracking, shipping supplies – all of these are important to keep track of and make operations faster and more streamlined.
However, even more significant than physical organization is the structure and flow of information and responsibility within your business. Laying out how inquiries are received, projects are handled, and clients are dealt with make growth much easier if and when you decide to expand.
3. Stay Positive
As the old adage states, the best laid plans often go awry. And in a culture where immediate satisfaction is paramount, setbacks on important projects or orders can seem huge, especially for young brands and small companies.
If left unchecked, the stress of running a small business can become almost debilitating. Problems will arise, and the responsibility and reaction falls squarely on your shoulders as the owner. Day-to-day operations combined with the dozen other lesser issues that are always on a business owner’s mind can bog you down to the point where you’re no longer sure how to move forward.
It’s imperative then, in spite of the stress, to keep a positive outlook on the trajectory of your venture: problems are just learning experiences in disguise. If a customer rejects or cancels an order, rather than being angry at the client or upset with yourself for the lost opportunity, consider what you can take away from the experience: Should you have conveyed more about the quality or appearance of your goods? Do you need to educate your customers more thoroughly on what to expect? Is this even the type of client you want to work with going forward?
Breaking down a problem into specific, representative questions not only helps you identify issues within your process, but also gives you actionable responses to keep you from coming to a standstill with the growth and development of your company.
About Stephen Meyer:
The Meyer family have been making leathers and parchments in the US for almost 200 years at their family-owned tannery, Pergamena, in the Hudson Valley, NY. Now a Preferred Factory on Maker’s Row, Pergamena uses skins that are all domestically-sourced, usually from local farms and hunters, using environmentally-friendly production processes and generations of tanning expertise to manufacture beautiful vegetable-tanned goat and calf leather, as well as unique calf, deer, goat, and sheep parchment. Their leather is vegetable-tanned, a traditional and environmentally sound process, and they make use of natural and biodegradable dyes or pigments whenever possible.