It’s time to start fresh again. Hopefully, you have fully regrouped from the holiday selling season, found days of rest and are ready to tackle re-order shipments for spring deliveries.
If you are a small business, such as a design team of just 1-6 total employees, taking the time to assess may still feel overwhelming when juggling this alongside racing against the clock to be ready for 2013. You may still be walking the fine line of where to allocate monetary and time resources for the year ahead. It’s the easiest cycle to start the engines again, gearing full throttle to be everywhere and saying yes to as much as possible, but maybe it’s time to adjust that approach.
Step One: Looking Back
What were your goals for 2012? Were your goals for the year sales oriented? Were they customer traction oriented? Or were they traffic oriented? And most of all, how did your business perform verse your benchmarks?
Note, the above truly has to be a discipline approach and you must prepare yourself to accept the good, the bad and the ugly. And luckily, when you are small, learning is your biggest asset and you are still nimble enough to adjust rapidly and efficiently. Map out your study- month over month. Does your business have cyclicality? Did selling in certain venues extremely outperform others? Did you learn more about your key customers? What two or three things happened during the year that really turned you on? Have you built the right team that is going to support you so you can shine as the creative mind of your vision?
Step Two: Connect & Analyze the Dots
What do these answers mean for 2013?
Ideally this assessment happens in 2012, but as a small business in early years we are usually working long days against the clock and playing catch up on a daily basis. In order to best tackle step two, you must start approaching step one with the mindset “I will not fulfill my days with busy work, but rather position myself to be a strategic executor with the right team.” Feeling busy can feel like success until you number crunch at the end of the year, so let the data analysis speak to you.
Step Three: Make Your Mark
The essentials to getting to the next level in 2013.
Regardless of what you learned, the key elements will hold true: working hard means working smart. Don’t try to produce everything, but rather make a solid mark with styles that sell the strongest and create a sophomore run with new colors updates, new straps, a new twist on what’s working and if it makes sense drizzle in one or two new experiments. Target venues where your customer shops, online and offline. Invest time in press that influences your customer, being everywhere is just superficial buzz that will leave you frustrated.
As curators and merchandisers at LionesqueStyle.com, we consistently find that brands that outperform on our platform are those with niche focus and disciplined business practices. They hone in on something unique and specialize in one or two key areas. They create an understanding for their brand, they work on scaling with price points that work within their market and for their customer, they have a handle on their production schedules and they can deliver to retailers and customers promptly.
In 2012, we were especially proud of the success of our designers like Heather Belle, featured in InStyle Magazine, and GIR Spatulas, that was featured on the Today Show. Now we are looking for more aspiring talent to join our coveted marketplace. If you feel that you are a brand we need to know, please do let us know! We are hosting a 2 day open call for emerging brands at the Lion’esque Style Experience Store. You can see more details on our criteria here.
We look forward to hearing from you! Helping you grown and connecting you to our community turns us on.
Original header image created by Marn Albano.