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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Old Year Lessons

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

In three weeks you’ll turn the calendar page to 2020.

Each year the years seem to fly by. And this year was no exception.

While three weeks isn’t a lot of time, you do have time to take some positive actions to end your year on a high note and get a head start on 2020.

Here are some tips that I’m taking to heart.

Don’t wait until Dec. 31 to check your financials.

I’ve been working on my financials the past week or so. As someone who is self-employed, I need to make estimated tax payments. While they aren’t due until Jan. 15, 2020, I like to get my settled before the end of the year.

Some questions you might consider:

• Do you need to follow up on any late invoices if you want the income to be in 2019?
• Do you need to defer the income until 2020?
• Do you need to make any expenditures by year-end?
• What tax consequences should you be aware of?

On my list is a quick call or email with my accountant. This will answer any last minute questions and allow me to make any adjustments I might need to minimize any taxes I owe.



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Can you handle it?

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Several weeks back I had a conversation with a colleague about her distress over a poor review of her book on Amazon.

“But I want everyone to love the book,” she said, really meaning, “I want everyone to love me.” She believed that if someone did not like the book, they did not like her.

I think we can all fall into that trap, wanting to be liked. I can remember exactly when I decided I didn’t care if everyone liked me. I was working in the offices of an ad agency, and one of the men in the office told me he didn’t like me.

Well, how could that be? I am truly likable. Then I thought about it and realized that I did not really like him. He had poor work habits, always sloughing his work onto someone else, and I generally did not like being around him. Why did I think I cared anyhow?

It is just not possible to avoid criticism, especially in our social media world. And, hey, it does hurt sometimes. And, you can learn to handle it.

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Set Your Business GPS!

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

biz-gps

Recently on my way to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I got caught in a mass of slow traffic. Anyone from these parts knows we only have one way to reach the beach, and that’s using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis. Its two spans date to 1952 and 1973 and can’t handle today’s traffic. Slow-downs and waits are a normal occurrence, particularly during the summer, so I try to time my trip to avoid them. Despite my best efforts, I was stopped.

Because of the nature of the journey, my GPS isn’t of much use. It can’t re-route me across the water! As I edged along, I thought about the GPS you set for your business.

The beginning and end points

Your car’s GPS won’t work without a starting and ending point. It’s the same in your business. You need to know where you are now and where you want to go.

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Let’s take 15!

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Do you ever look at what others have accomplished and think you can’t possibly do that? We all have that comparison gremlin to contend with. Do you then fall back on your standard excuse? I just don’t have time!

I’m going to challenge you on that.

I’ve written about “you management” as opposed to “time management” in the past. Today I want to share a simple concept that might make a difference in your day.

Let’s call it Take 15.



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The Fortune Is In the Follow-up

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019
follow-up

How good are you at follow-up? You know that is where the money is.

I was talking with a few of my clients who were heading back from Quilt Market with lots of follow-up items. Some were clearly immediate, such as filling orders, and those get processed right away.

The problem for my clients was that they came back with all these notes that weren’t really money related or where they couldn’t see the clear money connection or where they couldn’t remember the conversation. Plus they felt overwhelmed getting back in gear. And, the follow-up is in question.

What I have found through the years is that when I pay attention to following up on a consistent and timely basis, it lets me build better relationships, which is really my goal, and that means adding to my business bottom line. Here are some ideas to help you with follow-up.



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Increase your booth ROI

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

For many years I’ve had the opportunity to sell my product in public venues.

I’ve sold my handcrafted quilts at local craft shows, larger regional juried craft shows, and a local crafts cooperative. Most recently I marketed the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals at the International Quilt Market. All are great places to sell your work, meet your customers, and gather marketing information.

Whether you sell your work in a small retail venue or a trade show like Quilt Market, here are some tips to help you increase sales:

#1 Set an intention

Spend time ahead getting clear on your intention or goal for the show.

Is it to make a certain amount of sales, to get your patterns picked up by a distributor, to test a new product? Maybe your intention is to get names for your mailing list so you can connect in the future. When you are clear on your intent, you’ll be more focused, and your results will show that.



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Stop waiting for permission

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

 

Anyone who has been around small children knows they ask questions, lots of questions.

Many of those questions start with “Can I.” Can I have one more cookie? Can I watch TV? Can I stay up late and read? Can we get a dog?

We are conditioned early on to ask for permission.

We did it as kids with our parents. It continued in school with our teachers.

Even as adults, you may find yourself asking for permission, sometimes unconsciously.

Women, in particular, tend to have what’s known as upward inflection, the habit of raising their voices at the end of a sentence. This turns the sentence into a question, giving your power away to someone else.

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Hello Imperfection!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

The other day I read this quote from Zen Monk Shunryu Suzuki:

“You are perfect just as you are, and you could use a little improvement.”

I hesitate to say that the quote struck me as “perfect.” Some of us spend too much time worrying about getting it perfect that we don’t get it done.

I’m putting myself in this category as a recovering perfectionist. How about you?

The problem with perfectionism

At first glance, you may think that everything needs to be perfect, that you need to be perfect.

If it’s not perfect, you may put off releasing that new pattern, offering the new program, publishing your website, showing your art.

This list goes on and on. And, you get so caught up in this spiral of trying to make everything perfect that nothing gets done.

That’s the problem with perfectionism — it doesn’t work!

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What’s your next business move?

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

Are you like so many other creatives? You have lots of ideas about where to go with your business. Maybe you should start teaching your art. Or do a local craft show or open an Etsy shop. Perhaps start a podcast. Maybe a blog is calling your name. Or do you see a fabric line or licensing of your art as the next step? Or create patterns, or ?…

Whoa! You have so many options, and they all sound good. The problem is you don’t know where to start. And perhaps you get stuck in analysis paralysis trying to figure out which idea is the best one. Here’s a path to help you decide.

Write down all the ideas.

Just get out a piece of paper and list them. As you do this, you’ll probably come up with more options. None are set in stone. You are just getting them all out of your head. You may even save some for future use.



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I’m stretching. Are you?

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Have you ever been on a stretcher? I was a few years back when I was rehabbing a neck problem.

What happened? Well, I actually grew a bit, something pretty cool at my age.

What does my growth have to do with your business? Well, it’s about being on the stretcher. When was the last time you put your goals on the stretcher?

What is a stretch goal?

During a conversation with one of my clients, we talked about stretch goals, when to use them, when to adapt them.

What exactly is a stretch goal?

I believe it is one that takes you out of your comfort zone. I think it still needs to have a component of achievability. When you do achieve it, it will take you to a whole new level. You could also think of it as a breakthrough goal.



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