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    11 Replies Latest reply on Jul 8, 2009 2:18 PM by BizStrategist

    I need advice!!!

    jsignshop Wayfarer
      I have a T-Shirt/Sign co my wife & I started about 5 yrs ago. We
      have been doing great until about 6 mo ago & slowly but surely it
      has been going down hill. We have competive but fare prices, work
      coming in every day. But no money in the end & it is getting worse.
      This is our first business & I realy have no idea what to do.
      besides show & print signs & shirts with a smile & that
      worked great for years. We have ourselves & 2 other employees who I
      feal responsible for & sometimes it is hard for us to keep up with
      the work? I find myself useing deposits for one job to get materials
      for another. But we handle 20k + a month??? Someone please help me
      figure out what I should do.
        • Re: I need advice!!!
          LUCKIEST Guide
          I need advice!!!, Welcome Kevin

          Sounds like you need cash flow help. I am a Quickbooks Consultant and will give you a call.

          LUCKIEST
          • Re: I need advice!!!
            KatJac Newbie

            You might have to look into the age groups and orientation that you are trying to market to.
              • Re: I need advice!!!
                jsignshop Wayfarer
                we sell to just about all age groups I guess from young people trying to get started in business to retired people doing realestate & we do a few what I consider LArge companies through online to different state & CA. but mostly we don't market or advertize. We just run by word of mouth & doing a good job. But being unorganized is puting a damper on that. I guess I am not sure what you meant?
              • Re: I need advice!!!
                bentenn Adventurer
                Congratulations on five years of owning and running your own business. But from your comments, you are grossing more than $250k per year but showing no profit in spite of running a business with probably high profit margin potential. First, I would suggest you review your costs of materials, labor, processes, etc. Every cost should be considered variable these days for no matter who you spend money with they too are likely hurting due to the economy. Negotiate new lower costs for EVERY single expense item and get longer payment terms too.

                Then review your prices. If you were able to successfuly raise your prices by 5% and not lose any customers / jobs, you would gross another $12k and all of it would be profit margin. If you raised prices 10%, your increase would be $25k. Check out the competition. Test new prices with new and long time customers and see if that is possible.

                Then it is time to seek ways to expand your sales to new markets, new geography and maybe even new products that will utilize the machinery and skills of your and your employees. Maybe you can sell additional things to your existing customers - a proven technique for growing a business. Good luck. Ben
                  • Re: I need advice!!!
                    jsignshop Wayfarer
                    thank you guys for your input. This is giving me alot to think about & a possitive feeling about my situation. I was clinging to the end of my rope & about to throw in the towel. I just love doing what I do & need to try some new things to make a future instead of a hobby.
                      • Re: I need advice!!!
                        DomainDiva Ranger
                        Hi J, what I see in your posts is a lack of 'business rules'. These need to be established by you as a way and a means to organizing the daily functions of the business, both project wise and money wise as well. Make a list of how you do things, look at what you do and identify any waste or steps that take away from profit and getting a project done quicker. This can be something as small as location of job materials in reference to a workstation.

                        Do youor employees have specific job functions or is everyone just kind of 'there' doing whatever needs to be done? Can you assign specific duties and then have everyone pitch in when there's a crunch?

                        How about marketing? Are you doing anything extra these days to make sure you get noticed?
                          • Re: I need advice!!!
                            jsignshop Wayfarer
                            Your right we are all just here kinda doing there is not really the guy for the job. We all try to do a little of everything. That is something I need to change now! I am glad you said that I have been thinking of job specifics for each person but loosing faith in my judgement. This is going to be put into effect & I will let you know how it turns out.

                            Marketing, I really don't do any? we have been hee for a while & have made a reputation for ourselves we just seamed to be blessed with steady work without any effort. I do want to however work towards new clients & growth just need to know how to handle it when I get it.
                              • Re: I need advice!!!
                                DomainDiva Ranger
                                People need signs. Especially people that go to TRADE SHOWS. Contact the local convention center and offer to be a last minute signage vendor. Yes this will drive you crazy but last minute projects ALWAYS cost more money. Put a sign in your shop advertising this last minute service as well. Chamber of Commerce, local Better Business Bureau, networkikng groups, real estate offices....the list is endless!
                        • Re: I need advice!!!
                          BizStrategist Newbie
                          Those are all fantastic steps to take J. First of all congratulations too!!! You're doing great for being in business for 5 years and generating a quarter million dollars a year. Now is the the perfect time to really look at your processes. I would break down each process that you go through for each client. For example: The customer service process (identify what is your goal there), the sales process, the accounting process, the distribution process, the marketing process, etc. Each component of your company has a process. Take your time to pinpoint your goals with each process, monitor and control the time and cost of each, then maximize the quality and quantity output.

                          Best of luck!