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Your business plans for 2015

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Post Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:58 pm

Your business plans for 2015

So with 2015 rapidly approaching, we've sat down and discussed how and where to improve our business in 2015.

As we run Clarity, I am getting increasingly (chat.) off with people working on jobs, before submitting a quote. Then when the customer doesn't proceed with the order there's a number of hours that go unbilled.

We're going to implement a system similar to Trade Prints, where we expect files to be supplied to our specification (we're popping that on our website) and if it isn't we'll make a small charge for checking and fixing files. In the past few months we've had some horrific artwork supplied that's added more labour to jobs than we anticipated.

We're also going to put together some packages. As we have a complete print set up we can offer bundle packages.

We're also going to try and reduce the number of site visits for signs, and pre-qualify the customer before visiting.

So what's going to change in 2015 for you?
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Post Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:05 am

Good Topic David, just catching this and actually heading to your neck of the woods in a few hours... AGAIN :lol1: this time for signage though, not training. :D I hope to be back late tomorrow night so will catch up on any input and add my own if i get the chance. :D
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Post Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:49 am

Re: Your business plans for 2015

David Hammond wrote:We're also going to try and reduce the number of site visits for signs, and pre-qualify the customer before visiting.


Good advice - it's amazing how much time you can waste if you aren't careful. Everyone expects your time to be free. Worst culprits are employees of big companies who have no concept of what it is like to run a business. They get paid regardless of whether or not they spend their day doing productive work.
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Post Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:16 am

My business plan for 2015 is to retire, as indeed it was this year but it's proving more than difficult to stop :cry:
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Post Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:29 am

I'm in the process of moving into the new unit, the office / clean production area is still under construction so there's little work going on but, 2015 should be good for us, we can now get vehicles inside so no more 'weather dependent' time schedules etc.

I intend to do less shop facias, just too much hassle in the main and usually it's the last thing to be done by the customer - and that means nothing left to pay for it!

We're going to try and cut out a lot of the fancy and one-off stuff, concentrating more on the bread & butter work that pays the bills, when that is satisfactory I'll revisit some of the quirkier things, evenn then it will be surcharged services for less than a min quantity.

Two months ago I was ready to jack it all in and sell up, having now got over that and done a bit of soul searching I am in a far better position, the word NO will be heard more often! The new place also has great roadside advertising potential, a couple of 'on my doorstep' customers who've already approached me with good work, and is only 15 minutes (via the coffee shop) from home!

I'm going to review my working hours, currently I work 10am - 6pm, it's worked ok and being outside a school it was sensible, now I think I'll only open until 6pm a couple of days a week, then I can be home at a sensible time and stop eating dinner at 8pm!

Like David, I'm also looking at ways to reduce the amount of time wasted, a big factor in my old location due to people wandering in pre or post child collection and asking for one tee-shirt, then wanting 20 proofs and an hour discussing who it's for!!

I'm working on a 'questionairre' for uncertain customers to take away with them and fill out, rather than them um and ah over a dozen questions in my office, they can decide the basics for themselves - fonts, colours, images etc. as well as this I've designed a few 'templates' for basic vehicle signage, style A,B.C, van size A,B,C, minimal colour choice etc. these will include artwork.
Bespoke Artwork will be made chargeable from the start, if they don't supply to our specs, they're paying.

Lots of changes, too many to list and still much to do to the unit... bye for now!

H
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Post Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:45 pm

Hugh Potter wrote:I'm in the process of moving into the new unit, the office / clean production area is still under construction so there's little work going on but, 2015 should be good for us, we can now get vehicles inside so no more 'weather dependent' time schedules etc.


Sounds good Hugh, I'm sure you'll see production and turn over increase with not too much time wasting going on as you have described with the shop.



Me.. its been a very busy year but has sloped off gradually over the last couple of months so will take a fresh look at the business pre 2015.
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Post Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:58 am

Great post....

2014 has seen us invest close to 300k on new kit, I think somewhere in 2015 we are looking to add a 5m machine as we feel this will service our clients betters.

We are also actively looking for a new site where we can build our own purpose built unit and design the new unit how we like...Still in two minds about buying some farmland that has permission to build units...What ever way we go I know we will be adding a bedroom so I can have a midday kip to recharge.
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Post Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:59 am

- create more print and promotion materials.
- Update and promote our website.
- pay more attention to updating and promoting our Facebook page.
- get samples and materials up in our show room
- streamline production area
- keep in better contact with our customers.
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Post Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:01 pm

Re: Your business plans for 2015

So how did your 2015 plans work out? What are you plans for 2016??

Site visits have reduced, sign work has increased, although mainly by referrals, and usually much higher quality jobs, rather than the budget jobs. So quite happy with that.

We didn't put many packages together and didn't actively push the ones we did. Although doesn't look like business was affected.

We didn't impose charges for poor artwork, if it's something we can fix easily enough (bleed & crop marks) we don't charge.

Changes for 2016...

Refine our workflows, we've been constantly busy the past few months, and things have been manic to say the least, smaller jobs keep being put off, that 'urgent' job for tomorrow take priority, so for 2016, we're going to schedule everything in. Morning meetings so we know what we need to do.

We're not going to fix dates until the quotation/artwork are approved... today we received a call from a customer who was expecting their van in tomorrow, when they still haven't sent their logo... in over a month!

Delegate some of the tasks I currently do know, like credit control.
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Post Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:55 am

Re: Your business plans for 2015

Is it really that time of year already? I'm still formulating my plans for 2015 :-?
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Post Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:07 pm

Re: Your business plans for 2015

Phill Fenton wrote:Is it really that time of year already? I'm still formulating my plans for 2015 :-?


Robert Lambie wrote:I hope to be back late tomorrow night so will catch up on any input and add my own if i get the chance. :D


...know the feeling Phill, and I haven't got back home since my last post. :-?
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Post Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:35 am

Re: Your business plans for 2015

Crikey - a year in this new unit already?!

2015 has been pretty up and down for me. the 2014/15 accounts suffered badly due to the financial input to the new unit, two months of virtually no work while I emptied my entire savings to build the new offices. In Jan I was forced to take a signmakers job for 4 days a week and put the business up for sale. I did that for a few months and, thankfully it didn't develop into the full time position (from a contracted s/e basis) as was the intention, I walked out on the monday morning, got to my unit half an hour later and the first customer in was a £3k contract over the next few of months - guess it was meant to be!

I did still do a couple or three day a week with the brother in law to keep things topped up when quiet but, that's had to be dropped now too. The new location is bringing in more and more work from the roadside advertising, facebook works quite well for us locally, and my branded items are finding their way into more and more wholeaslers and retailers, cashflow is much more 'flow' too.

I've been back here full time since July and while it may sound 'the norm' to some, I have actually paid myself a regular, sensible wage each week for the past few months - for those that don't know, my business was very much a lifestyle business to fit around my 'single parent' status, school runs and all that, for a number of years! Well, the kids have all flown the nest and I got married! it's taken time but the business is certianly getting to a better position now, I'm doing 6 days a week and really enjoying it again, I've dumped a lot of crap work and customers, and taken on some very good ones, not massive jobs but certainly good payers. I'm feeling pretty chuffed that I'm getting regular local authority work and lots of repeat jobs that all add up to make the business viable again!

The big change for me in 2016 will be going limited, I set the company up last year to facilitate my branded products in the event that I sold the sign business, we'll simply trade as Dragon Signs for the physical face of the business, the branded work is undergoing a revamp with new products and website coming soon. I don't think it will be too long before I invest in newer equipment, if things keep imporving as they are, I'll have to!

Feel in a pretty good place right now - hope it continues!
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Post Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:13 pm

Re: Your business plans for 2015

Great news Hugh! :appl: :thumbup2:

Much the same feelings here, we're on track to smash our sales target for the 15/16 financial year. We've both taken a wage, as well as dividends and drawn off the directors loans.

Vehicle graphics are on the increase, more sign work, that are decent projects. I've always loved what I do, but it's even better when you start to see the financial rewards for all effort. I'm really excited for next year!
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Post Sat Dec 19, 2015 2:49 pm

Re: Your business plans for 2015

I plan to keep investing in more equipment, Ive doubled my turnover every year since I started. Next year I plan to hopefully do the same.

I want to add 5-7% extra to my nett margin, so am in the process of making changes to how I operate the business to try and achieve this.

Best wishes to all for the coming year.


Steff
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Post Sat Dec 19, 2015 5:04 pm

Re: Your business plans for 2015

Ha ha

At the start of the year we had bought another shop/unit to give us two sign shops at both ends of the city. One was going to be just a shop front, the other a 5000 sq ft full shop, fitting bay, carpark, 40ft long tables, printing room and much more.

At the end of 2015 we are now looking at semi retirement. We are a great believer in adapting to your situation to make the best of what hand you've been felt.

Bring on 2016, I'm ready for you

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