The economy is at an all-time high. Printers should have had a fantastic 2017 and 2018. Your theme for 2019 should be to get ahead and stay ahead. Your business will be a roller coaster throughout the year, and you should be tracking it meticulously to make sure you are continuing to grow—avoiding complacency.
To stay ahead and continue capitalizing on your 2018 year, you should be tracking a few key performance indicators regularly. Make sure you are following your weekly and monthly sales, as well as your weekly and monthly production volume. Use a tool like Excel, Microstrategy, or Domo to visually compare the health of your business as it compares to last year. Compare these to your costs of goods sold, and you are on your way to running a cleaner shop.
Get scientific and figure out how much volume you are producing in a given hour. Start calculating your average job size and let your sales team know how they are doing.
Call this your flash report, and run it weekly. Put it on your desk and know that number at all times. As you begin to create this new habit, you will start to make subconscious changes in your business to bring those metrics up. Make 2019 the year of running more of a business and less of a print shop.
While you are on the road to creating new habits to run your business, begin to develop new habits for your marketing department as well. Can you start to see a pattern here? Find three or four marketing tools and make a habit of using them.
How about the “five contacts a week” rule? As a business owner, you are swamped and trying to keep your head above water. What if every Thursday afternoon you emailed or called five new customers and five current customers just to check in. Continue building those relationships religiously and see how it can passively grow your business.
Or, start engaging on social media. Even if you are a newbie, there are simple things you can do like posting the prints of the week. Every Friday take your five “shop-voted best prints” and post them to social. Tag your customers in them and get them excited about working with you.
How many emails do you have archived in your inboxes and shop management software? Emails are gold, and you need to get your email list going. Simple tools like MailChimp can allow you to start email marketing with your customers. Send out newsletters on a monthly basis to go over specials, sales, and best practices.
Give these tools a try to maximize your business in 2019.