Tips & Talk 95 – Are You Being a Responsible Guardian of Your Business?

Starting a business is often compared to having another child. You’re responsible for its vitality and the one who sets the vision, plans the strategy and has the final vote on all the decisions. The life of your business is in your hands.

Have you ever thought about it this way? And along with that, are you treating your business as a responsible guardian? Just as you do everything (in your control) to ensure your son or daughter doesn’t go off track, you should be doing the same for your company.

Here are several areas to give attention to with guardian thinking in mind. A checkup, if you will, to add to the stability of your business so it has a solid future ahead.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

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Transcript
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Hi there,

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it's Sue and thanks for joining me for Tips and Talk

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Day. These are bite-sized topics that I pull from community questions

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and things that I'm observing in the world of handmade small

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business. If you'd like to submit a topic,

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DM e over on Instagram at Gift Biz Unwrapped.

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and sign up for your session today.

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It's obvious if or when you become a mom that you're

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responsible for the health and safety of your baby in the

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beginning. They just need you to survive,

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and as they grow,

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you make decisions that are in their best interest and eventually

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guide them into making their own smart choices all along.

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You do it with thought and care,

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investing in their future wellbeing,

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and of course,

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with the utmost of love and compassion.

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That's what being a responsible parent is all about.

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I don't have to tell you that starting a business is

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often described like having another baby.

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If you're a business owner,

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I know you're nodding your head in agreement right now,

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although obviously it's different.

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The energy care and passion are right up there,

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and while you're not a parent per se,

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you are a guardian of the health of your business.

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You're responsible for its vitality.

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You're the one who sets the vision,

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plans, the strategy,

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and has the final vote on all decisions.

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The life of your business is in your hands.

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Have you ever thought about it this way?

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And along with that,

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are you treating your business as a responsible guardian?

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Just as you do everything in your control to ensure your

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son or daughter doesn't go off track,

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you should be doing the same for your company.

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If you're asking,

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what does this even mean,

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Sue, here are several areas to give attention to with guardian

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thinking in mind a checkup,

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if you will,

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to add to the stability of your business so it has

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a solid future.

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First off,

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take a look at your financials.

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This is the most important of course,

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so that you have a flow of money in and out

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of your business that allows for its maintenance and growth.

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That means checking periodically to confirm your numbers are solid.

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Since our surrounding financial environment changes regularly,

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you can easily slip out of the safety zone without even

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knowing it.

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So take a look at the following.

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Check your product margins to make sure they're in line.

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Things like material costs,

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global fuel increases,

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and an increase in minimum hourly wages will all cut into

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your margins.

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Also, what about the costs of the tools you use to

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run your business?

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I've noticed that a lot of the programs that I use

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have gone up in cost over the last several years.

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CRMs, bookkeeping,

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email services and shipping programs are all things to look at.

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Also, if you subscribe to services that provide licensed images or

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apps that allow you to edit and filter images and upgrades

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that give you capabilities on tools like Canva or Zoom,

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check these as well.

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Are you even using all the programs you're subscribed to?

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Have you doubled or even tripled up and have multiple apps

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that virtually do the same thing?

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Consider cleaning this up by keeping only the programs you use

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and choose.

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Only one is your main go-to to accomplish any given task.

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I recently did this and with only a small adjustment,

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deleted a tool that was costing me $37 a month.

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Still in the financial category,

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you may also re-look at your product line and decide if

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all the products that you offer are actually selling.

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If not,

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by deleting the low performers and bumping up promotion of your

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best sellers,

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you may be able to reduce your costs by buying at

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greater volume for a lower price.

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Economies of scale at work here,

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and if you're still buying retail for your product components,

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now might be the perfect time to start buying wholesale,

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which also comes at a lower price.

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In other words,

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once again,

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more margin for you.

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This spills into focusing on your customer.

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This is step two in a health of your business review.

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By observing what your customers are buying and listening to their

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comments and product feedback,

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you'll have direction on how to keep your product lines fresh

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and actively turning over.

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It's so easy as makers to come up with a great

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idea for a new version of your product,

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a new scent or a new flavor or a new size.

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We think it's amazing,

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but how will it be received by your audience?

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The last thing you wanna do is invest in this new

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version and not have it sell.

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If you can find out early whether your existing customers would

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even want your new product,

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you are in the best position possible.

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You can do this by watching the behaviors of your customers,

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what are they buying,

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what are they returning,

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what are they asking for that you currently don't make?

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And then of course,

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proactively asking and listening to their input.

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Third on the list is to look at your processes.

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As your business grows,

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it gets more and more complicated and it's natural just to

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add task upon task to what already exists.

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Then you're left with a long cumbersome way of doing things

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that's complicated and wastes time.

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Take a look at processes like how you produce your products,

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your shipping methods,

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how you keep track of inventory and ordering or prep and

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follow-ups with shows.

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Look at these to see if there's a more efficient way

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to work.

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Can some of these be done in a better way,

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more smoothly perhaps?

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Are there steps that are redundant and not necessary anymore at

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all? Clean up your processes,

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shop if you will,

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and last but definitely not least,

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turn the magnifying glass around and look into yourself.

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How are you doing personally with relation to your business?

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Have your orders continued to grow yet you still refuse to

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get help leaving you,

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burning yourself out by doing all of the things?

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Are you super stressed because your products aren't selling as you

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thought they would and you're frustrated and discouraged?

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Has your business overrun your life versus being a fulfilling part

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of your life?

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You need to stay healthy and enthusiastic about your business,

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or it's not gonna be here for long if any of

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this is true for you.

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Once you've identified the area or areas at issue,

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take steps to resolve its negative impact on you.

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Book time for yourself each day to take a walk,

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prepare and eat a healthy meal,

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not grab and go or do something else that you enjoy.

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Consider hiring some help in an area you approach with dread

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or put off doing entirely.

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Hire a bookkeeper.

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Bring in someone to help with shipping or take a course

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on how to promote your products to get more sales.

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This doesn't need to be expensive and the return can do

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worlds of good for your psyche and wellbeing for more on

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proactively and intentionally upgrading how you live your life overall.

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I wholeheartedly encourage you to listen to the podcast of just

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last Saturday,

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if you haven't already.

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It's episode number 4 0 2 where Teresa and I talk

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about her real life process of approaching how you live your

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days in a way that aligns with the most important internal

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values and goals that you have,

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both professional and personally.

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So as we wrap up here for today,

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as the guardian of your business,

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its longevity and profitability are all up to you on a

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regular basis.

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Review its financial status,

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the input your customers are formally or informally,

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giving you the processes that make your company run and the

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impact that it's having on you personally.

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When all of this is in line,

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that's when you stand proud and confident As you tell someone

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about your business,

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maybe that person will even be your next new customer.

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That's a wrap.

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I'm a get to the point kind of girl,

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and this is what you can expect from these quick midweek

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sessions. Now it's your turn.

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Go out and fulfill that dream of yours.

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Share your handmade products with us.

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We want them and they bring us both.

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