Mark S. Hey everyone and welcome to the episode 15 of Custom Apparel Startups Podcasts, my name is Mark Stephenson.
Mark V. And I am Marc Vila and today we’re talking about working on your business instead of in your business.
Mark S. And that’s really important so I want to just say that title one more time. Its working on your business, not in your business and this was kind of inspired… actually was directly inspired by a book by Michel Gaubert called the E-Myth Revisited and it’s a book that I read probably 10 or 15 years ago in its first publishing; he keeps updating it and coming out with new versions, I read it every time because its got a great perspective on starting a new business.
Mark V. And I had not read that book yet, I had actually seen an article that was summarizing the book, then I watched a video and then that on YouTube linked to him speaking about this and probably 300 videos. So I looked at a couple of those and that’s when I mentioned it to Mark, I said hey! do you know about this?
Mark S. I actually recommended the book 2 weeks ago on the Custom Apparels Startups Facebook group and got good response, I hope a couple of you out there listening have already read it so can appreciate this podcast. What we’re doing out here is trying to break this multirivision decades old idea and well thought out and researched book into about 30 minutes of Marc and I talking over to a microphone and to you guys. So maybe we can adapt these concepts and strategies to the Custom Apparel Business.
Mark V. Yeah, that sounds great and I think, so the first thing we need to start with is what he describes as the E-myth.
Mark S. Yeah, what is the E-Myth?
Mark V. So first of all it has nothing to do with E-mail or Electronic anything, which is at first I thought, is this some sort of Techy thing?
Mark S. Myth about some kind of technology.
Mark V. But its the entrepreneurial myth, okay so the myth is that most businesses are started by entrepreneurs. When in fact they are not. Most business are started by what he refers to as technicians, or the people who enjoy doing the hands on work.
Mark S. Alright so, some good examples would be, if you are out there in the world and you are a home embroiderer that is looking to get into the commercial embroidery business, it’s not because you dream of starting a multi-state multi-national embroidery empire, it’s because you really like the act of doing embroidery and the way it makes people feel and when you give them stuff and you like the look and you like the activity and you think you can do that for a living.
Mark V. And most businesses it’s not the fourth or fifth or sixth serial entrepreneurial business they’ve started, most small business are people who really like doing something or are really good at doing something; hopefully both and they can say, I can charge for this and make money and do something that I am good at it and I like.
Mark S. Or you’re and employee and let’s say you work in a cafe press or a Zazzle and you run Direct to Garment Printers all day and you know how to do it, you known how to do the artwork and you know how to do the printing, so you think hey, why am I wasting all my expertise, I know so much more about this stuff than my boss or my owner does, I think I’ll just start my own business and so the perspective is from most people starting a business as the mistakes is that they’re going to be just doing that activity and will be successful.
Mark V. Yeah, almost all new business owners assume that because they understand the work and the technical work, they are technicians and they are great at it, they assume that they are gonna understand how to run it as a business, which are two completely different concepts.
Mark S. It is and it even applies to somebody that is looking at it, so for example if you are a crafty kind of a person or you’re involved in sports and it’s kind of a combination of those two things, you might look at rhinestone T-shirts and say, I would really enjoy making rhinestone T-shirts and that’s what I want to do as opposed to somebody that says, I don’t want to make rhinestones I want to get rich by selling people rhinestone T-shirts. It is definitely 2 different ideas.
Mark V. Yeah, most people that we run into here, probably most people listening would say when I sold equipment; people would say “i think those bling shirts are cool. I like them and I know a lot of people that like them, I am crafty type of person and I like artwork and like creating things, I want to run this as a business, I can make money doing it coz I like it”.
Mark S. And you probably can, most of our customers are probably people who like doing what they are doing and they just want to do enough to make a little money, they don’t have plans for growth and expansion and getting rich.
Mark V. So, besides the technician what else does a business need.
Mark S. He breaks it down into three different parts or three different personalities that every business needs and
One is a technician ofcource; the other one is a manager and the last one is an entrepreneur.
Mark V. So, the way that he defines that is that the entrepreneur is the vision, it’s the long-term thought of this is the business and this is what it’s going to do and this is what it is going to be. Then the manager is the system, the manager is…
Mark S. He is the one that makes it work.
Mark V. Yeah, The one that makes it work, he makes sure that orders get fulfilled and the customers get what they need, that’s the manager and even if it is all one person, it is all the parts of the system, and the technician provides the output, so the technician physically provides the printed T-shirts.
Mark S. Alright, how can we relate that to the custom T-shirt business, maybe the entrepreneur is the guy that he envisions himself getting a DTG printer and having a brand new brand like he is going to be the next Fubu or he is going to be the next outdoor wear superstar, and it’s just gonna be everywhere and he doesn’t really know how he is gonna do it, but he’s got this great idea and he’s got the vision for what he wants things to be and he is going for it.
Mark V. And this same person because often times you are all three, this same person says, okay, this is how I’m gonna do it. I’m going to get a printer, I’ve got this area at the back of my house or in my garage I can take orders in there I got a work table so I could fulfill orders there I can stack in here, I can put some boxes and they think of how they can do it.
Mark S. Right, the manager would be the kind of the guy or the woman that talks to the entrepreneur whose got those ideas and says, where the heck are you gonna buy T-shirts? How are you gonna ship all those products? Where are you going to put all the equipment? How are you going to get everything from you to the post office to ship? What shipping company are you going to use? That is kind of the space managing, supply managing management.
Mark V. Yeah, and then it finishes with the third one which is the technician, well how does the printer work, what ink does it use and how do I cure the ink does it wash well, all the things that are part of the training on using the machine.
Mark S. Every question that we get during any one of our live webinars.
Mark V. Yeah,
Mark S. Yeah, is what those technician questions are, how do I do it, how much time am I gonna spend doing it, is it hard is it easy, am I gonna be able to run the software, things like that are definitely the technician’s part.
Mark V. and what Gaubert here says is that a business builder which in theory is you listening or was you in the past, Is all three of those things but broken down into the wrong percentages…
Mark S. And those percentages are…
Mark V. He says that generally speaking you are 10% Entrepreneur, 20% Manager and 70% Technician.
Mark S. And I would just have to say because I’ve been through this process myself and you’re forced into the 20% manager, most people are technicians and the only reason that 20% manager comes out is because something catches fire or a product comes back in shipment or you cannot figure out how to fix your website, the whole kind of manager thing is self defense, that’s what I would say.
Mark V. That is very true is that when an issue comes you have to solve it immediately and when you solve it you’ve developed this new system, because now you say I am not going to put the shirts on the floor anymore because when it rains in my garage, water comes in.
Mark S. Don’t mention garage we’ve had some customers, a couple of customers right now that are having problems from their business in the garage. So, entrepreneur manager and technician and the point is that you’re already all three of these things, you have the entrepreneurial vision to figure out that you wanted to do a business whether it’s from home or if you want to get a retail space or just go into an industrial shop, you’re the manager because you ordered the equipment or you’re going to order the equipment and you’re at-least going to figure out where you’re going to order blank shirt and order ink and all of that stuff and you’re the technician because if you look around the room and you’re the only one that’s in it and you’re the one that’s gonna be doing the orders.
So, what’s the ideal, what does he talk about the ideal.
Mark V. So, he says that the ideal is the perfect mix of all three and that a very good business builder is 33% entrepreneur, 33% manager, 33% technician and then there is an extra 1% that he doesn’t say, so we have to figure out what that is.
Mark S. I think he just ran it down, I don’t think … maybe he didn’t have a manager or I prefer…
Mark V. I think there is some sort of mystery behind it.
Mark S. (laughs) Okay, alright, so in that the good news is that there are some steps that you can take even though you are the typical 70% technician or more, there are steps you can take and that’s what the rest of the book is about and some of the things that we’re gonna talk about that will get you to the ideal mix of entrepreneur, manager and technician and now maybe you can understand a little bit more about working on your business instead of in your business, in your business is the technician and on your business is the entrepreneur or the manager.
Mark V. Yeah, absolutely and the way that he describes is through the phases of growth because in the beginning, in the very-very beginning when you first start, what he describes as the infancy – the technician is the business, so that’s why you’re 70% technician is because that is the business is that you’re an embroiderer and nothing happens unless you embroider.
Mark S. Yeah, if you’re not working then no money is being made.
Mark V. Yeah, exactly, so eventually you will step out of that infancy, so you can’t juggle everything anymore, you don’t have the ability to or you’re getting tired of it, one or the two.
Mark S. This happens recently as a matter of fact we’ve got a great success story on the ColDesi site called undercover bling and it’s up there and it’s undercover because we had a retired couple buy a ProSpangle machine at a show in Nashville. And a ProSpangle is a blink machine that makes a sequence kind of bling, it looks great, it’s popular but she quickly got to the point within six to eight months of having the ProSpangle machine that she did not want any more business, she was full, her and her husband were supposed to be retired and they did embroidery as well, they were so busy that they made one of those decisions that Marc is going to talk about in just a minute and that’s not to take any more customers because they got to that point of whether to grow or not.
Mark V. Yeah, coz you’re in your infancy so what happens is that you’ve got that ProSpangle unit and you start selling, so now you’re talking to the customers and you’re delivering to the customer you’re creating the artwork and you’re producing it and you’re ordering the supplies, you’re doing everything, you’re not even sure where the vision is, you’re juggling a lot of things.
Mark S. All you’re doing is filling orders.
Mark V. You’re fulfilling orders and one of a few things is happening, either you want to grow but you can’t grow anymore because you’re doing too many things and your energy potential is at its maximum and you can’t talk to any more customers or you’re losing sight of what you wanted to do, like I really wanted to do this and now I’ve got a lot of headaches, so now you’re in the expansion stage of the business which is a time where you’ve got basically he says four decisions to make.
So the first one is the example you took, just get small again, listen, this was supposed to be retirement and it’s not supposed to be 80 hours a week, it’s supposed to be 30 or less which is fine, do that.
Mark S. That’s great if that’s your goal in getting into the business and it is for a lot people..
Mark V. So then great, get small again, so just say, this is the max I am going to do and whether that means adjusting your pricing to automatically make that happen.
Mark S. Which is the best way, I like to do that. Just raise your pricing until you lose the right amount of customers and the one’s that stay are more profitable.
Mark V. Yeah, that is a great way to do it, or not attending as many events, there is a lot of ways…
Mark S. Sure, stop marketing.
Mark V. So, that’s good, another one is… what he refers to as go for broke. Which means just continue working harder and harder and harder until you get enough money where you can make a major change.
Mark S. He should’ve said go for stroke, I think that’s really what he’s really saying.
Mark V. So you get enough cash to either hire people or get more equipment or get bigger space or all of the above, so that’s one way to do it, which you know you’re pushing through that. Another one is to hang in there which is I think – that’s my least favorite of them.
Mark S. Right, absolutely, because you’re just kind of bearing it until something happens, you don’t know what it is going to be.
Mark V. Until something happens, just somehow order will come from chaos.
Mark S. I work 60 hours, 70 hours a week printing shirts on my direct to garment printer, I think I’ll just keep doing that.
Mark V. Yeah, and that’s it. So it’s a frustrating state to go through but sometimes magic comes out of it so some people choose to do that and then the last is to move the business into maturing.
Mark S. Yes.
Mark V. So, that’s where it sounds complicated but it’s really just a matter of changing from that 10-20-70 to a true mix of all three creating a vision and making a plan.
Mark S. And its really how you’re going to do that and how you move into maturity and how easy to it is or how painful it is really depends on what we’re going to talk about next. Which is kind of the turnkey system, the turn key approach to creating a business plan.
Mark V. In other words that he puts is that you can take this business and you could almost sell it as a franchise.
Mark S. Right.
Mark V. That this business is not me “the technician”, but it’s a business it’s a model, it’s a system, it’s a series of systems that can be replicated.
Mark S. So instead of saying that, okay I’m going to start my custom T-shirt business, and I’m gonna get a direct to garment printer and I’m going to do the artwork and I’m going to take customer provided artwork and I’m gonna take some cool T-shirts and put em online and I’m gonna sell them to local businesses. That’s not really a business plan the franchise system takes it much farther than that and the first step is to kind of break down what you’re going to have to do like it was a business, think about going into a business like McDonald’s and how one of the biggest and most profitable corporations in history is basically staffed by 16-21 year old kids in High School working to front counter all of the world and it’s not because they are individually awesome people at this job, they maybe or not, but it is because somebody has a system for getting them trained, somebody has a system on making a hamburger specifically this way every time, which is why you can walk into any McDonald’s in the world (almost) and basically get the same taste, get the same product every single time.
Mark V. Well, how hard is to make a hamburger, somebody might say that, but if you just take a 10 year old kid or somebody who’s never touched meat or kitchen ever, somebody from an island with only vegetables, and then you say
Mark S. I think my wife is from that island.
Mark V. And then you say, make a hamburger, it is really hard, there is a lot of involvement to it, how do you put the meat together? What temperature are you cooking at? So, in one way it is a highly skilled thing to do, however in another way if you break it down where it’s like, this is the paddy, this is how thick it is, it’s formed in this way, goes 12 seconds on this side.
Mark S. This is how much lettuce to use.
Mark V. And now you put this into a system then you can take a 10 year old kid or somebody from an Island and put em there and say, “here are the instructions, 1,2,3,4,5 do that”.
Mark S. Do this.
Mark V. And then that’s it you could put anybody in there and they can make a… I’m gonna say a delicious hamburger but… (laughs)
Mark S. No you’ll be lying. So, let’s just take that because we just kind of did the same thing, we focused on the technician and the business, the one that’s actually doing something, where there are equal processes to all three, so for example, if you are to treat the technical part of your business of using a DTG printer to produce a T-shirt for example, the first thing that you would need to do (according to the franchise system) is break it down to steps because you’re going to need a job description for each person in your organization. So, let’s talk about the technician that may replace you one day, this is their job description and in producing a good quality Direct to Garment Print there is going to be the following stages.
- Doing a customer preview.
- Printing a test shirt.
- Pre-treating a shirt.
- Curing the shirt.
- Folding the shirt.
- Packing the order.
- Shipping the order.
Mark V. Essentially we could order shirts in there too.
Mark S. You could start with ordering shirts.
Mark V. When you do these steps you want to write them all down and this reminds me actually of an experiment that I’ve done many times in university classes where they would give a task and then we would have to write down all of the steps, and then I’m sure that you’ve done – the typical one is the peanut butter jelly sandwich one, that’s the typical one I’ve seen it a lot, so they say, tell somebody how to… and actually, this could be a fun exercise to do on your own if you really want to get good at this then you have to play it with somebody who’s a pain in your neck and somebody who is going to purposefully trying to mess with you and write down instruction on how to make a peanut butter jelly sandwich and tell them to follow it exactly and you’re gonna say get bread and they’re just gonna take a loaf, alright now, put peanut butter on it and they’ve spread the peanut butter on top of the entire loaf.
Mark S. That’s right.
Mark V. No, you have to un-do the twisty tie by twisting it counter clockwise.
Mark S. Take the slices out; yeah, you have to break down the steps.
Mark V. So, break down the steps of the printing as much as you can, so it’s not only just create the artwork but its maybe you’re talking about, is it going on a lighter dark shirt.
Mark S. Let’s start at the top, maybe we need to re-frame this; so if you take any business what are the basic business activities that have to take place, so most businesses have somebody that fills the orders (that’s what we’ve been talking about), they’ve got someone that handles the books, they’ve got someone that handles sales, which is taking orders or prospecting for orders, they’ve got someone that handles marketing which is creating a website, producing brochures, sample shirts and things like that, they’ve got somebody that handles shipping and receiving; who am I leaving out?
Mark V. Fulfillment I guess, or I guess that’s part of it.
Mark S. Yeah, that’s part of it, so basically I just named out five or different jobs that are in any business. So the fundamental idea is – write a job description for each one of those and then if it’s just you in a detailed job description, just like Marc was saying break down that technician process, break down the accounting process and what has to be done and when it has to be done, break down the ordering process and how often are you going to check to see if you need stock, and when you’re gonna place your orders, who are you going to buy from, what shipping company are you going to use, what do you expect those expenses to be, break all that stuff down and put them into individual job descriptions and then you’re gonna hand out those job descriptions to whoever is in the room. If it’s just me and Marc Vila then I am going to hand him maybe the marketing job description and I’ll take the logistics job description and then I’ll hand him the accounting job description, so in this way when you’re ready to grow when you have this franchise concept built even with just job descriptions, when you’re ready to grow and you’re ready to hire a technician or a sales person, you basically have the folder of what they do and you hand it to them and say “Here” so you are not at that point where you’re so busy that OMG I can’t hire anybody because I would have to stop what I am doing to teach someone how to use a ProSpangle machine or I can’t do that because nobody knows the way I drive to the post office to ship my stuff, you got all that stuff ready so you know what you’re supposed to do, your partners know what they’re supposed to do, when you’re ready to grow, hand that box that piece of paper to somebody new.
Mark V. And I know what I thought before, and what plenty of people think when they read and hear that type of things, this business is really just going to be me so I don’t have to do any of that because I’m not ever going to have that, I don’t plan to and that’s fine and I would say it’s almost more important you do it then, because you have to be that much more organized to handle all of those things, I have a gentleman that I’ve used for doing all types of programming projects, freelance in the past, and I can’t tell you how many times in the past I have to remind him to invoice me. Because he is a technician
Mark S. Yeah, that’s crazy!
Mark V. Because he is a technician and he is not all three, he is 99% technician
Mark S. And he likes doing the work, he probably likes doing the work.
Mark V. Oh, yeah he is good, he gets excited about the new project, it’s almost not even about the money, it is about the money because coz he is making a living but the goal is not to get rich, the goal is because he likes doing it, which is why a lot of people start these businesses, I want to make a lot of money but I really like doing it. So part of what you need to do is write all these things down so you remember to do them every time and you do them correctly and you don’t give yourself a headache, coz what you don’t want is a headache.
Mark S. I personally forgot to fill out my monthly sales tax forums at-least 3 times a year for four years in a row because I never really did the accounting part of the job description, see these are the things that need to be accomplished and even if you are going to be as Marc said a one person shop in your house, do you never want to take a vacation? Do you plan on never being sick or having to go take care of a friend, or travel around the world or enjoy some of the money that you’re making from the business that you’ve developed. If you do want to take a vacation, and you have this job description and everything down-path then it is conceivable that you could hand it to somebody and they could hold down the fort while you’re gone.
Mark V. So, then I think that moves right into -how do you make it into a turnkey or a franchise type of business, but that I highlighted a quote that I read from Michel Gaubert and this one is not too long but I really like this is the problem with most failing businesses that I’ve encountered is not that their owners don’t know enough about finance and marketing and management and operation (they don’t) but those things are easy enough to learn, but they spend their time and energy defending what they think they know, the greatest business people I’ve ever met are determined to get it right no matter what the cost, so it’s that digging your heels in on the business and that’s like I don’t have to write all those things down, I know this and I know that; when you start writing all those things down, then you get to … let’s say the accounting portion of it and you’re like I have no clue how to work on a Microsoft Excel and I don’t know anything about accounting software.
Mark S. Quickbucks nothing.
Mark V. If you’re going to be the most successful person, you’re going to see that, you’re not going to dig your heels in because you’re an expert technician, but you’re gonna say I know nothing about accounting software and I need to learn a little bit about that and like he said those things are easy enough to learn, everything that you need to run a business is easy enough to learn, you don’t need to be an expert at everything, but you need to learn all those things and be able to function.
Mark S. Agreed, that would be a good spot where even if you did for example think you knew everything about book keeping and accounting, which probably you don’t, you would at-least write that job description for the bookkeeper and even if you don’t do it yourself, you’ll have a written list of things that you want someone else to do, so you can outsource your bookkeeping or outsource your accounting with confidence because you need a little bit about it and you know what you need to have done to start being the manager and not the technician in that case.
Mark V. And what’s great about that is this is, I don’t know if he writes anything about this, but it think this is an overall great strategy anytime you need to hire somebody to do some work for you is if you have a description written down for what you want the bookkeeping to be for example and you go to CPA or some sort of accounting agency, you’ve got two things, you could walk in there and say, here is my business card I don’t know anything about any of this money stuff; I am not doing well with it, help me, right? And now you’re upto them to making all those decisions for you.
Mark S. you’re hoping they are not a shark.
Mark V. And you’re hoping that they are good, but if you go in there and you say that I’ve written down a plan of everything I feel that needs to be don’t that I want to accomplish for my business, here you go; and now this book keeper can look at it and they can say I can do all these things or they might say that have you thought about.. Where they might add a couple of things to the line, now you know everything that they are going to do, the business is still in your control.
Mark S. Right, and it’s a same thing, I am going to go back to the franchise idea and the job descriptions, just to round out the franchise idea, the idea is once you’re done with all of these job descriptions and mentally I am picturing them in folders, one that says bookkeeper, one that says DTG printer, one that says receiving and then you put them all in a file box and you could hand them anyone in another part of the country and this is their franchise system; they know what their website’s is going to look like, they know how to contact their customers, they know how many sales people they need, they know what sales people are going to say, they know how to fulfill orders, they know how to ship orders, they know what to do if there is going to be a problem, the bookkeeping they’ve got all that in that box and as you grow and as you find these other needs, you may realize that you don’t know as much about particular areas as you may think you do, which goes back to the digging in your heels idea.
Mark V. Yeah.
Mark S. And we get that all the time on the technician side and we would like you to avoid that as much as possible on that side as well as on the bookkeeping and accounting and taxes and shipping and receiving.
Mark V. Yeah, this sounds hard,
Mark S. It does sounds hard, it is hard.
Mark V. It is hard but I think it is hard and not hard at the same time and then if you break it down.
Mark S. To make it squishy make it gel like.
Mark V. Soquid (both laugh)
Mark S. Make it soquid?
Mark S. Its kind of an insol kind of thing.
Mark V. I think it is a Wendy’s commercial of what a frosty is. Yeah, Yeah.
Mark S. Okay.
Mark V. If anyone remembers that (I’m sure). So he has some steps that you need to do and the first thing that he says, which is also the most important step is having a primary aim is what he refers to it, or personal goal and its literally is a personal goal that goes around your business, so the primary aim needs to be what do you want to do, just write that down first; so it is do you want to work from home? do you want to have a million dollars? Do you want to have a certain number of employees?
Mark S. What do you want your life to look like?
Mark V. Yeah, what do you want your life to look like? and it might be, I want to have a sports apparel shop and I want to be able to go there and I wouldn’t might even being there a whole bunch of hours because all day I am going to talk to people about sports apparels and we’re gonna have TV’s up on the wall every Sunday with games.
Mark S. Or it could be I want to roll out of bed at 9am in my bunny slippers and never change out of my pajamas and just go run my embroidery machine all day and have enough to pay the rent. That’s absolutely fine and I have no problem with that.
Mark V. Yeah, so write that down, because you need to marry your primary goal, the primary aim of your business with your personal goal, because he says that if you don’t write that down and if you don’t come up with what that is, and make sure your focusing on that it is going to get out of control and your business is going to fail because you’re no longer waking up at 9am with your slippers still on but you are waking up at 7am after going to bed at 3am and now you’re not happy and you’re gonna give up or whatever might happen.
Mark S. Or it could short cut your road to success, where you realize on a daily basis that in the end you want to have an international T-shirt brand with your face on the front, if every day you are going out and trying to get small custom jobs or you’re still in your fuzzy slippers at noon or you have no idea where you’re gonna get capital to do any of this stuff, it helps you work every day, make sure that you align your activities on a daily basis with what you want your goal to be or else you’ll end up where you don’t want to be.
Mark V. Yeah, you have to have a vision of how you want your life and your business to develop overtime, so just write that, it doesn’t have to be terribly formal it’s just for you; and then you need to have an objective of what that means, so what are some things that you’re going to be able to measure to ensure that you have that success.
Mark S. What do you need to get there kind of thing.
Mark V. In order for me to stay at home, or in order for me to be able to open up that shop, I’m going to need to have this much money a month, I’m going to need to create this much money, I need to create all this prepare work, being stay at home might be easy, I need to make five thousand dollars a month. So, that’s my goal.
Mark S. How do I do that?
Mark V. How do I do that?, and so the first thing is just to create the objective, so the objective is, I just need to make five thousand dollars per month, that is my main objective; so how are you going to get there. That’s where you start creating your organization strategy, and that is where you talk about all the jobs.
Mark S. Okay.
Mark V. So, that is that’s the next step and now according to Mr. Gaubert and how he would write it.
Mark S. I wonder if he is a baby food guy.
Mark V. It’s possible.
Mark S. It’s Possible.
Mark V. I doubt it though.
Mark S. I just said that to throw you off… What were going to say about..
Mark V. (Laughing) You just put together your chart, so you say this is what your accounting is and you write down all your job description.
Mark S. Okay, I get it, I get it. So it is an orc-chart like a real business.
Mark V. And you organize it because at some point in time if you really want to stay in your boxers and slipper or your robe all day, eventually one of those jobs is gonna have to go away from you, because making five thousand dollars a month doing embroidery from your home means that at some point of time you’re probably gonna have to get dressed and leave.
Mark S. To a sales call. Even if it just for sales goal.
Mark V. Might be a sales goal or whatever it is, so then you could say well, one of the jobs is sales calls and I really don’t want to do that a lot, I don’t want to do that forever because that’s not what I like to do. I want to do the bunny slipper embroidery part, so then you have to write that sales job and how it is organized and then so eventually you can turn around and you can get somebody to do that for you. And there are so many cool ideas and ways to do that but you run into somebody who sells stuff, and you say, if you sell this to me I’ll give you this amount of money, the reason you know that is because you wrote down all of your prices and you wrote down how much money you’re making.
Mark S. Here is exactly what I want you to do, give yourself a job description.
Mark V. So, that’s why you have the job description.
Mark S. So the next step is going to be management strategy, so we’ve talked about your aim, your objective and your organization by making out those org chart and filling in job descriptions and things like that, for management it is going to be the same thing, you really just going to try to figure out the processes involved in your business, and how you’re going to handle those on a management level. And then…
Mark V. And then he talks about the people strategy and that is creating an environment and creating a plan where it’s all about just people wanting to fulfill the responsibilities knowing what their job is so they can do it and it all ties down to writing that stuff down, so you’re not going to do the sales stuff or you don’t want to in the long run so you write down a really good description about what you are going to promise customers and what you’re going to do and then when you try to find the person to do that, you say this is exactly what it is. We’re going to provide this service.
Mark S. And really it’s important and its probably something that is more for people that are already in business or you envision having that big business that big franchise model business in the future is he wrote down three – concepts related to people strategy and the number one thing is that customer should always be made to feel they are right… which I don’t always agree with but we strive to make them feel as right as possible. The employee should act like they are the best and the growth comes by developing new skills. So as you think about the people that you’re going to hire in the future as you think about the growth of your business make sure that you keep in mind that.. The people include your customers and how you would want to be treated as both the customer and an employee.
Mark V. Yeah, I actually like that a lot.
Mark S. Thanks, very much I appreciate that.
Mark V. So, the next is the marketing strategy, in the marketing strategy he talks about that forget about your vision and focus on the customer,
Mark S. What does the customer want? Why does the customer what to do business with you?
Mark V. And who is the customer? So, we’ve talked about this a whole bunch in a lot of different ways but if you’re going to sell to and if you’re going to do bling and it specifically going to focus on the cheer leading demo that’s going to be cheer-mom bling something like that then if that is going to be your business focus then who is a demographic what are their ages, where do they go, what do they do and what is going to make them happy, and focus on all those things right all that down, keep writing things down and make sure that everything that you’ve just written down before is going to fall into that, its all aligned properly.
Mark S. So, I have to break in and give you a great example of ColDesi and Colman and Company doing that.
Mark V. Alright, let’s do it, I want to know.
Mark S. It’s the CAS-Podcast, I mean you guys out there in podcast land you are all customers or potential customers of ours and part of our marketing strategy is to help people start businesses and get excited about starting an apparel decorating business and part two of that is to make sure that they stay in business so they can buy more stuff from us. And that is why we are doing a podcast, so that is a example of a marketing strategy to reach a demographic of people who are entrepreneurs that might be interested in the custom T-shirts or apparel business that might want to listen to two people named Mark yammer on for hours at a time about what they should be doing.
Mark V. (laughs) Well, that’s what I think we’ve tried to do in this is we have a goal, obviously our goal is to get the business started and keep them successful so that they can buy supplies and keep us in business. So your success is our success. But in doing that we need to forget about the goal of selling supplies and start thinking about what our customer wants is to be successful and do well, which is going to sell supplies.
Mark S. And what can we do to facilitate that and make sure we meet you where you are our customer as a marketing strategy as opposed to digging in our heels and saying well, I make the best Vinyl T-shirts in the world, all I have to do is sit here and you should definitely buy one.
Mark V. Yeah, and that’s just the key to everything, it is to think about your customer and how are these like using that the cheer leading you know what are all the things that they really want and then how can I deliver that which is going to make me money, which is going to allow me to reach the very first thing that you wrote down, just to be able to stay at home in my flip flops is because I found some way to market to this customer, I know what they want and then I am going to deliver that to them, which is going to achieve my primary goal, really in a perfect situation the cheer moms are really happy with everything that they’ve bought and they are happy to give you their money and their time and you’re really happy because it helped you achieve your goal.
Mark S. Yes.
Mark V. And the last thing then in making sure all this comes together is to break down all of these systems. He says break it down into three things the heart systems, so what do you need, you need a Spangle machine or a Rhinestone machine or a DTG printer, you need space to use it, computers, write down all the things you need. And you will need in order to grow, so if you have other goals and if you say, I want to have this big sports store, right down I need a place to rent out and all these other things and you’re going to write all that down.
Mark S. You’re going to need cash for deposit for all that retail space, you’re going to have to built it out, you’ll need counter space and display space.
Mark V. And a sign, and you know everything… a sticker to put on the window when you’re open. So you know you could write down all of this. Then there is this soft system which a lot of what you’ve hopefully written down by now. So, what the people job descriptions are, what are the procedures (we talked about that DTG procedure), so you need to have all of that stuff written down and then the information system, which basically means that how all of this is tied together.
Mark S. And also I can say for information system, look for our last podcast on keeping track of customers, episode 14, because that’s going to be an important part of your success.
Mark V. So, one of the closing things that I have read big long except from Michel Gaubert on this, but what he talked about was that the people who are successful and do well, they find what their aim is and then they find what the business is, so what do they want to do and what does their business do and then they figure out a way to merge these things together where your business is your aim. Your business is your goal and your goal is your business and you are happy to run your business basically, is a really simple way to put it, you are doing things that are making you happy, you are heading towards goals and you are not in that structure where you are frustrated.
Mark S. You are not working 60hours a week trying to make sure that you get this one last embroidery job done, you are not pushing away customers when you actually want to-want to acquire more customers, you are not moving into a retail space, because you feel like you have to but what you really want to do is take the bunny slipper method and stay at home, so I think we’ve come kind of full circle here and with working on your business and not in your business is the idea that you are gonna spend time growing your business or making your business work better or the way you want it to or fit better with your life as opposed to just printing T-shirts, embroidering T-shirts and making Bling T-shirts all day without thinking about the bigger picture.
Mark V. Yeah, I am always a fan of just diving and jumping in to things, I like it, it is fun, you know it is fun to dive right in but you got to pause every once in a while and step back and write some things down and figure out new ways to organize and if you don’t like something in your business that you do, if there is something you really hate doing that really bothers you then write down what it is and what bothers you about it, maybe it is just because working behind a computer screen in an Excel sheet is really annoying to you and you hate the Bookkeeping part, write that all down and then you can figure out a goal that how you can outsource that to somebody else and then you can stop doing that.
Mark S. Well, here is my challenge to the group: I have gone through this franchise concept a couple of times with different business ideas, I found it to be universally helpful whether or not I end up just doing the business myself or bringing in other people, and that’s that franchise concept, do an organizational chart of all the different jobs in your business, do that organizational chart and write a job description for each one and send it to us, because I would really like to see first of all if any of you out there would do this and how well you do it and I’d also see if there is any place where we might be help you there, especially in the hardware, software systems and in the marketing.
Mark V. And I would say another thing about that is a lot of times when I do these things, I don’t have to extremely formal and these eloquent sentences, it can also just be a little checklist of things and try to put as many things in that checklist, so if it is just art creation and then the art creation is making sure that it is the right resolution and DPI, and making sure that it is for light shirts and dark shirts.
Mark S. So the orc chat and the job description is really a to-do list for each time.
Mark V. Yeah, it could be like a to-do list.
Mark S. That’s great.
Mark V. In addition to that, I do like having a summary sentence or two, so the way I would write it (and this is just me) is I would say,
Job is art creation, okay? Goal, the goal of the job is to create artwork that is good enough to print on a DTG printer. It doesn’t have to be an eloquent sentence. “You need to create artwork that will print good on a DTG printer” that’s a simple short way to put it. And what are the different things that you have to do, and here you can write down a simple list of things and they don’t have to always be exact in the beginning, you don’t have to put 300DPI exact, you can just say resolution and DPI check! Color mode, check! And then you go into your next thing, which is pre-treating the shirts.
Mark S. I like that.
Mark V. So I think, writing all that stuff down, send that stuff over to us at CASPodcast.com
Mark S. host at CASpodcast.com ([email protected]).
Mark V. That’s the E-mail, [email protected] and join us on any discussion about this on our Facebook group we always like to talk about that.
Mark S. Customer Apparel Startups spell that all out on Facebook, it is a great place we are up to 14 million members,
Mark V. yeah that’s gone by like a million times,
Mark S. Yeah, it’s gotten big, it’s not quite that big but we do have a lot of great people on there exchanging ideas and it’s a great place to learn.
Mark V. And please, if you liked this podcast and you haven’t listened to some others we just did one on tripping over pennies.
Mark S. That was great.
Mark V. Which was a really cool concept, because I just ran into that again yesterday, I run into it basically every day, we get into these customers and these business owners that are constantly trying to figure out things that don’t matter.
Mark S. I mean honestly I really the spaghetti sauce and apparel decorating. And I am not going to say anything about that; you guys just have to listen to it to know what it’s all about.
Mark V. Yeah, that was cool.
Mark S. Alright thanks for tuning in to episode 15 of the Custom Apparels Startups podcast. This has been Mark Stephenson from ColDesi.
Mark V. And I am Marc Vila from Colman and Company, thank you.
Mark S. Thanks guys.