February '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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STITCH SOLUTIONS |||| by JENNIFER COX Control Profits W e work with hundreds of embroidery business owners every week, fielding everything Jennifer Cox is a co-founder of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals from helping people find wholesale sourc(NNEP), a professional organization for business owners to share best practices, es to walking them through how to tackle unusual ideas, sources, solutions, volume buying benefits and services. Cox is recognized hooping situations. We offer advice to business ownas one of the industry's "Most Creative Thinkers" and repeatedly ranks in the top ers facing a tough situation with a customer or em40 on the industry's "Power List." NNEP is 15 years strong, and supports nearly ployee. Many of the calls eventually come around to 1,000 independent embroiderers and apparel decorators as they grow their dream a conversation about profits. We often ask how their businesses. Reach her at, or go to profits are this year. I am quite sad to report that the most frequent answers are of great concern to me: The business owner on the phone is an A)I do not know. embroiderer, just like you. They have deB)I am not making any money (on this order, this year, etc.). cided (unconsciously, perhaps) to forgo the control of their business by taking a I have something important that I want you to hear and understand: you are in control passive approach to earning income. What of how much money you make. When we say that to the person on the phone, generally is that about? It is my belief that most apwe get any one of the following replies: parel decorators started their business to A)I cannot charge more. C)I have no customers. earn money and to enjoy, if not revel, in B)No one will pay that. D)I do not know how to get customers. the independence and freedom that comes with running their own business. But owning your own business also gives you responsibility—the responsibility for your own financial and business success. Your success is a direct result of your attention and commitment to your profitability. A portrait of profit Good news is, even if you are not sure how much money you are making on every order, that's an easily changed reality. In fact, I will even send you a free job profitability worksheet template (see Figure 1). By determining the actual profits on your orders, you will begin to develop a sense of the profitability of the different kinds of orders you take on. And, once you start to know what orders are good or even fantastic for your business, it is not too challenging to begin steering yourself and your staff to selling the more profitable orders. But let's get specific. What follows are some examples to demonstrate how you can control your profits and improve them with minor adjustments. 68 | Printwear PW_FEB13.indd 68 February 2013 1/18/13 10:15 AM

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