October '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Jennifer Cox is the president and co-founder of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), a professional organization for apparel decoration busi- ness owners. NNEP supports the success of NNEP mem- bers with best practices, ideas, sources, solutions, vol- ume-buying benefits, and services. Cox was recognized as a Top 50 Small Business Influencer and Community Choice Leader by Small Biz Trends in 2013, is recognized as one of the industry's "Most Creative Thinkers," and repeatedly ranks in the top 40 on the industry's "Power List." Reach her at or go to W elcome to the fourth quarter; what I always think of as "crazy time" at Designs on You Incorporated, our embroi- dery company. For some reason, everything just seems to go a bit bigger, weirder, harder, and crazier during this quarter. For many embroidery professionals, this is where the real money is for the year. The finances go from OK to more profitable than usual; sometimes even to a LOT more profitable. The fourth quarter is home to holidays that can significantly influence your sales. Gift-buying and year-end corporate spending kick into high gear. At the same time, you may also be expected to be present at or even host family events, meals, and social gather- ings. If you try to do it all, it is enough to make any business owner go bonkers. I eventually learned that intentionally managing this quarter differently than the rest of the year was the best way to survive it. MANAGING BUSINESS AND HOLIDAY Here are some suggestions to help you manage this quarter so that you can profit yet enjoy the holidays: Decide what is important to you. Imagine your busiest holiday season in your business, and then add the fact that you never made any time to enjoy the things that are important to you and your family on a personal level. You likely do not have to imagine it because this is your normal holiday season, every single year. It is time to decide what is important to you, and then build that into your holiday season. For instance, I love to decorate the house. I begin the weekend of Thanksgiving. One year we kept our business open that weekend, thinking that we would cash in on the "Black Friday" insanity, and get lots of business. Sounds like a good theory, right? How to Manage "Crazy Time" A Fourth-Quarter Survival Plan STITCH SOLUTIONS B Y J E N N I F E R C O X 22 || P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6

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