Building Your Dream Leather Business in Three Steps
Have you ever heard that saying, “throw it at the wall until something sticks?” Meaning lets try ALL OF THE THINGS until we finally find a thing that seems to work. Yea, that’s basically how I started my online handmade business ten years ago. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, let alone how to make a business strategy so I just figured this is how you do it, right? You do ALL OF THE THINGS until something works. Well that’s ONE WAY you can choose to run a business, sure. (I hope you like frustration!)
Or you can plan out what your dream leather business looks like from the start and make a plan for how you will achieve the profitable results that you want.
When you actually figure out what it is that you want from your business, how you want it to operate, how much time you want to spend on it, how much money you want to make in it (you know the important things), then you can start to plan for how to get those things. But if you don’t know what you want your dream business to look like, you’ll be stuck not taking a vacation for 8 years like in this article.
Successful business owners plan out their dream business and how they’re going to achieve results, even the small handmade businesses owners do this. So lets take a page from their book.
Speaking of pages, this is a writing exercise so I want you to dig out your favorite journal or notebook, grab a cup of coffee and set aside 1 hour to do some business day-dreaming. Can you do that? I think you owe it to yourself to do some concrete thinking and reflecting before diving in headfirst without a life-raft.
STEP 1 - WHAT IS YOUR END GOAL FOR YOUR LEATHER BUSINESS? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM YOUR LEATHER BUSINESS?
Instead of starting with where you need to start and looking waaaaay forward into the future, think about the end result that you want and then look backwards. It’s a much easier perspective and view because in this scenario, you’ve already achieved your result. Look out 5 years into the future and think about where you want to be. Not where you THINK YOU’LL BE, but where you WANT TO BE. If you knew that you could snap your fingers and magically get there, what would that look like. Close your eyes and think about what your successful business looks like day-to-day five years from now.
Think what your like looks like financially
Think about your physical location
Do you see employees or no employees
Think about how big you want it to be
How much time you’re spending in the business
What does your dream business look like? Do a brain dump and just start writing. And this view will probably also include personal things because lots of time your personal world meshes with your business. There is overlap, right? Make your list as long as you want. Really get specific and get it all out on paper.
These are some of the things that I wrote for my own business: I want to have a high six figure business in five years, I want to be able to travel to fun and exotic places and work that into my business, I want to be out of debt, I want to have my house paid off (which is a personal goal but it requires my business to be in a certain place for me to be able to do that), I want an assistant and small remote team to help me with sales, social media, and all of the administrative stuff….
STEP 2 - LOOKING AT YOUR BUSINESS IN FIVE YEARS, WHAT DON’T YOU WANT TO SEE?
It’s really important to take time to paint this picture as well because this is how you design a business you love instead of becoming slave to your business and becoming very unhappy, burnt out and maybe even killing the joy that you get from leatherwork all together beause you business has spun out of control.
Maybe you don’t want to have to manage a bunch of employees on site.
Maybe you don’t want to see yourself working 14hrs days trying to manage all of the work all by yourself. This might sound obvious, but still write it down because it’s a reality for some business owners to work loooong hours.
Think about how you want your life and your day-to-day to be and what it is that would hinder your results.
This is what I wrote: I don’t want to be tied to a physical location, I need to be able to travel and easily work remotely, at this point, I don’t want a brick and morter store, I don’t want employees to manage on location, and I don’t want to be making a huge product line that will be hard to manage on a small scale.
STEP 3 - CREATE A STRATEGY
Now that you know what you want your leather business to look like, and what you don’t want it to look you can work backwards from the 5 year end goal and create a strategy for how you’re going to make this dream a reality. Take your biggest wants and think about the major steps you’ll need to take and things you’ll need to consider in order to make it happen.
Using my example of wanting a six figure business, how will I get to six figures?
Questions i’d ask myself would be, How many leathergoods would I need to sell / year to bring in that much revenue?
How much product would that equate to per month and would I be able to realistically do that myself or woudl I need help?
How much growth year after year will I need to reach six figures in 5 years? Will I need to create products that can be wholesaled to many different stores?
How many customer leads or how big of an email list will I need to make this happen? How will I grow my social following and entice them to get on my list?
Can I get there just with organic traffic and social media? Will it require creating ads? Could I achieve my goal quicker with ads? What kind of ad budget will it require?
Keep going until you get really granular and you can start to see a path for how you could actually make your dream a reality happen. If it seems little unrealistic adjust the top goal of six figures. Maybe you’ll start with a 5 figure goal and work back from there.
Or maybe the goal isn’t monetary, maybe it’s that you do want your own brick and morter store in 5 years. Work backwards in the same way starting with the big questions and getting smaller and smaller and more detailed questions until you know what the big questions and answers are and have a semblance of a plan.
So you can throw things at the wall and hope they stick and hope you end up in a happy, thriving and profitable business in 5 years, or you can take an hour to do some dreaming and planning and work a strategy that will ensure your success and maybe even allow you to get to your dream business faster then 5 years.