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How Screen Printing and Embroidery Shops Can Crush Their 2024 Goals

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How Screen Printing and Embroidery Shops Can Crush Their 2024 Goals

etting yearly goals for your print or embroidery shop can set you far apart from your competition. In fact, studies show that business owners who set and write down business goals are 43% more likely to achieve them. Unfortunately, 90% of businesses don’t reach their strategic goals, but you don’t have to be one of them. The start of a new year is a great time to review what went well in 2023 and create your roadmap for a prosperous year ahead – so use our five tips for effective goal setting for 2024.

Tip #1: Get in the right mindset for goal setting and planning.

Too often, business owners like to “do,” rather than “sit and plan.” That’s why embracing the mindset of seeing value in carving out dedicated periods of time to reflect and focus on your vision is the first step. Next, use that alone time you’ve calendered in, as well as subsequent meetings with managers and other team members, review the prior year and think critically about future goals and strategies.

This is a good time to consider your vision for the year and what goals align with it. For example, if your business aims to “transform our clients’ creative visions into tangible art,” “offer unparalleled craftsmanship” or “be faster than all of our competitors,” what specific goals contribute to those visions? That can include investing in graphics training for employees, purchasing a new automatic press or automating more of your order-fulfillment process.  

During your solo session and staff meetings, encourage everyone to share their ideas, so your brainstorming efforts accumulate as many insights as possible. Review challenges and opportunities so you can play out different outcomes and how you’d respond.

For example, if you’re planning to expand into new markets, but you’re running a lean staff, do you need to cross-train employees or hire a new person to cover when someone’s out? Resolve to meet regularly with your team to review big-picture goals and adjust your day-to-day operations as needed – and program those meetings for the full year into everyone’s calendar now.

Tip #2: Perform a thorough SWOT analysis.

It’s one thing to know what a SWOT analysis is, but it’s a whole other thing to use it to uncover “blind spots” that clear the way for smart shop goal-setting. SWOT analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. When you sit down with your team to analyze your shop, this is an opportunity to slow down and ask questions to evaluate your status quo and where you’d like to go.

You can conduct a SWOT analysis by evaluating your internal strengths and weaknesses, such as production capabilities, equipment efficiency, and staff expertise. Externally, assess opportunities, like emerging market trends or partnerships, and threats, such as competition and economic factors.

By identifying these factors, you quickly gain big-picture insights to capitalize on your strengths, address weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities and reduce threats, ultimately informing your top-level strategic planning and business decision-making better. A good practice is to perform a SWOT analysis at the start of the year, and then quarterly to stay on track.

Tip #3: Set those BHAGS!

That’s “big, hairy, audacious goals.” This is your chance to set three to five overarching goals that dovetail with your shop’s vision. It’s a good idea to set aside individual time to consider these and then meet with your team to brainstorm. As we said earlier, there are lots of goals you can set that contribute to your overall vision. Some overarching, and then drilled-down, goals for a screen printing or embroidery, for example, shop may include:

Becoming more of a one-stop shop

That way your customers don’t need to go to multiple shops for complementary branding services. You might add direct-to-garmenting printing or direct-to-film transfers to expand the range of decorating options for your customers. You might opt to introduce promotional products to your clients to diversify your product offerings and attract a broader customer base.

Improving customer satisfaction

Focus on providing exceptional service, building lasting relationships and ensuring your team meets client needs. This might translate to setting up a proactive communication system where customers receive emailed updates throughout the order process to increase transparency. You might also start a customer loyalty program, offering discounts or exclusive perks to members to encourage repeat business.

Ensuring consistent quality

Aim to always deliver high-quality prints that meet or exceed customer expectations. Some shops implement a more rigorous quality control process, including pre-production checks and post-production inspections, to catch and fix any potential issues before shipping the orders.     

Operating even more efficiently

By streamlining production processes, you can reduce waste and optimize your resources for top efficiency. One way could be to adopt a lean manufacturing approach, reorganizing workflow and optimizing your production schedule to reduce lead times and increase output.    

Increasing your brand recognition

Establish your shop as a trusted and recognizable brand in your local or niche market. A print shop might launch targeted local advertising campaigns, using social media and community events to raise awareness and visibility within the local market. You could also collaborate with influencers who command your same niche audience to expand your reach even further.

Developing a stronger team

Try enhancing their skills to boost morale and keep them on board for the long term. You might decide to set up a mentorship program, where more experienced team members take new employees under their wing. Another idea is to build out an ongoing training program of workshops to help employees stay engaged and build their skill sets. 

Running a more sustainable shop

You might implement environmentally friendly practices, like using eco-friendly inks and minimizing waste, to align with sustainable business principles. You might switch over to water-based inks or less toxic cleaning chemicals to reduce your environmental impact. Set up a waste reduction plan, such as going paperless as much as possible or reusing supplier boxes to ship customer orders.

Pro tip: Financial stability should underpin any goals you set. That’s why you should talk to your accountant or financial advisor about your cash-flow flexibility before you make a large machine purchase or hire a new staff member.

Tip #4: Set measurable goals – and then measure them.

When you decide on your yearly goals, choose SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, as well as easy to track. If your overall intention is to increase your print shop’s revenue, a SMART goal could be “increase sales by 10% in the next three months.”

Then, select key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your goals. A good KPI should be simple, straightforward and simple to measure. The KPIs you choose will be unique to your shop and goals, since there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. For the goal of “increasing sales by 10% in the next quarter,” some KPIs would include:

Growth: Monitor overall sales growth to achieve the targeted 10% increase over the next three months.

Average order value: Review customer spending per transaction for upselling and bundling opportunities.

Customer acquisition cost: Evaluate the cost of acquiring each new customer.

Conversion rate: Track where your leads come from, and then the percentage of those leads converting into sales.

Retention rate: Measure customer retention percentage to foster long-term relationships.

Print job turnaround time: Assess and enhance your team’s efficiency in completing and delivering print jobs.

After setting SMART goals and KPIs, map out your goals so you can see if they’re realistic, before you choose clear tasks, milestones and time frames so your team can actively work toward them. Here’s an example of how you could break it down:

Annual 10% Increased Revenue Goal: $100,000

Average Order Size: $1,000

Number of Sales Needed This Year: 100

Number of Sales Monthly: 8

Number of Sales Weekly: 2

Using the breakdowns of closing two sales a week, you can start thinking about how many cold sales calls you’d like your team to complete each week to get closer to the goal. It’s important to continually monitor your team’s efforts and progress, so you can make changes as needed.

Tip #5: Share your goals with employees so they keep them top of mind.

Consider that only 14% of lower-level employees say they grasp their company’s priorities, resulting in 85% disengagement. This lack of understanding leads to apathy, causing higher turnover and decreased productivity. Conversely, employees with clear goals are 3.6 times more committed, fostering a stronger connection, heightened motivation and reduced turnover.

That’s why it’s important to set clear goals and action steps, communicate them to employees and regularly check in to measure progress. Employees are 76% more likely to achieve goals if they write down action commitments and share weekly progress reports with their managers and team members. If you haven’t done it this way before, take the time to map out action steps and deadlines employees can follow to reach your shared goals so they’re actively involved in and invested in making progress.

Pro tip: Pizza lunches and other milestone recognition efforts can go a long way toward making your team feel appreciated and committed to hitting your goals!

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Don’t be among the 90% of businesses that don’t reach their strategic goals! This year, take a proactive approach to understanding where your shop excels, what problems and challenges you face, what competitors are doing, and where you can take advantage of opportunities. As you embark on the journey of effective goal-setting for 2024, remember that consistent communication and regular check-ins with your team are crucial elements to ensure everyone remains aligned and motivated throughout the year.

Jan 14, 2024