A couple of months ago I wrote about dealing with slow growth in business and what that meant for me. I still receive lots of comments from that post about how you are in the same boat and how much you appreciated reading my story as encouragement. Shortly after posting that, I was blessed with a jump in business. That meant more shops orders, more branding clients, and more projects and collaborations. That also meant more admin work, more to keep up with and more stress.
There are always ups and downs in owning your own business, so I wanted to share with you how I dealt with that recent growth spurt in my business and where I plan on going from here.
Over the past few months, my business has tripled. Obviously, growth in business Is a good thing in itself. But more than that, my recent growth has helped me to build my audience, connect with followers, and be able to better understand who I am talking to and what they need in their lives. I have been able to further simplify my products, services, and blog to better serve you. I am even gearing my 2016 collection design towards these things too. The growth has been a tremendous help in making business decisions because I have more information to use when making these decisions.
The growth has also allowed me to make more connections in the creative industry that has led to some amazing collaborations that have been good for both businesses. I have been blessed with some incredible clients that are a joy to work with and have been able to create some beautiful brands, new lifestyle products, and other design projects because of the growth. Plus, these things have helped expand the reach of Printed Ink Designs and get me in front of new audiences.
The growth spurt has taught me a lot about myself and my business. I felt like I had good systems in place to handle growth, but in reality I have had to do some tweaking along the way. While it is almost inevitable that you will have to make changes to your overall processes when your business expands, having systems in place and staying organized will help make that transition smoother. I used my slower period to work on those processes and streamline my systems in preparation for more work and clients, but after going through the process with several clients (and several at one time) I was able to see how I needed to improve to make things better for everyone.
I have also learned how to position myself in the market to attract more ideal customers and clients for my business. This came from better defining my goals, improving my email marketing, and continuing to grow in my blog niche. As my audience grew I paid more attention to who was following me and what they were most attracted to. I analyzed social posts, blog posts, and website traffic to determine where the growth was coming from and how to capitalize on it.
I am learning what works and what doesn't for my business. I am learning how to keep track of larger numbers and more clients and how to manage it all successfully. Since seeing growth in my business, I have started using new management systems like 17 Hats to keep track of everything in one place. I am also realizing the benefit of clearly defined processes for me and the client. I knew that communication was important before, but I am seeing more and more how key communication can be and how much time it can take too. In all of these lessons, I am taking what I have learned and using it to better streamline my systems so that I don't become overwhelmed and behind on things.
Where I am going from here
From here, I hope to continue to grow. We all want our businesses to be successful, but your success depends on how you define it. For me, I am ok with the steady growth I have seen. And while I want to be able to maximize the success right now, I also don't want to end up in over my head. I know to take things slow and do it right the first time. I have said this before, but I plan to be doing what I am doing for a long time, so I know there is no reason to rush. I honestly get so excited about working with new clients, building strong brands, and creating helpful products for you that I can easily get overwhelmed with things I want to do. So while I am extremely grateful for the success I have seen lately, I also know that down time won't hurt either.