Thoughts from the Gear Business World: Post #1

Business Post #1: Question Your Decisions

The idea for these posts came from thinking back over the last few years of running Porter Pickups. 

Before I go ANY further it might help to lay out my intent in writing these posts, as sort of a disclaimer: I’m NOT an expert, I don’t have all the answers, and things that have worked for me may mean nothing to someone else or even be a bad idea! I feel like writing down things i’ve learned is a good thing to remind me of where I am, where i’ve been and where I want to go.

My intent is to create a dialogue. I have really enjoyed learning from others who are in business, or observing those in business from a far. I’ve tried to take things I think would apply well to my business, and even looking at situations i’d like to figure out how to avoid.

Question Your Decisions
One of the things that has helped me recently is working on efficiency: refining the build process in the shop, in buying inventory, marketing etc. There’s a million choices to make each month. Some are small, some are huge and some are so crucial that they can mean a make or break you each month.

What works? What Doesn’t? 
These two questions can be applied to a lot of choices on how you use your resources, decide what moves to make to grow the business, and also to decide what things might be worth either making better or not focusing too much energy on. Sometimes it’s hard to ask these questions objectively, so it’s a good idea to have someone you can bounce the situations off of. It needs to be someone you trust, who can also be honest with you.

It’s easiest to put this in the example of marketing. There’s so many places you could spend money to promote your business. Some types of advertising are good for certain businesses and some aren’t. I look back at ones i’ve tried with with varying results and some really do fit in the “What doesn’t work” category. If they fall in that category, I try to see if there’s a way to make them work. Maybe it’s just that it takes more time or money, or maybe a certain one hasn’t yielded enough return and is a money sucker. You may find it may be time to drop it for a season. When you come across a “what works” situation, it’s very encouraging, even if it only works a little bit. Whether it works a lot or only a little bit, the same thing applies: See if you can make it better. If it’s even kind of working, maybe thats where more of the focus should be instead of the “Doesn’t works” on your plate. We created a folding business card with a guitar pick inside. Right away, It fell in the “what works” category and we still send several with every order. The reason being as guitarists, we LOSE PICKS ALL THE TIME. They go into another dimension in the universe, never to be seen again (until you do the laundry). So when the guitarist gets a couple business cards with picks in them, they keep them as a reserve when they lose their pick! They pass them to friends and they find out more about our business.

The next post will be about the other two questions I constantly ask myself: What Matters? and “What Doesn’t” They are very closely related to the first two in decision making, priorities and your business goals.

Thanks for reading, i’d really love to hear your thoughts!

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