The 10 for 12 Challenge

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

Yesterday our pastor challenged us to come up with 10 goals for 2012. The 10 for 12 Challenge he called it. The premise for this challenge is to have 10 goals for 2012 across five areas:

  1. Personal Goals
  2. Professional Goals
  3. Relational Goals
  4. Spiritual Goals
  5. Financial Goals
I have been thinking on what some of my goals are going to be this year and some of them are really changing the way I think about my life. Goal setting is good. Having it written down and planning for success is how you will achieve the goals you set for yourself.
One of the things I push my sales to do is to set goals for their sales. But more than just setting goals, you need to set realistic goals. When it comes to your sale, what are realistic goals and how do you go about setting those goals?
For your first year, you need to focus on breaking even. Now to focus on breaking even, you need to have a budget. If your budget is too high, you won't break even, in fact, it may take years to break even if you have extraordinary start-up costs. Sales that spend $20,000 on their first sale, may not break even their first, second or even third year because you only have 2 opportunities to be in business a year and you spent too much to start with. However, if you are starting with $2000-$4000 in start up costs, breaking even your first year is a very realistic goal to achieve.
Once you have your first sale under your belt, your next goal will depend on whether or not you started in the Spring or in the Fall. It's important to remember that your Fall merchandise will bring more than your Spring merchandise, so if you started in the Spring, you want to set a goal of gross sales increase of 25%-50% for the Fall sale. If your first sale is in the Fall, you want to set your goal of gross sales goal equivalent of the last Fall's sale. Remember your Spring merchandise is going to have a lessor per item value than Fall/Winter, so you are going to have to move more of it for the same gross sales. And then for the Fall sale you will again look to setting a 25%-50% gross sales growth goal.
Now, that's not to say that you won't grow more or less. My gross sales of my second sale (Fall sale) from my first sale (Spring sale) showed a growth of 300%. It's uncommon, but it does happen and it is unrealistic to think that growth like that is the norm. It's not. And now that I am maxed out on my participant space, my goal is to maintain where I am. However, I am still seeing growth.
The downfall of setting unrealistic goals will inevitably see your hopes dashed and your spirit discouraged, whether it's in losing weight or business planning. So be thoughtful and practical as you look towards setting your goals for this year.
I am pleased to say that my Editor informed me that we met our Professional Goal for last year on December 5th! Yeah for goal setting! Can't wait to see what 2012 brings!

New Year ~ New Goals

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

As is always my tradition, I like to sit down and reflect upon my business goals for the upcoming year. I set my budgets (both personal and professional) and I contemplate what it is that I want to achieve with the new year.

I don't set resolutions. Those usually get broken the first week. But I like to have clear, concise, written plans. Plans that will help me make my business stronger and better. I also like to break my goals into smaller, more obtainable goals, ones that will help keep me on track for the duration. If your goals are too lofty, they often aren't able to be met without laying the stepping stones to get there. For instance... it's not enough to say, I want to lose 50 pounds this year. I have to lay out the plans for how I am going to get there. I am going to start with watching my caloric intake, then I am going to go to the gym and join a group fitness class on M, W, F. I am going to train with a coach for the Music City Half Marathon (Yes, I know I said I wasn't going to do that... I'm guess I am a glutton for punishment), and then I am going to do some sort of 30 minute exercise on T, TH. I have my new heart rate monitor to help me see what's going on within my body and I have joined 2 groups online to help me with the support I need. If I just set the goal that I want to lose 50 pounds, this time next year, I'll be making the same resolution.
The same goes for your business. Sit down and think about the bite sized portions that are going to get you to the goals that you set for your business. The first step is to set realistic goals. Goals that are so far fetched may be true one day, but you are discouraged until you get there are not helpful. A realistic goal for a new or young sale is to work on doubling your gross sales, while cutting down on your expenses. Write down the steps you think you need to take to double your gross sales.
Then write down the budget for your expenses and DON'T go over your budget. Cut the fluff. Post your goals and your steps on your wall, or the inside of a cabinet so that you see them everyday.
Whether you are a starting a consignment sale or you have an existing sale, goal planning needs to be done and reviewed on a regular basis. Make sure that you take the time to plan your year before the new year starts so you have a head start on your action plan.

It's All So Overwhelming!

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

There's an old saying... How do you eat a cow? One bite at a time.

A lot of new sale organizers find the whole "getting started business" overwhelming. And it can be. You have so much to do and a limited time frame to do it... and even more limited if you are working around children's schedules or work hours from your "other job".

One thing that I started last year was to keep a dry erase calendar in my office and each day I designate one task. I don't need to do this for my sale, because I am past the point of trying to launch it, so my sale schedule doesn't look anything like a new sale schedule does. But with my consulting business (Consignamania and Consignamaniac), I am often asked to write articles, produce videos, handle interviews, and of course... promote my business, in addition to scheduling consultations, preparing Consignment sale Action Plans (CAP's) for existing sales, processing quarterly sales reports and payments from my editor, and conceiving and executing business promotional packages. Oh and lets not forget the 3 times a day I am in the forum answering questions and giving guidance to my new sale organizers.
Whether you are a new sale, or you are just driven to succeed, you have got to have a plan or everything gets very overwhelming, very quickly. And let's not forget why you are doing this. It's probably for your children, or more time at home. If things get out of control, you have lost sight of the things that are driving you to host a consignment sale.
So... make it simple. Go out today and buy a nice big dry erase calendar so you can see what you need to do this month. Then break it down into little bite sized tasks. It's like a Consignamaniac friend of mine... she is a seller of epic proportions... the kind that sells $4000-$5000 in merchandise PER SALE. She doesn't wait until the week before the sale to tag, she tags for an hour each night while she is watching TV, all year round. No madness, no craziness, just bite sized, manageable pieces.
Break it down and your overwhelming to-do list will get much simpler and you'll be glad you did.

Customer Feedback

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

When you receive feedback from your customers, whether good or bad, it's always valuable. Sometimes feedback can be valuable to sales, such as where to locate items so they will be easier to find, and hence sell. While other feedback can be not so pleasant, it may help you make policy changes or help you make clarifications as to why you do what you do.

An excellent example of customer feedback came in the comment that she felt the placement of our books would be more effective (and hence sell more) if we moved them to another location in our sale. She explained her reasoning and thoughts behind why we should move our books and she was right. The next sale we moved our books to the location she suggested and we sold more books than ever before.
Another example of feedback that may not be so helpful for us, but it helped her to understand where we came from was the subject of selling Books from Birth. In Tennessee, we have a program called Books from Birth. Your child is sent a book every month from the age of newborn to age 5. Many people get upset that consignors sell these free books. We allow people to sell the free books for 2 reasons. 1. If my son is into chapter books, he isn't into ABC board books. But if I sell his Books from Birth, I can turn around and buy chapter books for him. I'm pretty sure that the goal for Books from Birth is to develop a love for reading, and they would want to continue that love as he got older. 2. Many of the books are discontinued, or are ethnically based, and lots of our local ministries are looking for cheap books to give to their clientele that have characters that fit the ethnicity of the children they serve. Once I explained the to the lady who started out being very angry with me, she saw the many benefits of selling books that were no longer needed by my consignors.
It's always good to have feedback to help either better your sale, or help your customers understanding. Always look at feedback as a positive way to help your sale grow.

Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.