5 Time Management Tips for Your Apparel Business
Running your own apparel business can be financially and personally rewarding. But running your own business can also be exhausting – if you are not properly managing your time.
Think about it. There are only 168 hours in each week and some of those hours are spent sleeping, eating and bathing.
So what about the other hours?
Like a lot of business owners you may have a family who needs your attention and some of you may also be working or in school at least part or full-time.
When you subtract those hours, you may be left with even less time to devote to your apparel business. This is where being mindful and tracking and monitoring those hours comes into play.
We’ve compiled a list of time management tips to help you keep your apparel business running like clockwork.
1. Track Your Time
The first step to managing your time is figuring out how you spend those 168 hours a week.
Begin by keeping a log. When you wake up in the morning, write down everything you spend your time doing throughout the day – until your head hits the pillow. Do this for an entire week.
Go back and highlight the time where you are completing essential tasks that cannot be eliminated from your life.
After that, start examining the time you might excessively be spending on your phone or searching for a lost order form. Ask yourself if this time could be spent in a better more effective way.
And then prioritize your day based on the level of importance of each task, the time it takes to accomplish and the output it achieves.
For example, if you invoice your customers in the morning but by the afternoon are too exhausted to press shirts, can you switch those tasks to suit your energy levels?
2. Minimize Distractions
Once you’ve determined the best and most productive times to work, you will need to minimize distractions. Getting – and staying focused can be a challenge for apparel decorators.
It may seem as if multi-tasking is the solution, but it is not. In fact, multi-tasking takes more energy than allowing yourself to focus on a singular task.
Try the Pomodoro Technique, where you set a timer for a specified time and work continuously before taking a short break.
See if you aren’t getting more accomplished in a less time.
3. Group Your Tasks
After you’ve learned to focus, try clustering or grouping like tasks together. Often we spend a lot of time doing many little tasks that take us in all directions. We may go from answering customer emails to pressing apparel to delivering baseball jerseys.
Instead of being pulled in all directions throughout the day, answer (non-urgent) customer emails in the morning, at lunch and then again before you quit working for day. The same works for adding content to your social media accounts or responding to comments.
Also, instead of delivering shirts when you’ve completed an order, maybe schedule deliveries or pickups for 3 days during the week and spend your afternoons meeting with customers.
4. Choose an Online System
We’ve heard from customers that still use an erasable white board to keep track of business tasks and orders. This technique works for them.
But maybe you’d like to try an online system to do this and possibly streamline your apparel business.
There are certainly plenty of options to choose from depending on your technical skill, budget and most importantly – your personal preference.
If you are just starting out, you might want to try an online project management software, like Asana, that offers a free version to test. Add your projects, along with important details and keep everything in one place, so you you’re not hunting around for scraps of paper with customer notes.
But what if your business is established and growing? Shopvox is an example of a mid-range price option. With more bells and whistles to manage customer orders, this system might be a worthwhile business investment.
For those of you with larger apparel businesses, a system like Printavo is a necessity. At this point, you must have an online service devoted to your business to keep it running with no hiccups.
5. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Finally, the true secret to success as a business owner is the power to delegate. As much as you want to run all aspects of your business, it may not be a realistic option.
That’s where delegating tasks and responsibilities comes in.
Whether you have employees or not, there’s likely someone more qualified to handle the tasks that you don’t have time for.
This could include hiring seasonal help to make deliveries or securing an accountant or bookkeeper to manage your taxes.
Even automating small tasks will make a big difference in your business and allow you more time to focus on working directly with customers or creating designs.
To learn tips on how to speed up your pressing, read our blog post on How to Press T-Shirts 40 Times Faster.