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Stop Procrastinating!

procrastinating

Procrastinating: we all do it, and sometimes it’s just too easy to do. If this is a problem for you, keep reading for tips on how to make procrastination a problem of the past.

How to stop procrastinating: The first 8 steps

Did you know that procrastinating is largely an emotional issue? Thankfully, we are not our emotions and emotions can be worked on. Below are 16 steps to help you overcome this issue.

  1. Why are you procrastinating? Is it because the job is boring? Is it because you’re afraid to do it wrong? After you determine the reason behind the hesitation, consider the following solutions:
    • Delegate the task
    • Eliminate the task
    • Reframe the task
    • Restructure the task (so it’s easier)
    • Or just get started (we’ll cover more about this later)
  2. Remind what procrastination costs you. Write it down if that helps. Some ideas to get you started include time and money.
  3. Identify the story. A common excuse includes being too tired, doing it tomorrow, or that it’s not important. Most of these can be addressed with some self-discipline. Think of the excuse you’re making, and write down how you can overcome it.
  4. Rewrite your story. After you identify the excuse, it’s time to reframe how you think. For example, not having enough time can be translated to “I find and make time for whatever I’m committed to.” Affirmations can help here, also.
  5. Remind yourself why you are doing these tasks. Likely the reason behind tasks have to do with a larger vision.
  6. Know how you distract yourself.
  7. Explore (a little deeper) why you distract yourself. Accept it and move on (so you can recognize the distraction later).
  8. Record everything you do. Have you ever wrote down everything you do in a day? This way you have metrics behind actual work and things you do to distract yourself.

How to stop procrastinating: Steps 8-16

  1. Set a clear intent behind everything you do.
  2. Prepare your environment. Runners often lay their running gear by their bed the night before if they want to run in the morning.
  3. Start small. Big tasks will stay big if you don’t start chipping away.
  4. Create quick wins. By celebrating the small ones, you’ll form a habit.
  5. Just get started. In her book, The 5-Second Rul, Mel Robbins states that you have a 5-second window to take action before your mind talks you out of it. If you notice yourself hesitating, count down from five (and be sure to start before you hit 0)!
  6. Use your time wisely. Prioritize your most important tasks to be done first thing in the morning.
  7. Visualize yourself completing this tasks. Studies show, this works.
  8. Look for accountability. Tell a friend or a partner you want to have a task completed by a certain date. They can help you to stay focused.

Inspiration for this blog came from “Master Your Emotions: A Practical Guide to Overcome Negativity and Better Manage Your Feelings,” by Thibaut Meurisse.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Creating a Stress-Free Retail Store

Stress free shopping

First, let’s address the elephant in the room; stress. Shopping is stressful! We’ve said it once before and we’ll say it again—you’re not selling products, you’re selling yourself.

Did you know 70% of customers leave a store due to the interaction they had with an employee there? On top of that, one in three customers have said they’ve lost their temper in a store. And for even more icing on the cake 88% of customers have researched their product before they go to purchase it. Realize your store evokes emotions, and try your best to make sure the space, your employees, and yourself don’t trigger bad feelings.

To understand what triggers your customers, you must understand your customer base. Then you can tailor your brick-and-mortar environment to exclude these stressors. Who is your customer, and what are they looking for? Your customer base’s emotional needs will help you determine what shopping style they’re looking for.

Types of brick-and-mortar shopping experiences

Some brick-and-mortar stores offer an experience (think IKEA). A good example of this is Adidas. Some Adidas stores have a treadmill in them so customers can try shoes on. They even have fitness coaches to give advice on the best shoes for the customer’s fitness preferences.

Others want a quick and simple experience. If this is your customer base, automate as much as your store as possible. Make sure you have a robust website with updated product and speedy online response times.

Of course, you can always shoot for something in the middle. (Think classes for your customers who want an experience and as much automation as possible for customers who would rather avoid interaction). Whatever it is, we hope your customers think of you as a trusting, helpful, and enjoyable brand!


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Businesses

Cybersecurity image

We’ve blogged about it before, but it’s always good to return to the subject of cybersecurity. The reality is, every business is going to suffer a cyber attack. Each day your business goes without protection is one day closer to that happening. Check out the below to ensure your assets are covered.

Things to consider

Facebook was down for a total of six hours on Monday, October 4. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you too.

Something else to consider is your cloud. Currently, less than one-third of businesses monitor abnormal behavior across their cloud environment. More important than the cloud however, is your email. Currently, 94% of breaches enter through the email.

When looking to protect your digital assets, think of your enterprise wide system, and what you need to do to cover your bases. Check out some below tips for small business from the FCC.

FCC Cybersecurity Tips

  1. Train your employees. Make sure your employees know to use strong passwords, and the information below.
  2. Keep clean machines. Make sure you’re operating on the most updated software.
  3. Get a firewall. Also ensure employees that work remote have a firewall installed on their system.
  4. Backup important information. By this point, this is a given. But it’s always good to have a reminder.
  5. Create accounts for employees. This prevents use of business computers by unauthorized individuals (in other words, your children).
  6. Secure your Wi-Fi.
  7. Use best practices when it comes to online banking. Ensure your bank is using the most recent anti-fraud software available.
  8. Limit employee access. No employee should have access to all data. If you can, also limit what software they can download.
  9. Passwords/authentication. Currently, two-factor authentication is the safest way when it comes to securing your passwords.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Company Culture: If you can’t find it; make it!

Work culture

Culture. It may seem like a trendy word, but it is everything in the workplace. Read on to learn how you can improve yours.

What is culture?

Have you ever found yourself in a job you like, but the culture was holding you back? When you’re removed from the situation it can be hard to remember how horrible it was.

Before we jump into that however, what is it? Obviously, culture is about people, and company culture is how your work environment makes them feel. It goes without saying, but your business’s culture should make your employees feel welcome, secure, and optimized to succeed.

What benefits your employee benefits your company also. Recognizing and valuing your employee’s skill set, giving them opportunities to learn and grow, and leaving an open door for dialogue are all great ways to accomplish a positive work culture.

Pros and cons

The negatives of a poor culture are obvious. High turnover, struggling employee mental health (that ultimately impacts customer interactions), and feelings of defeat.

Being open to criticism on how you can improve is critical for improving your current work culture. It’s amazing that even in 2021 there are still books being written about things such as gender and strategizing around the workplace as it currently is. I’m just taking a stab in the dark here, but I think it may have something to do with the close-mindedness of managers in all industries.

Finally, keep in mind that the stress you feel about the direction your business is heading rubs off on your employees. It’s not easy to run a business, but it sure is rewarding. Make sure your employees can feel that too.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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2021 Autumn Trends

Autumn trends

This week marks the first official week of autumn. With Quilt Market being postponed, we thought we’d help you get ahead of this fall’s trends.

What’s Trending

True to the autumn season, velvet is hot. More specifically, stock your selection with crushed velvets. The variegated tones are a nice change from the typically solid-toned texture.

Knitting is also back! Get people prepped to spend a winter indoors with patterns for sweaters and other applications for the chunky knit design. While stocking your yarn, keep in mind cream is this season’s favorite color.

Speaking of yarn, Western styles (with fringe included of course) is going to be everywhere. Fringe will especially be seen on scarves, coats, and other layering accessories.

Autumn Favorites

Earth tones have always been a staple to mark the transition to winter. This year’s top color is a warm brown-orange (think clay) or more specifically the color Adobe by Pantone.

On top of this, greens are back. Any green from the range of a true tone to a loud and bright one, verging on the brink of neon. This might be due to the hints of the 80s we keep seeing around. A lot of these hints include mixed prints also.

What are you waiting for? Add the above themes to your store (that I’m sure is already decked with pumpkins, gourds, and cinnamon-like smells).


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Partner with an Influencer

Influencer

Partnering with an influencer is a great idea if you’re looking to expand your audience. Read on to find out what a partnership could look like.

Where to Begin

When you hear the word influencer, social media is likely the first thing that comes to mind. And you wouldn’t be wrong! The term influencer stems from marketers who utilize people with a strong social media influence. (Did you know there are now companies that act as agents on behalf of these influencers? Crazy times we live in!)

Just how influential these influencers are doesn’t really matter (and hasn’t really been defined). This is good news. This means you can reach out to anybody in your area with a large following to get your brand to a larger audience. Plus, the same works for them as well!

Influencer Campaigns

Before you reach out to an influencer, make sure you have a campaign in mind. This means your campaign will be different based on who you’re reaching out to. Also be open to their ideas and/or changes.

Starting with a charity event is a great place to start (or any other event without profit involved). This way you get a good idea of how you work together without getting into the weeds. If things go well, you can consider more frequent and larger campaigns.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Podcast Basics: What You Need To Know

podcast

Everybody has a podcast these days. Should your business be one of them? Find out everything you need to know before you jump in.

Podcast Basics

As business owners we already have one thing many people who start podcasts don’t: a following. Before you decide to push a podcast to your audience, make sure you can provide enough information. Without the content, you don’t have a podcast.

The next thing to think about is your podcast format. Will you be the host? Will you cohost? What about special guests? Once you figure out your style you can determine how long you want the episodes to be (any where from 4 minutes to 2 hours) and how frequently you release episodes. This could be every week, every month, or seasonally to fill in your slow months.

Equipment

There’s a lot of information available as to what recording software is the best. The good news is starting a podcast is cheap; it shouldn’t set you back more than $100.

Another thing to consider is editing software. Again, you’ve got a couple of options so if you have any editing experience think about what’s important to you (ease of use? amazing features?). Do your research and tailor your decision based off that.

After you get the equipment, practice before you go live. (Talking in a microphone is more difficult than you’d think!) Plus you’ll get a better idea of how to script your episodes.

Once you start the opportunities are limitless! Eventually you can get advertisers and bigger-name guests.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Make the Most of Instagram Videos

Instagram videos

If you’re like most Quilt Retailers, Instagram is one of your best online selling tools. It might even be better than your website! Check out how you can utilize and incorporate videos into your feed.

Instagram Stories

Stories are 15 second photos and videos that are live for only 24 hours. This can be a great selling tool and you’d be amazed at how many views your story can get, so don’t wait; start posting!

Keep tabs on what other businesses do in their stories. How do they incorporate text? What sorts of polls could you do to gather information easier?

You can save Instagram stories as highlights on your page as well so customers can refer back to the most helpful ones. Businesses often organize highlights into different categories.

Reels

As you know, Instagram can do much more than just take photos. Videos are becoming more mainstream each year, and Instagram included a feature to store those videos on your profile.

Enter Reels. Reels are only 15 seconds, but that’s a much longer time than you’d think. You can use reels to highlight products that work well with each other, show off your new favorite fabric line, talk about top-selling how-to books, and more.

Consider posting reels in both your feed and your story for more views.

IGTV

IGTV is a standalone app for videos longer than reels. Even though IGTV is standalone, there are basic features and functionalities within the Instagram app.

Ideas for IGTV videos can include: education sessions, how-to videos, in-depth shop features, and more.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Know Your Break-Even Point

break-even point

Knowing your break-even point helps you to plan for the long-term. Plus, the more data you have, the better you can run your business. Check out the below to find out just how much it costs for you to keep your doors open.

Determining your break-even point

A break-even point tells how many sales you need to cover expenses (or where it breaks even for a given period). By knowing your break-even point, you can determine how viable your quilt shop is, and if it’s getting weaker or stronger.

The equation for calculating your break-even point (or really when your revenue equals $0 profit) is:

  • Revenue = Cost of inventory (goods) sold + Other expenses + Profit
  • For the equation:
    • Revenue = Sale price per unit x Number of units sold.
    • Cost of inventory (goods) sold = Cost of inventory per unit x Number of units sold (keywords are inventory and sold. Not what’s sitting on your shelves).
    • Other expenses = Sum of all non-variable expenses (or rent, utilities, payroll, insurance, taxes, etc.)

For break-even purposes, profit is $0. If you want a margin of safety, simply chose the number you want as a net and plug that into the equation.

Determining daily business costs

Once you figure out what your break-even point is, you can determine how much it costs to operate per day.

Most quilt shops separate this into two categories: fixed expenses per day and variable expenses per day. Some of these expenses include payroll, rent, utilities, and more. Knowing all of these equations will help you make smarter buying and selling decisions.

Inspiration for this post came from “Know Your Break-Even Point” by Jacob Curtis published in the June 2021 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Hot Picks!

Hot picks

Need more inspiration? Check out our picks of notions and fabrics to freshen up the supply in your store.

Fabrics

  • Time For All Seasons: Janet Rae Nesbitt of One Sister Designs – If you’re a fan of gardening then this is the design for you. One quilt breaks down into seven different seasonal projects to be pieced and stitched.
  • Beginner Box Cuddle Kits: Shannon Fabrics – Help sewers get used to working with plush fabrics through this stylish project.
  • Gemini Flight Bag: Studio Kat Designs – Get ready for traveling again with this flight bag that includes two zippered areas.
  • Camping Quilter: Puppy Girl Designs – Going camping? Then take this embroidery design to stitch during your stay.

Notion Picks

  • Silicon Applique Mat: Sew Quirky – This 18 inch mat is clear to provide better visibility while working on your projects. It can sustain heat up to 428 degrees Farenheit and fabric won’t stick to it (even after it cools off).
  • 2022 That Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar: Martingale Wholesale – 2022 marks the 20th year of this calendar tradition. Each month contains a different quilt to inspire your creations (and even comes with the quilt patterns).
  • A Scrapbook of Quilts: Joanna Figueroa and Carrie Nelson for It’s Sew Emma – Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. and Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Co. paired up to create over 30 projects with just six quilt blocks.

What new products have you brought to your store? Leave your favorite picks in the comments below.

Inspiration for this post came from “Hot Picks!” published in the June 2021 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.