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Time Management

Focus on the task at hand. Before bed or over morning coffee, make a "DO LIST" for the day. The list is your boss. Follow and complete everything on the list. You'll find you don't waste time. And while working, you discover you must do a load of wash, take a quick break, and load the washing machine. 'The Boss' won't fire you!

Keep a yearly calendar close at hand. Block out holidays, mark in shows, family gatherings, birthdays, anniversaries. Mark (in red) traveling days, so you won't book events on days you are traveling to a show. Use a favorite color marker to highlight one or two days just for you. It's your special day to do what you want. You need a work break, time to pamper yourself, relax and gear up for work again.

Accomplishing tasks is very rewarding. Businesses award employees who work hard. Now you can do this for yourself too.

Procrastination leads to stress, and under stress you don't accomplish much, or your product reflects your stress. Re-doing a project cost time and money. Give yourself time to start and to finish a project. Keep time records so you will know exactly how long a project takes to complete. Let the answering machine be your secretary. It will take your calls. Close the workroom door, and go to work. Keep regular hours too.

A 'fix' for procrastination is putting a dollar figure on your time. Divide your income by 1,920 (approximately working hours a year) and you won't waste time when you know the job's worth.

Technology saves time, but be careful, you can become a Net-junkie. If you find your days are filled with too much "Net", then ration your time by setting a small alarm clock next to your computer. Half hour to surf should be enough time to complete your Net-business. Stick to your guns. Answer your eMail in short, to-the-point, sentences. Learn to mouse around the Net quickly. After all a your boss wouldn't pay you for 'playing' on company time. Focus your time on the highest priority item to be completed today. Use the computer as a treat. The project is done, you can "play" on the Net for half hour.

Fresh ideas pop into your head, you are excited! You want to share them with your family but a member throws cold water on your ideas. Do you have what it takes to be a innovator? Be a risk taker and ignore the doubters. Best to keep your ideas to your-self until the project is competed. Often when a family member doubts your abilities, they are really trying to protect you from extra work, or are afraid your time will be spent on the new project and not with them. Family must be reassured they are special and are not being sidelined for your hobby/ business. Use their skepticism to give you encouragement. After all you are the one creating your destiny and generating profits. Go beyond your limits and block out criticism. Ask your peers to critique your ideas if you need feed back. Climbing the ladder of success is done one rung at a time. And only you are allowed to pick apart every detail of your life. Ask yourself how your product can be better? Analyze your answers and write down your responses. You'll find a way to make it better or different. When you see things on paper it's easier to analyze, and easier to calculate the results.

You've created a darling bear, now it's time to market your efforts.

Finding the right show and price takes an investigative mind. Booth fees take a large portion of your show budget. Charting a show budget and investigating all costs will help select the right show. You'll determine the best shows for your budget. Much like buying a car, you do the research first, find a vehicle that suits your needs and falls within your budget.

Choose shows that give you the most exposure for your dollars. Ask the promoter about the show profile; attendance flows, purchasing power of the customers, and other dynamics that will help with your decision. Just because another dealer did well in a show, is not an indication that you will. Sounds harsh? It really isn't. I have seen dealers sell numerous bears at shows labeled 'terrific', while others leave without selling a bear. Sales do occur after the show. Customers call me to find dealers (who have participated in a show) . . . they just can't sleep until they get that special bear they left behind.

Just because a show is BIG doesn't mean YOU will make money. The dealers that succeed in big shows often have 'paid their dues.' They have worked hard building a reputation and spend money on self-advertising. A beginner, expecting to hit it 'big', especially in a large show, is lost among the aisles of bears, and leaves disappointed. Big isn't always better. Customers also become overwhelmed seeing too many bears.

Look for and develop new customers. Always remember the old customers too, they bought bears from you before, and they'll buy from you again. Play the part of a promotional manager. Now don't be shy, promote yourself! Send post cards announcing your specials or the shows you'll be attending. Place small ads in local newspapers and write personal invitations to your valued customers.

Reducing Costs. Value for your money.

Booth costs increase yearly, as do other merchandise and services. Anticipate this and raise your price to cover the additional expenses.

Calculate the costs of traveling alone or taking your family on a business/vacation. After you have calculated the total costs, the extra sodas for your children, museum tickets, extra food and motel costs, your bear bucks run thin. Get serious about your job and plan family outings only a couple of times a year. You are running a business. Take it very seriously. How often does a family travel with Dad on his business trips?

Streamline your expenses by remembering! Remember to bring your supply box. Forgetting a pair of scissors can cost "big bucks", both in gas and running around an unfamiliar town searching for a sewing shop.

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