Next Year Will Bring New Challenges

Another year has come and gone. Some of you are happy to have survived this past year. Now is the time to reflect and examine what you achieved this year. Did you achieve your goals? Did you have any goals? It is imperative in this business climate to plan and set goals for your business. Now is not the time to float along and hope you make it. The political scene is what it is and you need to find a way to work with it and prosper.

In 2013, you will be starting with a clean slate. Now is the time to implement all of the changes you intended last year but did not.

Let’s start with your call office. Is it fresh, clean and inviting? When was the last year you painted? Is there a lot of clutter? I found my counters were looking shabby. So, I was able to purchase counter tops to put on the top of the counters. It looked as though I had gotten new counters but the cost was so reasonable. A new coat of paint and we were good to go. Statistics have shown that when the front of a business is remodeled (freshened up), revenues have increased 15%. What an inexpensive way to increase sales!

Every one of you use computers in your business, right? If not, I will predict you will be out of business within the next year or so. Computers were the wave of the future but the future has come and gone. Computers are not expensive, they are easy to learn and they give you all the information to make your business a success. I can’t begin to tell you how invaluable they are. Computers will help you control inventory, curtail employee theft, give you a clear financial picture and help you market your business. I have not even started on social media but you need a computer to start. Please invest in a computer. It will be your salvation. And for those of you who have a computer, have you updated lately? There are so many amazing programs out there now. Check it out. You will be amazed.

Have you finally sat down and figured out your cost of cleaning and pressing a pair of pants and other garments so you can determine if you are charging the appropriate price? If you do not have that answer, no wonder you are hanging on by a thread. You need to know your costs. And once determining that, it may be necessary to increase your prices. For that matter, when did you raise your prices last? Many are afraid to increase their prices, but supplies are increasing and that needs to be passed on to your customers. I am not suggesting increasing everything tomorrow. Be realistic and start with small, predetermined increases. You should evaluate your prices every quarter.

Have you looked around your plant recently? Are there some pieces of equipment that are constantly breaking down, or that are ready to breakdown at any moment? Unfortunately, with the economy such that it is, it’s a buyer’s market for good used equipment. Now is the time to buy if you need something. Many cleaners are closing down and used equipment is readily available. There are some great deals out there!
Did you or employees attend the educational classes that would improve your business?

Educated employees make you more money. The local dry cleaners’ associations, state dry cleaners’ associations and national dry cleaners’ associations offer classes and seminars at a low cost. Take advantage and send your employees. It is a win-win situation, for you and them.

If YOU are not a member of a dry cleaner association, you are really missing a great opportunity. For example, in California, if you join the California Cleaners Association (CCA), you also become a member of the DLI, the National Association. The wealth of information is unbelievable and the cost of dues is reasonable. Log on for more information. Most of the successful dry cleaners belong to an association.

Start thinking now about 2013. Establish a list of items you want to accomplish in 2013. Make it a short list but an important list. Your list should remain on your desk… not as a reminder to feel guilty but as an inspiration to achieve more. Be sure to cross off the item once it is done. You will be tempted to add to your list but keep it short. You might want to share your list with your employees so they know what you are working on. You may be surprised how much they are willing to help. You are in control so take control of 2013. Make it your year.

Happy Holidays! And may this New Year bring health, happiness and wealth to all!