Managing time wisely is critical to the success of every apparel decorating shop. And yet, effective time management at work is something decorators with both large and small businesses struggle with on a daily basis. Lorelei Hancock has experienced the tug-of-war with time firsthand. As the owner of a home-based embroidery business, Hancock admits that it used to be that the hours ruled her, not the other way around. “I was always going in so many different directions at once,” she says. “It was negatively affecting my business. I’d start on something, and then jump to something else. It was very stressful to get just one thing done.”
While simple, her solution has proven highly effective. Each night, Hancock makes a list of the things she’ll work on the next day. The owner of Clermont, FL-based Cricket Stitches allots specific time limits for each task. She’s always sure to leave a little extra time for each project to account for unforeseen complications. If Hancock (nicknamed Cricket) finishes a task ahead of a time, she moves onto others. “I’ll answer e-mails or update Facebook,” she says.
Importantly, Hancock sticks to the schedule, despite the temptation to deviate. In the past, for example, she may have stopped her stitching to run and answer the phone. Now, however, she lets it ring, and then reaches out to customers later in the day during time she has set aside for call-backs. “Staying on schedule has helped me be a lot more efficient,” she says. “It’s also a lot less stressful.”
Clearly, controlling the clock better is helping Cricket Stitches. In addition to selling her personalized gift items, Hancock is growing sales with schools and construction companies. She says, “I’m able to get everything done and keep my customers happy.”