Embroidery Business Tips | Success is Like Popcorn

How can you get embroidery business tips from making popcorn? Have you ever made popcorn in the microwave? If your have, you will relate to this immediately. If you have not, stick with me anyway! And then, in the very near future, buy yourself some popcorn, as you have been missing out!

Making microwave popcorn is very simple: place the bag in the microwave. Heat for 3 minutes. Remove bag (caution – hot delicious smelling steam pours out when you open the top of the bag). Have you ever stood there and watched the popcorn cook in the microwave? For the first two full minutes, the only thing that happens is the bag starts to inflate from the steam. If you are expecting to see or hear anything like a pop, you’ll be very disappointed.

But then something magical happens around the beginning of the final minute… POP! And then about 5 seconds later… POP! And then 3 seconds later… POP – POP! All of a sudden… POP-P-P-P-POP-P-P-POP-P-P-POP-POP-PPP-POP-POP-POP!

Microwaving popcorn is a full three minute process.  You cannot open the door and pull out the bag after one minute because you will not see any results yet.  If you do not give it the time it needs, you will have a bag of kernels, not have a full bag of freshly popped tasty popcorn.

The same concept applies to achieving success in your embroidery business ( Here comes the embroidery business tips – told you we’d get there) . It is a simple recipe:

  1. Find people who want decorated apparel and products.
  2. Sell it to them.
  3. Repeat.

Nowhere in the recipe does it say, “Assume the customer’s comments mean something negative about you,” or “Decide on your own that the correct and profitable price is too high for the customer,” or “Decide that a customer does not want to see the latest catalog,” or “Expect your staff, family or friends to help you grow your business,” or “Place really high expectations on that 1000 blank white shirts order from overseas,” or ”I hate making sales calls – no one ever buys from me,” or “Don’t take appliqué orders, I can’t do them.”  These are all little “extras” that many business owners tend to add to the recipe on their own. And they are holding you back!

Here is the secret to success – if it is NOT in the recipe, it does not belong in the process! All this emotional baggage and self-doubt will continue to stop you dead in your tracks until you quit adding it to the recipe. Find people who want decorated apparel and products. Sell it to them. Repeat.

Maybe it will help you to see things differently this way – you are NOT in the embroidery business, you are in the PEOPLE business.  That is the very best thing about owning your company, and the very worst thing – you have to deal with people, lots and lots of different kinds of people.

When people are the main ingredient in your recipe for a successful embroidery business, you will never be able to predict how long success is going to take.  There is always a certain unknown time frame that you must go through until you are “done” and get the order.  And anything less than that simply is not enough.

This one of the embroidery business tips just might be the most important: Owning and growing your embroidery business requires that you give it the full three minutes, just like the bag of popcorn.  If you are not experiencing the results you want, leave the bag in the microwave.  You are probably in the first 2 minutes of a longer journey. Keep going! Allow it to take as long as it takes, assuming you are following the right recipe and enjoying yourself along the way.

There are things that you can do to make more people (your key ingredient) aware of the service you offer in your community. Wear your work – all the time, everywhere. Give out business cards – all the time, everywhere. Develop a simple answer to the question, “So, what do you do?” that opens the door for a sales-oriented conversation, even if it is as quick and simple as indicating that you’d like to follow up with them, when and where would it be convenient?

If you have a store front or window, spend the time and effort to update it regularly (at least monthly) to showcase a new product or new look. Develop a professional presentation process – carry your samples in a nice embroidered duffel or garment bag. Present quotes from a logo’d binder or presentation folder. Carry and use a brag book of your work, showcasing sewouts or photos of previous orders. Get back in touch with every customer several months after their order to see what else they might need. Ask for referrals every time you deliver an order. These are all basic concepts.  They work – when they are applied, consistently and over time.

If you keep doing things that lead to results, pretty soon the kernels of success will start popping. You’ll start seeing the results that you want. Once things start popping like crazy, you can’t stop them, even if you tried! Here’s to your success!

Contributed by Jennifer Cox, President of NNEP