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Time Management Skills in Your Tattoo Business

Posted on: February 12th, 2014 by Hayley James No Comments

Are you over loaded with work – custom tattoo designs and clients lining up for your services? Is just thinking about it freezing you even more into not knowing where to start and doing nothing at all? Do you need help to de-clutter this annoying pattern of not being able to manage and organize your time to be more productive and effective in your tattoo business?

Apply this time management skill inspired by Parkinson's Law to your advantage.

By the way, Parkinson's Law is adapted in various productivity-centered activities. This originated from Cyril Northcote Parkinson, the famous British historian and author. The statement first appeared as the opening line in an article for The Economist and later becoming the focus of one of Parkinson’s books, Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress. It is the amount of time which one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.

Let's say, you give yourself a month to complete a new custom tattoo design even if in reality it will only take you a week to do it. Psychologically speaking, you will make the task more complicated so that you can fill the allotted time of a month you set aside for yourself to complete it. You may not even fill the extra time with more work. The void is only filling up with the stress of having to get it done.

Stop right there and immediately shift your work pattern and manage your time and energy more effectively:

1.    Divide a huge task into smaller parts.                                                                  

Chunk your tasks in smaller parts and give yourself half that time. If you have a huge task, dividing them into smaller parts will work best for you. It will help if you take small steps towards the accomplishment of the task rather than working aimlessly at getting the huge task done immediately at hand. 

2.   Set a deadline

The deadline we are talking about here is not completing a two-hour task in 1 month. But be reasonable with your timeframe. As you progress and become an expert at this, you may be able to squash your deadline to the minimal level to complete each task. The deadline will motivate you and guide you to your completion.

3.   Cut off on the extracurricular activities

Be wary about those little time-fillers which you often neglect like checking out your email,  updating your status on facebook and reading your friends', checking out the latest gossip in Hollywood, taking a quick peek at the latest trending video on youtube and more. You might usually think these activities only take ten or twenty minutes of your time only to be surprised that summing them all up have already eaten a big slice of your precious time.   

Cut off the time you spend on these extracurricular activities. In fact, don’t give these tasks any more attention until you’ve completed everything on your to-do list that day. Unless of course your task is basically responding to emails and email blasting or social networking, then you can do all these to your heart’s content.

There are tasks where 20% of what you do is important and 80% is absolutely useless. Reverse this and apply the Parkinson's Law to your advantage and become even more productive.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Staff Performance Reviews In Your Tattoo Business

Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by Hayley James No Comments

When employees hear of "staff performance review," most will certainly have a negative response. This is because we think of reviews and assessment as questioning one’s worth and capabilities. It almost feels like reviews are the boss’s way of exposing what is wrong.

But this should not be the case.  

A successful business is driven by a strong foundation based on relationships. Staff performance reviews is not about picking on the mistakes of your team. But rather it is about strengthening the ties you have with each other.

A regular staff performance review will help in better planning for your business’s strategies—in terms of what needs to be implemented and scrapped out.  This will enable you to know where your staff are as well as where they were and where they are headed.

Some of the aspects that need to be focused on in the review are the following:

  • Is your staff performing according to your business mission and goals?
  • Do they meet the service expectations of your customers?
  • Do they clearly understand the service standards that you want to offer your customers?
  • Staff’s feedback — do they have the venue to give feedback?
  • Do you have a staff’s training plan to provide trainings not just to newly-hired employees but also the long-time employees?  Don't make the assumption that employees who have been with you for awhile are already trained and know everything there is to know. Be open to more possibilities and continued learning.   
  • Management of Over-all Performance— evaluate whether or not the standards are being implemented.  Recognize and reward staff members who are providing the service levels that you ask for.  
  • Room for Improvement—identify potential weakness;  Options must be laid out so that your staff will know what they can do.

The performance of your staff needs to be reviewed on a regular basis if you want your business to thrive. If your business doesn’t have a clearly defined review strategy then it is about time to develop one.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why you should pay yourself first in your tattoo business

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by Hayley James No Comments

Pay yourself first. That’s what the oldest sages of finances tell us to do. But we find it difficult to do so. Or we often ignore this fact.  When payday comes, the money is always used someplace else and finds its way elsewhere instead of paying ourselves first.

The thing is this could be a habit we can all learn regardless of whether you are in business or not—before you pay your bills, before you buy groceries, before you do anything else, set aside a portion of your income to pay yourself first which can also be converted into your savings. This habit if developed early can establish tremendous wealth.

So, why pay yourself first?

1.       When you pay yourself first, you’re giving priority to your most valuable resource—YOU! It’s a way to tell yourself that you are the most important aspect in your business. That without you your business won't thrive at all. And it's so true. So you deserve to be paid first and foremost. 

This can be a powerful motivator on your part. If you begin to treat yourself as someone important, it will empower you to be one. 

2.       Paying yourself first is a sign of a healthy financial habit and a healthy business. The usual equation is:

income – expenses = savings (or in the case of buisness – profit)

The problem with this scenario is usually having little (or nothing at all) left after you’ve paid the bills and other stuff. But if you arrange the order and place yourself to the front —

income-savings = expenses

then, you’re able to set the money aside for yourself before you find reasons to spend beyond your means.

3.       When you pay yourself first, you can use this money as your emergency fund or a cash buffer. Most financial advisers would tell you to have a six-month income emergency fund which you can use to deal with unexpected circumstances. Paying yourself first gives you the opportunity to raise this fund.

The real hindrance to developing the habit of paying yourself first is not finding the money to save. Many people think their salary is not enough. The truth is almost everyone can save at least 1% of their income. Even if some will say that saving this little is meaningless. And yet if you try to think about it, saving just 1% of your income, for the purpose of habit forming, is not an impossible feat at all.  Maybe next time you can try to pay yourself 3% or 5% from your income. Then, you can raise it up slowly.

The challenge therefore is not the money at all. It is you and your discipline to do it.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

How to plan your marketing in your tattoo business for the next 12 months

Posted on: January 11th, 2014 by Hayley James No Comments

One thing I realized after a few hits and misses, it is not really about finding the right methodology, it is more about planning your marketing and acting on it that adds up to true success in the long-term.

Think about it—the facets of marketing is evolving as we speak. What we thought works yesterday may not actually work today. It is dynamic and if we are not ready to adapt to its changes, then we are left out in the cold.

But if we develop a marketing plan, then we can adapt it if there are unforeseen changes. Then, we are not left in the dark coping and groping not knowing what direction to go in because we did not make a road map to where we wanted to go in the first place.

With the opening of 2014, this is the best time to review your plans and update. Consider the following while you create your marketing plan for the next 12 months.

Set your major goals

Begin with the foundation of your marketing plan—your goals. Be clear on what you really want to achieve this year for your business. Let these goals be something you can identify with this will enable you to stick to them for a longer time no matter what challenges you are facing in your business.

Some of your major marketing goals can include the following:

1.       Target getting high web traffic to your main site.

2.       Create a strong brand awareness.

3.       Be the authority in your niche

4.       Create loyalty with existing customers.

5.       Increase new clients.

6.       Build a better network.

Plan Your budget

Marketing can be very expensive—from staffing to the marketing activities. But you can plan ahead and work smart to take advantage of every penny you spend on your marketing activities. You can read Getting the Right Exposure For Your Advertising Dollar and Make Money From Your Tattoo Business.

Here are some of the major areas where you can set your budget:

1.       Content creation

2.       Research

3.       Email marketing.

4.       Social Media Management

5.       Website maintenance

 

Plan your content

Ever heard of the statement, “Content is king?” Well, it is true. So you need to focus on this one in your marketing plan. Think of how you can use your content as a marketing tool and give value to others.  Remember that your content must be in line with your goals and your targeted niche.

You can present your content in various ways. You can choose blogging, use social networking sites, podcasts, webinars, vlogging, infographics and so much more. Be creative.

Your content can include the following:

1.       How-to and tutorial posts

2.       Profile and portfolio posts

3.       Case studies

4.       Comparison posts

5.       Real life stories

6.       FAQ's

7.       Interviews

8.       eBooks

9.       Special reports

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What constitutes a great-looking window display?

Posted on: December 19th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

Imagine this… a window display framed in Christmas lights like a mock-up train car with figures such as the elves cheering Santa Claus as he gets a new tattoo and reindeers traveling along.

Either I stand there all day and get consumed with the beautiful display or I go inside and see more of the tattoo shop and what it has to offer me.

You see, you can entice more customers especially the last-minute shoppers to purchase your products and services through your window display and in-store visual decorations.

But your challenge is, how to compete with the other retailers since you can bet on it that everybody’s trying to flaunt their creativity this holiday season.

So what exactly constitutes a great-looking, traffic-driving window display?

1. Your display must be engaging – Tell a story. It’s all about engagement. It would be best to create an interactive condition that will engage your customers.

2. Let your display window represent the age-old tradition of Christmas in a fresher way –do not focus too much on holiday-themed objects because of the season. For all you know, you can introduce new and fresh ways to reflect the holiday season. Think outside the box or conventional thinking.

3. Let your window display express your originality – this is the venue where you can market your own brand. Attaining originality can be challenging when dealing with the same theme each year. But your clients will surely like it if a space is set aside for your voice to be heard.

4. Let your window display be ATTRACTIVE – capture the attention of people. Play with colors and lights but don’t forget about the basic principle, “Less is more!“ Don’t try to fill up the last bit of space in your window.

5. Let it be as neat as possible – harmony must blend in with your workmanship so that each element of your display is properly set.

6. Let it be MEMORABLE– create a significant theme that will give people easy recall. It will be effective if people  remember it long after they’ve passed your shop.

Image courtesy of artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Protect Your Health This Holiday Season

Posted on: December 11th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

If up to this point you have been keeping your personal life separate from your business life, then let me tell you there are times when these two must interconnect.

For instance, being healthy and feeling energized will definitely make a great impact on your professional life. If you have very low energy levels, it will show in your mood and be conveyed in your conversation.  This can greatly affect your business and interaction with others.

You don’t want to run your tattoo business with a very low energy level. More so during the holiday season when time can really fly so fast and your 'work-load' seems endless. The healthier you are, the healthier your tattoo business will be. Remember you need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your tattoo business and your customers. Read more from my previous post on taking care of yourself and your tattoo business here.  

Protect your health and practice better fitness this holiday season so you and your tattoo business keeps functioning.

Let’s go back to the basics.

What we’ve been told when we were young still holds true. A balanced diet, enough rest and exercise will keep our energy high. It may sound simple. However, we often neglect these basic principles.

The stress levels can go higher during the holiday season with all the preparation, increased work-load, working longer hours, shopping, and even parties to attend.  If we let stress get in the way, this can be extremely detrimental to how our business performs.

The less stress we have to deal with, the more positive any situation can become. We can reduce and even eliminate stress by keeping ourselves in shape coupled with a proper diet.

We need to keep our energy on a high level. Remember, a person with high energy can be contagious. Even with the seemingly endless activities this holiday season, we can influence others to keep the excitement going by sustaining our own high energy.

If we are physically feeling good, there’s no way our emotions can go astray. Our emotional estate is connected with our physical health and vice versa. Therefore, let’s improve our frame of mind and the state of our body.

People tend to reciprocate to this energy. Everybody wants to be happy. One’s own moods can be influenced in the presence of someone with high vibration. With a lighter mood and a healthy body, you can improve your productivity— needed to generate bigger profits.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 


 

Verbal and non-verbal communication in your tattoo business

Posted on: November 27th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

Whether you deal with your customers or you deal with your staff in your tattoo business, communication comprises verbal and non-verbal. In percentages it looks like this:

  •          35% attitude (perception)
  •          15% content (words)
  •          50% non-verbal (impact)

You may be surprised; but what you say plays second fiddle to how you say it. Often times,  the attitude and perception of the person communicating determines how the message is conveyed.

So how do you manage communication for ongoing improvement?

For starters, improve your communication by putting yourself in the shoes of your customers or your staff and follow the golden rule. How you want to be treated as a customer or staff member is how you should treat others. It really pays off to use the right words at the right time to become a good communicator.

And what makes a great communicator? These are the underlying verbal and non-verbal aspects in communication which you need to become a great communicator:

Exchange of Ideas    

A great communicator acknowledges the reality that there must be an exchange of ideas and not just a one-way street of one's message. Try listening to your customer's ideas before you convey your own. The foundation of what you want to say is laid upon the other person’s needs.

The Intention of the Ideas      

The intention of your message must be clear. Your purpose must be direct. And it pays off if the intention is out of genuine desire to serve rather than to follow a set of protocols.

Give Your Attention     

Giving your attention and being able to listen to other people’s needs is a crucial skill. You also need to be able to try to understand what they mean by what they are saying even if you don't agree with it.

Empathy 

Everyone wants to be heard. People want to feel understood. If they are heard, which does not even mean necessarily agreed with.  You can show your empathy by placing yourself in the other person’s shoes. 

Successful communication leads to good business. It is rooted in the ability to measure other people’s  communication style and expectations and then to reflect and respond appropriately. 

Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Taking care of yourself and your tattoo business

Posted on: November 13th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

A happy "you" results in a happy customer in your tattoo business. The happy person serving the customer NEEDS to take care of himself first before he can take care of his customers. In reality, you are there to serve and not to be served. You are the one who need to fill a certain expectation and not the other way around.

Therefore steps must be taken to make sure that you are being serviced too.  It is important that you continually address your emotional, physical and mental needs because you are serving your customers.

How to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your customers?

You have probably developed the habit of fulfilling everyone else’s needs before your own. You have probably been convinced to think that if you don’t take care of other people’s needs, you are going to lose your business and your customers.

We are not saying here that you do not take care of your customers. The line of reasoning is you do not put yourself in the backseat and ignore your needs because you are too preoccupied taking care of your customers. Take care of your needs before you take care of someone else.

Here are some practical things you often ignore which can tremendously help you recharge and regain your focus to serve your customers better: 

  • Don’t be everything to everybody. Learn to delegate. Learn to say "no."
  • Don't forget to give attention to your health and physical condition.
  • Continuously grow mentally. Engage your mind. Read a book. Learn a new skill. Spend time on a hobby.
  • Take care of your spiritual needs.
  • Spend time alone.  Create a "me" schedule apart from your daily routine.
  • Have fun.
  • Build relationships
  • Don't forget you are important, too.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Customer complaint handling In your tattoo business

Posted on: November 2nd, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

To develop key principles in good customer complaint handling is the beginning of a successful tattoo business.

These principles include the following:

1. Empathy

The foundation of empathy is really understanding the customer's position and feelings.

However, there is a difference between understanding  someone and agreeing with them.  You must be trained to have the motivation and ability to understand.  Put yourself in the customer’s position and consider their feelings, whether they are right or wrong.

2. Trust and rapport

Empathizing with your customers leads to developing trust and building rapport. To truly understand your customer complaint requires listening skills even if you don't necessarily agree with the other person. The kind of listening skills which does not pass judgment — but attempts to understand how the other person is feeling.

3. The skill of listening

Listening can be difficult for some people but this should be a strong communication skill that you can learn which will make the biggest difference.

Make it a habit to listen to your customers especially when a sticky situation arises.  All customers like to be listened to and to be understood.  Listening will enable you to understand the customer complaint.

4.Accountability 

Accountability demonstrates responsibility. Own the responsibility until it is settled. If you must refer to appropriate people, do not forget to do a follow-up and check on the development of the case and find a solution to the customer's satisfaction.

Here are some of the effective ways for managing a customer's complaint:

1. Establish a system to handle complaints

2. Don't forget to document all complaints for record keeping and monitoring. Log them and categorise them.

3. Do the process in a timely manner.

4. Remember to acknowledge receipt of the complaint.

5. Examine and evaluate the complaint in a fair way.

6. Present solutions or better alternatives to solve the complaint.

7. Do not forget to inform the customer regarding the status of his or her complaints

8. Do a follow up on your customers and ask for feedback

9. Review complaint reports and create recommendation to improve your services.

Customers' complaints can be a wake-up call and motivate you to strive to make your tattoo business even better. This should also inspire long-term opportunities for product innovation and problem prevention.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

How to develop a Membership program in your tattoo business

Posted on: October 30th, 2013 by Hayley James No Comments

Have you considered adding a membership program to your tattoo business? Well, why not? A membership program can create a network of raving fans and can even open opportunities of greater possibilities and profit stream.

Before you think of developing a membership program, ask yourself these two important questions:

  • Is it worthwhile?

    Remember that running a membership program requires lot of work from you?  If you are working IN your tattoo business, will you allocate the time needed to work ON your business?Will you still do it even if you don't get paid for it? (Well, you won't be earning right away… unless of course, you've a great platform already and you've set up a paid membership program. But even for a free membership program, possibilities will open up along the way.)  So think twice before you establish one.

  • What value are you offering?

    There are lots of membership programs available on the net now. What do you have to offer? What is uniquely inherent within you that you can offer to get people to join you? What are the benefits? It is not enough to open a forum where people can share ideas and connect with like-minded individuals. Back this up with products and services that you think will give solutions to their problems and ease their lives.

Now, majority of membership programs do not last long because of some critical mistakes in creating and running it.To avoid some of these mistakes, consider the following strategies:

1.Create enough momentum – In order to start a membership program, you need to have a momentum. Gather a bunch of people who are ready and eager to join you right away. Surveys show, you need at least 50 members in order to make it work. The program will most likely die slowly if you have fewer than this number because people wouldn't want to hang out in a boring forum where nothing exciting is  happening.

2. Create a buzz- start a program after you have created a buzz. Mostly, what creates a buzz is what people need and long for. For instance, if you have a solution to a problem that many are facing, you will definitely be stirring the crowd towards you. People would want to know and discover your strategy. And if it does work, you will be creating a buzz and luring them into your program.

3. Offer  clear benefits – when you have created the lure, do not forget to offer value. You don't want people to just take a sneak peak and leave, do, you? You want them to stay and thirst for more. Therefore, you need to offer clear benefits to them. Give them the emotional why that will pull them to join your membership program.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net