How do you plan for success when you’re just starting? Here’s how to think big about your gift basket business and still be profitable.

Scale down the big story

As I walked the aisles some years ago reviewing exhibits at the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show held in New York City, the event was a constant reminder of the retailing industry’s mammoth size. It also reveals how much of an investment you must make in your business if you truly want it to be successful.

This event focuses on the needs of retailers that invest huge sums of money on capital expenditures, infrastructure, and technology. There’s big emphasis on tech support. The exhibitors cater to companies such as Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, and every store you see or visit at malls worldwide.

Just because your gift basket business may not be on that level yet doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t grow to be a powerhouse. You must be in the company of larger firms and the companies that provide them with service in order to understand how they operate. In that way,  your business has a greater chance to succeed at whatever level you choose.

Even if you want to stay small, which is what many designers plan when they start, you can still think big at the beginning. From there, you can visualize future possibilities before competitive firms grab your customers.

My takeaways for your benefit

After reviewing this mega annual event, here’s my summary of what to review and consider for your business. This is important whether you’re located in a retail space, commercial loft, or a home studio:

  • A point-of-sale system that processes sales, maintains inventory, and builds a customer database
  • Mobile payment systems to process orders outside of the shop or studio
  • A website that accommodates customers accessing it on tablets, cellphones, and other mobile devices
  • Security features for overall safety and to reduce theft
  • An automatic back-up system to maintain your data
  • A social media program that makes posting easier on several platforms at one time

Any or all of these points are of interest to for you to develop now and in the future. Try not to let this list overwhelm and paralyze you into not planning. Choose the most-important upgrade (start with just one), then complete the objectives that accomplish that goal and move on to the next project.

An example you’ll easily understand

Think about this. Let’s say you don’t think security is a big issue because you work alone and no one is going to steal from you.

  • Think about the bank that maintains your business checking account. Do you reconcile your monthly statements on time and know that no money is missing?
  • How about your accountant? Is that person maintaining your account properly and submitting tax forms that you review before it’s processed?
  • Theft also includes clients who aren’t paying on time or skipping payments altogether. What’s your system to ensure that you’re not chasing after your money?

There’s more to do than design gift baskets and boxes. Designing is the fun part of business, the part that customers love and appreciate, and the part that other people consider envious about what you do.

Then there’s the back side, the administrative tasks that aren’t as glamorous yet are the foundation for your success.

Small is the new big

That’s what the NRF event brought to light for me on a bigger scale and what I ensure that my coaching clients recognize and accomplish this year and every year so they earn more revenue by working wiser rather than longer.

A quick call with me will help you solve your business problems, whether you stay small or grow large, so you become a gift basket business success story and stay at that level for years to come.

What’s your goal – to stay small while thinking big, or to one day operate a huge gift basket operation?