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Let's pretend it's day 1

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by lenarenee, Sep 21, 2018.

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  1. Sep 21, 2018 #1

    lenarenee

    lenarenee

    lenarenee

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    Let's pretend it's day 1 of a new, very small scale soap business. Tomorrow the soap maker wakes up, enters the soap room with shelves of supplies and starts making soap.

    Things like inventory cost, batch numbers, manufacturing date, cure times, blah blah blah and all the other business type things I can't think of....

    What are all the things I need to do/ keep track of? How do I do it? Since I've delayed my college class, I have time to get this set up, but I haven't started. (simply because I don't know how. Google is no help because no two systems are the same, no two people recommend the same thing and my detail "dyslexia" kicks in.

    I thought someone could walk me through a business day so I can see the possibilities and go from there.
     
  2. Sep 21, 2018 #2

    OldHippie

    OldHippie

    OldHippie

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    I thought that I would lose my mind before I bought SoapMaker software to keep track of things.
    https://www.soapmaker.ca/
     
  3. Sep 21, 2018 #3

    Misschief

    Misschief

    Misschief

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    Agreed on Soapmaker. Get it.
     
  4. Sep 21, 2018 #4

    penelopejane

    penelopejane

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    Soapmaker 3 is $99 and worth so much more. Just buy it and everything is done so easily.

    You also need to work out a system for identifying your batches.
    They could be just numbers.
    Or it might be C-number (for all your coconut soap)
    or K-number - for you KOH soap.
    Or 1 - CO
    Or 2 - K

    I just number each batch 1+. I put a tag on each batch with the batch number, the date, the name of the soap and the fragrance. That is so I can go along and see it I still like the fragrance as it cures without checking back on notes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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  5. Sep 21, 2018 #5

    SoaperForLife

    SoaperForLife

    SoaperForLife

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    lenarenee and dndlyon like this.
  6. Sep 21, 2018 #6

    OldHippie

    OldHippie

    OldHippie

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    SoapMaker assigns numbers to the batches. I just use those.

    However, you do have to come up with a scheme for a naming each different type of soap. These will show up on your invoices.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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  7. Sep 21, 2018 #7

    dixiedragon

    dixiedragon

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    I work in manufacturing. You need a) a good software and b) good notes. The note system almost doesn't matter as long as you follow through with it and it makes sense to you. I used to work for a guy who kept his contact list in a big binder, organized by where he met them. So John Smith wasn't under S for Smith or under I for insurance or under A for Acme Insurance - he was in the Montana section, because that's where my boss met him. Which is absolutely nuts BUT it worked for him.

    So especially in the beginning, I think it would make sense to a) have a written plan that you follow or b) make notes of what you do through the day. Then as you find out what works and what doesn't, what you need and what you don't, you can streamline.

    You should also at least once a week (I think) check out your upcoming events - crafts shows, holidays, etc - and compare them to your inventory and production schedule. Fall is on the way - do you have enough pumpkin spice stuff? Christmas is only 3 months away - do you have enough Christmas stuff?

    Also your non-soapmaking things - applying to craft shows, posting on Social Media, etc etc.

    Maybe you could find somebody running a small scale business and ask them how they do it? Doesn't have to be a soap making business. The person who leaps to mind for me is somebody I know who designs and sells dog collars. She started out making them herself but she's upgraded to having them manufactured. She has displays in vet offices, pet stores, etc. She attends local craft shows. She offers sales benefiting dog rescue groups. She has new seasonal lines all the time - Christmas, Halloween, etc. Football collars.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2018
  8. Sep 25, 2018 #8

    amd

    amd

    amd

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    side note: How am I just NOW noticing that @dixiedragon's signature line has a piggy face in it?

    I've been sitting with this thread open for awhile... just asking myself "what would you want to tell yourself three years ago?" Besides telling myself to wait another year - which I don't feel the need to tell you because I know you have thought about this long and hard. [I made soap for a year and then rather impulsively threw myself into selling. Literally. I thought to myself "I should sell soap." and then five minutes later I made a FB page and started telling all my friends that I had a soap business.]

    First: Know what expenses and income you need to keep track for taxes. Not just to pay sales tax on, but what you can use as deductions. I use this to help me with my bookkeeping. Get a good filing system into place for keeping all of your receipts. Most importantly, make time to do it (if not weekly, then monthly). Last year I did extremely well staying on top of it. This year I haven't been and I'm feeling the agony.

    Second: Decide what social media you want to use and have a consistent username for all accounts. I have two that I use - one is my business name (FB business page and YouTube) and the other is the "fun" name (FB group and Instagram) - at the time my husband was doing a side business that I was helping to promote with social media, so it made sense. Now that he's no longer doing that, I'm a bit frustrated having the different usernames. Make these also consistent with your email address and website (if you're using one, or if you're using an online store like Etsy). It makes you easier to find, or get ahold of.

    Third: Use your social media. Find out what sm your customers are using. You might like FB, but discover they use Instagram more often.

    Fourth: Full disclosure, I am terrible at this but working on it: Know your numbers - making, shipping, and what you need to sell your soap for. All the extras add up. If it's not profitable, don't do it. That said, it's okay to try things, but don't stay there if it's not working.

    Five: Also something I'm terrible at but working on: Watch your time. I spend a crazy amount of time making labels. I used to spend a crazy amount of time creating listings online - until I created a template that I can copy and paste, edit what needs to be edited, and all of my listings have the same format. I have so many things that I need to streamline like this. There's handcrafted, and there's just stupid, lol. I've been stupid with my time way too much.

    Six: Have Fun! If it stops being fun then something needs to change.

    I hope this helps! When you get a good footing, let me know! I would love to add some of your soap to my collection.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2018
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