I’ve seen a LOT of small businesses come and go, just in the last 5 years. I want your business to be one of the stayers, and that means making sure it’s profitable and sustainable.
A successful, profitable and sustainable creative business can be thought of as a machine – a smooth running, forward moving, fantastic machine. In the machine there are seven absolutely fundamental key areas to be optimised in order for a business to run well – these can be thought of as cogs or gears and are the essential elements of your successful brand.
If one cog is neglected, becomes rusty or falls off altogether, the whole operation stops functioning as it should. In your business, this can look like a lack of consistent sales, or total overwhelm of business tasks, or cash flow issues, or never knowing what you’re doing with your marketing, or never having enough money, or not making any profit, or not being able to keep up with demand… if one of your cogs is loose, things can still be moving but you might feel like you’re spinning in place, no matter how hard you work or what marketing tactics you try.
The Makers Framework fits every facet of your brand into each one of the 7 key areas (or cogs/gears) of your fantastic machine, allowing you to quickly identify which area is the root cause of any issue you might be having, and gives you guidance to create a strategy around fixing the issue.
You’re not selling consistently in your business because one or more key areas are lacking, leaking, or non-existent.
Let’s look a little more closely at The Makers Framework to see how it could improve your business.
First up: What is a framework?
A business framework facilitates a planning process – the process of developing the brand strategy will clarify your purpose and direction, and the process you will implement to create your successful brand. The Makers Framework is a creative method to strategically brand your business.
Ok, so what is a brand?
It’s the way the world perceives your business. A brand is the feeling a person has whenever they come into contact with your business. You don’t decide what your brand is, your customer does. A brand strategy is what you put in place to influence what your customer feels about your business. It’s the promise of what you are delivering.
What does The Makers Framework do?
The Makers Framework is a guide that allows you to build a solid brand strategy for your business in order to be able to scale to be profitable and sustain that level of operation in the long term. I want you to stay in business!
What is a Brand Strategy?
A Brand Strategy is the long-term solution for creating a successful brand, which affects all areas of a business. A successful brand is one in which every touch-point is cohesive in values, personality, is focused on customer needs and emotion, with one brand identity. Successful brands are able to convert brand strategy into sales and profits.
Why do I need the Makers Framework?
If you’re a Maker, Creator or Self-Starter, you need a framework like this to guide you through the key areas of your business in a logical, fuss-free way, while still catering to your creative nature and taking into account your individual circumstances. The framework forms the foundation of a successful business that can realistically achieve financial and strategic goals, meaning: you will finally stop spinning your wheels.
In your business, this will look like regular consistent sales, a feeling of total control over your business tasks, predictable cash flow, effective marketing campaigns, being able to pay yourself well, making a good profit, and always being able to keep up with demand in a way that feels good and is sustainable…when all your cogs are running smoothly, your business works like that fantastic machine we talked about earlier.
How do I use the Framework?
There are 4 simple steps to implement The Makers Framework in your business.
IDENTIFY > PRIORITISE > PLAN > IMPLEMENT
First, you need to be able to identify your true strengths and weaknesses (or “gaps”) in your business, relating to the key areas of the framework. These key areas are Your Customer, Your Product, Your Messaging, Your Plan, Your Website, Your Marketing and Your Operations. These (and your business) are driven by your Vision & Why.
The next step is to prioritise these gaps in terms of what order they need to be worked on. This step is important, and one that most people in the start-up stages skip over, often because they are so focused on making sales as soon as possible – which is understandable! However there is little point in working on a facebook marketing campaign, when you might have an unidentified gap in your Product or Messaging, which should come before your marketing efforts – you waste time and money speaking ineffectively to the wrong people about a product they don’t actually want… and this is what causes spinning wheel syndrome.
I’ve developed the Makers Priority Grid to indicate how you should prioritise working through your gaps. It’s important to note that ALL the key areas in the framework are essential to a business running smoothly and one is not necessarily more fundamental than another – however the Makers Priority Grid gives you a guide of what to focus on first. It’s also worth noting that Your Operations really are the oil in the machine and effect every other key area, so even though this key area is represented at the bottom of the grid, if this is one of your gaps, you need to be thinking about it as you work through all the other key areas also.
Once the top priority key area is identified, you will need to create a strategic plan – a step-by-step map of what to do next – addressing the weaknesses of that area and finally, close the gap by implementing your strategic plan, which will turn that weakness into a strength of your business.
Let me be completely honest with you: Running a business and growing a brand is a huge undertaking – there’s no getting around it – There is a LOT to learn and a lot of hard work to do.
You need to expand your knowledge and skills beyond what you know now, and this can be hugely overwhelming – there is just too much to consume. Often, creative business owners like yourself are super switched-on and diligently doing all the learning – you might be watching a bunch of YouTube videos, enrolling in courses, learning all you can about Instagram Engagement and Facebook Ads and how to build your own website… but as I mentioned earlier, often all this learning is not funnelled to the area of business that actually needs it. You can learn everything you like about facebook, but if you’re not talking to the right people in the first place, you’re just wasting your time and money, your cogs are spinning and your business is not going anywhere.
Avoid this mistake completely by learning to view your business through The Makers Framework lens. You’ll be able to identify issues faster – if something is lacking, leaking or non-existent – and fix the root cause, rather than putting so much effort into something at the wrong time, or when you’re not quite ready.
So what should you do?
For starters, you can use the free Makers Audit Tool to identify and prioritise where you need to focus your attention first, and what you need to do to get your business moving forward.
The first step to getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. – J.P. Morgan
My wish for you is more customers, more sales, and more profit so you can live life with more space in your business to grow, and more space in your life to enjoy doing whatever other stuff you love – besides working!