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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bracing for Growth

A friend does readings that I have found to be incredibly spot-on. Occasionally she generously offers a free one-card-draw with these Balance cards that she created. The card that [info]haikujaguar drew for me in her one-card draw did come as a bit of a surprise. The Sapling. It's hard to think that business growth may still be very much in its sapling stage, but it very well could be.

This was her interpretation:
Wow, I almost feel sorry for you, because I drew the Sapling and that shows up at the beginning of big and lasting things, indicating that they're about to grow.

I don't know if you can handle much more growth at the rate your growth is growing!

So... um... I will look at this and say, "Please schedule in some rest time for yourself, or you will collapse in the orchard." :)

Being that business and professional pursuits were very much on my mind when I asked for a card, I can't imagine what else it would be, other than business and profession. Though I was hoping for a card that indicated travel and adventure! ;D

The best ways I can think of to be ready for further growth is improving one's workplace and streamlining how things get done.

I think that proper insulation of the studio definitely HAS to be on the must-do list sometime this year. The room is too frigid in winter to work in there, and too expensive to heat. The most I can do in there these days is stain mouldings and join frames. And that's a shame! It's a nice-sized room! Yes, must put some attention to this workspace and make it a better, more comfortable working environment.

With so many eagles and flags being requested, for veterans and for Scouts, I've gotten into the routine of having the mats, glass, and frames all ready to go - several of them - at any given time. It just makes production so much easier, because the formula for those never varies. Red and blue mats, with muted blue mat for the background; bullnose moulding, dark walnut stain. Keep it simple and straightforward, and the work-time will improve. Can't do that with everything else though, because the colours, themes, subject matter, and individual tastes are so varied! There's no buttonholing anything else. But at least with the single most popular, it's a set standard.

I haven't done it yet, but I do plan on charting incoming commissions- orientation, subject matter, customer's stats, need-by date, etc. It will be a tactile thing, hand-done on large paper and tacked to the studio wall. This is to hopefully help streamline things, but even more so to make sure that no one is missed. I'm very much a visual thinker, and if it's all drawn out and in front of me, I can more easily follow.

Email. I must apologize if I have not yet responded to your email! the holidays were overwhelming and I'm still trying to catch up. During all of last year my inbox was admittedly in a constant state of overwhelm- there were so many queries coming in as a result of that wandering painted-feathers email that I just could not get on top of it all and paint too. I'm tackling that problem.

I have divided up business emails in my inbox. I flag any email pertaining to business, from clear queries right on down to a simple friendly "hey, I like your work". All those little red flags greet me and tell me "HEY, you need to get on these!" When I respond to them, I move them to the "answered queries" folder. if I hear back from a person and it turns out that they would like to order, then that email and anything else they sent goes to the "active orders" folder. This way I can follow the conversation and keep up on the little details that they want to include in their commissioned piece.

Admittedly, it's bit cumbersome, but it's a start in organization. :)
Have you come upon any methods and techniques in dealing with business email that you've found extremely useful? If so, I'm all ears! ;D

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