Founded in 2004, Write From The Heart is a family-run business specialising in personalised gifts and keepsakes including frames, clothing, clocks, and plenty more. After a steady start, the business gained massive traction in 2020 achieving a £2.5 million turnover, even despite the hardships the COVID-19 pandemic brought. Following this success, co-founder and mum-of-two Kirsty Prankerd shares her top tips for companies looking to reach their business goals in 2021.
I set up Write From The Heart with my mum back in 2004 just after my first daughter had been born. We were stunned by the showering of gifts I’d received and saw an opportunity which we instantly seized with both hands despite only having £300 to our name at the time of starting up. The business was received really well from our target audience who we mainly found through Facebook, Instagram, and Google Shopping. Within a couple of months of launching Write From The Heart, we were fortunate enough to be able to leave our jobs and work on our new venture full-time.
Since beginning our journey, we have moved into a much larger office and employed a team of 15 amazing employees that are just as dedicated to the business’ growth as we are. And, what started off as a couple of products has now expanded to one of the biggest selections of remembrance keepsakes, and quite possibly the largest range in the UK.
Neither myself or my mum are graduates or have any qualifications to help us in the business world. We truly believe our sheer hard work and determination has got us to where we’re at now, and is what will help us get to where we want to be in the future. That being said, we have learnt some important lessons on the way about business management.
Here, I’ll be sharing the top tips that every budding entrepreneur should know to take their business to the next level.
Set realistic business goals
All successful businesses are born out of good planning, so it’ll be important that you set yourself some realistic goals before you get started so you know which route to go down. But how will you know if these are realistic before you’ve begun? It can be difficult to know when you’ve not had many sales yet, but your initial goals could be based on reaching a certain number of sales or growing your social followings to a particular number. It’s always better to be specific with your goals as any that are too vague will be hard to measure.
In my experience, smaller steps and continuous progression is the better way to do things as opposed to setting one large goal that will take a while to achieve. For example, telling yourself that you’ll hire your first employee X months after your business launch will be much better than setting an initial goal of hiring a full team.
Bear in mind, if you have things like parental duties to factor in like me, there may be some periods where not setting specific deadlines for your goals will be beneficial. You should never put excessive pressure on yourself. As long as you’re always working towards your goals, you’ll reach them!
Delegate tasks to achieve your goals
Tracking your goals can be done in a number of different ways, but at Write From The Heart, we find using a project management tool to be helpful. This visualises our progress, so we know what’s working well and what we might need to tweak in order to reach success.
To ensure you are adequately working towards your goals, you’ll need to make sure you don’t take on too much yourself. Your team need to be willing and ready to pull their weight and also be honest about the likelihood of reaching goals. For example, our Operations Manager works hard to create new samples and products for us to approve, while our Product Manager tests all of the new equipment we buy in to check it’s suitable for use. Our sales and marketing team are in charge of improving turnover and online visibility, and I will oversee this process.
With important tasks delegated between different departments, it’s important that you create an open and honest culture where staff will be comfortable letting you know if there’s going to be a delay. It’s always better to know if something’s going wrong or slower than expected, so you can push your deadline back accordingly.
Stay committed and scale up your goals
Staying committed to your goals while the business is growing isn’t always easy, especially if you have other commitments. So, while delegating work to people who are specialists in that area is a good idea, it also means you can take some of the pressure off of yourself and spread it out among your team. Plus, when you have staff you truly trust, you’ll never be worried to leave things with them when you need to.
For my husband and I, we found that setting specifically deadlined goals in 2020 just wasn’t going to work. Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve had to learn how to juggle business and homeschooling and realised that by having strict achievement dates in place just meant we were adding far too much pressure to ourselves, especially as so many businesses were being negatively impacted. Luckily, we had a great team to rely on to help us when our attention was required at home, and in turn, we were very understanding with staff who were also in a similar position to us.
As well as tracking your initial goals to completion, it’s always a good idea to see how you could scale these up. For example, if you’ve met your first sales goal, doubling it for the next goal could be a good way to keep up the motivation.
Success is an objective measure, differing between businesses. But whatever your goals are for 2021, setting specific and realistic goals, and committing to them will ensure your company is always headed in the direction you want it to be.