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Organizing Your Soap Business

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2014 Planning It's that time of year again. It's time to evaluate how the past year has gone. What went right and what could be improved upon. It is hard to believe how this year has soared for Old Town Suds. This time last year, we didn't expect to need a studio space or expect to move from Alexandria. It's amazing how things have changed for the better. Here are some issues that I've had to solve as I wrap up 2013.

Production

I can't say how much having the dedicated soap kitchen has helped with my production issues. Not having to have a kitchen that is BOTH a regular kitchen for Joel to cook in & a soap kitchen is magical. My production abilities per day has more than tripled. Plus, my father-in-law made me these awesome wood molds - 20 of them actually. I can now make close to 100lbs of soap JUST in those molds. (I have non-wood molds too) In 2014 I'll be able to keep up with demands, order larger quantities of supplies since I know have the storage space, and keep customers happy with stock always ready. 2014's projected growth will be much easier now that I have this under control - at least at the moment!

Time Management

Oh, the joys of working a full-time job while owning a small business. I'm not ready to pick one over the other yet, so for now it is managing my time and resources as best that I can. For instance, I know I will be in Las Vegas for a week in June for a conference. My life will be crazy around then so Old Town Suds can't have any events directly before that business trip. But, the week after the obscene-hour work work is a week of paid vacation that doesn't use my accrued time! I've planned a few days of rest and then will focus on Suds full-time those days.

In 2014 I'm trying out new ways to plan events, classes and production schedules. I've go this handy dandy dry erase calendar that Michelle recommended tacked to the back wall of the soap kitchen. I am going to plan out all my events for the year, travel, production days and whatever else I think I need to stay on top of everything.

Next to the giant calendar is my new chalkboard. It was a leftover piece from making my display earlier this year. On the board I am going to keep a running list of what I need to make each week with the amounts. This will help me focus on what I need to make to keep my supply levels where I need them and not running out of everyone's favorite soaps!

What's Next?

In 2014 the goal is to debut a few new product line that indulges in my love of spa products. Plus, we'll have a whole new guilty pleasure soap line where you can indulge calorie free. 2014 is also going to focus on getting back into my running schedule (which will be written on my calendar). I have new shoes and plenty of gear so I am going to make time for at least one 30 minute run per day. I would like to get back to where I can easily run a 5K in under 30 minutes.

What planning have you done for 2014?