Rebecca crafts handmade pottery with attention to function, detail, and technique – then hand carves the surface to showcase images filled with humor, wit, and sometimes even a bit of wisdom (and often a touch of naughty).

Rebecca crafts handmade pottery with attention to function, detail, and technique – then hand carves the surface to showcase images filled with humor, wit, and sometimes even a bit of wisdom (and often a touch of naughty).

WHAT SHE DESIRED

Rebecca is a potter with her own unique way of making her products and was in the process of expanding her wares into a more niche industry. Now more than ever, she needed solutions and systems that are unique to her and her creative maker mind.

She came to Business Laid Bare because she knew we specialize in tailoring systems to each business and she wouldn’t receive some cookie cutter solution to her complex needs.

Specifically, upon realizing her current marketing system wasn’t what she wanted (or needed), Rebecca then desired a digital system that essentially replicated her production “to-make” list for the week that included:

  • How much revenue her products would make should she sell 100%
  • Her list of products she was going to make and how many
  • How much clay she was going to need to prepare for that week’s production list, broken down into total amount of clay, as well as how much of each specific weight she would need.

Rebecca was spending close to 3 hours a week determining what she needed to make, which not only was a huge waste of time, it prevented her from the actual product making and kept her from automating her production schedule.

PROJECT GOALS

Rebecca originally came to BLB to uplevel her marketing systems. However, upon digging deeper and understanding her business more, we saw there needed to be more fundamental systems for scheduling and production created first before we addressed her marketing needs.

We wanted to give Rebecca an intuitive system that allowed her to cut her prep work time by a lot (at least 3 hours a week), as well as digitize her system so anyone on her team could fill out the production list for her. Since Rebecca’s genius lies in the product making, we wanted to keep her focused on that as much as possible.

NEEDS LAID BARE

After figuring out marketing was too “tip of iceberg,” we shifted focus to figure out her biggest bottleneck: her production planning. Rebecca was doing a lot of her own prep work (i.e. planning what products she is going to make that week, figuring out how much clay she would have to use based on her planned inventory) using notebooks, papers, and index cards. They were all handwritten information and to-do lists that take too much out of her product-making time. Worse yet, it kept all of the planning tasks on her list since her team didn’t have access to those records.

APPROACH LAID BARE

Our initial reaction was to replicate what Rebecca was already doing, but in digital form. But we quickly realized Rebecca had refined and honed her ability to be productive as a maker, with her own unique approaches. It is easy to try to replicate a creative mind (which is very nonlinear) and insert it in an online project management system (which is very linear and analytical – the opposite of a creative mind).

It was important to us, and Rebecca, to honor and preserve her creative mind. Being a maker, especially a potter, there is a lot of downtime, and Rebecca has found ways to optimize how she works, which is a beautiful thing because it’s not easy (trust us, we work with many creatives that haven’t figured out how best to do this for themselves).

PROCESS LAID BARE

Given how specific and unique Rebecca wanted her system, we admittedly, at first, overcomplicated the solution (thinking analytical). But, once we figured out a way to elegantly simplify her process, we employed the amazing power of Google Sheets to create her custom system for her. We settled on Google Sheets for its easy usability and because it is a cloud-based platform, so it can always be accessible by relevant people (no matter where they are located).

OUTCOME LAID BARE

After delivering her system, we tested to see how much time she was saving by digitalizing her process. We took her latest handwritten production schedule plan and inputted the same numbers into the system, and we were able to calculate that she is saving 2 hours every Monday for planning plus 1 hour every day…so 7 hours a week…which is essentially one extra business day for her to be making more product (or nearly $3,500). Seriously, wow!!

 

IN HER WORDS

“It was easy and fun working with Veronica. She wants to know the nuts and bolts of what I’m doing in the studio so she understands the process before developing a solution. It’s the first time I’ve worked with someone creating a system just for me instead of trying to tell me how they would do it even though they don’t know how I work.

I have more time. I now have less stress and brainpower going into my production planning. At a glance I know exactly what clay needs to be prepped or can delegate the clay prep. My studio manager, even if he isn’t in the studio, can use the cloud based system to add to the production schedule a month out, by week. I have 7 more hours a week to focus on production or, and this is crazy, more time with my awesome husband doing something fun.” – Rebecca Graves

LESSONS LAID BARE

No matter how unique or specific you need your system to be, with the right questions asked by the right experts, you can have tailored systems that enhance and support how you think and work.

Just because something is super specific and complex looking doesn’t mean that your solution has to be complex in order to fulfill it.

 

Are you a creative who hasn’t been able to find a solution to your production needs? Does creating a system for your business make you feel like you’ll have to give up your own unique planning process? Just like Rebecca, you don’t have to forgo what you are brilliant at (your creative mind) to have a system that supports your production schedule.

Let Business Laid Bare help you find a system that is as unique as you are.

Are you a creative who hasn’t been able to find a solution to your production needs? Does creating a system for your business make you feel like you’ll have to give up your own unique planning process? Just like Rebecca, you don’t have to forgo what you are brilliant at (your creative mind) to have a system that supports your production schedule.

Let Business Laid Bare help you find a system that is as unique as you are.

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