5 things to include in your business plan to grow sales and revenue

Guide To Small Business Success - grow sales & revenue

This article is published as part of our “SMB Success”, a program designed to help small and medium sized brands succeed. For questions, comments or suggestions, please write to editor@vpersonalize.com

One of the most important things any business should do is create and update their business plan at least once a year. A lot of small businesses skip this step and lose out on growth. Just as you use a GPS to drive, an Annual Business Plan (ABP) provides a route map for your business for the next twelve months.

Once the previous year’s dust has settled and you can look to the year ahead, spend time in January to gain a clearer vision of where your business aims to be. Not only will an annual business plan define your objectives for the coming twelve months; it can also construct the roadmap for meeting those goals.

Using the strategic planning and performance measures we outline below, combined with a review of your expectations and results from the previous year, you’ll be able to create an annual plan that gives everyone in your organization a sense of where they’re headed and how they will get there.

Here are five things to get you started:

1. Create a Mission Statement

Although you know why your business exists and what you offer, it’s still important to craft a summary that can quickly and effectively communicate it to the rest of the world. Taking the time to build a clear mission statement, and annually reviewing it to make sure it’s still in line with your vision, will help you and your team stay focused on your core business.

It goes without saying that setting and pursuing goals is a critical part of growing your business and will play an important part in your annual plan. Goals will vary from business to business, ranging from reducing expenses, increasing operational efficiency to increasing your market share or bringing traffic to your website.

Although it can feel overwhelming, start by outlining the top 3 to 5 goals and a plan to meet those objectives. Initially outline broad, end-of-the-year goals, then work backwards to create quarterly objectives.

2. Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis

A SWOT analysis is used internally to organize your top strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats into an organized list, which is usually presented in a simple two-by-two grid. A SWOT analysis will help outline the best opportunities to pursue and what you should highlight to achieve your business goals. It also assists in identifying areas in which you need to improve and can bring threats to light, where they might otherwise catch you off guard.

Understanding your customers’ needs and how your product fits them will help you establish effective strategies for marketing and sales, as well as future product development. Identify your most valuable markets, develop buyer personas, and track consumer behavior to ensure that you stay ahead of your competitors.

With so many alternatives existing today, it becomes increasingly important to stay ahead of your competition. Take the time to evaluate your industry, market size and competition. Identifying your major competitors, researching their products, marketing, and sales strategies.

This will not only help you stay aware of industry trends and consumer expectations, it will also help determine what sets you apart and what your unique competitive advantages are and what can be further developed.

3. Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 

if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it! Measuring performance regularly is a big part of scaling your business. Tracking and analyzing your performance across multiple key areas will help you gain a clear understanding of what is working and what needs improvement.

Some important KPIs to include in your annual plan are sales metrics, customer acquisition, revenue growth, operational metrics such as fulfillment time, returns and refunds. Some not so obvious KPIs are referral rate (word of mouth by an existing customer is the best sales tool you can get).

4. Discover Your Growth Engine

This is where you’ll put a lot of the previous analysis to good use. What marketing strategies should you focus on to increase traffic and time spent on your website, improve conversion rates, and directly reach people that are looking for your products and services?

Think through operational efficiencies you can drive to increase customer engagement and satisfaction (newer products, giving customers more control over product design, faster fulfillment, lower price, etc). Some common themes that work across industries are: what can I do to make my products better, faster, cheaper and put my customer in the driver’s seat.

These typically involve streamlining workflows, improving communication, automating processes or adding product personalization.

5. Plan For Success

Once you have discovered your growth engine, take that information and develop a plan on how to implement and manage it this year. Allocate budget for capital expenses and key areas that will drive growth and revenue for your business this year. Start your research and identify the best suppliers, ecosystem and partners that can help you implement your plan and reach your goals.

We are here to help

One of the top growth engines in the apparel and fashion industry is product customization and automation. From consumer personalization, print-on-demand, bespoke fashion to custom sportswear and sublimated teamwear, we can help with technology for a digital future –  mass-customization, on-demand production and online commerce.

We are the industry leading provider of software for mass customization and on-demand manufacturing at scale. Our technology helps apparel brands and their manufacturers bring designs to market significantly faster, expand product lines and make those products on demand.

We are privileged to have been able to assist some of the best custom apparel and print-on-demand companies in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe scale on-demand production profitably.

For more information or to schedule a demo, visit www.vPersonalize.com or email us at hello@vpersonalize.com

Super Charge Your Custom Sportswear and Sublimated Teamwear Business

sublimated teamware automation software

Over the years, the market for custom sportswear and team uniforms has grown significantly. Participation in school sports has nearly doubled in the last decade. The market in the US alone was pegged at over $10 billion in 2019. This, alongside the growth in popularity of athleisure and sports apparel, has created a booming, albeit competitive, marketplace.

Two things stand out about this industry: first, almost every design is custom and made-to-order. Second, most of the brands use overseas production to keep their costs down, although it impacts their delivery time, sometimes by as much as 6 to 8 weeks from purchase. This is true even for the big name brands, with well-oiled supply chains.

Full custom, made-to-order teamwear in a week?

For many big brands that do custom sportswear, the business constitutes a small percentage of their overall revenue and some brands choose not to do custom products at all due to the cost, turnaround time and supply chain complexity involved.

Unsurprisingly though, customization significantly increases overall sales. Studies have shown that customized products offer a 3x-5x higher revenue per unit. One Deloitte study found that 71% of consumers were willing to pay a premium for personalized products. Customized products also have one of the lowest return rates in the industry, with a reported 60% decrease in product returns.

The big question then is, can anything be done to make the made-to-order business work without friction, where everything from design to production is predictable and repeatable? More importantly, can this be achieved with existing workflows and local supply chains?


End-end automation

For the custom sportswear and team apparel industry, creating artworks, taking orders and turning the designs and roster information into print ready files across sizes is the most complex and time consuming part of the operation and providing an easy way for teams to customize and place their order remains the single biggest obstacle to growing sales and revenues.

Although there is clear evidence that offering customization, smaller minimum order quantities and more self-serve options leads to increased sales and customer satisfaction, there currently aren’t many avenues for accomplishing it all at the same time. Customization usually means longer lead times and higher minimum order quantities, while team designs often require a significant amount of time and resources to create and much hand holding when working with coaches, managers and team players.

As the market landscape evolves, automation will be key to ensure that businesses can provide unique value to their customers in an efficient manner that is flexible enough for individual customization but maintains short lead times at unit costs comparable to that of mass production. Switching to local supply chains, without substantially increasing cost will be critical for faster delivery.

The brave new world of purchase-triggered manufacturing

Today, a typical workflow in the team uniform sales market involved a customer making an order inquiry, working with a sales person to conceptualize a design, which would then be sent off to a designer to create a mock-up. The sales rep, designer and customer would then play a game of telephone until the customer approves and places the order. After the sale, the design would then need to be converted into actual production patterns across each ordered size and roster names and numbers added, the final output color matched, the design verified and finally approved for production overseas.

However, more and more coaches, teams and players want a bigger say in the design, want instant feedback and faster delivery after purchase. Teams want the ability to design, share and purchase the product of their choice without having to coordinate a series of meetings with a representative. This goes against the long standing model for team uniform sales, but the ongoing shift in consumer behavior due to the pandemic and increasingly contact-less commerce has only accelerated this transformation.

This new paradigm will be key for brands, both big and small to scale revenue and sales in the years to come.

Customization is king, but cost and turnaround is key

The global sportswear market size was valued at USD $185.24 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to expand to USD $250 billion by 2025.

In order to  compete in a growing, but incredibly competitive marketplace, individually personalized, made to order products with fast delivery is key. Many of these may seem like a paradox – custom and fast, bespoke and inexpensive. Overcoming this paradox requires the right technology and an agile manufacturing process that can scale efficiently. Scalable customization requires processes that can adapt to increased variability in customers’ requirements without sacrificing production efficiencies or cost.

But, done right, full custom made-to-order apparel is not only possible, but a significant revenue opportunity.

Discover industry specific technology and automation from vPersonalize

vPersonalize is the only design-to-manufacturing technology platform that makes on-demand and custom manufacturing possible at time and price points similar to traditional mass production.

With vPersonalize’s patented technology and automation, go from purchase to a finished product in hours using your existing supply chain. That is full custom sportswear and sublimated teamwear, made-to-order locally, in just days, at unit costs comparable to that of mass production!

Some of the best sportswear and print-on-demand brands in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe are already leveraging vPersonalize to scale on-demand production profitably.

Discover an end-end software platform and automation, specially built for the custom sportswear and sublimated teamwear industry. Go from purchase to a finished product in hours, with your existing supply chain.

To learn more, visit https://www.vpersonalize.com

Technology for mass-customization and on-demand manufacturing

This article originally appeared on WTiN 17 April 2020 based on an interview by Joe Link. 


Technologies have emerged with the promise to streamline operations, but for a solution to be successful it must work at scale and be cost effective. To date, large swathes of the apparel industry accept that change is necessary but have been slow to adopt disruptive technologies. On-demand manufacturing is a term we hear a lot: the emerging business model is seen by many as the future of the apparel industry. Similarly, the print-on-demand and personalization trend has been gaining traction in the last decade as consumers show a weariness towards mass-produced, bulk fashion


vPersonalize duo Bala Selvarajan and Robert Johnson talk to Joseph Link about the importance of mass personalisation and on-demand manufacturing to the textile supply chain. Below are some excerpts.

vPersonalize’s Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), Robert Johnson, believes that transforming the supply chain is a collective effort that ties together the technology providers, brands, direct-to-garment (DTG) sector, textile printers and consumers.

“On the supply side, we see a growing migration to dye sublimation and print on demand because it offers better margins and the ability to create retail quality products on-demand,” says Johnson. “This in turn creates a new pool of suppliers that brands and retailers can tap into. The real power of this disruption is that this new supply chain is local.”

One outcome of this disruption, Johnson points out, is the re-shoring movement. It has become a viable prospect to use technology to manufacture locally, through which turnaround times can be slashed.

“The main driver of personalization is targeted small-batch manufacturing which allows a brand to create, and experiment with, thousands of designs and size variants. The benefits include lower inventory costs and the ability to only manufacture a product after it has been purchased. This is the real promise of personalisation and on-demand manufacturing: make what sells, when it sells and get it to the nearest store where it sells,” Johnson adds.

“Print-on-demand always held the promise of bespoke, made-to-order apparel,” Johnson says. “Large sections of the textile supply chain still rely on heavy manual labour and when you have a large workforce operating different machines, human error becomes an issue.

“With a purchase-to-production-line solution, a lot of these uncertainties go away and what is designed and visualised is exactly what gets made,” he continues. “This brings predictability and repeatability to what has largely been a manual and cumbersome process for decades.

“On-demand manufacturing reduces wastage. Our [vPersonalize] solution enables a design to be taken directly to a production line in minutes, which makes local manufacturing possible,” Johnson adds.” And with local manufacturing comes reduced reliance on international shipping and the resultant carbon emissions. We have just one planet to leave to future generations and we are getting to a point now where we need everything to be sustainable.”


“As more customers start working remotely and with smaller teams, the move to virtual product development, sampling and small-batch production will accelerate. We are focusing on the existing pieces of our technology that can support our customers during a period of social distancing and beyond, using tools that reduce the need for in-person contact like virtual product development, design-to-manufacturing accuracy, automation and online commerce,” says Selvarajan.

“The impact of Covid-19 is unprecedented and there is little by way of data or experience that can help us navigate this. But, we are seeing significant changes to consumer purchasing behavior, perhaps permanently, accelerating towards e-commerce and abandoning physical spaces. While online commerce is recording historic numbers, brick and mortar companies are seeing unprecedented closure”

vPersonalize focuses on apparel brands and manufacturers, helping solve some of the key technical challenges that are specific to them, says Selvarajan. He continues: “In all of this, the common theme will be to help our customers bring designs to market considerably faster and to help them manufacture those products on-demand.”