We all have heard the saying “The Customer is Always Right”, and most companies state that in one form or another and give it half lip service. But, what if you really centered your business around what your customer needs and how you can best serve them? What if occasionally you lost a little bit on an order here or there? What if you put your future investments into ways to help your customers meet their goals, not your short-term metric driven selfishness? What if you made the customer the center of your business, the basis of how you and your employees make decisions? Is that a MORE profitable way to operate your business?
In the sublimation world there is the holiday gift-giving season and then all of the rest. Most sublimators triple or quadruple their business during the holiday season, and a very popular product is a ceramic ornament that can be imaged on both sides. Pressing one side than the next can be done, but many times the heat tape can cause blemishes and defects. I have perfected a great way to press these items quickly and without issue over and over again. Let’s check out how to transfer a double-sided ceramic ornament.
Marketing today is much different than it was even 15 to 20 years ago when I got started in this industry. If you were trying to find new customers in 2000 we might have talked about print advertising, direct mail and radio ads. We might have been mentioning email marketing, but at that point, people were tired of SPAM and the horrible tactic some people were using. We would have definitely not been talking about Social Media (as it is today) as Facebook was not available to the public until 2006. So what are the best ways to market your business?
Sublimation is still growing in the garment decorating world and I really don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. As I mentioned in a recent Impressions article, the consumers and the retailers are demanding a faster turnaround time and smaller minimum order amounts. With the wider range of polyester fabrics available today, as compared to 30 years ago, the sublimation process has become the favorite process of many fashion labels, sports jersey manufacturers, and even your local softball team. I’m writing this wearing my favorite recreational volleyball team jersey that is a moisture-wicking polyester fabric with an all over sublimation design. Our team name was the Wallbangers, as we didn’t always hit it in the court but yet we demanded a comfortable polyester jersey with no hand (the feel of the ink on the garment) for our weekend fun.
Standard operating procedures are in a simple term a guardrail for doing the work that needs to be done in your business day to day. The standard operating procedure (SOP) documentation is just a tool that allows owners and managers to continue to focus on improving the business and allows the employees to feel confident to make decisions and solve problems because they have a guide.
Let’s kick this off with some strategies for making yourself a singular supplier to your customers and keep yourself out of the dreaded commodity world. I know we have all been told “I can get this from your competitor cheaper” and if your only reply is to lower your price, you have fallen into the commodity bucket.
Day #1 (9/5/22) – Define Your Customer – We start by putting a magnifying glass onto who your IDEAL customer is and what makes them unique. This pinpoint accuracy will allow you to amplify your message, reach the right people in the right places, and spend less time and money doing it.
Day #2 (9/6/22) – Define Your Brand – Your brand is not the colors of your logo or the font on your business card. Your brand is your core values, personality, and how others perceive your company. This step will help you merge your message with your ideal customers.
Day #3 (9/7/22) – Pick Your Path – One of the big questions is what platform or strategy should be used to get the most value for your marketing time and money. The right approach is unique for each company, so we will look at the possibilities and help you narrow them down.
Day #4 (9/8/22) – Set your Plan – Armed with some solid marketing groundwork from days 1 to 3, it is time to make the plan. Let’s get that strategy focused, looking ahead to the dates and events that will drive customers and leads to your business most effectively.
Day #5 (9/9/22) – Implement and Evaluate – It’s time to support you with the resources to take action. The plan is only as good as the actions you take and the feedback you get from each step. With the proper evaluation process, you can make changes on the fly and be ready to pivot, take advantage of new opportunities and continue to maximize along the way.
Implementation Call (9/14/22) – For VIPs and OSG Squad Members are invited to an exclusive zoom call to get specific for your business. It is one thing to have great concepts and ideas, but a second to implement and make them real. Take the action items from all 5 days of the 5 Keys WOrkshop and show up with your details. Everyone will get a chance to share their plan and get feedback and ideas. These serious business owners are ready to leave with excitement, their action plan, and a clear path to the best 3 months possible.
The promotional products industry is estimated by PPAI to be a $21 billion dollar plus industry and growing according to their report from 2016. Many people think of the promotional products industry as a space for trinkets and trash or an occasional single color 50/50 shirt order. The space is so much more and if you have invested in sublimation or have a partnership with a contract sublimator you can be grabbing your piece of that $21 billion dollar pie. Better yet, you will not be fighting for nickels of profit with the overseas suppliers since sublimation can supply a promotional product that has a nice margin as well.
In my 18 years of being involved with small businesses and the many years before that helping in my Father’s CPA firm or other entrepreneurial ventures, I noticed the importance of a business plan. Anyone that has listened to me on the 2 Regular Guys podcast or has been in one of my marketing seminars knows I’m a huge advocate of having a business plan. But I wanted to take that advocacy past just promoting a business plan, and give you the 5 things that I have seen to be part of a good business plan. So, let’s explore those 5 important items every business plan must include.