Screen Printing - October/November 2017 - 14
THE MARSHALL PLAN
ATTACK PLAN FOR 2018
Don't run your business day-to-day. Consider what
can be done to improve your shop as a whole.
People don't buy
That's what you
need to market.
Want more sales?
or most shops, the daily effort always looks the same:
heads down, cranking out work.
Not much emphasis is placed on what's around the corner.
Next year? Hmph. That's too far away.
But it isn't. It's right here. You can almost touch it.
How much thought have you given to improving your shop
in 2018? There might have been a discussion or two over
some fried chicken at lunch, or a beer after work. But nothing
concrete, I'm guessing.
Let's take a brief moment to look at three ideas that could
have a tremendously positive impact on your shop in 2018.
Then, let's figure out how to put them into motion.
DECREASING YOUR COSTS
There are a few ways you can inject money into your business. The most obvious is to increase your sales. More on
that later. The first, and probably most overlooked, way is to
decrease your costs.
Take a look at these ideas and see if any of them could
make a difference for your business.
n Technology How behind the curve are you? Not just
with machinery, but with consumables, too. There have
been great improvements with ink, emulsion, mesh,
and even squeegees. Digital printing has impacted small
runs. LED exposure units have decreased burn times and
increased efficiency. What software or apps have come
out that could make a huge difference?
n Communication Many companies have opted to switch to
a VoIP phone service over a traditional landline. How much
extra are you shelling out every month? Dig in and do some
research to see if this could be a sensible option for you.
n Go paperless If you're still printing work orders,
consider severing ties with this antiquated method and
adopting a digital workflow platform. Track how much
effort it takes to shuffle a set of papers around your shop.
Are you still printing and mailing invoices to customers?
Consider how much that's costing you each year.
n Credit-card debt Just like at home, the interest adds up
and can come back to haunt you. How big is your
balance? Do you pay off the charges every month?
n Renegotiate with your vendors You use a lot of stuff
to make your business work. Chances are, though, you
simply pay the bill and move onto the next one. For 2018,
take a look at every contract and see if you could get better terms: Your cellphone provider. Your insurance agent.
Your mortgage lender. The waste disposal service. Go
through all of your monthly statements and make a list.
Do those vendors have competitors? Would they give
you a better rate or offer an increased service for the
n Supplies For many shops, this can be the number-one
expense other than labor. Dig into how and why purchases are made. Many times, the products you use were
decided on a long time ago. Is anything better on the
market? Perhaps you could purchase it from a different
supplier or in a different quantity to lower the cost.
n Freight The cost of shipping your orders can take a
big bite out of your margins. It never hurts to look into
another carrier to see if you can get better rates. Don't
forget about the United States Postal Service, either.
INCREASING YOUR SALES
It's what all businesses strive for, but not all achieve it. Why is
that, do you think?
From what I've seen, the most successful companies have
the best customer service, marketing approach, and sales effort. The notion is as simple as understanding your customer
better. Why should someone do business with you?
Here are a few ideas for increasing your sales next year:
n Focus on benefits People don't buy products; they buy
results. That's what you need to market. Want more
sales? Demonstrate results.
n Know your customer Don't market to everybody. Sell
to the people most apt to buy from you. This concentrates your effort. Remember that light can illuminate a
room, but when concentrated into a laser beam, it can
cut through objects. Do the research and know who your
perfect customers are and where you can find them.
n Solve your customers' pain points What is their biggest
problem? How can you solve it and make things easy?