Screen Printing - October/November 2017 - 15
Redesign your website If it's been a while since you've
put effort into this, trust me: it shows. Your website is the
number-one aspect of your brand that your customers
will review before calling you. People judge. Put some
effort into your company's presentation.
n Ask for the sale Too often, shops will sit like a spider
in a web, waiting for the fly to land. Want more sales?
Go out and ask for them. This has a multiplier effect if
you've addressed all of the points above.
n Explore e-commerce Make your website a sales platform. If your website isn't driving revenue to your shop,
you are missing out on opportunity every day.
The great and wondrous thing about this industry is that it's
always changing. Even if you think you've mastered every
technique in the book, there are always new things to learn.
If you never quite got around to mastering the basics, you're
probably pouring money down the drain. Don't let another
year go by without improving your skillset.
Ask the hard questions in your shop about where you need
to improve. It's tough - nobody likes to talk about where
they're weak - but necessary if you want your business to
n Process improvements Let's say it takes six steps to
accomplish a task. Can you do it in five? Maybe four?
For every step you eliminate in the workflow, you save
on time, labor, and materials.
n Work on techniques Just like a shortstop or a magician, it takes a lot of work in the printing business to
make things look effortless. The "how" in the way things
are done often matters tremendously. There are many
variables in printing that need to be dialed in for perfection. Are your platens level? Have you checked your
off-contact? Are you printing with optimized squeegee
pressure? How does the squeegee durometer or angle
play into the print? And hey, let's not forget about the
screen. Emulsion thickness, tension, and mesh play a
tremendous part in printing successfully.
People Often the hidden element. Shop owners are
quick to think about the latest gadget or tech device, but
much slower to consider the impact of spending time
and money on training their staff. How good is your
cross-training program? Be sure to follow what I like
to call "the rule of three," where you have at least three
fully trained people for every core task in your shop.
n The New What don't you know? As you plan for next
year, resolve to master that hole in your knowledge
base. The only way you're going to learn to print over a
hoodie zipper or use discharge as an underbase is to just
knuckle down and spend the time teaching yourself how
to do it. That's what every one of your competitors who
offers those things did.
plan of attaCk
There are probably one or two things above that have struck
a chord. Hopefully, this article has you thinking about what
you can improve for next year.
You don't have to wait around until January, either. Here
are six steps you can take right now to get those fantastic
ideas out of your head and onto the shop floor.
1. Write each idea out as a SMART goal SMART
stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic,
and Timely. For example, you can't just say, "Our shop
will increase sales." Instead, write the goal out in the
SMART format to say, "In January, the sales goal will
2. Break that goal into chunks In our example, that
$20,000 sales goal for the month may seem daunting, but
when you express it as $5000 a week, it is less so. Then,
break it down even further to $1000 a day. What do you
need to do to sell a minimum of $1000 every day? Is that
one order? Two? Let's say you close sales at a rate of 10
percent. To get that one order, you might have to talk
to 10 people. So unless you are making at least 10 sales
calls a day, you won't hit your goal.
3. Set your milestones How do you know whether the
goals you set are being accomplished? You set milestones and keep track of them. In our example, the shop
would need to make at least 10 calls and close one.
Identify the key landmark points and pay attention to
whether you're reaching them.
4. Decide on the actions needed Determine who is
responsible for each task. For that $20,000 sales goal,
who is making it happen? See if you need additional
research to concentrate the effort and ensure a better
win ratio. What tools are available? Brainstorm and
outline the actions necessary for success.
5. Use a calendar Goals often fail because due dates aren't
set for specific actions. Don't just set an end date for the
entire goal; divide up the main effort into smaller minigoals and assigned tasks with due dates, as well. Delegate
not only the tasks, but also the responsibilities. Follow up
and hold people accountable. Adjust as necessary.
6. Follow through If you want results, you simply have
to do the work. Usually, the hardest part of anything
is simply showing up. Even if the initial results aren't
optimal, just the act of getting started will position you
to make bigger breakthroughs down the road.
Marshall Atkinson is the professional services director for InkSoft,
coaching shop owners on operational efficiency, continuous improvement, workflow strategy, business planning, employee motivation and
management, and sustainability. Formerly an independent consultant
and operations manager for a number of large apparel decorating
businesses, Atkinson is a frequent author and speaker at industry
events. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.