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you know you shouldn't have accepted. They're too small,
with too much work invested in them already.
Look at your best customers on a percentage basis: The
top 20 percent account for 80 percent of your revenue. Do the
math. It's true.
This means the bottom 80 percent of your customers - the
folks placing those dinky orders - only account for 20 percent
of the money coming in. Unprofitable jobs are clogging up your
schedule. If that's the case, why take it?
Here's the fourth cold, hard truth: Want to grow your
business and scale? Stop taking smaller orders and raise your
BE OBJECTIVE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS
Many shops offer a variety of different decoration methods.
Not just screen printing, but embroidery, digital printing,
heat press, cut vinyl, dye sub, flat-stock printing, and more.
And that's great. But have you broken down each of the
methods you offer and looked at them as the percentage of
your sales total year over year?
Let's say that you offer these four decoration methods
making up this total percentage of annual sales: screen
printing, 63.74 percent; embroidery, 28.63 percent; heat
press, 6.54 percent; DTG, 1.09 percent.
Looking at these numbers, I have to wonder if you're
selling and marketing DTG at all.
Many shops are quick to invest in new technology, but
don't develop a corresponding sales and marketing plan.
So, after the initial joy of bringing in a new offering for your
customers, the sales don't support the investment.
You could develop better marketing programs and
procedures to support the idea. Or, face the music and realize
that the costs just aren't worth the 1.09 percent of sales.
This is the fifth cold, hard truth: Be objective. Are you looking
at your numbers and making rational, fact-based decisions?
ADAPT OR DIE
Maybe at one point, your shop was a powerhouse. Surging
with activity, money rolling in. Life was good. But business
has changed. It's always changing. Are you changing with it?
That incredibly loyal customer may suddenly go elsewhere.
The buyer you've spent a decade building a relationship with
has retired. The new person wants to do things differently.
There's a new generation of customers out there who
is changing how business is transacted. Things are moving
faster: Online. Automated. Via text message and chat bot.
Voice search will be taking over soon.
Here's the sixth cold, hard truth: How you're conducting
business now won't work as effectively in the future. Are you
spending time adapting? Learning and utilizing new tools?
INNOVATION DRIVES SALES
Want more business? You need something to help your shop
stand out. What are you doing to develop some decoration
techniques, selling mechanisms, or ideas that are difficult
for your competition to emulate? Anybody can decorate a
shirt. This industry has few barriers to entry.
How are you making your business unique? This has to
be an on-purpose plan. It's not an accident when shops build
a better sales mousetrap or an award-winning decoration
technique. It's a lot of sweat, discussion, failure, and effort.
For the seventh cold, hard truth: Take a careful look at your
innovation effort. Are you learning and trying new things?
What are you doing to drive customers to your door?
HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN
I ask struggling shops: "Do you have a business plan?"About 60
percent of them say "no." If they have one, it's often outdated.
Think of a business plan as a way to aim your offerings
directly at your best customers. As you build it, you'll define
exactly who those customers are, how they spend money,
when they buy, and what they buy.
There are only so many hours in the day. You shouldn't
spend them wasting your time with folks who either don't
want what you offer or don't value what you charge.
A good business plan focuses your effort like a laser beam.
It helps develop the strategy behind making money. Without
one, is it any wonder why so many shops never seem to get
where they want to go? It's like trying to drive across the
country without a map.
Here's the eighth cold, hard truth: Write an actionable
business plan. Set goals and plan how to achieve them.
IT'S OK TO FIRE A CUSTOMER
Some customers are the worst. They send you unprofitable
work. You waste time chasing them down. Despite discussions
about change, nothing ever happens. But here's something you
might not know: It's absolutely acceptable to fire a customer.
"I'm sorry, but this working relationship is not in alignment
with our business goals. We need to move in a different
direction. Here are some other companies you might call."
And here's the ninth cold, hard truth: It's your business.
You make the rules. Have your customers do it your way.
MISTAKES MEAN GROWTH
Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden has a great
quote: "If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing
anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes."
How many mistakes have you made this week? It's all
right. That's driving your growth. Being afraid to try new
things won't get you very far.
The tenth cold, hard truth: You must be willing to fail.
Failure is acceptable, as that's how you learn. But if
you're sitting in your office waiting for the business world to
change, or orders to drop in your lap, that's a critical mistake.
There's no growth in that.
Try something new today. Something that you will be
horrible at, initially. Then, do it again and improve.
JUNE / JULY 2019
Screen Printing - June/July 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - June/July 2019
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