October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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still in operation, compared to only 30 percent of businesses started in commercial or storefront locations. •Forty-four percent of home-based businesses are started for less than $5,000. •More than two-thirds of all sole proprietorships, partnerships and S-corporations are home-based. •More than 90 percent of home-based businesses are sole proprietorships. In order to elevate one's stature in the eyes of the marketplace, the first action to consider is changing the business entity to a limited liability corporation (LLC) or partnership (LLP), or Sub-chapter S Corporation (S-Corp). There are a number of websites (see and www.LegalZoom. com) to help select which entity is best for you. A good lawyer or accountant should be able to help you file the necessary documents with your state to establish the business as a viable enterprise and further protect your personal assets—a benefit LLCs, LLPs and S-Corps enjoy that sole proprietorships do not. Secondly, in conversation with everyone, act as if your business deserves to be taken seriously regardless of its location. Officially change your business address to: The Name of the Business Your home address Suite B (for basement) or G (for garage) or 100 (or anything else) Your hometown, state and zip Having mail and magazines sent to the company name at a suite number gives the impression that a well-established business operates at that location. If you don't have a separate business phone and/or fax number, consider obtaining them as well. If you insist on having your home phone number double as a work number, when answering the phone, your greeting should include identifying the name of the business, your name and an offer to be of assistance to the caller. The more you do to conduct yourself and your company's activities in a professional manner, the more your business contacts will take your homebased business seriously. Good luck. Vince DiCecco, Your Personal Business Trainer I have an upset customer who is not happy with a batch of shirts I printed using white discharge. He says they "faded massively" and "stink." I know the print brightness always loses its initial intensity after washing, but that's just the trade-off for the ultra-soft hand, in my opinion. And the smell, unfortunately, just comes with the territory for fresh discharge. I feel I'm just facing the customers' expectations versus the realities of a given process. What to do? Dealing with customer dissatisfaction issues is what we do as successful apparel decorators. •The first thing you should do is empathize with the customer and let them talk/vent. •Second thing to do is understand why you did not meet their expectation. •Third, ask what they would like you to do about it. •Make it right in the eyes of the customer. •Last and most important: learn from the issue and never repeat it. Each of these items has several sub points to consider but remember, you are not selling T-shirts. You are selling memories/ ideas/concepts/products that happen to use a printed garment as the delivery vehicle. Customers only care about what they see, not what is involved in making it happen. Don't dwell on the techie stuff with customers in this scenario. Greg Kitson, Mind's Eye Graphics Inc. 2013 October Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 79 | 79 9/18/13 11:53 AM

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