December '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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100 | PRINTWEAR D EC E M B E R 20 1 4 PLAYING HARDBALL Still, we all have different personality types, and some enjoy pushing the limits. Ask yourself how you feel when your customers treat you this way. Are these your favorite customers, the clients who consistently ask for unreasonable prices or delivery times? Most likely, you aren't inclined to do them any favors. Their business is important to you, but it comes with frustrations. Strong relationships, however, reduce business stress and allow you to better adapt over time. You need long-term customers and great vendor relationships to push you through rough times and tight deadlines. When all is considered, a business relationship is just like any other interpersonal relationship. Both require a concerted effort to maintain and must provide a benefit to both parties. We all have to be willing to share information, work together, and support each other's suc- cess. Imagine saying to a spouse or friend, "Give me a better deal or I'm going somewhere else." It's a serious threat. Are you prepared to handle this situation with your vendor? If you threaten to walk away, be prepared to do it. You lose credibility when you make a hard-line demand and don't follow through. Being thick skinned is important as a business owner but so is your ability to manage relationships. The mistake here is bringing the threat before reason. There's a time when walking away is a reality if you explained your case, advised your vendor of the issue, and are prepared to go elsewhere. Your supplier might not be able to offer what you need, and that's fine. Be a friend to your vendors and most will reciprocate. BUY IN BULK If you want to save more, buy more. Most suppliers give better deals for buying in bulkā€”from embroidery machines to cones of thread. As long as you can afford it, stock up and invest more. This is the best tactic for reducing business costs. EFFECTIVE NEGOTIATION

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