December '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 1 4 D EC E M B E R PRINTWEAR | 111 initial order but poor at keeping the busi- ness year over year. Customer retention can be measured several ways—simply by determining the number of customers who purchase more than once or identify- ing those who, after any purchase, choose to take their business elsewhere—and for what reason. It makes perfect sense for salespeople to know exactly how much time is being invested in supporting, nurturing, and attending to their biggest client, sales territory, or the entire sales organization. A more quantifiable indicator of how well the salesperson serves the needs of custom- ers and makes an effort to stay in touch on a regular basis is dollars invoiced per ser- vice hour. The math is simple, but when monitored over time, this calculation is an interesting metric. First, for a given period of time, usually not less than six months, calculate how much time was spent sup- porting the sale via training, follow-up calls, birddogging orders, and nurturing the ven- dor-client relationship. Divide that amount of time in hours into the revenue dollars for a sales rep's territory or for a particular ac- count for the same time period. The key is monitoring the direction this metric trends over time. If the metric goes up, it may indicate that a customer or ter- ritory is being ignored, taken for granted, or not receiving the attention it deserves. If the metric declines, it's typically the first sign that there's some hand-holding or ba- by-sitting taking place. Salespeople shouldn't wait to see what management or marketing will do next. They should instead engage in a healthy dialogue with both support functions to understand how they measure against a set of key performance indicators that are most relevant and meaningful to their situ- ation. Ultimately, reaching quota is a team effort. It's in sales' best interest to take a proactive and quantitative approach as op- posed to the classic wait-to-blame, after- the-fact tact that many of us have seen or, unfortunately, lived through far too often. Good luck! but it's also the most expensive. Given this higher price tag, be sure to carefully review the technology and determine how it fits into your business plan. If you plan to print onto dark shirts, expect to invest in at least $20,000. Conversely, if you intend to focus on white shirts, the consumables cost is competitive to oth- er digital methods. Direct-to-garment printing also requires a more robust physical footprint than that of a printer/ cutter, tabloid-size copier, inkjet printer, or vinyl cutter. This is especially true if you intend to decorate dark shirts be- cause you have to pretreat the garments before printing. With so many available options, consider how many shirts you plan to produce in a month. If your market supports a one-off, personalized shirt, look carefully at coat- ed paper or sublimation as the decoration medium. Unless you're a startup, you more than likely have most of the necessary capi- tal equipment in your business. However, if you plan to decorate athletic shirts with names and numbers, heat trans- fer flex is the best option. As the business expands, you can also add printable heat transfer flex for mascots. Meanwhile, if you plan to decorate white and light-col- or polyester performance wear, look care- fully at sublimation. For large quantities of light and dark cotton as well as cotton blends, direct-to-garment printing is great. Although this requires more investment, direct-to-garment printing results in a con- sistent product. And don't forget to take a careful invento- ry of your computer and art creation skills. You don't have to be a rocket scientist, but you should have some basic computer skills for image creation and manipulation. If you lack these skills, hire someone to help. No matter what decorating route you take, choose cautiously, don't overextend your finances, and deliver a high-quality product to your customer. These steps will ensure you make the right decision for your business based on its unique needs. Your Personal Business Trainer continued from page 22 pw Using Constant Contact, an email mar- keting tool, I created newsletters for events throughout the year and scheduled them according to the right calendar date and time. Constant Contact also sends an alert along with a link to those newsletters to my Facebook and Twitter followers, who may or may not subscribe to my mailing list. The fully automated system is easy to use, and I finished 12 months of newsletters in little time. Another great time-saving tool, Hoot- suite, allows users to connect with all of their social media accounts through one dashboard, eliminating the daunting task of publishing content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and others individual- ly. Within my Internet marketing calendar, I prematurely set up posts on timers to dis- play content, product information, holiday greetings, and reminders to followers from all of those platforms. My social media pro- files ran on autopilot this year, allowing me to post manually during current events or when special promotions arose. Finally, I bounced over to my blog and scheduled blog posts to run for each month's events. The blog also automatically posts the headline and link to my website on all social media properties, again reaching my followers on a regular basis with fresh con- tent throughout the year. Constant Contact and Hootsuite each provide statistics and analytics to review performance levels and gauge the success of both the blog and website. The fun part is discovering sales that were generated from time-release content created six months in advance while I was far removed from my desk, taking in a sunny day of IndyCar Rac- ing at Texas Motor Speedway. January is indeed the time to prepare for the year ahead. If you take a day or two to knock out as many tasks as possible with automated tools, you'll be free to run your business, stay on top of events, and even take time off to spend with loved ones. Beat the clock this year and give it a try. All the best for a successful 2015. Graphics Hot Spot continued from page 26 Internet Strategies continued from page 28 pw pw

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