March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 1 5 M A RC H PRINTWEAR | 59 design on it." Many people find this easi- er to adopt and more effective. Your brain knows you're not seeking approval on the design, so there isn't the tendency to raise your voice at the end of the sentence. MANAGE YOUR PROFITABILITY I recently worked with an embroidery business owner whose long-term custom- er was challenging her. The customer had new people in decision-making positions and offered no guarantees on what would be ordered nor the frequency of orders, and also made mention that there would be no size increases when the orders were placed. Yet, the customer wanted the embroiderer to lower pricing, shorten the delivery time, and increase inventory kept on hand. The embroiderer wanted to know how to meet all the customer's demands. It was a chal- lenging conversation because, for some reason, this embroiderer felt that the customer's de- mands were reasonable. I asked the embroiderer why she felt that way, and that one question opened up a different conversation. We looked at the options available and discussed if there was much competition for this customer. There wasn't, so we broke down the order details and established how profit goals could be met. She could then return to the customer with prices, order-size requirements, and delivery schedules that met her needs for production and profitability. It is, indeed, a negotiation between you as the business owner and your customers. The key point is that you should be in charge of how you run your business, how much profit you earn, and the hours you work. If everything is up for negotiation, even unintentionally, you can't complain that life is insane, you're not earning what you expected, or you have little to show for how hard and how much you work. This year, pledge to think and speak like a business owner who provides decorated apparel. Deliberately and consciously interact with your customers as that business owner rather than as a person who runs an embroidery machine. I suspect you'll be surprised at what a difference this makes on your bottom line and level of success by the end of the year. pw

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