June '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 22 of 122

A re you tired of this economy taking its sweet time to re- gain its footing? I sure am. The general malaise that has blanketed our marketplace over the past years has stifled any chance of sustained growth, lulled businesses into accepting lackluster results, and hypnotized shops into simply going through the motions. Your company has tangible equity in the image it puts forth. That image includes visibility within the decorated apparel industry and your target market; the effort made to promote your logo and brand name, introduce new products and services, and showcase core com- petencies to clients and your pioneering spirit that drives you to im- prove offerings and satisfying customer needs. What can a company do to prevent stagnation? Adopting a strategy of innovation is the first step toward prosperous growth and success. And it doesn't have to come with a huge price tag. ADMIT THE PROBLEM As in most 12-step rehab programs, recognizing there's a problem initiates the road to recovery. There are similar signs and symptoms that alert a business that its persona has become stale. Grab a pencil and record your answers to these questions about the recent activities in and around your shop. 1. Do customers ask for your products to perform better, last lon- ger, and cost less than ever before? Are your customers' demands and desires changing faster than you've been able to adapt? 2. Do customers appear unimpressed because they see little to no difference between your company and your competitors when there was once a significant competitive advantage? 3. Is your business focus turned inward rather than outward? For example, is more time spent redefining company policies and procedures for the convenience or survival of the enterprise rather than enhancing customer relationships and improving customer service? 4. Has your staff suddenly turned bored, surly, or obsessed with their well-being? Do they express opinions in an apathetic, cyn- ical tone? 5. Have the last new product introductions been minor modifica- tions in style, color, or size that don't offer any additional func- tionality or benefit to your customers? If you answered yes to as few as two questions, your image may be on the decline with your goods and services approaching obso- lescence. Your company stands to measurably gain if you were to launch a campaign strategy of innovation. CREATIVITY OR INNOVATION? Creative ideas are thought experiments within one person's mind. Innovation, on the other hand, is concerned with the actual imple- mentation of an idea. An organization can use innovation to convert its creative resources into appropriate solutions and reap return on investment. But don't confuse optimization with innovation. Opti- How to Inject Innovation Act on creative ideas for better business Vince DiCecco is a dynamic and sought-after seminar speaker and author with a unique perspective on busi- ness development and management subjects, primarily in the decorated and promotional apparel industries. With over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and training, he is presently an independent consultant to various apparel decorating businesses looking to im- YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS TRAINER B Y V I N C E D I C E C C O prove profitability and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his new website at, and send email to 18 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 5

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