Printwear

November '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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perfect sense that you want to be in the know with what's going on with your customers. Also be sure to check out the local papers for business announcements, retirement notices, and other news that may offer brand-building opportunities. Reach out to those companies and customers and offer to meet with them to help them maximize their branding opportunity. Some opportunities are a branding "moment," such as a photo op. Some opportunities are much bigger, such as major anniversaries for a company. If you know you work well with businesses that have 12–25 em- ployees, then it would make sense to contact all the businesses that you can find that fit that description. If you know you love mak- ing custom one-of-a-kind jobs for wedding gifts, it makes sense to connect with families with weddings in their near future or even local planners. If you are happiest cranking out orders of 244 iden- tical shirts, why would you call on an independent plumber that might only order five shirts and a few sweatshirts? It all goes back to knowing what business you are really in, and then finding the most efficient ways to connect with as many of your ideal targets as possible. There is no wrong map and no wrong direction—that is one of the biggest and best benefits of running your own business. You get to decide what you like, what defines a great order, what kinds of customers you want to work with, and what you want to charge. If you discover that you do not like to do varsity jackets, partner with another decorator that can produce these orders for you and subcontract it out. Or, give out referrals to other businesses that will do that work. If appliqué makes you happy, contact other businesses in your area and see if they want to send any appliqué work your way. This is a great time to look back at 2015 and evaluate what jobs and customers you loved, and why. Once you identify what worked well, spend your marketing time and effort going after more customers and more jobs like your best ones. You will have an even better year in 2016. Other orders will come your way, and they are always welcome. When you spend any time, effort, or money attempting to at- tract new customers, why not point yourself in the direction that works best for you and your business? That is the advantage of taking the time to look back, and then looking ahead. Where am I now? Where do I want to go and what am I doing to get there? Running your company with a well-thought out business map ac- tively in mind gives you a significant advantage over your compet- itors, as they are probably just "going along," without the focus or direction that comes from using a business map. 2 0 1 5 N O V E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 67

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