February '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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14 || P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 6 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- prove profitability and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his new website at, and send email to YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS TRAINER B Y V I N C E D I C E C C O S o, which came first—the chicken or the egg? Attempts to answer this age-old question, and attempts to get around im- plications of the contrarian argument, are often quite con- voluted. The same holds true for a modern-day enigma—does the failure to manage time cause undue stress, or does excessive stress cause one to lose the aptitude to manage time effectively? One might say an operational definition of time management is, "The act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, to increase ef- fectiveness, efficiency, or productivity, especially at work." Like- wise, stress can be defined as, "The bodily or mental tension— such as fatigue, headache, irritability and/or nervousness—that results from the presence of a real or perceived physical, mental, or emotional factor." Regardless of which one causes the other, according to the Ameri- can Psychological Association, workplace stress costs US businesses more than $300 billion each year in healthcare, missed work, and stress reduction programs. Whenever you do not get something done, you are compromising an opportunity to increase the enterprise's revenue, profitability, and bottom line. In a small business, if any employee blows that oppor- tunity, there is rarely somebody else to pick up the slack. The sale is lost, the esprit de corps in the shop wanes, and you are left searching for baseless excuses as to why the company is not as successful as it could be. Let's try to conquer these two enemies with an arsenal of proven tips and techniques, shall we? TIME AS A FINITE YET INVESTABLE ASSET Some people claim they can save you time if you buy their prod- ucts or services, but that's a false premise. We simply cannot save hours out of a day or life and spend them at a later date. Therefore, we can never manage time the way we manage other factors that influence our success at work or home. We have to think about investing time if our goal is to be more effective and efficient. What we choose to do with our time comes down to the goals set, the priorities established, and the choices we made throughout the day. To begin the transformation from time-waster to time- master, try answering these questions: • Have you ever missed an important deadline, callback, ap- pointment, or meeting because your system failed? • Does your to-do list ever get lost from immediate view or be- come too confusing to decipher? • Does your workspace ever look like it's been invaded by sticky notes and reminders? • Do you have trouble saying NO? • Is your typical day a series of interruptions and pop-up fires that need to be attended to immediately? There are other frequently identified time wasters—such as pro- crastination, failure to delegate, too many meetings, jumping from task to task, and trying to do too many things at the same time. Some are other people's demands being placed on us, but mostly we do it to ourselves. In the immortal words of cartoonist Walt Kelly's Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us." The Modern-Day Chicken and Egg Conundrum …and why wrangling in both is crucial to growing a business

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