March '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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16 || P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 1 7 workers as an investment in the company, not an expense. Expect to get a return on that investment within 90 days of the training session. Don't treat training as a one-time event, but consider it part of your company's health program that will shield you from debilitating diseases and illnesses. MONEY DOESN'T GROW ON TREES… But, if it did, we wouldn't cut so many down and take better care of them. Isn't it only common sense to be careful with how a business spends its money? Mom's adage of,"We wouldn't cut so many down," to me means don't create paperwork just to cover your corporate butt. If the "required" pa- perwork in your company doesn't obviously contribute to customer con- venience, satisfy a government mandate, or serve as a reminder to your employees of the best way to do something, get rid of it. When you can, reduce three pieces of paper to one by redesigning forms and eliminating duplicate information. A great example of this are the forms a doctor or dentist makes a new patient complete, which typically take longer than the length of time you spend with the doctor. As far as taking care of our trees, I compare a tree to business. When a sapling is first planted, it needs plenty of nutritious sun and soil (a healthy marketplace), fertilizer (seed money), and is usually tied to a pole (a business/marketing plan) to ensure it grows up straight and tall during its formative years. The numerous components of a tree represent all the various people and things that help a business thrive and grow: • the trunk is the core competency of the company—the one distin- guishing characteristic that separates this tree from all the others; • the branches are customers—the large ones closest to the trunk are key clients of which there aren't many but are essential, and often sprout other customers via word-of-mouth referrals; • the blossoms (the features of your goods and services) are transformed into fruit (value delivered to your customers) and are then harvested to the benefit of many; • the leaves are your sales and marketing professionals that shield the deli- cate fruit; and • the odd fruit that falls are the offshoot business ventures that occasion- ally take root and produce saplings. I suppose you could call the birds and the bugs that live in the tree the cadre of vendors and suppliers that depend on the tree but also bring value to it. And the squirrels? They're industry consultants. They never stay in one place for very long. They scurry noisily up and down the trunk, in and out from the branches and the leaves, then off to another tree to shake it up for a while. Most consultants I know—including this author—are pretty squirrelly. Still, what would the forest be without the friendly squirrel? So, I guess money does grow on trees. If this analogy makes sense, take special care of the components of your tree. Nurture them and your busi- ness will stand tall for many years. Thanks, Mom. YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS TRAINER

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