May '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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12 || P R I N T W E A R M A Y 2 0 1 8 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 B usiness owners in the decorated apparel industry have many things with which to contend daily. Will that big order to my best customer get out the door today? Is there enough cash flow into the business for me to make payroll and pay my sup- pliers on time? When is the right time to hire more help? Am I ready to buy a new piece of equipment? In my consulting and training business, I get to meet, know, have strategic and tactical discussions with, and help people in fairly well- run companies try to take them to the next level in their corporate development. Their goals typically seem to center around generating more sales and/or brand-name awareness, improving profitability and customer satisfaction, and/or streamlining operations to reduce waste and be more efficient. But, sadly, I've witnessed too many business owners commit seemingly innocent faux pas that continu- ally stunt company momentum and siphon off valuable resources that the enterprise will need to grow. I call these common mistakes BONEs—Business Owners' Noto- rious Errors. Curious to see if there are BONEs in your closet? BONE #1: INITIATING CHANGE TOO LATE There's an old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing the same way, over and over, expecting a different or better outcome. I can understand there is solace in being able to get a predict- able result from following the same recipe time and again, but running a business rarely follows a set, time- proven process. Why is that? Because too many external forces impact the dynamics of owning and operating a business. Custom- er needs and demands seemingly change by the hour. The economy can, and has, turned on a dime. To be more open-minded about modifying those business functions that just aren't delivering the results you desire, consider these useful tips: • Observe carefully with a fresh eye. Try to view certain parts of the business as if it is your first day on the job. Pay more attention to the details of how things get done and less on what gets done. You may find out that the cause of a rising ac- counts-receivable number on your ledger is not because your customers are paying you any slower, but the subtle changes in the speed with which a new accounting person is issuing statements or posting payments. • Look for patterns. The direction things are going is often your best indication of how they will go in the future, unless you interrupt the cycle. Identify one or two meaningful, quanti- fiable, or crucial indicators for success in your organization (cash on hand, for example), and begin to chart their values as monthly and a rolling average for the preceding three to six The Worst Mistakes a Business Owner Can Make …and how to avoid and/or remedy them.

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