July '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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14 || P R I N T W E A R J U LY 2 0 1 8 is perceived by all others, including customers, employees, vendors, new neighbors, and new community. Unfortunately, many business owners don't have the time, objectivity, and resources to thoroughly research and analyze their situation. Even if you are not considering relocation any time soon, try some of the following exercises: • Create a diagram of your current office and shop area. Be sure to include measurements of each room or area, the location and size of equipment and furniture, and the position and ca- pacity of all utilities—electrical, water, gas, and the like. Indi- cate with arrows the workflow through the shop—where sup- plies are received and stored, the path along which the work process begins, continues, and ends, and where finished jobs are staged, packed, and shipped. Look for bottlenecks, dou- bling back, and other inefficient practices and eliminate them if you can. • Solicit the help of a commercial real-estate professional and identify several available industrial spaces or parcels that could replicate your current operation identically, including the ap- proximate same square footage, available utilities, and workflow. Take note of how far away they are from your present location. Now, make a list of advantages and disadvantages of the new places compared to where your business is today. How would a move affect your employee's travel time to work? Will your YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS TRAINER E X PA N S I O N O U T S I D E T H E L I N E S Here are even more ways you may want to expand the business without relocating: 1. Offer your business model as a franchise or business opportunity. Sure, there are tens of thousands of screen printers and embroiderers in the United States, but perhaps the unique way your company meets and exceeds the expecta- tions of a particular clientele could convince another budding entrepreneur to duplicate your concept and leverage the name-brand recogni- tion. How do you think the founders of Subway or The UPS Store got started and became rich? It will require you sharing your expertise in getting your franchisees up and running and making money quickly, but remember you are getting paid a royalty for your good name and reputation and it didn't cost you a dime. 2. Form an alliance or buying group. Aligning your company with similar types of businesses can be a powerful way to ex- pand quickly. First, there are economies of scale when your buying group negotiates better prices for everything from raw materials to transportation to warehouse space to needed services. The buying power of the group should bring your cost of goods down and im- prove your profitability and competitive edge. 3. Merge with or acquire another business. There are, from time to time, opportunities to purchase or integrate the capacities of a struggling enterprise and benefit greatly from the union. Some- times, the acquired company is in such dire straits that its only other option may be to fold up its tent. When you scoop them up, at a bargain-basement price, set them on better footing, and get them productive again, you in- crease your capacity without a large investment outlay.

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