Most precious resource – Time

Let’s pick up where we left off. We touched base, regardless of how talented you happen to be or even how inept, there’s only so many hours in the work day and so much energy to go around. We also spoke about the importance of having balance in your life. This is especially relevant, if you happen to have a family. Don’t forget that the most precious resource is not necessarily going to be your money. It’s your time. You need to learn how to prioritize and allocate your resources.

This also is relevant to figuring out what takes precedence over your life. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are launching a Columbus digital t-shirt printing company and it happens to become extremely successful. After 20 years of looking back, assuming you even have time to reflect, you will not be thinking, if only I would have made a little more money. Then I would have been happy. On the contrary, you will probably be thinking if only I would have been a better husband or father and been there more for them when they were growing up.

We touched on the fact that you don’t necessarily have to do everything yourself and be a one man operation. The key here is to surround yourself with the right people who are excellent at what they do and talented in the areas that you are deficient. It sounds very simple and in theory it is. That being said, in reality it can be challenging. The reason I say this is because it’s not necessarily only one’s abilities to do their job that makes them a huge asset to your Columbus screen Printing and embroidery company but integrity is paramount. In other words, you have to be able to trust the ones your networking with. You don’t necessarily have to be the brightest guy in the room. You just have to know the smartest guy and have him or her on your team. This will potentially allow you to do things that are way above your own abilities.

Now let’s talk a little bit about having the right equipment. Let’s start with digital t-shirt printing. Technology has made a tremendous impact in the screen printing industry. No longer is it necessary to do things the way we did 20 years ago. I can remember, when the amount of colors involved made a tremendous difference and how complicated or simple the job was going to be. Nowadays, custom t-shirts can be printed digitally and this significantly simplifies the process. What used to take as much as 3 hours to set up a particular order, can now be ready to go to press within minutes. Let’s also not leave out how long it would take to clean up the job after it was completed. If the job happened to be a lot of different colors, it could potentially take more time to break it all down and clean up all your screens then it did to initially set the job up in the first place.

We will elaborate more on this in the near future. In the meantime, continue to work hard at your endeavors but more importantly than anything else, arm yourself with knowledge.

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Importance of brand recognition

Top 4 Brands Heavily Dependent on Logo Apparel

Iconic, plain, and traditional fashion logos tend to be the most successful. Since they can adjust to suit any trend while staying true to their constructed design base. In fact, apparel company owners are well aware that they would be unable to print their brand image without a logo.

There’s nothing more significant about a brand than its logo. A lot many brands particularly brands related to handbags, sunglasses and statement jewelry are recognized for the use of their logo up front on products. A famous example is the widely popular Louis Vuitton tote bag or the Levi’s T-shirt.

While usually logo apparel is used for marketing purposes, a lot of brands capitalize on the dire needs of the t-shirt particularly in hot and humid states like Columbus, and turn their customers into walking brand ambassadors by printing huge logos on their clothes.

Here’s a list of some well-known brand identities in the apparel industry. This can be a way to see how essential it is to create a corporate identity that speaks for your business.

Louis Vuitton:

Launched in 1896, Louis Vuitton is a world-renowned French clothing brand. The primary design feature of the official logo is the LV monogram. It is a serif, italicized and capitalized L that sets slightly to the left and bottom of the capitalized V, indicating the acronym of its founders. The LV brand is utterly dependent on its logo as it got huge popularity because of it. The brand offers handbags, sun shades, jewelry, silk bandanas, and cozy Tees all flaunting off the famous LV logo in screen printing upfront

Gucci:

The House of Gucci is a familiar Italian fashion house for its high-end leather goods. Along with almost all kinds of clothing styles, the brand is popular for cashing on its logo on the apparel, which is often found in embroidery patterns over bags, or in screen printing over luxury silk stoles and even as metal buckles on belts, brooches and clutches.

The logo is an abstract representation of two interlocking “G”s. It has become synonymous with style and luxury. Gucci uses this letter mark in a variety of ways. The Gucci monogram is symmetrical. It also means you can get the right part by reversing the left one.

Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss has one of the most recognizable and revered fashion logos in the world. The formal serif typeface gives this logo its dominant personality. The black and white personalized logotype conveys honesty, beauty, and style. Hugo boss is quite famous for its t-shirts with its logo printed through digital t-shirt printing,

Levi’s Strauss & Co.

Synonymous with denim and a real legend, Levi’s Strauss & Co. is one of the most popular fashion labels globally. Its logo with a brash mood is abruptly recognizable worldwide, being a quality mark for custom t-shirts and Jeanswear. The company’s batwing logo is bright red in colour to improve exposure and inspire enthusiasm, and it is reputed for its quality, durability, and cultural significance. If you haven’t owned the significant white t-shirt with a big red Levi’s logo printed up front, you are not from any generation in the last 50 years.

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Time Constraints in Running a Screen printing and Embroidery company

There’s normally a whole lot of moving parts to trying to establish any new
business of any kind. Let me also mention that there’s only 24 hours in a
day and only so much energy to go around and get you through it. I think
it’s also worth mentioning that money, although important, is not
necessarily going to be your most valuable commodity. The most valuable
asset you have is going to be time. This is especially relevant to someone
who is married or even in a relationship. It’s even more complicated if you
have kids as they’re going to want your attention after the end of the work
day. Therefore it’s important that you prioritize. You need to have balance
in your life and although hard work is typically necessary when trying to
launch a successful Columbus Screen Printing and embroidery company, you
don’t want all the other aspects of your life too suffer.

To put it in perspective, when it comes to the end of your life, assuming you have time
to reflect and think back, you will probably not be thinking, if only I
didn’t work a little harder and not been a better husband or father. The
lesson learned here is, there’s a big difference between running your
business and your business running you. Here’s the potential solution to
avoiding this. Learn to identify the gifts that God has blessed you with,
while at the same time, realize your shortcomings and your limitations.

You need to surround yourself with folks who are very strong and accomplished
in the areas that you are weak. In other words, don’t try to be a one man
band. Even if you were gifted and all these different areas necessary,
you’ll probably not be able to have the time or energy to manage it all on
your own.  I’m a big believer in surrounding myself with
excellence! That being said, the right people can really make you look good
and allow you to do things that are far beyond your own abilities. That
being said, the wrong people, can really create problems.

Therefore, I don’t recommend that you choose to network with just anybody.
Even if they’re great at what they do, that in no way means they have any
decent integrity. That is something that is invaluable. You have to be able
to trust the people you work with. Here’s a good example, we use a company
in Thailand to do all our graphic work. When it comes to artwork, and color
separations, these guys are phenomenal. They always turn our projects
around quickly and are great about editing it if there are any adjustments
that are necessary. They actually charge us a fraction of what an American
Artist would charge us and we pass that on to our customers as a courtesy.
This is a great example, of being able to do things that we simply couldn’t
do on our own. Stay tuned for further recommendations. We’re going to be
talking about digital t-shirt printing on custom apparel and the next few
weeks or so.

There are so many different aspects to running a business and realize what
you’re strong at and at the same time where you need help and then put the
right individual in a place where they can use their expertise and take you
places that you could never get to on your own.

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How to Establish a First-Time Customer

Previously we talked about how much easier it was to deal with someone that you have a history with compared to someone you’ve never met before. This week I would like to talk about how you establish a first-time customer. To begin with, let’s understand that although hard work is admirable, when it comes time to make your mortgage payment or pay on your screen printing or custom embroidery equipment, nobody really cares how hard you worked or wants to hear that you tried hard, but you just don’t have enough to pay on that mortgage. So once again, you can’t pay your bills with effort, you have to make money. Trying your very hardest is not nearly as important as good sound, concise and definitive direction.  For example, it doesn’t matter if you’re running as fast as you possibly can, if you’re running east and you should be running west.  I heard someone say that experience is typically the best teacher. However, let’s be practical here. Wouldn’t it be better to be able to learn from one of your competitor’s mistakes in order to avoid making your own? Of course it would! Especially when some mistakes can be unforgiving.

The very fact that we live in a digital era when it’s not even necessary to get in your car and drive a few miles in order to find a local Columbus t-shirt t-shirt printing company like it might have been 15 years ago. Anyone can just sit at their kitchen table or in their recliner and do a relevant search for whatever it is they happen to be looking for at that moment and within seconds, there’s multiple choices.

The point I’m making here  is that the key to launching any Columbus digital t-shirt printing company is to make sure you show up on the first landing page when somebody’s looking for you instead of having them stumble onto one of your competitors. Another word of advice would be to surround yourself with experts who are great at what they do. For example, if you’re not very computer savvy, don’t worry you don’t have to be. Just affiliate with someone who is. There are so many different aspects to running a business. Realize what you’re strong at and at the same time ,where you need help and then put the right individual in place where they can use their expertise and take you places that you could never get to on your own.

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How to attract more business

The last time we spoke we talked about several different things. One being about how much easier it is to deal with someone who’s already sold on you, as well as your abilities to process their order with excellence and in a timely manner. We also touched on the fact that the best salesman leads and they lead very softly.

I gave the example of not only giving your clients exactly what they asked for but also throwing in something extra that they never even expected, such as a hooded sweatshirt with pockets or a jacket. Let’s evaluate exactly what you did here. Not only did you make a friend and impress your new customer, but you actually planted a seed in hopes and expectation that it will grow. Here’s what I mean by that. The guy you gave it to is wearing it around and all the other employees take notice of it and say that’s a really nice jacket. They then ask where’s mine? However in a short time, it’s not uncommon that the telephone will ring and it’s the same individual who you planted that seed with and he’s asking you how much would it be for the same jacket for the rest of his office personnel?

The last thing we touched on was how difficult it was back in the day when you had a knock on 100 Doors just to find someone who actually needed some new custom t-shirts right at that very moment. It was not only time consuming but it was exhausting. Today, we live in a digital age and we have advantages that we’ve never had before. The key to success in marketing is relevant to someone getting on the search engine and doing a relevant search for whatever it is they’re looking for. Let’s say they did a search for Columbus Screen Printing and embroidery companies. They simply go to a landing page and start scanning down until they find one that is of interest. I like to refer this as sniper marketing unlike comparing it to what I would call shotgun marketing which would be just cold calling from door to door. In order to do this, you not only need a decent website but more importantly than that, you need to be the one that shows up normally within the five listings on that first landing page. A person’s interest span is extremely short. So when they happen to click on your site, it needs to grab their attention immediately or at least within the first 10 seconds. If this doesn’t happen, then they’re off of yours and clicking on someone else’s site.

What does it profit somebody to have a million dollar website but nobody can find it? It’s similar to having a major shopping mall in the middle of the Mojave Desert where nobody travels. It can be the greatest Mall out there but if nobody can find it or even realize it’s there in the first place. Nobody’s going to end up going there. Stay tuned in for the next blog where we’ll discuss more about sales and marketing digital t-shirt printing and more about custom embroidery.

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Audible Communication is Key

There’s one thing that really gets under my skin. That is a competitor of mine who gives his services away at such a low rate that he’s not only going to make what I would consider to be a fair profit, but he’s actually ruining it for everyone else in the industry. It sets a very bad standard. I can’t tell you how many times that someone would call me up and ask for a quote and I would give them what I would consider to be a very fair estimate. They would then reply that the old Columbus screen printing company I used to deal with was selling it for this price or that. I would then reply something to the effect of this. Then why aren’t you still using them? Then they would proceed to tell me out of business. I would then start laughing and say no wonder they’re not in business anymore. If I was selling it for what they were, I would be out of business as well.

Why is it that companies so often take the approach of trying to be the lowest custom embroidery company in the city? In fact, I would be extremely embarrassed to say that we were the cheapest in town. In my opinion, what that is conveying is that your work isn’t worth very much.

There is so much to be said for great customer service especially when a digital t-shirt printing order happens to be time sensitive. By this I mean, what good is it if you saved a few bucks on your order if you didn’t get them in time or the quality of the finished product wasn’t very good?

In my opinion, we are not the only Columbus digital t-shirt printing outfit that are very good at what they do. There are some others who I could strongly recommend. However, what we excel in far above all of our competitors is the ability to communicate. This quality is vital when trying to come to an agreement with our potential customer that is going to be equally good for everyone involved. This even goes as far as simply answering the telephone when somebody calls by a real human. It sounds like that’s no big deal, but it’s actually very rare these days. Most everything regarding business is done with an email or a text comparably to audible communication. Don’t get me wrong. An email is an excellent way to keep track of whatever was agreed on, as well as presented, but there is no substitute for two people to actually just talking to one another.

There are so many things that cannot be conveyed by an email. I’m not sure why folks these days have an intrepidation of actually picking up a telephone and then someone on the other end actually answering it. I do think emails are a wonderful way to keep track of whatever was presented but it’s often very hard to address certain challenges that might complicate the situation such as limited budgets and very short time sensitive turnarounds. These are things that are far better to be expressed just by talking to each other whether that’s in person or by phone. Why would somebody want to take out the human part of that equation? Frankly, I don’t get it. I can’t tell you how many jobs that we have received because of this approach. We don’t have to be the least expensive custom embroidery company who’s quoting the job either. More than not, most of the people that I deal with really appreciate the fact that we’re communicating this way and because of this, they don’t necessarily mind paying a little bit more for that. It instills a strong confidence, that we’re going to be able to not only process their job with excellence but they are going to receive their product on time. This very often gives us a huge advantage over our competitors who don’t take this same approach.

Personally speaking, I’m glad there aren’t very many companies out there that do it this way. That in itself, gives us a huge advantage. I hope my competitors aren’t reading this, as I wouldn’t want them to change a thing.

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Establishing Repeat Business in Columbus, OH

Last time we were talking about the advantage of dealing with someone you’ve dealt with prior compared to someone you’ve never dealt with before. We spoke about the fact that you’ve already won their confidence, so unlike the first time you ever call called them, they are already aware of the fact that you’re dependable as well as competent and good at what you do. That’s a huge advantage over someone they’ve never dealt with before.

If you can remember your first encounter with them on your initial visit, it is required that you not only sell them on the fact that you’re going to give them an excellent product for a very competitive price, but you had to sell them on yourself and your integrity. Now that’s already been established so the next order should be almost automatic. I can’t overemphasize how important it is to maintain good record keeping of what their last order entailed and when it was delivered. The reason I bring this up is that you want to make sure you call them a few months later on down the line when the season starts to change. There’s a very fine line a Salesman walks sometimes. They don’t want to be considered a pain in the butt and they also don’t want to risk being forgotten about. All things considered, I would rather error on the side of reaching out to last year’s customer when they don’t actually need anything at that moment then risk the fact of them not remembering you and calling one of your competitors.

There’s nothing more frustrating when you walk in to a place of business that you’ve dealt with before and they’re wearing custom t-shirts that were not processed by your company. That’s happened to me before. I asked them, why didn’t you call me? You’re happy with what we did weren’t you? They’re typical reply was we couldn’t find your card or we forgot. Sometimes, someone new is hired by that particular company and takes over the job of someone else who you dealt with previously. It’s not uncommon that they forget to recommend you before they leave to the new person taking over that position. If they don’t, it’s almost like starting over. You have to reintroduce yourself and establish that confidence with a new individual who you’ve never dealt with before.

The conversation usually goes something like this. “Hi this is Mike. I used to deal with Gloria and it was my company that provided most of the custom screen printing and embroidery that you’ve been obtaining. Can I please have a chance to quote the next time you’re going to need some more? I realized I missed the last time as you guys never did give me a call, but I sure don’t want to be forgotten about this time around. I realize that we’re not the only digital t-shirt printing company around so I will take that into consideration when I give you a quote for your new order. If I can’t give you a better overall value than what you got from the last guys you dealt with, then there’s absolutely no good reason to use me but I’ll make sure that I’ll make the most of the opportunity.”

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Repeat customers

Let’s see, where did we leave off last week? Oh yes, we were discussing the advantages of how much easier it is when working with someone Do you have a prior history with compared to someone you’ve never met before. We mentioned that the first time you deal with someone that you haven’t ever dealt with before, that you not only have to sell them on your integrity but just importantly, you also have to establish their confidence in your ability to process their order with excellence and in a timely manner.

When you think about it, that’s not an easy thing to do. There’s a lot of other Columbus Screen printing and embroidery companies that are trying to capture the same client that you’re going after. With all that said, you need to do something in order to set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd. In other words, create some type of incentive that you know, nobody else is going to offer them.

Here’s an example of how this could be done. Let’s say they ordered some digital t-shirt printing, give them a quote for exactly what they asked for but in addition to that, throw in something that was never even discussed, such as a brand new jacket with custom embroidery on it. Let’s take a look at what you just accomplished by doing this. You not only set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd in your industry that was bidding on the same thing, but you also made a friend. Another thing you achieved is a chance to prove yourself. This leads to the potential next order that is coming down the pipe. One thing Columbus has is seasons where it goes from warm weather to cold. The very same individual you just catered to is going to need an entirely different wardrobe to cater to that cold weather then he did from the order last spring. They’re likely to go from short sleeve garments to long sleeve such as long sleeve T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts with pockets. You just have to remember to create that database we mentioned on an earlier blog and be faithful to actually call them back when that time eventually comes.

The very fact that you process their order a few months ago and they received it on time and looking good. They are already sold on you! It’s just a matter of saying hey Bob, this is Mike, do you remember me? I’m the guy who printed your t-shirts a few months ago. He also will remember, you’re the guy who gave me that free jacket that I never even asked for. It’s such an easy sale compared to the first time you ever called on them.

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Repeat orders

A couple weeks ago, we touched on the fact that no matter how accomplished
you are at whatever it is you do for a living, that the most important part
of any new startup company is marketing as well as sales. We also mentioned
that although they certainly compliment each other and go hand in hand,
they are not the same thing. I’ve met a lot of great salesman who knew
nothing about marketing and a lot of great marketers who are clueless when
it came to sales. You could be the most accomplished
Columbus t-shirt printing company in the entire city, but if people don’t
know about you, you’re probably not going to get very many bid
opportunities. It’s not farfetched that you would soon be closing your
doors for good.

We also touched on the fact that it’s so much easier to
deal with someone you’ve dealt with prior. We seize the value and
advantages when dealing with someone we’ve dealt with before. It’s such a
soft and easy sale. You have already won their confidence, and your ability
to get there order done on time and processed with excellence so therefore
you don’t have to sell them on yourself or your ability any longer. It’s
simply a matter of calling them up on the phone and saying something to the
effect of: “Hey this is Mike, do you think you guys are going to end up
needing any new digital t-shirt printing or custom screen printing in the
near future and if so, when?” They are usually delighted to hear from you
but that being said, they don’t necessarily need any screen printing at
this very moment. Therefore, you need to create a good database of when
they say to follow up and be faithful to do that.

We also talked about
giving them something extra that they never even ordered in order to make
them glad they called you,  over any of the other Columbus competitors.
What do I mean by this? Well for example, let’s say they ordered 72 new
hooded sweatshirts with pockets. In addition to that, throw in a free
jacket. Normally their first reaction is, I didn’t order this. Your
response would be something to the effect of, I realize that. You could
have given the job to anyone but you gave it to us and rather than just say
thanks, we wanted to throw in this free jacket in order to show our
appreciation.

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Marketing your products

Over the last few blogs, we touched on a whole litany of different issues including how to pick your battles. The fact that you have such a limited amount of resources that consists of time, money, and energy, to allocate towards this project on a daily basis, we want to be very discriminating on where and how to best use those resources wisely.

So let’s start with the marketing aspect. Although marketing and sales most certainly go hand in hand, they are very different from one another. Here’s an example. When you break down the anatomy of a sale, it all starts with trying to find somebody who needs whatever it is you sell at this very moment. One thing I happen to love about the Columbus t-shirt printing industry is that everyone you know is already familiar with wearable apparel and custom t-shirts. The other thing that I love about it is that in the Midwest, we have what’s referred to as seasons. Therefore, the same individual who might be shopping currently for short sleeve apparel will probably be needing to switch over to long sleeve garments as well as jackets as the season starts to change over into winter and it gets cold.

The point that I’m making is that repeat clients are much easier to deal with than first timers. The initial time you meet with a potential client you not only have to sell them on your ability to deliver an excellent screen printing or custom embroidery product, but also you have to sell them on yourself. After all, he or she has never met you before. Therefore, you need to make the most out of this initial opportunity.

I would recommend not only making sure you give that client an excellent product, but make sure it’s also on time and maybe throw in a little something extra such as a free hooded sweatshirt. This will likely mean a great deal to them. Just imagine them opening up a box of completed items and as they’re looking through it, they happen to run across a hooded sweatshirt that they were not expecting. They will likely say, “What is this or I didn’t order this?’. Then you can reply that you could have chosen many different Columbus digital t-shirt printing companies to work with on this project but you chose us. We not only wanted to do the job with excellence and get it to you on time but to show our appreciation, here’s a little something extra.

To sum it up here, you not only gained a likely repeat customer, but you also made a friend. I would recommend keeping good records of when this sale actually took place and then give them a friendly call in the spring and ask them how everything is holding up and if they are going to potentially need anything else since the weather will soon be warming up?

At that point the resale is going to be almost automatic as you guys have a history together and are comfortable with one another. At that point in time, it’s just a matter of saying, “Hey this is Mike how have you been, and if you think you’re going to potentially need anything else coming up this spring can I at least give you a quote? The answer will most likely be a resounding of course YES you can.

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