Four Ways To Keep Your Business Alive, Part 2

On Thursday we posted part 1 of this article borrowed from Promotional Consultant Today, which you can read here.    These are some core factors that are important to keep in mind when you start a business, but also to revisit often as your business grows. Because we all know how easy it is to lose site of these elements as we get busy!

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.”

Colin R. Davis

Four Ways To Keep Your Business Alive, Part 2Starting a business is tough enough, but keeping it going is even tougher. The first few years after launch are typically years of investment and growth, with little to no profit. The key is to have a strong plan, streamline resources and get beyond the tough times to a point where you can build momentum and scale your ability to deliver to your customers.

In yesterday’s issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we shared two critical success factors for a new business, as identified by Janice Janssen, a business consultant and co-founder of Global Team Solutions. These factors included a) having processes in place and b) knowing your numbers. Today, we’re passing along two more key success factors to ensure your business survives beyond the first five years.

1. The Art of Marketing. The purpose of marketing is to let people know the value of your product or service. You have something that they need, that could make life easier, faster, better. It’s not enough to just open your doors and expect the masses to come flooding inside. You must create and communicate the need. Business that fail do not understand the role of marketing—both internal and external—in supporting the growth and success of the business.

Internal Marketing. It is often said that a client or customer loves the storeowner but can’t stand dealing with staff, or vice versa. The look of the office from the moment a customer gets out of their car, is marketing. Perception is everything. Take time to look through the eyes of the customer and what they experience when they first walk into your facility. How are they greeted? What do they see? What first impression are you making? Do you need to make adjustments here?

External Marketing. Next, take time to understand how you project your business through external, market-facing channels. Advertising, websites, billboards, Facebook and other social media channels and even community events are all forms of external marketing. Customer attraction and retention must be a constant focus for the health of a business. You need to be aware of how you are getting your new customers based upon what you are doing and determine the return on investment for everything you do. At the same time, have a method for customers to let you know if their experience in your office did not meet their expectations. A feedback loop is important for longevity.

2. Communication. We all know how to talk, but do we all know how to communicate? Effective communication is much more than merely transferring information, and whether in written, verbal or visual form, it’s critical to the success of your business.

Written communication includes not only formal contracts or return policies, but also, offer letters for hiring, performance reviews and counseling memos. Additionally, the written processes mentioned above have a strong value in their ability to thwart any barriers from providing excellent customer service. Anything that is discussed outside of the normal business processes should be documented to protect the business owner and the employee or customer.

Verbal communication helps the team understand the vision of the business and what the owner expects of their participation as an employee. Team meetings are the time to review processes to ensure that everyone is completing tasks the same way. This keeps everyone on the same page.

Communications with customers are just as important to document to avoid a “he said/ she said” type of situation. If a promise is made, it should be written down. The No. 1 one frustration in most businesses is the lack of communication. This frustration can lead to good employees leaving or poor performance due to not understanding the role.

Source: Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE, is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions (GTS), business consultant and a highly-regarded professional speaker. Her expertise in office management solutions makes her an asset to her clients across the country. Janssen is the current treasurer of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

Four Way To Keep Your Business Alive- Part 1

I subscribe to several emails, newsletters, podcasts and other “information sharing” groups that are specific to our industry.  Side note- If you have these available for your industry, look into them.  While I don’t have time to go through every one of them every time they come out, I often skim and pull out the information that is most helpful or relevant.

Promotional Consultant Today published this article, which I think it not only relevant to new businesses, but those that are established and experiencing growing pains, or those that are struggling to grow.  Sometimes we forget that there are some “core” things we need to keep in mind and focus on- even when the business seems to be demanding that we focus elsewhere.  Below is part 1 of the article- we will have part 2 next week (stay tuned).

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

Four Ways To Keep Your Business Alive, Part 1Statistics seem to be against the likelihood of even half of new businesses staying open to celebrate their fifth anniversary. According to Small Business Trends, just over 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first four years.

This could be troublesome news to anyone with a dream of owning their own business, however, you merely need to read further into the statistics to realize that half of the businesses survived and continued to thrive. It is possible and it absolutely can be profitable to own your own business.

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares four areas of focus that are critical to the success of your new business. Some require more immediate attention, and others must remain top-of-mind all of the time. Here are the first two:

1. Systems, Protocols, Processes. These are words that are thrown around often when referring to the function or operation of a business. You often hear “The business isn’t successful because there are no systems in place,” or “Not everyone is following the proper protocols.” Many times employees say they are unaware of protocols or they weren’t trained on the rules.

Your systems determine how you want your business to run. The process is the step to get it done. It’s important to have process in order to optimize time and resources.

Creating a system of accountability means that each team member understands what the job is and who is responsible for making it happen.

It is recommended that every process be documented, and that employees be trained on the processes that pertain to their success. Processes should also be reviewed on a regular business and updated as the business evolves and matures.

2. Know Your Numbers, Know Your Business. What does it cost to open your doors? Is your payroll within normal limits for your industry? Many of the businesses that tend to fail do so because someone else had a better handle on their numbers than the owner.

What numbers are important? The obvious answer is income and expenses. Looking a bit deeper, make sure you understand what is coming in and what is going out at all times. If something appears suspicious, ask and make sure that you are comfortable with the answer. You need to be intimately involved in your numbers to both manage any excess and to keep growth targeted.

Owning a business is the dream of many people, but it takes organization and detail to ensure the longevity and success of your business. Read PCT again tomorrow for more critical steps to ensure your business doesn’t become a statistic.

Source: Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE, is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions (GTS), business consultant and a highly-regarded professional speaker. Her expertise in office management solutions makes her an asset to her clients across the country. Janssen is the current treasurer of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

How TIP of Portland/Vancouver Increases Awareness of Their Services

Sandra Lutz-Rodrigues, who runs our Portland, OR office has been volunteering with TIP since 2001 and when she began to tell me of all the organization and the volunteers do to help those facing unimaginable tragedies I was amazed and completely impressed with her selflessness and generosity in the volunteer hours she gives and all that the TIP Organization does.

We love learning more about our clients and how they use promotional products and we are really excited to have guest blogger June Vining, Executive Director of TIP Portland/Vancouver, Inc. sharing the amazing work that TIP does, the ways they serve the community and  how they have incorporated promo items into their organization.

Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”  TIP Volunteers know that to be true.

Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) is a group of specially trained citizen volunteers who respond 24/7, 365 days a year to support citizens in crisis.  Volunteers are requested by emergency personnel to show up on-scene to provide immediate practical and emotional support to families, friends, by-standers – anyone who is effected by tragedy.

TIP of Portland/Vancouver has 160+ Volunteers, who responded to over 2,838 calls in 2016 – meaning that 15,554 people were not left alone on the worst day of their lives, the saddest day of their lives.

TIP is prideful about the emotional support that volunteers provide to clients, but TIP Staff is also prideful of their volunteers!  Some special ways that TIP Staff can say “thank you” to the volunteers who selflessly give over 40 hours a month is by giving small gifts and “swag” to those who serve the community.

Some of our favorites that we’ve given to volunteers, and handed out as giveaways at community events are the red and black sunglasses (we also partnered with a sponsor to promote their business and support of TIP – F.I.R.E. Restoration), the TIP canvas-type notebooks that we gave to all TIP Volunteers as a holiday gift – and most recently, the “TIP Fans.”

This summer, we placed an order for red collapsible fans that were quickly shipped to us.  They are pocket size and perfect for carrying around for hot weather – and they perfectly display our TIP logo.  We’ve been having fun with taking pictures of TIP supporters (aka TIP “FANS”) with the red TIP fans… and posting those pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #tipFANSareeverywhere.

Tip picture

Trauma Intervention Program is excited to celebrate our 25th Anniversary next month – 25 years of “Citizens Helping Citizens in Crisis” in the Greater Portland Metro area… encompassing all of Multnomah, Clackamas and Clark Counties.  We are excited to partner with Barefoot Swag who help us brainstorm ideas to “promote” our mission, say thank you to the volunteers and creative “giveaways” at our Community Events.

www.tipnw.org

tipstaff@tipnw.org

 

Building A Consistent Look

Building a brand and creating a program or promotion with a consistent look is often difficult.  Finding a variety of products in different price points to coordinate with logo colors, events and even your print marketing is downright impossible sometimes.  And if those items need to have options for both men and ladies the choices dwindle down even further.

Duet Collection

That is why we love the Duet Collection of products. These items are stunning and absolutely impressive (don’t let the PVC material deter you).   With a variety of colors and styles to choose from, we add your debossed logo for a subtle message and elegant look.  Either the  rectangular tote or the more casual tote make beautiful, upscale swag bags, meeting gifts or speaker gifts.  The business card holders and stash tray are reasonably priced gift items that work for both men and women, yet still have a high perceived value.  My personal favorite is the large carryall tote which has so many uses- from carry on bag to business bag to giant purse, this bag is awesome.

The wine tote makes an elegant table favor, room drop gift or closing gift for Real Estate Agents- fill it with a favorite bottle of wine or other beverage of choice.  An excellent choice for gift with purchase, room drop gift or swag bag option is the cosmetic bag.  The luggage tag is small enough to use in a direct mail piece to convention attendees, travel agents or as a swag item at trade shows.

While any of these items can stand alone, the coordinating colors and styles make it possible to combine multiple items for a truly impactful promotion, giveaway or gift.  Or for a long term promotion, select a few items in the same colors to use over a period of time, building on the theme and colors to create a matching set.  And if you need gift boxes or other packaging we can add that as well to really add the wow factor to your swag.

If you want to create an item (or set) to match your corporate colors, let us know- we can discuss what will be necessary to turn your exact colors into stunning promotional swag.

sales@barefootswag.com       866-247-4320

http://www.barefootswag.com

How To Select the Right T-Shirt For Your Promotion

Having the perfect design or logo to print on t-shirts is only part of the battle when it comes to imprinted T’s.  With all the t-shirt options out there, it can be really challenging to figure out which styles & options are best to achieve your marketing goals.  You don’t want to select a shirt, only to find out it doesn’t fit the image you want to present or that no one will wear it- no matter how great the imprint is.

To help you make the best decision, we teamed up with one of our vendors to develop a “Better Basics” guide, which lists the ‘Top 3’ styles within the most popular t-shirt categories (Cotton, Blends and Triblends).

Let’s take a look at the “Cotton” styles. If you are looking for a tee that has a “soft feel” and resembles a higher-end “retail” quality shirt, then we recommend the Bella+Canvas OZPJG-ISQKE, which is labeled as being the “BEST” option in this category.  This style is going to be the choice for shirts you will resale, give to employees or for a higher end promotional T with a hip vibe.  This shirt also comes in a coordinating youth style, UZPHG-ISQKY and an adult V-neck, WZPHC-ISQKU.  For a T that still has that soft feel, is comfortable and still stylish, check out the  KXPOF-DFJMB in the “better” category.  If you are looking for a good option at the lowest price point possible, then we recommend the Fruit of the Loom KZNOI-KBIKE.  Although not as soft as the others, it is still considered a “Good” option in this category and is a durable shirt for employees that need the moisture wicking of 100% cotton or for a give away shirt for events.

 

Cotton/Poly blend T’s are a popular choice for comfort, style and durability and are generally lighter weight than cotton T’s.  A fashionable, hip and youthful “Best” option is the Alternative Apparel vintage T, UXULA-LOEIS.  With retail inspired details and color options, this shirt is a popular choice.  A more budget conscious option is actually a favorite brand of ours, Next Level. This CVC crew, KATKC-KBHWC, is really comfortable and will quickly become a favorite T of everyone who owns it- this shirt is a favorite for event giveaways and shirts for vounteers.  Our choice for a “Good” option is the Anvil lightweight T shirt, UXTII-EUJGE.  With over 50 colors to choose from, this shirt is a great fit for events, promotions and employee giveaways.

A category that has gained a tremendous amount of popularity in the last few years is the Tri-Blend.  With cotton/poly/rayon, these shirts are extremely soft, lightweight and comfortable.  For the “Best”, we go with the Bella + Canvas Unisex tri-blend, OTTFA-GHHCS.  This shirt has a more fitted, retail look and a wide variety of colors.  The Anvil tri blend crewneck in our “better” t in the category and offers some really nice heathered color options, LAVFF-KBIFV.  A solid choice for the “good” option is the Jerzees triblend, JCPII-LOLBG, the color choices stick with the basic colors and offers a budget conscious option with comfort of a tri blend.

While all of the styles are available in the unisex style listed, many have companion styles in ladies, youth, V-neck, pocket T’s and other styles.  By letting us know what shirt style options you need, we can recommend the right shirt to fit everyone and every style.

So what are you waiting for? Use this guide as inspiration and direction in selecting the shirt that best fits your marketing goals and we can add your logo in a variety of imprint methods- screen print, embroidery, embellishments, foil imprint and more.

Need more information, options or additional help selecting the perfect t-shirt for your event, promotion, employees or to fit your budget?  Give us a call or email- we are happy to help.

sales@barefootswag.com      866-247-4320

www.barefootswag.com

Showcasing Your Brand From Floors to Walls

Make effective use of all the space you have available to advertise with removable signs for the floor or walls.  I mean, if you want to get really creative you can probably even put it on the ceiling (how great would these be to advertise dental products in a dentist office- those ceiling are BORING).  Affixed to flat surfaces, these signs can utilize spaces not normally covered with signage, therefore making them stand out.

We offer two options with these removable signs- surface grip or surface tac.

surface grip adhesive graphic

Surface grip

  • indoor use
  • textured matte vinyl
  • easy to apply & remove
  • leaves no residue
  • use on hard & carpeted floors
  • usable on walls
  • slip resistant
  • custom shapes available

surface tack adhesive removable sign

 

 

 

 Surface Tac

  • outdoor use
  • aluminum foil based media
  • easy to apply & remove
  • 100% recyclable
  • use on asphalt, cement, stone & brick
  • usable on walls
  • slip resistant
  • custom shapes available

 

 

 

Both of these options are easy to install (see outdoor installation video below) to create eye catching advertising.

Just a few of the suggested uses are:

Promote Sales & Merchandise at point of purchase, lobbies, car dealerships, malls

Directional Signage on Floors & Walls for marathons, bus & train stations, healthcare facilities, sporting events, colleges & universities

Spotlight Upcoming Events & Shows in entryways, strip malls, walkways, exhibits

Check out a few of the stock shapes and sizes here or contact us so we can help design a custom shape to fit your needs.