January '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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1 2 P R I N T W E A R J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 9 BUSINESS BUSINESS BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Your Personal Business Trainer V i n c e D i C e c c o I n the 1990s, when our entire economy was giddy with prosperity, wise business owners' most palpable fear was whether technology could threaten their particular niches and place the name of their businesses on the endangered-species list. Store-front travel agen- cies never foresaw their demise at the hands of Travelocity, Expedia, and the countless other online discount travel brokers, let alone anticipate the airline, train, cruise line, and bus companies cutting out the middlemen by selling directly to their clientele over the internet. Back then, every mall in America had a Brentano's, Waldenbooks, or B. Dalton's. Most had all three. Did you think those chains—along with thousands of neighborhood book- stores—ever saw Amazon coming to take away their livelihoods, forcing them to either close their doors or be scooped up by larger companies breaking new ground in the "bricks and clicks" arena? And don't even get me started about the way we used to buy music and the way we "acquire" it now. Oh, I'm sorry, were you one of the many who thought such a thing could never hap- pen to you? When I write of reinventing your business, I'm not referring to a propo- sition that warrants gobs of financing and massive retooling of the physical plant. No, what I envision is more like a Renaissance in the way we connect with our custom- ers, treat our employees, and anticipate and welcome the future's challenges. Allow me to explain. REWRITE THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT There are always going to be new, innova- tive, and technologically-superior ways dec- orated apparel is produced. While I firmly believe business people must remain abreast of emerging technologies and opportunities to cut costs and maintain profitability, they shouldn't let the sophistication of innova- tive advances render them awestruck. Instead, take a good hard look at the writ- ten and/or implied rules, regulations, poli- cies, and procedures for your day-to-day operation. Will they fit the way you'll be forced to run your business in order to sur- vive? For example, do you initiate frequent face-to-face contact with your customers or do you sit, wait, and hope they call you? Do you regularly recognize and reward your employees in a manner that makes a memo- rable and appreciative impression or do you still only hand out years-of-service and at- tendance awards at company meetings? Is your company convenient with which to do business or do your customers dread the ordeal? These days a company website and social media presence is well within most compa- nies' budgets, not to mention timely, fre- quent, and personalized email communica- WITH THE WORLD CHANGING AT BREAK-NECK SPEED… Now Is the Time to Reinvent Your Business

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