January '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 J A N U A R Y P R I N T W E A R 2 9 problem solving, it combats the tenden- cy to put tasks on 'auto pilot' and work mindlessly out of habit. STEP 2: SET MEANINGFUL GOALS Every journey needs a destination, and ev- ery business needs direction to grow and change. Moreover, to be intrinsically moti- vated rather than reactionary, they need an amount of autonomy, a path to mastery, and a sense of overarching purpose that goes beyond the immediate product of their labor. From the production floor to the business plan, setting meaningful goals keeps you moving forward. For a machine operator, this might in- clude the obvious production targets or reduced error margins but extend to the acquisition of a new skill, the operation of a wider range of equipment, increased understanding of digitizing, or something that expands horizons and increases the potential ability to solve problems and make decisions. With the demonstration of these goals should come leeway to steer their own course as much as possible with- in the demands of the production sched- ule. This applies to any position. A sales- person may have sales targets but could be tasked with becoming familiar with new product lines or promotional tactics or exploring a new avenue for lead acquisi- tion. Though they need boundaries within which to work, those guidelines should al- low room to experiment, and their goals should challenge them to expand. Allowing employees time to self-educate and license to try out new ideas is key to their personal growth, but it's not quite enough to drive the company. Businesses need goals, and though it's easy to answer profit, that alone can't define your com- pany's arc. It's entirely apt to look at last year's sales and efficiency and look to beat those numbers, but that should serve a greater principle that guides your decisions and gives everyone a sense of purpose. This doesn't mean that you have to pick a social cause or become a non-profit, but it does mean that you should have more to your long-term goals than higher numbers. Start thinking bigger. Define what you want your company to look like at the end of this year and the end of five years. What would you like to be known for? What kind of growth is most important to you? What is the result that increased sales or faster production will support? Distill a reason for doing the work and define the character that sets your shop apart from the rest. With that in mind, go back to the numbers and measurement. Make sure that short-term goals and the things you track contribute to that overarching purpose and character of your shop. Communicate that purpose to your people and customers and be clear about the important milestones along the way so that you and your workers can contribute and see progress throughout the year to come. STEP 3: PLAN LIKE A PUBLISHER On this score, I am far from perfect, but what I've learned writing for magazines applies handily to the business of embroidery and apparel decoration. The best way to schedule is proactive, not reactionary. With a clear sense of your goals, you can hopefully conceptualize some of the concrete activities it will take to make progress toward them. By roughing out the calendar for your year before the pressure is on, you can set milestones, plan activities, and preemptively warn yourself of upcoming difficulties so that you maintain pace in those days that see you buried in production-level concerns. Planning ahead, sometimes far ahead, PW0119 | 800.478.2457 | 800.521.4384 EVERY COLOR. ANY DESIGN. GO WHERE OTHER METHODS CAN'T. CAD-PRINTZ ® Full Color Digital Transfer services let you easily heat apply logos or designs onto areas other decorating methods can't go. With materials that are lightweight, durable, stretchable, and ultra- soft, quickly decorate performance wear, caps, bags, umbrellas, and other hard-to-decorate areas. TRY OUR FULL COLOR DIGITAL LOGOS FOR YOURSELF

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