Awards & Engraving

March '19

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A&E MARCH 2019 • a-e-mag.com 19 Must you have a storefront in order to be legitimate? Not anymore. I personally know of several well-run large trophy and awards companies selling out of a manufacturing facility without the normal storefront. In the past, the store was important; things are changing for some, but not everyone. Some still sell from a traditional storefront and that works too. What equipment will you need? This is an important question. I recommend you buy equipment to make your business grow. Don't buy the equipment and try to adjust your business to it. You must plan what you will sell and make sure that product allows you to maintain a fair profit margin. Your equipment is a tool for making your business work. Don't buy your equipment with your emotions — it should be a logical decision. Remember as you grow, you can get someone to run machines, but it is diffi- cult to hire someone to run your business. Understanding the techniques of running a business is the absolute key to success. Note: you have no orders to run on your machines unless you sell something. Then it has to be made. Inventory? If you sell advertising special- ties, you might be drop shipping your deliv- eries and there might not be any need for inventory. However, if you are planning on any kind of business that depends on service then I suspect you need inventory in order to meet your obligations to your clients. It is difficult to react with "just in time" inventory. Many companies were able to do this up until a few years ago, but the market has changed. Now, you may get an order on Tuesday that is due across the country on Friday. Working with little or no inventory and trying to satisfy the needs of your clients can be added stress on you and the business. KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS All of us have talents that may not be the same. Some are good with numbers, which is important to the success of your busi- ness. Another might be great with people and opening the door to new sales, which again is an important part of the puzzle. Many of you love new equipment and what Sales & Marketing it does… you might be called the production element of the total package. I think you get the point: there are many fundamentals of making operations work well. But we must understand that we can eventually hire others to fill in where we are not as talented so we don't have to do everything ourselves once our business is moving. Learn to maximize your strengths. This is so important to your entire store. Remember the last trade show where you attended a seminar? Did you look around at the audience? I am willing guess that those seminars with equipment were much better attended than the business seminars. This really doesn't make any sense, because next year there will be another new machine and a new process. However, sound business principles are normally repeated year after year. If they are sound and structured with good practices then they will remain con- stant and effective. Most small businesses seem to think that the success of operating a machine is what produces the greatest advantages. Knowing how and why you conduct your business in association with sound and ethical business practices increases your chances for success. If you have any questions, feel free to call 1-317-546-9000; e-mail me at stephen@a- 1awards.com; or write me at Stephen L. Capper A-1 Awards, Inc. 2500 North Ritter Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46218 A&E

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