December '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 20 of 68

1 8 P R I N T W E A R D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 1 8 P R I N T W E A R D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 EMBROIDERY Erich's Embellishments E r i c h C a m p b e l l Channel Your Psychic Power WITH REAL FACTS step to productive predictions is a look into the past. Grab a piece of paper and get ready to write. First, answer the following questions, without judgment or editing: • What part of running this business/do- ing the work was frustrating this year? • What parts of the process took the most effort to handle? • Where did I or people around me get 'stuck'? • What caused this year's customer complaints? • What couldn't we help customers achieve? • Where are we or our market under pressure? • Where are our actions not aligning with our purpose? Write down any additional pain points you can remember. Then, drill deeper by writing headings for the major division in your shop. For example: • Embroidery/Production • Sales/Marketing • Purchasing/Sourcing • HR/Labor You can extend this into specific proj- ects or market streams like eCommerce, contract work, or B2B sales. Write down any categories concerning you. Don't limit yourself at this stage. Under each, answer the following questions: • Are initiatives in this area as far along as is expected? • Where did we put the most effort in working on this? T he presser feet beat their steady rhythm on taut fabric and the thread passing through each needle isn't the only thing under tension. It's the last weeks before the holidays and you are struggling heroically just to keep everything and everyone moving forward. It may even be momentarily hard for you to imagine a time when you'll need to build your business, but you know that with the end of the year comes the flood of predictions and pronounce- ments previewing technologies and trends and what to think about for the year to come. The truth is that predictions aren't only the purview of industry experts with a broad sense of how the weather is shifting, it's all too often that someone with a 30,000 view isn't close enough to see what's happening at ground level. This time, I encourage you to play psychic. You have what it takes to forecast some of your business's fortunes by examining the year past, taking stock of your present potential, and preparing for future progress. Pausing now to analyze and express your insights might help you turn both your insight and the pronounce- ments of your favorite industry luminaries into purposeful action in the year to come. KNOW YOURSELF Though 'experts' like myself can direct you toward wider trends*, it's likely that you already know the most pressing problems facing your business. It doesn't take special powers to sense where you are already running into problems. Though upcoming technologies can open new abilities and make your work easier, you don't want to conjure up a collection of equipment in a situation where your process or personnel might be driving your difficulties. Likewise, if the tools in your shop are lacking, throwing labor at the problem is a poor solution. In either case, adding more heads to the situation isn't always the smartest option. That's why the first Always be on the lookout for challenges and opportunities. It pays to review much more than just once a year. (All images courtesy the author) Always be on the lookout for challenges and opportunities. It pays to review much more than just * For details on what our experts are predicting turn to page 38.

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