March '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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1 0 P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 2 0 Your Personal Business Trainer V i n c e D i C e c c o BUSINESS MANAGEMENT I was in relatively good health. I enjoyed good food and maintained an exercise regi- men that consisted of brisk morning walks with my dog and playing tennis and golf (albeit poorly). These small lumps in my neck couldn't be anything serious, could they? Much to my astonishment, I was diagnosed in 2006 with one of the 30 varieties of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. On top of that, at the time, my case was only the eighth documented one of my particular variety in the world. They said I would succumb to the disease inside of a year if I chose to do nothing. Talk about being hit in the face with a bucket of cold water! Still, the purpose of this month's Business Trainer is not to solicit sympathy for my plight. Matter of fact, at this writing and after completing three months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation treat- ments, and subjecting myself to multiple scans and tests since, there has been no reoc- currence of the cancer. Pretty cool, huh? Since I've accumulated over 13 years of similar results, I think I can comfortably—and thankfully—claim my disease is in remission and I beat cancer. I've always loved the expression: "I had cancer. It never had me." But, in traveling from initial diagnosis to becoming disease- and medication-free, I learned some things that I believe have direct relevance to successfully running a deco- rated-apparel business. Please allow me to explain. AN OUNCE OF DETECTION You are the steward and caretaker of your business, right? Perhaps your business is operating without obvious hitch or hiccup. Hopefully, there are no telltale signs of a se- rious malady. But when was the last time you gave it a thorough check-up? Do you subject your business to a physical examina- tion annually? You know you should. Such a practice doesn't have to be ex- pensive or time-consuming. Engage the expertise of your everyday, already-retained business advisors and service providers. Ask your banker and/or accountant for an as- sessment of your company's financial state- ments. That's what you are paying them for. Unfortunately, many don't willingly offer that explanation without being asked. Is the business fiscally healthy? Insist on them explaining each line and section to your understanding and satisfaction. Your lawyer should be able to give you some guidance as to how up-to-date and practical your business's official documents and pol- icies are as a matter of courtesy. If you don't have a lawyer on retainer, Wis- consin-based J.J. Keller & Associates offers a 30-day trial of its Compli- ance Library online people-manage- ment tool ( to help you write or update employee and company policy manuals. Consider soliciting the assistance of an outside business consultant. You may find one in your neighbor- hood through your local Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Devel- opment Center (www.americassbdc. org) at the nearest college or univer- sity and work with them to analyze IT TOOK A VICTORY OVER CANCER TO LEARN Business Lessons …THE HARD WAY

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