June '20

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A W A R D S & C U S T O M I Z AT I O N 7 4 G R A P H I C S P R O J U N E 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M Y O U R L A S E R A T W O R K | B O B H A G E L TAKE YOUR LASER ENGRAVING BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL Y our laser engraving business has been good. Now you want to take it to the next lev- el. This means significant growth. Let's explore the many ways you can grow your business along with the challenges each method will bring with it. SAME VERSUS NEW: EQUIPMENT First, you can simply go after more business in your market area with- out making any other changes. This growth requires more marketing, such as advertising, direct mail, or perhaps a more concerted network- ing effort. As you grow, you will need to add more employees, break down responsibilities more, and likely change your role to more managing- and marketing-related duties. Another common expansion method in our industry is to add an additional production process. If the laser or rota- ry machine is your present production method, this might mean adding sub- limation or UV printing, which would allow you to enhance your offer- ings with full-color. Or you may decide you want to add a higher margin group of products with sandcarving glass and stone. There are many other common industry technologies that can be added. Keep in mind that going this route presents challenges. Those include learn- ing the new equipment and all the many details of its production processes. For in- stance, full-color challenges are different than laser engraving. Wi t h e n g r a v i n g , yo u turn all of your graphics to black and white (grayscale). With full-color printing, you focus on color consis- tency, matching col- ors for your clients, and the maintenance issues that come along with inks, print heads, and heat presses. Learning the color world thoroughly takes significant effort and time. Hiring an employee ex- perienced in full color is one way that you can provide quality products and services quickly. Say you want to add sandcarving ser- vices. Sandcarving has its own learning curve, from making all of your artwork pure black and white, to matching art- work line thickness with appropriate masking and grit. Applying masking ef- ficiently takes time to learn. Each technology requires more educa- tion than most people consider. Hiring an expert or arranging for mentoring is a great way to help when adding technology. I don't suggest adding more than one new technology within a year; you may want to grow the business around this new technology for several years before consid- ering adding another new one. Produce plenty of samples as people buy what they see. Make sure your customer base knows about this new capability and how they will benefit. Sending present customers emails and postcards is a great way to get LEARN HOW TO CONVERT COLOR GRAPHICS TO GRAYSCALE USING THIS TUTORIAL FROM BOB HAGEL: Seen here is a custom project for an anniversary gift that included a full-color UV textured print on metal and a custom- made frame by our woodworking partner. (All images courtesy Bob Hagel)

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