GRAPHICS PRO

August '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 A U G U S T G R A P H I C S P R O 6 9 munity career, I was part of the direct-to-garment printers revolution in 2004. Everyone was talking about them, and as a salesperson for some of the early machines, it seemed that everyone wanted one. Many folks did very well with this cutting-edge technology, but I also saw many people struggle because the equipment was not made to just sit and wait for the next job to come along someday. This is the way it goes for most major purchases — there is going to be a learning curve, some time, and additional resource investments that will have to be made to perfect your process to maximize the profit return of that investment. But the shiny object catches your attention, and you have to have it. For all the potential that was talked about previously, you also must temper that with reality. Though you can potentially sell flags, socks, or all-over shirts, that doesn't mean that as soon as you list them as available they will instantly sell. You must build a market for those products while at the same time perfecting your process. Fortunately, there is a great way to build your market and hone your process with- out having to make the capital investment right away. Outsourcing is an underused service available in our industry. It is hard to let go of control, but with the right outsourcing partner, not only can you service your customers, learn more about the process, and create a broader market, but you can make money by pushing a button or sending an email. You don't have to worry about the ruined products needed to learn the process, carrying inventory costs, or spending the time to make the product. This does require letting go of some control and building trust with a potential "competitor." Inside of Our Success Group, we call this "coopetition," and it is part of one of our core values — an abundance mentality. This is not to say there will not be some challenges, some headaches, or even potential horror stories. But those challenges only serve as a lesson on what not to do, or what expectations you must set with your customers before you are the only one on the hook. Let someone else take the time to make the product, handle the cost of carrying the inventory, and the learning curve and mess-ups that come along with perfecting a new product or service. Some argue that you are leaving profit on the table, but I argue that you are not because of those rarely calculated costs I mentioned. Once you have a market, a greater understanding of the process, and the challenges of working with an outside source become greater than you can bear, then you know it is time to make that investment. The good wholesale outsource partners will actually actively help you work them out of a customer as they know word of mouth is the best marketing for a wholesaler. PLANNING I want to close with a quick note about planning for the future. Even when we are in the middle of a pandemic, an economic downturn, or even a personal crisis, we must always look ahead and act as if our business is at our idea of success. This doesn't mean that you have to be spending wildly or taking big risks. This means that you can't just sit on your hands and let fear control you. Research the costs your business must cover including plan- ning for future capital investments. Include that in your pricing strategy. This is really the foundation of how we look at success inside of Our Success Group, and I can't stress enough how important it is to plan for the future. This small cushion could be the difference between surviving and thriving. Many small businesses don't charge what they are worth be- cause they don't know their costs. They cut prices in an attempt to survive. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it's that people are willing to pay more for better products and better service. GP AARON MONTGOMERY has been certified by New York Times best-selling author Jack Canfield as a Success Principles Trainer and is the Co-Founder of OurSuccessGroup.com. Aaron has over 25 years of experience with personalized products and small business development. You can find Aaron co-hosting the decorator's industry podcast 2 Regular Guys Podcast (www.2regularguys.com). You can also check him out on his own podcast channel and weekly live videos called Small Business Saturdays (smallbusinesssaturdayspodcast.com).

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