September '22

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5 6 G R A P H I C S P R O • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M A P P A R E L D E C O R A T I N G M A K I N G S H O P M O V E S 5 6 G R A P H I C S P R O • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M During the last six months of last year, we experienced a major spike in sales that was above normal. So, I made my wife aware of what my concerns were, so we could plan like normal. e only issue was I had never planned for growth like that before. As the year started, our slowest month (January) had a nice boost, but nothing we could not handle. From there, every month has jumped by $50,000 to $100,000 in growth per month. My normal main job as our CEO is to book the lineups for all of production, handle the marketing, write up orders to help customer service, keep an eye on our daily numbers, and help in production as needed to fill in. is is where it gets interesting. We started writing up so many more orders each month, and I was booking so much more work and at the same time having a new building drawn up to expand; I did not see that we were not able to further our training with existing staff or new ones as we hired them. Our managers were swamped simply just try- ing to keep production going out the door on time and never had any real time to relay that they were not able to get the training done that we needed. So, around March is when I started seeing a real spike in replacements for internal errors and the morale of the work- force dropping. I could not understand why, but I knew in my gut something was wrong and the only way to fix it was for me to get back into production full-time. I also knew customer ser- vice needed me to help keep up, and I could not be in two places at once! My wife is our CFO, and we had a meeting about our growth and growing pains. She took over managing customer service, and we added one more person to her team and took one of our customer service reps and moved her into my wife's office to learn hands-on with my wife to speed up her training to be another me, writing up orders. is allowed me to go back into production full-time. Sounds easy, but it was the hardest thing I had to do in business. I sat my general manager and depart- ment managers down and explained to them that I know they have a ton of work on their plate at a level they were never trained for and that I was going process by process to each area to help reset each department to run how I wanted it to, to get it all back on track to make it easier for each of them in the end. All my managers were on board for the help. ey had days that they did not like it since I was ripping the Band-Aid off from how things were running. I went in, and I worked every department. One thing we do at the end of every day is a walk-through. e manager is sup- posed to take up to 30 minutes to make sure they have everything needed for their team to run the next day and to inspect their areas to ensure all is clean and any issues are reported. ose were not being done properly at all. e train- ing of that was very fast. Another process we added about a year and a half ago is our 2D and 3D lasers. " Imagine trying to take in an extra $475,000 in sales for the first six months of the year when your normal growth is around $150,000."

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