November '22

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industries. For example, we got involved in the local building industry and became their preferred apparel decorator. at would be one category of my ideal cus- tomers – builders, contractors and skilled trades people. We also served many of the local businesses in our community and the surrounding communities. L oc a l bu siness ow ners wou ld be another category. e next step is to fig- ure out what other businesses or services are or would want to do business with the people in your ideal customer catego- ries. What companies offer products or services that compliment what you offer? Our builders and contractors needed and used a decent amount of signage, but we never evolved into sign making in our business. I partnered with a local sign company and brought them into the home builder organizations I served. In doing so, I helped my customers, and I gained access to new potential customers. Work with micro-inf luencers. Influencers get paid to bring your products and services to the attention of their followers. Reaching mainstream influencers is more expensive and more difficult than ever, with fewer and fewer results to show for it. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, hold quite a bit of sway G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 2 N O V E M B E R • G R A P H I C S P R O 3 9 Images courtesy Susan Walters, Walters Embroidery 5 and may be a perfect way for you to reach a very specific audience. Using the build- er's example from above, I got involved in the leadership of the local home builders association. I served on the board of direc- tors. I got to know all the "big" guys in the inner circle of this industry in my area. I gave them free products with the local HBA logo on it, and that often opened the door for me to then become their apparel decorator. ey told all their tradespeople to call us for their shirts, hats and jackets. No matter where you live, from a big city to a small community, there are oppor- tunities to grow your business. Change is hard. And things have changed in so many ways because of the pandemic. We have to keep in step with the changes or be left behind. With the right perspec- tive, not only can your business survive, it can thrive! GP Jennifer Cox is one of the founders and serves as presi- dent of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), an organization that supports embroidery and apparel decoration professionals with programs and services designed to increase profitability and produc- tion. You can contact her at Image courtesy Stacie Baker, Casual Rags Embroidery & Apparel

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