Back >
< Back
Menu
Contains 0 items
Subtotal: $0.00



Don't Rust

Another year is here, and the temptation to just relax for a while after a hectic holiday season is real. After year two of COVID and promises of the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s hard to get up and get going full speed ahead, isn’t it? It’s easier to stay in your comfort zone and just wait out what is yet to come. The problem is, we seem to have fallen into waiting for some outside force to get us moving forward in 2022. Ain’t gonna happen! “If you rest, you rust,” famously said by late actress Helen Hayes. It’s time to turn the automatic pilot off. Stop wishing for better times, and find ways to make better times happen for your business. Start setting goals again…realistic goals, small goals, attainable goals. You can’t change the entire world, and you can’t accomplish everything. But, you can accomplish something. Here are some ideas to get you jump-started with a new, positive focus for 2022.

Don't Rust!

Managing a successful business isn't a passive endeavor. Take action to reinvigorate your awards and personalization business in 2022.

BY FRAN CARVILLE, CRM, CARCO AWARDS/CARCOAWARDS.COM

(Originally published in the January/February 2022 issue of Insights.)

Another year is here, and the temptation to just relax for a while after a hectic holiday season is real. After year two of COVID and promises of the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s hard to get up and get going full speed ahead, isn’t it? It’s easier to stay in your comfort zone and just wait out what is yet to come. The problem is, we seem to have fallen into waiting for some outside force to get us moving forward in 2022. Ain’t gonna happen! “If you rest, you rust,” famously said by late actress Helen Hayes. It’s time to turn the automatic pilot off. Stop wishing for better times, and find ways to make better times happen for your business. Start setting goals again…realistic goals, small goals, attainable goals. You can’t change the entire world, and you can’t accomplish everything. But, you can accomplish something. Here are some ideas to get you jump-started with a new, positive focus for 2022.

BRAIN POWER

“Good leaders are very curious; they spend a lot of time trying to learn new things,” says Jeffrey Immelt, American business executive. Sometimes, rust can set in if we stop learning and only depend on the skills and knowledge we already possess. A great goal for 2022 could be to learn something new that will help move your business forward. Sign up for a class at the local university, business college, or technical school. Online classes have become almost as popular as on-site classes, so you don’t even have to leave your store to learn something new. Would a class in accounting, marketing, public speaking, or management help in your business? If you don’t want to commit to a semester, there are many opportunities to learn a new skill, refresh your memory on a topic, and increase your knowledge. Leisure classes are available at colleges, libraries and recreational centers. Worthwhile classes for our industry might include information about computers, financial planning, woodworking, time management, and calligraphy. Many educational opportunities exist with professional associations and organizations too. If you are interested in increasing your technical knowledge, check out seminars at industry trade shows like the International Awards and Personalization Expo, read articles in trade publications, and consult your suppliers. Whether you commit to a few hours a week at a university or a few minutes every day to read, learning something new is always time well spent for growing your business.

SHARING BRAIN POWER

If you are starting to rust, it’s a good bet your employees are too. A plan to re-energize your staff with new information is never a waste of time and can increase productivity all year. Whether it’s a refresher course or new information, an upbeat training course can serve as a good tool to build a team. Staff members often have the best ideas to grow the business. A brainstorming session with everyone is a great way to start the new year. Getting your team involved in business planning is a good way to give everyone ownership. Employees that are well trained and vested in the success of your business can be your best asset. A quote from Cindy Johnson of Texas Instruments sums up the importance of ongoing employee training: “Knowledge management is really about recognizing that, regardless of what business you are in, you are competing based on the knowledge of your employees.”

SPEAKING OF EMPLOYEES

Good new employees have become increasingly hard for small businesses to find, hire, and retain. Maybe you can’t afford to pay what current market value is, or maybe you just don’t have any applicants applying for a position with your company. The media tells us daily that there is a shortage of workers, and our own experiences back this up. So, how do we move forward without a good staff to work and grow in our businesses? First, find potential employees by listing your opening on a site like Indeed, or check with your local college to see if they have an online jobs listing you can post on. Call any customers that are involved in HR and ask for leads or advice to locate good applicants. Contact a seniors employment service, because 55 is not looking too old right now. If a sales clerk in another store gives you outstanding service, give her your business card if she is interested in exploring other job opportunities. Be prepared to tell applicants, once you find them, what your company has to offer. These days, businesses need to offer more than just a paycheck. Get creative with benefits. Offer vacations, paid leave, sick pay, health insurance, education reimbursement, paid membership to Costco or Sam’s Club, year-end bonuses—whatever you can think of and afford.

ALL SYSTEMS GO

To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, evaluating your systems is a must. Are your computers so outdated that you say a prayer that they will work for just one more day? Are you still using an outdated version of CorelDraw!? Are you turning out finished products that don’t look as good as they should because technology has passed you by? Are you losing customers because you can’t offer options they can get from your competitors? If you feel you can’t afford to purchase new equipment or programs right now, at least start researching what is available, what the benefits are, and what costs will be incurred. You might find you can’t afford not to update your systems and equipment to do business in 2022.

THEY WANT YOU!

Stop resting, and get back out in your community. Professional, civic, and social groups have started to meet in person, and this is the perfect time to establish yourself as a part of a group’s community. Other members of these groups can be potential customers and potential employees. Join a group that appeals to you, so that you will be more likely to attend functions and get to know your fellow members. Joining an organization can open new doors for you and afford you the opportunity to give back to your community. It’s a win-win.

SHOW YOUR STUFF

If you have been resting for long, there’s a good chance your showroom has too. Do you still have discontinued items on display? Is your newer merchandise still in boxes in the back room? Do you have to wipe dust off of a product before handing it to a customer? Is all of your merchandise still displayed in the same way, in the same spot it was two years ago? Do your customers get excited with your trophy display that has 2015 trims? While many of our customers have spent the last couple of years shopping with us remotely, consumers are back out and will notice an outdated showroom. Repeat customers want to see what’s new, not what’s dusty. So get the rust out of your showroom.

DOING BUSINESS TODAY

Doing business these past two years has been an education for all of us. But as we move into 2022, there are a few things that we must remember to increase our future successes. Until supply issues get straightened out, either check inventory before a customer leaves your store or ask that they pick out a second option. Having to call the customer and say you can’t get what he picked out is time consuming and very frustrating to the customer. Follow up on online orders at least twice a day, so these consumers can quickly see what else is available if an item is not in stock. Suggest a couple of alternative products that you know you can get quickly. Check your prices so that you continue to operate at a profit. Our industry has had several price increases in the past year. Shipping costs have increased. Chances are good that your overhead has increased. If your prices reflect 2020, you could be working incredibly hard and not making much money.

NO TIME LIKE TODAY

Start 2022 by shaking the rust off and being proactive, so that this year marks the return to moving your business forward. The goal is not to move a mountain, just to stop working in slow motion—or no motion—and get positive about your business. Wishing you a prosperous year!

Fran Carville, CRM, is an Awards and Personalization Association past president, educational speaker, 2008 Speaker of the Year, a member of the Hall of Fame, and winner of an Award of Excellence from the APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Fran and her husband, Tom Carville, CRM, own Carco Awards in Baton Rouge, LA.

Awards and Personalization Association

The Awards and Personalization Association is the organization for retailers and suppliers of personalized and customized items. By providing education, meetings, and access to a vibrant network of professionals, the Awards and Personalization Association is the one place to ensure the growth of your talent, your business, and your professional community.

Learn More

© Awards and Personalization Association
Contact Us
Awards and Personalization Association
8735 W. Higgins Road, Suite 300

Chicago, IL 60631

info@awardspersonalization.org
847.375.4800
(Fax) 847.375.6480

Connect with Us