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Can you imagine the world we live in today without the contributions of Henry Ford? Without Martin Luther King, Jr., or Mother Teresa? Without Franklin D. Roosevelt, Claude Monet, Walt Disney or John Glenn? Without the genius of Albert Einstein? Each of these individuals showed how much one person matters.

It’s any business’ dream—building a client base that is filled with steady, repeat customers who rarely pose a hiccup. But in this industry, that undertaking can come with unique challenges. Each customer may serve a different population, have hyper-specific personalization needs that require highly specialized equipment or have a workplace culture that more readily embraces one product but not another. And without an in-depth knowledge of every company and industry’s specific likes and dislikes, it can be hard to gauge where your offerings will be most successful.

There’s no way around it: Businesses across the country are feeling squeezed as workers are resigning from jobs in historic numbers every month. Consider that, in the United States, there are nearly twice as many open jobs as people willing to fill them. Plus, retail and service are two of the sectors hardest hit by labor shortages. As a result, awards and personalization employers are struggling to find workers, especially for customer service and warehouse jobs.

Well, we’re about to finish yet another busy season—fighting through long hours, working weekends and meeting the customers’ demands. Now that it’s nearly over, we have money in the bank, low inventory levels and satisfied customers. In short, success!

Your acrylics sit in Central Asia. Or on a cargo ship in the Pacific. Maybe they’re tucked away in the back of a truck cruising the Plains. Either way, for many businesses, the reality is the product is simply not in stock.

New year, new opportunities. And, as always, no one knows for sure what’s going to happen. Welcome to the modern world.

Originally, we had the Greeks and their laurels, but for modern history the personalized awards business is a direct descendant of the trophy shop, which started as a section found in sporting goods stores. Bowling and golf were money-makers, but kids’ activities were a market of perpetual renewal.

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.

Each year, the Awards and Personalization Association recognizes the contributions, hard work, and creativity of our industry’s professionals by bestowing Gold Obelisk awards upon outstanding individuals and companies.

Global supply chain disruptions began in 2020, creating bottlenecks throughout the chain. There is no easy global solution, creating a lot of uncertainty around product shipping, stocking, and prices. Experts don’t see the bottlenecks resolving until, at the earliest, mid-2022.

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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.

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