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Every year, Awards and Personalization Association members make major moves; craft countless cool and creative products; and make proud recipients across the country smile with their gifts, awards, apparel, and more. Here, just a few of our retailer members share their greatest successes from 2018, their favorite shop tools and processes, and their best advice to help your business grow next year and beyond.

Oftentimes, we put off unpleasant tasks because, well, they are unpleasant. But 2019 is our year to get the house in order.
So you read my article in last month’s issue of Insights, you’ve identified your perfect niche, and you’re excited to make some positive changes to your business and your life. (If you didn’t, pause here, and log in to www.AwardsPersonalization.org to read up on Part 1, then rejoin us when you’re inspired and ready!)

I have one question for you: Are you everybody’s everything, always?

Do you go beyond product diversification to offer everything anybody could ever need in your shop—even things you don’t like that don’t sell? Do you let your customers dictate what they need and how they’re going to get it—even when it’ll cost you too much time, money, or stress?

The first part of this article was published in the July issue of Insights. It defined copyright, trademark, and licensing; explained why you have to get permission to use someone else’s trademark; which companies should seek licensing agreements; who oversees licensing; and how you apply to become a licensee.

It seems the longer we are in business, the more at ease we have gotten in our comfort zones, which have narrowed over the years. Have you found that you tend to gravitate to situations where you feel completely in control? Do you find yourself putting off tasks that make you the slightest bit uncomfortable? Can you rationalize why you do not do certain things that you know would help your business to grow?

Growing, successful awards and personalization businesses are devoting more time to content marketing: the publishing of articles, videos, images, and more to reinforce brand image. Suppliers and retailers are getting and keeping their customers’ attention by providing their customers with more than simple self-promotion. To get new visitors to come see this content and become customers, it’s more important than ever to ensure that content is search engine optimized.

We all know that networking with current and potential customers can add to your sales volume in a big way. We also know that a lot of networking takes place in organized groups at events held after business hours. And we know that networking should be a part of every retailer’s marketing plan. Problem is, if it were easy, we would all be doing it regularly.

The best way to gain and keep customers is to provide them with value. It’s really pretty simple: If the customer is happy with what they get in return for their money, they consider it value.

Whether you are attending the Awards and Personalization Association's International Awards & Personalization Expo in Las Vegas this month, sitting in the comfort of your store and browsing through industry suppliers' new catalogs, or enjoying a visit from an industry sales representative, one thing is certain–your excitement level is increasing as you view all of the new products available for 2017.

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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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