How Resilient Is Your Promotional Products Business?
I recently returned from a unique vacation. My husband Bob and I went on a "Holistic Cruise." It was an amazing experience. It was a blend of healthy but delicious food, interesting workshops, cooking demonstrations, fun exercise, great entertainment and beautiful beaches in Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Jamaica. I came back feeling resilient and energized with many new ideas to share with you.
Speaking of resilience, today's post will give you quick tips for business resilience so that your promotional products business can thrive no matter what happens.
Having a resilient business is a must for today's fast-paced and ever-changing business climate. Change is happening at warp speed, especially in the promotional products industry, and it takes more than wishful thinking to succeed.
- Be proactive, not reactive. Create a business plan with a vision, objectives, strategies and tactics to guide you. This doesn't have to take reams of paper; when I work with a coaching client we do it on one page and I make it easy. Follow your plan and evaluate weekly what's working, and course correct as need be. Pay attention to promotional products business trends and industry updates, such as those broadcast by Promo Marketing. What worked in the past may be totally different today.
- Communicate quickly and openly. Some good examples of this are the timely e-mail blasts several industry suppliers sent explaining the impact the tragic tsunami and earthquakes would have on flash memory products, or the letter one of my coaching clients sent to her apparel clients to explain the rise in cotton prices. Open communication is a key to resilience and success. Your crisis doesn't have to be the magnitude of Japan's. A mistake on an order, a changed shipped date or an inventory problem all call for quick, open communication. Your clients will remember how you responded, more than the event itself, when you take a proactive and transparent stance.
- Have a back-up plan. I'm sure you know that it's important to back up your computer, and hopefully you're doing it. But, it's equally important to have a back-up plan for your promotional business. I recommend putting together a simple operation's manual that details how you do things in your business; everything from how you answer the phone to how you handle problems on orders and your important business information such as your key suppliers should be documented. Do this even if you're a one-person operation. It will simplify your business, help you train new employees and give you peace of mind when you're not there.
- Surround yourself with support. In today's world it's simply too hard to go it alone. Working with a business coach, joining a mastermind group and attending promotional products industry-specific education sessions can make a huge difference in your success. There's nothing like brain-storming, hearing new ideas and having focus and accountability to keep your business resilient.
One more thing... If you're looking for more ideas to keep your business resilient and thriving, check out my website www.promobizcoach.com where you can download a free Promo Biz Success Kit with my complimentary special report: 10 Big Mistakes Promotional Professionals Make and How to Avoid Them and Double Your Sales, plus hundreds in supplier savings coupons.
I'd enjoy hearing from you: What do you do on a regular basis to keep your business resilient? How do you keep the lines of communication open when responding to a critical situation? What have you learned about business resilience from top companies? Please respond below.