A “WFH Care Package” Cure For Slow Business

While we all try to weather this storm that’s spread all across the globe, many businesses are trying to adapt to a new way of operating. For some employees and employers, this change has been extremely challenging, and this is where you come in. Although business has slowed for many distributors, and many companies have begun cutting back on their normal expenses to compensate for recent losses, there are still opportunities out there to generate some sales. But of all things, why would they buy any apparel from you, during a time like this?

Care Packages for Employees

In Photo: Independent Trading Co. – Midweight Fleece Shorts – IND20SRT

Some of your regular clients might appreciate some ideas to help lift their employees spirits and make them feel more comfortable, as the workplace has started transitioning from the office to the home. Suggest that they send them some decorated loungewear, as a way to say thank you for keeping their heads up during these trying times. And, let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love a comfortable new set of jammies?

To help you get started with marketing some pieces, we’ve included a flyer for you to download below. Send this out to some of your clients to get the conversations started.

Give Them A Discount

Some of these clients might not be able to spend the extra money to give their employees this kind of gift. However, a lot of people right now are trying to find ways of supporting local business too. If you’re able, try meeting them halfway and offer them a discount on their order. This will not only show them that you’re invested in their business, but also offer them a way they can help you stay afloat too, during this tough economic time.

Get Inspired

For some more “Work From Home” inspiration, visit: https://promo.ssactivewear.com/work-from-home


Cover Photo Credit: Daria Nepriakhina

Don’t Make These 8 Mistakes When Naming Your Company

Ten to one you’ve seen some really terrible company names like Phartronics Engineering. When starting your own business, it’s important to take into consideration how it will sound, how it will look and whether or not it opens the door for a joke or two.

Entrepreneur magazine outlined eight great tips for avoiding unfortunate company names and choosing the right one for your business.

Mistake #1: Design by Committee

Getting everyone’s input and opinion might seem like a good thing, but the more information you have, the less likely you are to settle on one idea. Entrepreneur says that a lot of small business owners involve their family and friends in the process and risk alienating the ones whose ideas aren’t chosen. Others choose by consensus—often resulting in a bland name. Instead, try to only involve the key decision-makers (the fewer the better) who are acting in the best interest of the business.

Mistake #2: Mashing Together Two Words

We’ve all seen them. Names like QualiServe and TranquiSpa combine an adjective and noun to create a nonsensical, made-up name that, let’s be honest, isn’t great. Each word on its own is alright—tranquil and spa, for example—but together, they aren’t an appetizing mixture. They’re not creative and they sound forced. You’d be better off creating something completely new.

Mistake #3: Using Plain Words

Companies like General Motors and General Electric are only good because they were the first of their kind. Unless you have a wildly novel idea, you’ll want something more creative and flashy. (And chances are, if you have a wildly novel idea, you won’t want anything bland anyway!) Take the time to come up with something creative that reflects your business.

Mistake #4: Using a Map to Name Your Company

A lot of companies use their location to help create a company name. Though this might seem like a good idea at first, it could actually hinder your business as it grows. Ever heard of Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining? We hadn’t, either—at least, not by that name. To avoid limiting the company’s growth, its name was changed to 3M, and it’s now known for its innovation.

Mistake #5: Turning Your Business Name into a Cliche

It’s okay to use metaphors in your business name, but try to avoid overused words like “peak” and “summit.” Instead, Entrepreneur recommends using words that describe your business in a creative way. They give the example of a data storage company called Iron Mountain, which conveys strength and security.

Mistake #6: Choosing an Obscure Name

In Mistake #3, we recommended avoiding plain words. But you also don’t want anything too confusing. Business names that are obscure, difficult to spell or pronounce, or complex won’t resonate with customers. Make sure your company name is memorable, but also easy to understand.

Mistake #7: Creating an Awkwardly Constructed Name

Saying “kwality” instead of “quality” is nonsensical. Resist the urge to replace a Q with a K, or an F with a Ph. They’re only more confusing for customers and make it more difficult for them to find you online.

Mistake #8: Refusing to Change a Bad Name

It’s okay to admit when you’re wrong, and it’s okay to change an ineffective company name to something better. A bad name won’t just go away and your business’ problems won’t just disappear. You might have to put in the work to make a change so that your business can flourish.

The bottom line is: Put some serious thought into your business name. You want something unique and memorable that reflects your business goals and conveys your message. Start brainstorming—you might have a stroke of genius.

5 Ways To Connect Better With Your Employees

When running a business, there are many factors to consider to be successful. While you need a solid business plan, and an on-point product that is appealing to customers, arguably the most important factor in running a successful business is the people on your team. A happy team leads to a happily run business, and the statistics prove it. A study by Gallup showed that companies with the most engaged teams are the most productive and profitable. Another study by the Society for Human Resource Management showed that 74 percent of survey respondents stated that their relationship with their supervisor was in the top five most important factors influencing their engagement at work. As a supervisor of a team, it is in the best interest of your company, your employees’ happiness, and likely your own to develop a good rapport between you and your team.

Here are five ways to better connect with your employees:

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5 Reasons Vacation is a Must for You and Your Employees

In the United States, we often labor under the notion that time is money. Sometimes it feels as though the American way is all work and no play, and the statistics back it up. 

To start, the U.S. is the only advanced economy that doesn’t guarantee its workers paid vacation. According to a recently revised report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, that means 23% of workers have no paid vacation and 22% of workers have no paid holidays. In comparison, the European Union’s Working Time Directive requires its member countries to provide European workers at least 20 paid vacation days a year — something many U.S. workers will never receive. 

Of those Americans who do have paid time off (PTO), more than half leave the time unused. The U.S. Travel Association reported that just last year, 768 million paid vacation days were left behind by employees. Maybe it’s because Continue reading “5 Reasons Vacation is a Must for You and Your Employees”

The 5 Best Role-Playing Scenarios for Sales Team Success

Just as athletes train to perform at their best during practices, so should your sales team. This is where sales role-playing comes in — it’s a crucial and valuable tool with a high learning rate. To help ensure your team’s success, we rounded up five of the best sales role-playing scenarios that provide a low-stakes opportunity to identify strengths and weaknesses among your sales reps. 

5 Effective Sales Role-Playing Scenarios 

1. Active Listening Improv

According to a recent study by HubSpot, 69% of buyers say a sales representative listening to their needs is the best way to make the sales experience positive. In order to tailor a specific sales approach to a prospective client, active listening — not just hearing — is key. 

This exercise will require at least two people and can also be done with a group. Here’s how it works:

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Yes, You Should Try Influencer Marketing.

Lots of decorators will remember when embroiderer Marie Sophie Lockhart shot to veritable “decorator stardom” after a back-and-forth with rapper Drake on Instagram (she used the handle Good For Nothing Embroidery) in 2015. That led to a commissioned OVO prayer hands jacket that he wore for an entire tour. After that, Lockhart went viral,  appearing in Vogue, stitching more custom pieces for Drake, and even collaborating with Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney.

In fact, Lockhart’s experience is very similar to results that influencers today achieve for companies that want to grow brand awareness, sell more, capture leads, increase engagement, or even appear in major publications. And, yes,  influencer marketing is  heating up—and it can work for your decorating shop or distributorship.

An Association of National Advertisers (ANA) survey of brand executives shows that 75% of respondents use influencer marketing, and almost half (43%) plan to increase their spending in the next 12 months. A majority of respondents (54%) were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the performance of their influencer marketing strategies. To note, of the executives who don’t currently use influencer marketing, 27% plan to start in the next year.

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Become a Business Gifting Guru for Your Clients

Fall is nearly here, which means the holidays are right around the corner! Get ready for decked halls, celebratory countdowns and of course, gifting. When it comes to the merry season, your clients aren’t just looking to gift to friends and family, but also customers or employees. In fact, a recent study by Knack shows the corporate gifting market is worth a staggering $125 billion. A thriving market to tap into, now’s the time to channel your inner Santa and become your clients’ business gifting guru. 

Before giving you the inside scoop to steer them in the right direction, let’s go over some important guidelines.

Business Gifting Guidelines

Businesses can use corporate gifting to show appreciation and loyalty, build goodwill and express the value of their relationships. However, before you start shopping, think about these three things:

  • The Relationship: Think about the recipient of the gift to determine an appropriate type of present, regarding the relationship at hand. 
  • The Budget: Check company gifting policies for any budget limits that may be in place. According to the same study above, the sweet spot for many businesses is between $50 to $150. 
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The Fair Use Defense: What is it and How does it Apply to Businesses?

The proliferation of appropriation art—or art that intentionally copies another person’s work and alters it in some way—has been at the forefront of a series of copyright infringement cases over the last few decades. A common defense used in this age-old strategy is “fair use” under U.S. copyright law. This claim has provoked a longstanding debate among the industry. 

To some, the ability to claim “fair use” opens up the possibility to creatively expand upon existing visual works. However, others fear it opens up their material to exploitation at the hands of well-known artists and companies who make minor “cosmetic upgrades” and then take credit for the work as their own.

Of the 64 percent of professional photographers who had their work stolen in 2016, commercial businesses were responsible for 28 percent of the theft. 

As a business owner and decorator, it’s important to thoroughly understand the difference between “fair use” and copyright infringement to avoid costly lawsuits. But don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. 

*Please note, this article should not be taken as legal advice. Always consult with your personal legal advisor before relying upon the information provided. 

The Fair Use Defense 

What is Fair Use?

“Fair use” is outlined in a set of guidelines found in Title 17, Section 107 of the U.S. copyright act. It allows the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the owner in specific cases. Essentially, the guidelines give people the ability to build upon the work of another so long as it doesn’t deprive the original artist of the right to “control and benefit from their works.” 

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6 Steps to Find (and Keep) Your Dream Employees

Employees who love their jobs perform better and stay with their companies longer. However, according to Gallup, only 15% of employees worldwide are truly engaged in their current roles. Put another way, this year, 52% of U.S. workers plan to hunt for a new job, and of those, 54% landed their current job less than a year ago, Adtaxi reports.

That speaks to a larger trend of smart business owners creating cultures that appeal to workers’ needs, like a work-life balance or flex time. But first, you need to find, train and retain the right employees.

“The most difficult aspect of hiring and training employees is finding the right match for the employee and your company,” says Linda Gadwood, owner of Omaha, NE-based LogoLinda LLC.. “From the company side, [that means finding] someone who’ll show up and be fully engaged with my business. From the employee side, [they’re looking for] a company that allows them to use their talents.”

We asked four industry business owners and experts to weigh in on six key areas for finding and retaining the best employees.

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10 Ways to Increases Sales AND Create Good Business Karma

Distributor Rick Tidd has helped raise $750,000 for charity and local organizations during his 35-year career—and wants to hit a cool million before he retires.

“My primary goal is to help people, so that’s why I get involved in charitable efforts,” says Tidd, owner of Findlay, OH-based Mad Hatter Promotions. “But it also tends to help my business, since people invariably end up asking what I do and then want to work with me.”

Michelle Long, CEO of Glen Burnie, MD-based Hullabaloo Promos, agrees. “As a community, we need to work together,” she says. “If you have the capability to assist a neighboring company or school, it just seems like the right thing to do.”
But how do you get started when you’re busy running a business? “Evaluating your options is simple— don’t take on anything that will cause your business to lose money,” says Long, who advises that processing orders at a discount, at cost or as a donation for advertising is best. “It’s a balance, though. Remember to leave time for your regular clients.”

There are lots of charitable organizations, many with branches in your area, that would love your help. When you support a nonprofit that aligns with your firm’s values, you’ll also attract like-minded customers. One idea: Tidd recommends choosing a charity that you want to affiliate with—and offering up a few hundred tote bags free or at End Quantity Pricing, if they’re hosting an event. “You get to add your logo as a sponsor,” he says. “You can even ask one of your clients to sponsor the bags or other items for the charity, and put both of your logos on it. It makes everyone happy.”

Tidd has repeated this charitable model in one form or another over and over, helping to raise three-quarters of a million dollars for his local community. For a Kentucky Derby-themed gala to raise money for his local senior center, Tidd produces a printed whiskey glass or stemless wine glass each year. “We’ve gotten our customers to sponsor the glasses,” Tidd says. “And we all get our logos on the drinkware.” For his local Honor Flight Network veterans program, Tidd sources “challenge” coins, “good conduct” medal pins and celluloid pins at cost. “We’ve saved the group more than $2,000 vs. a retail cost,” he says. 

Read on to learn more about how generous distributors have gotten involved in their local communities—and been paid back in dividends. Plus, get some great ideas on how you can get involved.

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