Entrepreneurial Freedom

This month, Americans will celebrate the 240th anniversary of independence which, at its core, is really a celebration of freedom. As Americans, freedom is something we read about, write about, dream about, teach, advocate, protect, and hope for.  To most reasonable people, freedom means more than just ‘free to do whatever I want’ – it means freedom to dictate our own lives and the freedom to choose thoughts that can liberate us from our own self-made limitations.

As a promotional products distributor – one who chooses the path of entrepreneurship – freedom can take on a slightly different meaning. When building a business such as a distributorship, there are many choices about operating systems, product search engines (such as DistributorCentral’s), order processing software, computer hardware, and even clients. It’s the last one, clients, that many distributors feel they have little to no freedom of choice. While the distributor/client relationship will always be fraught with a fair amount of friction as each side attempts to maximize value in the sales transaction, there is freedom in this partnership as well.

If you have operated your distributorship for any length of time, you have had at least a few bad clients. A bad client can cripple the growth of your company faster than just about anything else outside of internal culture. As such, it’s important to exercise your freedom to choose NOT to work with clients who become a drain on your time and your business. There are many different types of bad clients, each with specific undesirable traits – here are four of them:

  1. Time Vampires – Time is the single most precious asset of any business owner and the financial success of your enterprise depends on using your time efficiently. Clients who change their minds time and time again after you’ve provided exactly what they asked for waste your time and make you less productive. No matter who you are, there are only 24 hours in a day – don’t squander them on clients who continually disrupt your workflow.
  2. Idea Shoppers – Any “client” that takes your ideas and shops them around for a better price should be fired immediately. No matter how eloquently you share the value you provide, they will never buy from you without giving your competition to undercut you. Your time, ideas, and creativity have value. If you are trying to sell to someone who can’t see that, it’s time to move on.
  3. Angry Abusers – Uncommunicative, uncooperative, or just plain obnoxious clients will drain your energy faster than watching video on your iPhone. Whether their behavior manifests itself as passive-aggressiveness or outright verbal abuse, their negativity is contagious. Regardless of how much they may spend with you, this type of client will never be happy and is rarely worth the trouble.
  4. Invoice Procrastinators – You have a business to run which requires a steady cash-flow. Clients who are habitually tardy when it comes to paying invoices disrupt your fiscal viability. More importantly, these types of clients don’t sufficiently appreciate the value you bring to their business. When clients fail to pay invoices on time, stand your ground – if you’ve delivered on your obligations, they need to meet theirs. Repeat offenders are clients you don’t want.

Each of us is fortunate to have the freedom to decide what we do with information, how we dictate our future, change our minds, make decisions, and, yes, even the clients we choose to work with. Summer is a great time to review your current client list and trim the troublemakers who are negatively impacting your bottom line. Doing so now will save you time, energy, and even money down the road.

Bill Petrie
engage@brandivatemarketing.com
brandivatemarketing.com
 
 brandivatemarketing
 @brandivatemktg
 

About brandivate

Bill has over 15 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products distributorships. In 2014, he launched brandivate – the first executive outsourcing company solely focused on helping small and medium sized promotional products enterprises responsibly grow their business.

A featured speaker at numerous industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, Vice President for the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, developing operational policies and procedures, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.

PWS announces New Production Lead Times

June 20, 2016 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Shorter lead times on our most popular decoration methods.

PWS is thrilled to announce the expansion of its Print Department which has enabled PWS to shorten production lead times. “Competitive production times are important to the success of our distributor partners. We understand this and remain firmly committed to their success. Expanding our Print Department was vital to our ability to make a permanent change in our production lead time policy,” says VP of Sales, Andrea Pennington.

As of June 20, 2016 the following production lead time changes will be in effect:

Silkscreen and Flexo Ink Decoration:
New Orders: 4 business days after final artwork approval.
Repeat Orders: 3 business days after final artwork approval.
(Previously 5 day production on both new and repeat orders)

Foil Hot Stamp Decoration:
New and Repeat Orders: 5 business days after final artwork approval.
(Previously 7 day production on both new and repeat orders)

For more information:
Araceli Salinas
PWS
Director of Marketing
Tel: 714-572-6730 ext. 211
araceli@gopwsproducts.com

 

 

UMAPP Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Melinda Marr

Seattle, WA – iClick is proud to announce that Melinda Marr, Regional Sales Manager for iClick, Midwest, is the recipient for this years UMAPP (Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals) Lifetime Achievement Award.

This is a superior award reserved for those individuals who have made a lifetime contribution to the promotional products industry as whole, and also a direct or indirect contribution to UMAPP as a regional association.

Established in 2001, iClick is an award winning supplier in the promotional products and marketing specialties industry; including being named Counselor Magazine’s 2014 Supplier of the Year and 6-time award winner for Counselor Magazine’s Distributor Choice Award for Best Supplier in the USB/Computer Tech category, 2011 to 2016.

For more information, contact iClick

800-456-9177 / sales@iclick.com


Imagen Brands (Crown and Vitronic) Announce Seiter as Client Engagement Sale Coordinator

June 6, 2016-Imagen Brands (Crown and Vitronic) are pleased to announce GeoffGeoff Seiter - Imagen Brands Seiter as the new Imagen Brands Client Engagement Sale Coordinator.

His responsibilities include monitoring and engaging in all Social Media platforms for both Crown and Vitronic brands.  Geoff will provide selling ideas, case histories, offer product suggestions and support our brand message.    “Geoff really understands the direction Imagen Brands is going with our engagement strategy through social media platforms.  He is knowledgeable of the industry and our product line so it is a perfect fit!” says Dana Zezzo, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

DC in DC at PPAI’s L.E.A.D.

Each year, industry professionals travel to Washington D.C. to educate their representatives about the effectiveness of promotional products and the strength of the industry in the United States. Vice President of Sales for DistributorCentral, Tiffany Tarr, CAS participated in her third PPAI Legislative Education and Action Day.

“LEAD is on opportunity for DistributorCentral to invest in our industry’s future. There are so many things happening in our nation’s capital that impact today as well as in the future as new legislative initiatives are passed. I want to make sure the people representing us know and understand our business,” said Tarr.

Along with fellow industry colleagues from Kansas, Tiffany met with Congress members: Kevin Yoder, Tim Huelskamp, Mike Pompeo and Lynn Jenkins. They also met with Kansas Senators Pat Roberts & Jerry Moran.

The issues discussed were:
The Department of Labor Overtime Rule changes
Protecting Independent Contractors by preserving Section 530 & the Safe Harbor Rule of the Revenue Act of 1978
Preserving the Deductibility of Advertising Expenditures
Product Responsibility – Toxic Substances Control Act

“As an industry it’s important that our legislators understand what we do, and why our industry is important. The opportunity to discuss this with them one-on-one allows our lawmakers to be better prepared to understand the impact on our industry as new legislative initiatives hit their desk. and they are able to see why we feel so strongly about lobbying on behalf of our industry and ensuring its protection in the future,” said Tarr.

PPAI has provided a full legislative positions summary that can be viewed here:
PPAI Legislative Agenda

Survey Says! Wearable Technology is #1 Fitness Trend

Summer is a time to be outdoors and on the move. Fitness becomes foremost in our minds and  translates to a wide range of activities.

The abundance of summer activities provides many options for improving one’s well-being, which means additional opportunities for client promotion while promoting a healthier lifestyle. One of these options is wearable technology. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) this will be the biggest health trend in 2016. This ever-increasing category includes items like pedometers and fitness trackers. These technology items will track your steps, heart rate, sleep and the number of calories you burn.

If you’re not into technology, you can always stick with the classics like water bottles, fitness shakers, headwear, and sunglasses. These items continue to provide ample promotional opportunities while promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Link to ACSM Article:
ANNUAL SURVEY REVEALS NEW #1 FITNESS TREND IN 2016


Guest Blog Article by: Jessica Onions
National Accounts Marketing Manager, Prime

 

 

 

PL-3330  B-Active Fitness Band from Prime

Five Ways to Build Your Business During the Slow Season

Summer is here which means warmer weather, plenty of pool time, vacations, and, for many promotional products distributors, the dreaded “slow season.” In fact, if you ask any distributor in the industry to pinpoint their least effective selling months, they will likely identify July and August as the culprits. Seasonality is something that must be taken into account by every business owner. However, seasonality can also spark creativity and opportunity.

As we enter traditional slower months of the selling year, here are 5 ways you can take advantage of the seasonality to grow your business:

  1. Focus on Verticals – When clients seem to shy away from purchases over the summer months, it’s an excellent opportunity to focus on their vertical supply chain. For example, if a large portion of your clients are hospitals, take a look at who supplies their medical instruments or the insurance companies where they may have partnerships. By diversifying your client base into prioritized verticals, you begin to insulate yourself from the cold selling times.
  2. Expand – It is in nature as it is selling promotional products: adapt or die. If you are complacent in simply maintaining your current sales, then a drop will be inevitable. However, if you use the slow months to expand to new markets, then even a temporary sales slowdown will represent an overall gain in new clients.
  3. Emphasize Social Media – Maintaining and expanding your social media reach during traditionally slow times is a must. Even though clients might not be flooding you with orders, you better believe they are still checking their social media news feeds. Use this time to share case histories, begin a content marketing strategy (including a blog), and showcase your expertise so when your clients are ready to buy, you will be top of mind.
  4. Partner Up – You’re not the only business concerned with at least maintaining – if not increasing – sales during the slow season. Teaming up a client with another non-competitive client (or even a prospect) to share promotion costs can lead to more sales for you and your clients. For example, your local pet supply store could give away brushes with the brand of the dog groomer located around the corner to their patrons. At the same time, the dog groomer could give out toys with the logo of the pet supply store to all of her customers. This approach helps everyone and drives engagement through partnership.
  5. Plan for the Fall – This is an obvious one, yet many people don’t take advantage of the slow times to adequately plan for the busy seasons. Take the time to align your marketing efforts, study merchandise trends, brainstorm social media campaigns, or create your own marketing calendar so your efforts will remain steady even when sales inevitably pick up.

As a business owner, you want to do more than just keep busy during a slow season. You want to take on activities that will not only allow you to stand out, but will positively impact your bottom line. By taking a proactive and creative approach to the traditional slow months of July and August, you will take a very critical step to ensure your business remains relevant and thriving will thrive all year long.

Bill Petrie
engage@brandivatemarketing.com
brandivatemarketing.com
 
 brandivatemarketing
 @brandivatemktg
 

About brandivate

Bill has over 15 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products distributorships. In 2014, he launched brandivate – the first executive outsourcing company solely focused on helping small and medium sized promotional products enterprises responsibly grow their business.

A featured speaker at numerous industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, Vice President for the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, developing operational policies and procedures, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.

 

Hub Pen Spotlights 3 new pens for Spring 2016

3 new products available for Spring 2016 from Hub Pen are #372 Spartano, #405 Crescendo Hybrid Ink Pen & #406 Mantaray Stylus Pen.

Hub Pen 405 Mantaray Stylus

Give your next promotion ultramodern appeal with the sleek and stylish Mantaray Stylus pen.  In 5 shimmering metallics with matte black and shining silver accents it makes a giant impression, much like the graceful sea creature for which it is named.   Featuring a jumbo hourglass shape and rubber grippers you’ll also appreciate its exceptional writing comfort.    Hub Pen #372

  • Ultramodern stylus pen is sleek and stylish
  • Rich shimmering metallics contrast with matte black and shining silver trim
  • Jumbo hourglass shape and rubber grippers provide exceptional writing comfort
  • Smooth writing black ink

Hub Pen 372 Spartano

Let the classically style Spartano represent you in your next campaign.  Rich shimmering metallics contrast with matte black and shining silver trim.  Ergonomic shape and jumbo grip provide exceptional writing comfort.  Hub Pen #372

  • Rich shimmering metallics contrast with matte black and shining silver trim
  • Ergonomic shape and jumbo grip provide exceptional writing comfort
  • Executive pen looks at a budget friendly price

Hub Pen 406 Crescendo

Take your promotion to the next level with the sleek, contemporary styled Crescendo.  Ergonomic wide barrel and dimpled rubber grip for extreme ergonomic comfort.  Intensely black hybrid ink finish off a superior writing experience.  Hub Pen item 406

  • Sleek wide barrel in shimmering metallics with contemporary accents
  • Wide barrel and dimpled writing grip for ergonomic comfort
  • Supersmooth writing bold black hybrid ink

 

 

IDProductsource – Cowsert promoted to Senior Customer Service Representative

IDProductsource is pleased to announce the promotion of Nolan Cowsert to Senior Customer Service Representative.

Quinn Flags Welcomes Walt Greene to the Team

Hanover, PA: Quinn Flags is excited to announce the addition of Walt Greene to the Marketing Department as the New Product Development Specialist. It is through the constant demand for new and innovative products within the industry that Quinn Flags saw the need to have a dedicated team member to provide distributors with the latest in soft signage and displays.

With over 15 years’ experience in communications and video production coupled with his knowledge of system mechanics we are delighted to have him enhance the development and implementation of new products.

Keep an eye out on our New Products page of http://quinnflags.com/ for new product ideas and let Quinn Flags do the work for you! We are your one stop supplier to stay on top of what’s new.