This year the Great Race was a bit different for Mary and me, because in addition to spending time with our fellow Great Racers, we also got to spend time with sons Brett and Dan, AND had the added benefit of being able to spend time with customers along the route. The Ultimate Ride Along contest was a well executed plan–thank you to everyone behind the scenes once again who made it possible–and it allowed us to do one of my favorite things: Spend quality time with people in the custom decorating industry. As you know, Mary and I had the opportunity to share different legs of the race with the randomly selected winners to the Ultimate Ride Along contest. We were able to speak with each of them after the rally finished and we learned quite a bit about their businesses. This type of feedback is invaluable and we want to thank you all again for sharing this time with us. Several interesting points, we learned that all the folks that joined us had several things in common: They were all dedicated business owners, striving for–and succeeding at–debt-free businesses growth. They all worked long hours and were committed to the success of their businesses. Although they had different areas of specialization, (we had the chance to see some embroidery from Elegant Stitches and they are truly Master Embroiderers!) they all understood the need to be able to offer their customers more than one type of customization. We talked about transfers, cutting, heat printing and the need to sell more to current customers as well as ways to find new customers. However everyone agreed it is certainly easier to sell more to existing customers. Just like the high profit items you see located at the cash registers of many retail stores you frequent, we brainstormed what they could sell to increase the average dollar size per sale. And we also discussed the importance of promoting your business in simple ways, such as always carrying business cards, asking for the sale, networking and placing inexpensive ads in publications such as church bulletins and school newspapers. It was really fun getting to know all of you a bit better and we hope that you stay in touch. Drop a line or a comment on the blog to let us know how you are doing. We really mean it. Good luck to all of you and we’re more than happy to point you in the right direction if you need more information on anything we talked about.
Thanks again to: Daniel & Margie Flowers of Creative Media Ink, who rode with us from Dubuque to Davenport, Iowa; Sue Garland & Cande Riordan of The Locker Room from Peoria, Illinois to Hannibal, Missouri; Ashley and Delton Rissler of Edge Graphics, from Washington, Missouri to Cape Girardeau; Janet Lindstrom and Tonya Cothern of Elegant Stitches, from Monticello, Arkansas to Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Allen and Sharon Steele of Cajun Creative Printing Inc., who were on the Championship Run from Crowley to Covington, Louisiana.