Time to Reflect on 2013 and Plan for 2014

Great image and if you speak German, some more marketing tips for "between the years." at http://guerrillafm.de/

Great image and if you speak German, some more marketing tips for “between the years” at http://guerrillafm.de/

In Germany they call the time period between Christmas and New Year’s “zwischen den Jahren” or between the years. It’s true, we are right on the cusp of 2014. Whatever is keeping you busy these last few moments of 2013, I hope you have a few free moments to reflect on the past before plunging into the new year. Did your 2013 go as planned? Or was it busier than you expected it to be? 2013 was truly was a banner year for heat printing and 2014 is going to be even bigger, even better.

As we’ll explain later this week in our forthcoming predictions, the heat printing and custom apparel market is EXPLODING. But before I go into what that means exactly, here are some points to think about when reviewing 2013:

  1. Doing your best is not enough–especially if you’re not getting your share of an exploding marketplace.
  2. What can you do to change, how can you differentiate your business from the competition?
  3. Make sure you’ve got production capacity and that you’re not the only one responsible for production. Investigate ways to delegate, out-service or hire part-time help. Look ahead, see how you can offload some of your production work in order to free you up to get new orders.
  4. While you might produce a great product, how is your marketing? Remember someone has to be out there selling.
  5. Are you not taking your business growth seriously? Do you have professional business cards, a Facebook page or website? If you’re not taking your image seriously, don’t expect your customers to do so.
  6. Conversely, are you spending too much money on your image with  no results? You have to find a balance.
  7. Keep your head up (out of the production department) and look around–there are probably schools, colleges, churches, all around you that need custom items you can provide.
  8. Do you have the latest, greatest, new product and fashion-forward design ideas? People get tired of the same old, same old. If you own a heat press, it’s easy and cost-effective to show your customers how to put new life into tired old logos with bling, metallics and reflectives. It won’t cost you much to create samples and the results may surprise you.
  9. Understand what it takes to grow your business successfully–do you need to expand, offer faster turnaround, increase your customer base or sell more to existing customers?
  10. Even if you think your business is doing great, ask your team: What can we do to be better?

I wouldn’t ask you to do this if we didn’t do this at Stahls’. We are constantly questioning our ability to serve you and bring you the right solutions for your production challenges. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing what we have planned for you in 2014. Our teams are extremely busy getting ready for several big trade shows, including

  • Advertising Specialty Institute Show, Jan. 6-7 in Orlando, Florida Visit the ASI Orlando website to register.
  • Toronto Imprint Canada Show, Jan. 10-11 in Toronto, Canada. Visit the Toronto Imprint Canada website for free registration.
  • The PPAI Expo, Jan. 13-17 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Visit PPAI Expo website to register, also for educational events.
  • The Long Beach Imprinted Sportswear Show, Jan. 17-19 in Long Beach, California. Visit the ISS Website to register.
  • The PPPC at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Jan. 27-31. You must be a PPPC member to attend. For more  information, visit the website.
  • Northeast Imprintable Sportswear Expo hosted by  Ken Chadwick, Jan. 30-31 at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut.  Call Ken at 617.312.7453 for more details.

If you can attend any of these events, you’re guaranteed to find heat printing inspiration and we hope to be able to answer your questions and show you what we have in store for 2014. Thanks for reading.

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