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The Push and Pull of the Market

(October 2006) posted on Fri Nov 03, 2006

Discover Marketing tools that will help you effectively promote your business and increase job orders from existing and potential customers.

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By Gordon Roberts

I have a friend who owns a small screen-printing shop. He employs about a dozen people and makes his living printing P-O-P materials for local grocery stores, shirts for softball teams, real-estate signs, and the like. He prides himself on his can-do attitude and is willing to take a shot at just about any print job that will fit on his screens. He has a great reputation in the community, and the regular print jobs keep coming his way, paying the bills and keeping the business turning over at a steady, if not spectacular, rate. Not a bad gig, except for the fact that overhead costs are creeping up, as they always do. Oil prices also are skyrocketing, driving up the price of inks, not to mention the price of electricity, and his loyal employees are asking for well-deserved raises.

It doesn't take long for these factors to collide and take a previously solid business with modest profitability into a nightmare fraught with cash-flow problems that the business owner never would have dreamed of a few years before. Increasing the price of orders is not an option for my friend because he has competitors who are ready to steal his regular customers at the first possible opportunity. So what should he do?

This is a common problem inside and outside the screen-printing world, but it's one that we are uniquely qualified to solve on our own. Take a look at your customers. Are they coming to you because you make pretty pictures that brighten up their workplace? Or are they coming to you because you produce some of the most effective marketing products available? How many of us take advantage of our capabilities to market our businesses effectively enough to draw in new customers and encourage our regular customers to upgrade to more complex products that represent greater profit margins for us?

I asked my friend about his marketing plan and he shrugged his shoulders and mumbled something about the Yellow Pages. Thank goodness some businesses out there don't share his attitude, because we wouldn't have customers without them. This month, let's look at two marketing strategies and see how we can turn our skills into more profits to help grow our businesses.


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