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Persevering Under Pressure

Current events have most of us uneasy and anxious about how to proceed with our business strategies. Companies are filing for bankruptcy, trying to stay afloat with loans, and being forced to dip into any savings they have. Naturally, the uncertain state of the future and the economy has many of us on edge.

To help protect yourself from economic disaster use different strategies and your experience to evolve and grow. Here we have listed off a few details that may help you and your business during this time of precariousness.

Expand Your Reach

Usually we depend on the loyalty of our existing clients to help carry us through slow seasons, but because Covid-19, most of our customers are also struggling. In order to counteract this, we need to consider what goods and services people need despite the state of the economy, find a way to contribute, and expand our reach to provide more people with those goods and services. Observation is a good place to start, but simply asking your clients what they need is even better. Make a social media post or survey and see what people have to say. Your customers have great ideas and know better than anyone else what they are looking for.

Obviously, not many people are in the market for a personalized luggage tag, but sublimation face masks, signage, puzzles, and many other sublimatable products are in astronomical demand. Hospitals, Restaurants, Grocery Stores, and many other affected businesses are using signs and floor mats to give people direction and display new procedures. As more places slowly open, they too will need products that help them educate customers about new COVID-19 business operations and protocols.

Make Your Presence Known

Though most of us in this industry use the internet as a marketing platform for our business, now is the time to really boost your online presence. People are at home scrolling through social media feeds while quarantining, so providing them with humorous or entertaining content will keep your business relevant. Go Live on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc. and let people in on the process of dye sublimation, while highlighting your COVID-19 related products. Do not be afraid to get personal and let people see how you are balancing family, business, and homeschooling your children. Promote charities to help those suffering with hunger or finances and use social media to keep your clients updated and involved. The more people can relate to you on a personal level, the more loyalty and trust they feel towards your company.

E-commerce is another way you can use the web to expand your growth. Many people are gravitating toward online sites like Amazon, Etsy, and Marketplace to maintain social distancing and because physical stores are either closed or sold out of highly demanded products. I went weeks without being able to find hand sanitizer in public only to discover one of my favorite companies, which never sold sanitizer before, was selling it online through Amazon. If you have ever considered leaving the confines of your own website, now is the perfect time to do so as online business is booming. Anyone selling personalized gifts should consider platforms like Amazon Handmade which was designed to compete with Etsy. It does not a require monthly fee that the traditional Amazon site does and instead takes a commission based on the price you sell your product. You simply need to apply, and upon approval, they will walk you through the remaining set-up.

Master Your Maintenance

While having extra downtime, we should be using this time wisely to maintain our equipment, develop our processes, update technology, and expand our knowledge. The goal is to streamline everything so that it works seamlessly when orders start flowing in. Tedious projects like template creation, consolidating your selling platforms, website information updates, and automation, such as scheduling social media posts, are all things you can do now that will benefit your time later. Completing these tasks will allow you to focus on creating physical products as orders roll in. Usually, I scroll Pinterest before bed, but I recently bought online video classes for the entire Adobe Suite. My personal quarantine goal is to stay proactive and pick up some new skills.

In addition to updating and organizing businesses functions, we should maintain the things that are already working well for us. It is common knowledge that you should keep your Sawgrass printer plugged in and turned on because it automatically clears the print heads, but have you considered storing papers in a way that prevents them from absorbing moisture? While dealing with a lag in sales, we could also be organizing our workspaces to work more efficiently. Dealing with the simple problems that are usually ignored will save time and money.

Know When to Ask for Help

Unless you had planned for the pandemic before it happened, you are most likely struggling like the rest of us. Thankfully, the sublimation community has grown substantially and help is there if you need it. At Condé we offer Print Services so that our clients can print large jobs that they would otherwise would have had to turn down. We have seen floor mats, blankets, and photo panels increase in sales and are producing them for many of our clients.

In addition, Sawgrass customers can use a selling platform called Go Expression, which allows them to sell their sublimation product designs without having to produce them themselves. Once a customer places an order, the seller can simply outsource the job to another sublimation expert within the network through Go Exchange. This new platform allows you to choose whether you want to sell, produce, or both.

I dislike the idea of a small business being ruined by circumstances which are out of their control, so I believe now is the time to boost your business. If you are experiencing a decline in sales, consider using these tips and strategies to expand your reach and help you regain traction. Think of this as a mandatory business upgrade. It may be difficult, and you may not come out unscathed, but if you put in the work, you can build back profits and give yourself the long term advantage.

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