Hours Are Assets – Spend Them Wisely
It’s a brand-new year. But unfortunately, one thing hasn’t changed. You (and your business) are still pressed for time. At last check, there are still only 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week, and, well, you get the idea. That’s going to make that New Year’s resolution about being more productive a lot tougher.
But I can help in at least one important area. There are ways your business can save time (and money, for that matter) on how your printing needs are handled. That goes for promotional products, too. Don’t underestimate how much time you spend on that. For both printing services and promotional items, you can save time and money and actually get better results in the process. Here are some suggestions. They might not all be appropriate for you and your company, but I’m betting many of them are!
Get Out of the Storage and Fulfillment Business
Invoices. Order forms. Business documents. Sales and marketing materials. Catalogs, brochures, reports, flyers, and (as a famed sit-com star might say)—‘yadda, yadda, yadda.” Align with a good supplier that can offer e-procurement that allows you to print those items as needed; never running out, but also never having to stock up, which costs you valuable storage space. (And runs the risk of wasted and outdated materials, of course.)
Plus, there are added benefits: your costs are controlled and consistent, your quality is ensured and your people get to work on the things you hired them to do. What a concept! More on that later.
Use the Internet—It’s the Best Storage Facility Available
That “www” could stand for “world-wide warehouse.” Or “whatever, wherever, whenever.” When your print supplier gives you access to print e-procurement as mentioned above, all the control rests with you, in your computer. People throughout the organization, in as many facilities as necessary, get access to the same, approved items, and can get them as needed.
The option is open to them every hour, every day of the year. A sudden customer request, an unexpected rush, or even a forgotten task (hey, we’re all human) is not the problem it once was. You can deal with it now, regardless of when now is. Corporate Kiosk™, our print-on-demand e-procurement technology, provides just this kind of peace of mind. Along, of course, with incredible day-to-day efficiency in inventory management.
Get More Services from Trusted Suppliers
Chances are your company deals with many suppliers. A certain select group of them always seem to be reliable, and come through for you in the “clutch.” Well, make sure you know everything those suppliers can offer you. They often have capabilities you didn’t know about, or partnerships with other high-performing suppliers not on your radar. That can save you time in trying to find new providers (and keep you from wasting time with one that doesn’t measure up).
Don’t be afraid to ask them about other products and services you may need. They may offer what you need, or can point you to a source you can trust. We’ve found that true in our own business when a satisfied client is surprised to hear the other ways we can help them. Point is, don’t be afraid to ask. Your business stands to gain from it.
Don’t Make Employees “Play Out of Position”
Sure, it’s fine to have associates who will do “whatever it takes” to make your company successful. That’s an admirable attitude. But frankly, it’s better for your business if your employees spend their time on tasks for which they are hired and trained. If handling a print project isn’t their expertise, putting an important one on their plate and letting them “figure it out” isn’t doing your company any favors.
Print management is the only way to go. By aligning with a skilled and experienced partner for printing services, jobs get done quickly and correctly. Here again, Corporate Kiosk can be a huge advantage. Pre-approved documents are available through an online portal. No employee has to “get smart” to order them—they just have to get online.
Save More Time by Having More Options
This is another area where print management really pays off. On those one-off specialty printing projects, you can waste a great deal of time. It’s not in your “wheelhouse” so naturally, you need to investigate what kind of printing you need, what companies can handle it, and which ones (if any) can deliver on your schedule.
With a print management partner like Superior Business Solutions, you get two huge advantages. First, you get expertise. It’s what we do every day, so we understand printing, and what’s important to your project. And with our network of nearly 2,000 capable suppliers, we can match the right quality to the availability of your timeline calls for. It’s easy to see the time you’ll save. And it is satisfying to see the quality product.
Make Use of Sales Enablement Tools
There may be no more important place to save time than in the period between “lead” and “conversion.” Your growth and success depend on making sales happen sooner, rather than later. And, while a salesperson’s energy and persistence are critical, it is a mistake to depend only on those qualities.
Sales enablement tools make the real difference. Database management and marketing analytics help identify the best prospects. Lead generation, nurturing, and marketing tools all move the process along. Variable print-on-demand through online portals allow salespeople to furnish focused, customized materials to prospects. Work with a partner who has been helping clients build their businesses with those tools for nearly a century. One—Superior Business Solutions—comes to mind.
Adopt a Disciplined Promotional Products Program
Promotional products fill many needs. They are handed out at trade shows. Salespeople take them on sales calls. Companies give them to employees to build spirit and support. And they often serve as holiday gifts. But there’s one problem: if you see all these as one-shot efforts that just “pop up” you are not getting the most from them.
Much time is wasted, often by senior executives, deciding if it’s time for a promotional item. That’s being expected if those items are regarded as “trinkets” or “freebies.” Again, big mistake. Research (which we can share with you) indicates promotional products are the most impactful form of advertising a company can use. A knowledgeable supplier like Superior Business Solutions can help you put together a promotional products program that turns them into an even-more-powerful marketing tool. Not only does that prevent wasted time. It prevents wasted opportunity.
Use Expertise to Choose the Right Promotional Products
Great amounts of time can also be wasted deciding what promotional products you choose. A company can spend weeks entertaining ideas, with individuals citing very anecdotal memories of an item they once received at a trade show, etc. But this question can be answered much more quickly (and effectively) with experience.
The “right” promotional product can vary by industry, target audience, geographical region, even by state. An experienced promotional product partner like Superior Business Solutions can call on proven research and statistics to help you select an item that will help you accomplish your corporate objectives. It’s nice if a trade show visitor walks away saying “cool screwdriver set.” But it’s even better if he or she gets to thinking “hmm—I ought to call these guys.”
Work-Life Balance Actually Creates Time
It’s easy these days to think of time as a “zero-sum” game. The more time I spend at the office, the less I have at home. But it’s not productive to think of your day as a constant tug-of-war. It’s far better, in my view, to look at your day “holistically.” A calm and peaceful give-and-take that honors your commitment to both “sides” of the coin.
For starters, minimize your office time by making it as productive as possible. Use tools (like several of the ones mentioned above) to protect your time, so you can spend it on your most important business objectives. Automate printing projects and other things so they require less time, less attention, and less worry. But at the same time, realize that life is messy. Problems don’t respect a schedule. If they occasionally intrude on your “personal” life, make the best of it. Again, some of the tools above allow you to head off or solve problems through a quick online action. No big interruption, no real harm done.
Call Superior Business Solutions
I’m quite serious here. It’s a suggestion that belongs on this list. I can honestly say that I have never talked to a business owner or manager whom we couldn’t save time, or money, or both. If you’re already a customer, we think you agree and would love to hear from you in our comments—and thank you for your business.
If you’re not a customer, well, it’s about saving you time, so what are you waiting for? Contact Superior or one of our excellent sales reps and ask for a print supply chain or promotional product audit. One conversation won’t add hours to your day. But I’m pretty sure you’ll find the experience well worth your time.