Friday, April 3, 2015

Where to Look for Business: Leave No Stone Left Unturned!

Where to Look for Business: Leave No Stone Left Unturned!

Being an embroiderer and having your own business is a fulfilling and demanding enterprise. There are a number of activities which will fill your every waking moment (and possibly your dreams and nightmares) which have little to do with the creative act of embroidering:  

      1. Marketing – what market should I serve; pricing, competition, etc.
      2. Finance and Accounting – collecting money, paying bills, insurance, etc.
      3. Maintenance – keeping your facility operating and machines running.
      4. Advertising – letting prospects know you exist and where to find you.
      5. $ales – getting new business.

Clearly, none of these responsibilities are the reasons you got into the embroidery business, but they all have to be accomplished in order to stay in business. In my view, the most important is Sales; if you don’t bring in any business, the others are irrelevant. 

So, here are a few suggestions for where to look for business: 
• Start by always wearing a denim shirt or polo shirt with your logo and your company name  
  EMBROIDERED on it. Then, when people ask what you do, you can point at it. Be a walking, 
  talking billboard! And have at least 50 business cards in your pocket at all times. You can never tell!

• Check out Community Sports teams: soccer, for names on warm up suits; softball leagues, 
  for uniforms and caps; wrestling singlets; T-Ball, etc.

• Visit bowling alleys and ask the owner/manager if you can post a small flyer on his bulletin board. 
  Lots of teams need their shirts embroidered.

• Try local Car Dealerships. You'll need to digitize their logos and be certain you get an 
  authorization in writing before you reproduce the car brand.

• Make a trip to Doctor's Offices to offer embroidery on employee shirts and scrubs. 
  And don't forget Dentists, Medical Labs, Veterinarians, and Chiropractors.

• Barber shops, Beauty shops, Bath shops, Christmas shops, Spas, etc. all require embroidery.

• Any place where there is a Bridal Registry - Monogramming special items for the 
  Bride & Groom or the bride’s hankie and the Ring Bearer's Pillow, etc.

• Funeral homes and mortuaries –lots of embroidery opportunities here.

• Real Estate Offices. Florists. Furriers. Gift shops.

• Alteration shops and Dry Cleaners – show samples of your work and leave cards.

• Social organizations – community centers, scouts, motorcycle clubs (they love their embroidery 
  on leathers and denim), civic organizations (bear in mind that all manner of social organizations
  may expect a donation, but you will emphasize your ability to help them in fund-raising), 
  political clubs, etc.

• Sewing Machine Dealer's and Fabric shops. Uniform stores – they may not have their 
  own embroidery machine for personalization.

• Churches and synagogues. The choir, sisterhood, annual picnics and fund raisers are all possibilities.

• When you get gas, sell the manager/owner; and get gas at a different station each time; 
  and fixit shops.

• If you have repair men or contractors come in to your shop or home to work, 
  check out their uniforms or shirts and tell them about your business.

• Most Supermarkets have a bulletin/corkboard in the entranceway; put your flyer (5” x 7” is a 
  good size; colorful and eye-catching) up (bring thumb tacks) and make the circuit every
 week because, hopefully, a potential customer will have taken it down to call you.

• You will probably not be able to get any school accounts, at least not right off the bat, 
  but there are things going on in the school with which the school’s embroiderer may not bother. 
  For instance, a towel set a teacher may want or some shirts that need to be monogrammed. 
 Additionally, many teachers have side businesses (hard to live on teacher’s wages, in most places) 
 like trades (plumbing, carpentry, painting) or summer camps. See if they’ll let you leave samples 
 of your work and business cards in the Teacher’s Lounge. If you can find a couple of hours a week 
 to volunteer at a school, hospital or senior citizen’s home, you’ll find it a great way to get your 
 foot in the door (I know. Where do you find a couple of hours a week to volunteer? Stop whining! 
 Figure it out!).

• Avoid the temptation to go after your competitor’s customers; you don’t need enemies. 
  But you can use allies, to wit, a larger embroiderer to whom you can subcontract large jobs 
  that would tie up your machine for days and in return they will give you the small jobs 
  they don’t want to run.
Think of everybody as a prospect – 
either they need something embroidered or they know someone who does.