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Why?

Posted in Business Philosophy / Printing Products on March 10, 2014

why“To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given the chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy. As everyone else, I love to dunk my crust in it. But alone, it is not a diet designed to keep body and soul together.” Bette Davis

 

In business, we often talk about what we do or how we do it, but we don’t often talk about why.

 

At PPI, this is the why:

 

We enjoy and embrace the challenge of a demanding and often treacherous business and economic climate. To grow and thrive requires us to throw out the status quo, to continuously ask “How can we do that better, cheaper, faster, more efficiently?” or “What can we do to make our customers more successful?” or “What will make our customers happy, or even wildly enthusiastic?”.

 

We thrive on the satisfaction of achievement in work, the satisfaction of cooperating with each other, and the satisfaction of participating in the growth and maturity of the business.

 

What an incredible privilege it is to live in a country where we are free to pursue our dreams, where we are limited only by our imagination and our willingness to work hard.

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Shameless SEO plug for our business: We can help with your packaging requirements: product cartons, inserts, labels (product, carton, barcode), plastic bags, shrink sleeves.

 

 

Electronic Invoicing, Fool’s Gold?

Posted in Business Philosophy / Printing Products on February 09, 2014

flyingmoneyI have been vindicated! I get testy with vendors that send invoices via email. They go to spam, they go to the wrong person, they fall outside the normal flow of our invoice payment processing, and frequently we have to answer phone calls regarding non payment of these invoices. In other words, they become exceptions and in our business we work hard to minimize exceptions.

A recent post at twosides.us, twosides.us/US/Can-Paper-Bills-Be-More-Cost-Effective-than-E-bills, documents an excellent study by Danish company Natur-Energi that concludes “it cost the company $3.25 per customer to get paid by paper invoice and $5.75 per customer billed by e-mail.” This, despite the fact postage in Denmark is almost twice United States postage.

Read the post for the complete backstory, and keep those postal invoices coming.

Regards,
Gerald

Screamin’ Small and Cheap

Posted in Printing Products on October 01, 2013

small&cheap

I started my first business (financial consulting) in 1981 with meager savings, a wife and 2 small kids at home, and a relentless mortgage payment. I was scared. Even so, I spent a large chunk of my startup capital on professionally designed and printed stationery. Working out of a home office, it was important that I project an image of credibility and trustworthiness. And it worked! Prospects took me seriously and I managed to build a successful business.

Businesses, particularly service businesses, are as much about psychology as they are about products and prices. The reason I say this is because research has repeatedly shown that buyers make decisions based on how they feel, and then attempt to back up their decision with facts. Buyers want to feel good about doing business with your company. They expect good products and services but they also expect professionalism, integrity, cleanliness, a successful image, good communication and good organization.

Take a look at your image with fresh eyes, everything from logo and stationery to forms to your office carpet. Is it screamin’ small and cheap? Is it tired, stodgy, or dated? Or does it project energy, cutting edge, stability, efficiency?  Is it saying: I’m ready to do business?

As a young accountant fresh out of college, with parents barely removed from the farm, I was something of a rube, a hayseed if you will. Nevertheless, I was brash and competitive and trying to make an impact on the business world.  I didn’t know the ups and downs I would take along the way, but hey, that’s part of life.

Someone recommended the book Dress for Success by John Malloy. I got it, read it, and a light came on. If I expected others to see me as successful, I had to not only be the part, but look the part.  After reading that book, I finally had the knowledge to dress appropriately.

Every contact with a client or prospective customer is an opportunity to make a statement about your business. For example, I went in a doctor’s office the other day and of course they gave me a multi-page form to complete. The form had been copied so many times that it was barely legible and was skewed 1/2” on the page. It made the clinic look CHEAP and made me feel that my information was not important.

“For good or ill, your conversation is your advertisement. Every time you open your mouth you let men look into your mind. Do they see it well clothed, neat, businesswise?” ~ Bruce Burton ~

Every form, phone call, invoice, delivery, email, website visit or other contact reinforces your company’s image, for better or for worse. How is your business being perceived? Small and cheap, large and impersonal, unprofessional or professional, disorganized or organized, technologically sophisticated, on a fast track, growing or stagnant, old fashioned, warm and friendly, sense of humor, expensive. Well, you get the idea.

Particularly important is that first contact where the recipient will, very quickly and very subjectively, slide you into a category.  If you are involved in developing new business for your company you know how difficult it is to overcome any first-contact negatives. First impressions do make lasting impressions- remember that.

Checklist for written communication:

 “The shape of your sign, your logo, the type style used on your business cards will have a significant impact on sales whether you care to think about it or not!”  ~The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber~

The starting point for written communication is your logo and stationery layout. Amateurish design is painfully obvious so please consult a professional graphic designer. They should show you a number of ways to graphically tell the story of your business in a visually interesting way. A logo might be out-of-date due to old-fashioned design or possibly due to a change in objectives of the business.

Take a fresh look (or have a graphics professional take a look) at every form, brochure, e-mail, or any electronic or paper communication used in your business. Make sure they are accurate, professionally designed, and a positive reflection on your business.

Grammatical and spelling errors are pet peeves with me, and I suspect many others. We often call to double check spelling of the recipient’s name before we mail (or e-mail) correspondence. Spell checkers are painless and anyone that doesn’t use them should be bludgeoned.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Until next time, Gerald.

 

A Warm Thank You

Posted in Printing Industry / Printing Products on June 30, 2013

Thank YouIt’s human nature; we all want to feel appreciated, we all want to feel that we are important to those we care about and respect. The warmest and most unique way I know to express your appreciation, sympathy, admiration, encouragement and thanks, is with a handwritten note.

Making time in your busy life to pen a few lines to a friend in a handwritten note, sealed inside a hand-addressed envelope, has the power to impress, or to caress, in a way no other form of communication can.

And don’t think these touches are lost on the young people in your life. Despite email, texting and social networking, mail that is written and addressed specifically to them is appreciated.

We have printed thousands of custom cards and envelopes for businesses, churches, non-profits and individuals, but (I can’t believe I’m writing this) handwritten notes don’t have to be on nice stationery. In fact, it can be fun to pen a note (perhaps including some witty comment) on a napkin, a popsicle stick, book of matches, or anything out of your junk or memory drawer that you can write on.

If you do choose to have note cards and envelopes printed, make sure your name and address (and logo if applicable) go on the flap, not the face of the envelope. If intended for business, please make logos and other branding subtle. Stick with standard sizes such as A7 and rich papers for a very personal feel.

More tips:

Don’t worry about your handwriting, just slow down when writing.

Keep it short and conversational.

Make it a habit. You will be well rewarded.

Warm regards,

Gerald