How are your digital objectives for 2021 doing so far?

The thumbnail version:

  • Your digital objectives need to be determined and implementation planned
  • It is never too late

The full version:

Okay, so you put it off and put it off and now it’s already halfway through February and you haven’t formally set your digital objectives for 2021 yet. Well, it’s not too late and, really, the calendar year 2021 has nothing to do with it—the neat and tidy January to December timeframe is an artificial construct for things like planning a digital strategy. it should be an ongoing exercise unconstrained by timeframes and deadlines.

Work on your digital strategy. It’s never too late.

So, what should you do now about your shop’s digital strategy? First decide what your digital objectives are and then set about determining how you’re going tot achieve them. This may require some outside assistance from an expert; don’t underestimate how much some outside guidance can save wasted time and money.

What you’ll likely be doing is: revamping your website (about 50% of people in some surveys say that a good website is a factor in gauging the credibility of a business); setting up blog or newsletter; perhaps do videos for your You Tube channel; set up a customer mailing list on a service such as Mail Chimp and schedule regular mailouts to your customer base; and implement reporting systems to keep track of responses and progress.

Time to get going; it’s the digital age.

 

Installing a mega sign (video)

The thumbnail version:

  • See the video of a huge sign installation

The full version:

Most sign shops will never be called upon to build and install a sign this size, but that’s not the point in bringing you this video. Anyone in the industry should find this project interesting. It seems that there are few limits to what the sign industry can do.

Click here and be fascinated. 

 

Your customer base as a barometer on the industry

No business, regardless of the industry they’re in, can can afford to keep their head down and allow the world beyond their walls to pass by unnoticed. So to try to stay in touch, the usual sources of industry intelligence they turn to include trade shows, trade journals, blogs, conferences, and even industry websites. But as useful as these  sources can be, they tend to provide intelligence from the “inside”—from the industry’s perspective.  What about the most important perspective—the customer’s perspective?

Customers see your shop and  industry from the perspective of their needs. They care more about what they want than what you have. And if you don’t have what they want, you don’t have a business.

Are you listening to your customers?

This is why customers’ questions, requests, inquiries, complaints, and product suggestions should be seen as a must-have source of intelligence. Business has a history of telling customers what they want instead of asking what they want. There’s an old and famous story about the appliance manufacturer whose sales were tanking until they went out and asked customers where they wanted to have the knobs on a stove instead of telling them where they would have them. They hadn’t been tapping into the intelligence available from their customer base and paid a price. They didn’t know what customers were expecting from them and their industry.

It’s a simple but powerful concept—gather intelligence from your customer base.

 

An inspired vehicle wrap

The thumbnail version:

  • Nowadays one sees some clever vehicle wraps.
  • The very best of them make you notice and remember the product.

The full version:

The digital graphics industry has the capacity to produce inspiringly creative graphics. But only the very best of them produce all this: smiles (wow, that’s cool!), envy (I wish I’d thought of that), inspiration (I’m gonna do something like that!), and results (how could I ever forget that product now?).

How about this simple, yet effective, wrap for ticking all the boxes?:

Mactac installation video—options you may never have seen before.

The thumbnail version;

  • Watch the video
  • Then call Stanley’s

The full version:

Mactac has put out a fascinating installation video. Even if you know everything there is to know about every type of Mactac film and its applications, you’ll still find this video useful.

As you know, Stanley’s carries Mactac so if you have any questions after watching the video, a quick call to Stanley’s will get you the answers you need. Try Rob (780 424 4141) or  Graham (403 243 7722)

Now, grab your popcorn, get comfortable, turn up the volume, and CLICK HERE

 

Writing on the wall . . .

The thumbnail version:

  • Be aware of current trends in the industry to remain competitive
  • SGIA reports that 95% of industry professionals believe there are expansion opportunities

The full version:

PrintingNews recently posted an article about the acquisition of new equipment by Cowan Graphics of Edmonton—a long-time Stanley’s customer.

Take note of the writing on the wall

The post included the following paragraph about opportunities to better serve customers that should be noted by all players in the industry, big and small . . .

“Companies like Cowan are innovators in their field by recognizing and embracing the need for technology that expands and diversifies their product offerings. The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) announced in a 2019 report that many industry professionals have identified opportunities to better serve their customers with services outside of their primary offerings, with 95% reporting there is opportunity for expansion within their own businesses, and 93% saying they believe expansion is happening within the industry as a whole. Not surprisingly, many printers are adopting new technologies and expanding service offerings to remain competitive.”

This is an example of “writing on the wall” that should not be overlooked by shops serious about remaining competitive.

ISA Expo going virtual

The thumbnail version:

  • Another big expo goes virtual
  • Attendance is free.

The full version:

The Board of Directors for the International Sign Association (‘ISA’) have decided that they cannot risk planning an in-person expo in Las Vegas for April this year and must therefore take it online. The dates remain the same: April 17th to 19th, 2021.

Since the pandemic began, ISA has hosted a number of successful virtual events and are confident that they can therefore use the expertise and experience gained to run a successful expo.

The in person-event was expected to attract 20,000+ attendees and 600+ exhibitors. The fact that people do not have to travel or incur related expenses, could result in an even larger attendance. The overseas attendance will likely be much higher than it might have been for the the in-person event.

Attendance at this virtual event is free. You can register by clicking on this link.

New owner (even old owner) tip

The thumbnail version:

  • New shop owners need information and guidance
  • Old shop owners can use it too
  • Read

The full version:

COVID-19 has apparently led to the launching of a lot of new small businesses. Some of them are graphics and sign shops. If you are a new shop owner (or even an established veteran trying to cope with a new ‘normal’) you need to make time every day to work on a new habit—reading.

As I’ve written before, it might not be something you particularly like doing but, like exercise or dieting, it may be difficult at first. However, once you get into it, you’ll be excited by what you discover. We’re talking about reading technical and business books, articles, and blogs or listening to podcasts and audio books. The technical stuff because you must stay up to date, and the business stuff because you’re now a business person with a lot to learn.

Let me remind you what Charles William Eliot, who was the president of Harvard University for over 40 years, said: “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”

You might be tempted to do the lazy thing and turn to You Tube instead, but it comes with a warning. There are a lot of so-called “experts” on You Tube talking a lot of BS; be very careful about your sources. You’re much better off with well-written material by real experts.

Handling customer complaints

The thumbnail version:

  • Complaints can be an opportunity
  • Complaints can also a sign that you don’t need the customer

The full version:

It’s easy to take a customer’s complaints personally, particularly if you know that there is nothing you could have done differently. The key here is to think of a customer complaint as an opportunity.

Customer complaints will happen and can be irritating when they do. However, with some restraint and by viewing a complaint as an opportunity to impress with a speedy response that solves the problem, you can turn a lemon into lemonade. If you handle it well you may end up with a more loyal customer than you had before the issue arose.

We obviously can’t satisfy you, please leave!

But, we also can’t lose sight of the fact that some people are serial complainers by nature and cannot be placated, no matter how far you bend over backwards. For these the only solution might be to “fire” them. Firing customers is a perfectly legitimate business practice. It’s your shop and you can choose with whom you want to do business according to what you want out of your business specifically, and life generally.

Hopefully you’ll never encounter anything as bad as this, but it makes the point about customers you’d wouldn’t want at any price (and it has a funny ending).

Spice up your clients’ offices

The thumbnail version:

  • Décor influences productivity
  • You customers’ offices present an opportunity

The full version:

Studies show that office productivity is influenced by the décor. It seems that when some thought and effort is directed at installing attractive décor it boosts morale which in turn boosts productivity.

Designing office décor ideas.

This creates an opportunity for digital graphics shops to help transform their clients’ offices via tasteful and attractive wraps and decals from floors to ceilings and everything in between. The possibilities are endless. A search of industry literature of the past few years have plenty of examples for wall wraps, canvas artwork, floor decals, decals for windows and glass panels, filing cabinets, and even desks. And it doesn’t need to stop there—a recent example was a 15-ft diameter round ceiling wrap.

This may be an avenue worth pursuing with existing customers who may never have given a thought to what your shop can do to jazz up their décor.

Collaborating with an interior decorator my be a good idea if you don’t have the design expertise in house. Sometimes one has to take the initiative to generate additional revenue streams—this could be one of them.

Sign Manufacturing Day

The thumbnail version:

  • The annual event had to go online in 2020
  • It was still a success
  • Get in on the 2021 event

The full version:

Future employees at a Sign Manufacturing Day.

Sign Manufacturing Day is an annual event that exposes shops to students who could potentially consider a career in the industry. It’s usually held in the first week of October when participating shops give groups of students shop tours.

Last year, this event, like so many others, had to adapt to the conditions of COVID by taking the event online. The organizers have reported that it was a success in spite of the unusual circumstances.

Now would be a good time to get your shop in on this event for 2021. Not only is participation in anything like this good exposure for your shop but it could give you access to up and coming talent.

Sign Manufacturing Day is organized by the Sign Association of Canada.

Roland’s VersaWorks and the TR2 ink upgrade

Thumbnail version:

  • Roland is phasing out TR INK.
  • The TR2 upgrade process may give a VersaWorks error message
  • The fix is easy

The full version:

Roland is phasing out TR INK and replacing it with the superior TR2 inks. Aside from an improved ink, they’re promising you improved machine performance as well.

However, the TR2 upgrade process, while smooth for most operators, can result in VersaWorks giving the following error message: “The printer connected differs from the one being used. Please select the correct model and ink type or verify the port settings.”

If this happens, Roland recommends that you follow this procedure after you have saved any files, settings or profiles you may have built in VersaWorks in order to restore them if lost during the initialization: 

  1. Close out VersaWorks
  2. Reintilaize the application using the following steps:
    • Drive to the file ‘C:Program Ffiles/versaworks/versainit
    • Run the versainit
    • You will get a prompt to initialize the apploication. Click “Yes”.
  3. Once the initialization is complete, restart VersaWorks and re-add the printer.

VerasWorks should now recognize your pinter.

This information is available on the Roland DGA website. If you have any doubts at all about this procedure, please Contact Rob at Stanley’s Edmonton office (780 424 4141) or Graham at Stanley’s Calgary office (403 243 7722) for guidance.

 

 

Welcome back!

Welcome back and Happy New Year!

The crew are back at all four Stanley’s branches today, well rested and ready to get 2021 off to a flying start. 2020 was a difficult year and as we start 2021 we should do so optimistically, keeping in mind what Winston Churchill said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

And while we’re looking ahead to a better year, there’s another wise quote we can use. This one is from the author, Maria Robinson, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Stanley’s is ready to attend to your needs. Just keep in mind though that the COVID protocols of last year are still in place.

Edmonton 780 424 4141

Calgary 403 243 7722

Cambridge 519 620 7342

Richmond 604 873 2451

 

A quick quiz . . . How well do you know your industry?

Thumbnail version:

  • The recent Sign Media survey yielded some interesting facts about the industry
  • Take the quick quiz and see how well you know your industry

The full version:

The idea is that this short quiz will pique your interest so that you’ll go read the full survey results.

The questions about the sign and graphics industry in Canada as revealed by respondents to Sign Media’s survey :

  1. What percentage of respondents have been in the industry for longer than 30 years?
  2. What percentage of respondents are 29 years old and under?
  3. What percentage of respondents have been with their current company for between 5-9 years (more in this bracket than any other)?
  4. What percentage of respondents are female?
  5. What percentage of the respondents say their companies pay their employees bonusses?
  6. What percentage of shops saw a reduction in revenue of more than 20% due to the pandemic?

The answers:

  1. 19.5 percent.
  2. 8 percent.
  3. 29 percent.
  4. 25 percent.
  5. 40 percent.
  6. 43 percent.

Industry associations—some interesting numbers

Being connected is essential to progress

The thumbnail version:

  • Sign Media survey shows up some interesting industry association numbers
  • It’s a good time to consider your shops memeberships

The full version:

This is not the first time you’ve seen something about industry associations here, and it won’t be the last. This is because the benefits are real. As an earlier post pointed out, no sign shop is an island but part of an industry with which it needs to interact in order to thrive.

The best way to interact is through industry associations.

Here is an excerpt from the recent results of the Sign Media Canada 2020 Salary Survey Report . . .

“Professional associations help to connect similar businesses in the sign industry which all abide by a set code of ethics. These not-for-profit groups promote the welfare of the industry, the status of members in the community, and the benefits of users of signs.”

It goes on to say, “Therefore, it is not surprising, 29.4 percent of respondents belong to the Sign Association of Canada (SAC), while 21.4 percent are members of the International Sign Association (ISA).”

Give your industry association memberships some thought as you plan for the coming year. Apparently high numbers of your competitors are, so can you afford to not?

Stanley’s holiday hours

Finally! This crazy year is drawing to a close.

The crew at Stanley’s want to thank you for your support and for your understanding as they implemented the necessary measures to help battle COVID-19. It wasn’t always convenient but together we kept the industry going.

Next year will be more of the same initially but with responsible behavior and the introduction of vaccines, hopefully 2021 will be end up more “normal” that 2020 has been.

Regardless though, as always, the Stanley’s crew will be there to attend to your needs with their range of brand-name products and technical support.

In the meantime, if you’re going to need supplies from now to the end of the holiday period, please keep in mind that all four branches will be closing at 4.00 pm on the 23rd and reopening at 8.30 am on January the 4th.   

 

Industry shows, galas and conferences move online

The thumbnail version:

  • COVID-19 has forced events online
  • It presents an opportunity for smaller shops in particular

The full version:

COVID-19 has caused many changes to the way we work, network, and attend shows, galas, and conferences. The latest example is the Best of Canada’s Sign Industry (BOCSI) awards gala.

This year it was livestreamed to more than 150 participants. It included a networking session and a running chat bar where participants could share comments. The benefit of running this type of event this way is that participants can join from the comfort of their shops or homes. There is no time lost to travel, no travel expense, and no accommodation expense.

In some cases this may become a permanent way for organizations to run shows, galas and conferences. For example, an art organization that for many years has hosted an annual conference in different cities around the U.S. for three or four hundred members, some of whom would travel from as far afield as Australia, went virtual on Zoom this year. Attendance was up over 700 hundred people from over 30 different countries. The money raised from paid attendance at the various workshops over the three-day conference far exceeded expectations and what the conference had raised in previous years. They’re considering making this a permanent arrangement.

This may be one of the legacies of COVID-19—online shows, galas, and conferences replacing the much more costly in-person events. If that is what happens, it presents an opportunity for smaller shop owners in particular to access industry events a lot more readily and with much less expense.

Something to look out for.

 

Post-pandemic. Are you planning ahead for a solid recovery?

The thumbnail version:

  • Pandemic has had a severe impact on the industry
  • Shops will have to focus on certain drivers in the coming recovery

The full version:

Martin Schoeppler, CEO and president of Fujifilm Dimatix, writing for Sign Media Canada, explores the state of the industry after the impact of COVID-19 and how the post-pandemic industry will be different from before.

He includes mention of sign companies diversifying into textiles but we’ve already addressed that extensively here, so no need to do it again. However, the conclusion to his article is worth paying some attention to . . .

“It is evident the pandemic has had a severe impact on the printing industry at large; however, the author’s company and its customers are already firmly focused on the drivers that will enable a solid recovery. The voices heard form the field are indications of what is to come; advanced and innovative technology, customized customer service, and service dexterity, which will continue to be the foundations of an effective response in gaining a competitive advantage even during this challenging period.”

Planning the post-pandemic recovery.

If the bigger players in the industry are already “firmly focused on the drivers that will enable a solid recovery”, shouldn’t we all be?

From a small sign shop’s perspective, the key items mentioned as part of the recovery are “customized customer service” and “service dexterity.” These are elements that even the smallest shop with very limited resources can deliver in the post-pandemic world to ensure survival and growth.

Are you focused on the drivers that will enable a solid recovery?

 

Signs of the times

The thumbnail version:

  • The pandemic has presented a whole new marketplace for sign printers
  • Roland DGA has confirmed what we’ve been saying for months
  • Is your shop participating?

The full version:

Of course we’re printing COVID signs!

As as been pointed out here ever since the pandemic began, new opportunities have presented themselves to the digital and graphics industry. I mean of course the various new signs that retailers and institutions in particular need to deal with social distancing and other matters related to COVID-19.

It should come as a surprise to nobody then that Sign Media Canada, quoting Jay Roberts of Roland DGA, would report: “The sign industry paradigm suddenly shifted to: we need this now. End -users quickly began generating large amounts of signage for closures, new business practices such as take-out only, and crowd management. These signs were vital to keeping companies in touch with their clients throughout the crisis and into the phases or reopening.”

So, here’s the question . . .  Is your shop getting its share of this bonanza?  If not, isn’t it time to get in on the opportunity?

Sign printers and textiles — a forecast you should know about.

The thumbnail version:

  • Sign shops are eyeing textile printing
  • The forecast is eye-opening.

The full version:

Hey! Here’s a forecast you should know about!

Sign printers are apparently eyeing textile printing as a diversification option. According to Ginny Mumm writing for Sign Media Canada, Allied Market Research’s industry forecast for 2020-2027 suggests that the global digital textile printing market will grow by a compound annual growth of 19.1%.

This projection includes direct-to-fabric prints and dye sublimation.

If this projection turns out to be even close to accurate, it suggests a huge diversification trend in the digital and graphics industry. And apparently it includes all sizes of shops, right across the board.

So, something you should be aware of and probably explore. No good eventually turning up after the train has left the station!

As this COVID-19 situation drags on, are you staying in contact with your customers?

The thumbnail version:

  • As COVID-19 and the counter-measures surge back and forth, it’s confusing
  • Staying in touch with your customers through this situation is vital

The full version:

This topic is so important that it’s worth revisiting.

As this virus situation surges back and forth and governments update or change the counter-measures, it can be confusing.  Some, but not enough businesses are clarifying the uncertainty and confusion as it affects their business with their customers.

Are you open for business? Are you shut completely? If so, for how long? Are you operating but on a limited scale? Customers have questions in this rapidly-changing situation and you should do what you can to keep them informed.

Tell them what you’re doing or not doing, and update your information daily. This is where your social media platforms, email, blog, and even the telephone, can be useful tools at this time. Use them.

When all this is over, don’t you want your customers to remember that during a time of confusion and uncertainty, you cared enough to keep them informed?

It’s just smart business.

What does it require?

Thumbnail version:

  • What goes into building a success story?
  • It starts with a vision and proceeds with certain principles

Full version:

It starts with a well-thought out vision.

So what does it require to take a sign shop from a kitchen-table operation to a 33,000 square foot facility? It takes a vision and a willingness to realize that vision.

In an interview with SignMedia Canada the following question was asked: “What makes your company unique?”

The answer . . . “The ability to adapt to changing trends, technology, and market shifts allows our company to be more than just a vendor to our clients. It enables us to be strategic partners where information is moved back and forth to make sure we provide maximum value and service.”

The rest of the discussion addresses topics such as quality and service, which have to of course be part of the operating principles if a business is to succeed.

The company is Sticky Media of Montreal. Check them out. Read the full interview. Be inspired.

Dye sublimation as an additional option

The thumbprint version:

  • Sign shops are diversifying their production
  • Dye sublimation is gaining in popularity

The full version:

Do I or do I not add dye sublimation?

When various contributors to industry magazines discuss diversifying a shop’s offering, dye sublimation comes up repeatedly. Some shops are apparently seeing dye sublimation as a vital component of their production in the future.

Dye sublimation’s attraction lies in the light fabrics that can be used and the vibrant colours the process produces. Apparently customers find this combination very appealing. Add stretch and backlit possibilities and it’s not hard to see why dye sublimation has a growing fan base.

The only limiting factor seems to be size of print but the industry is expected to solve that challenge in the near future.

If you like to keep your shop on the cutting edge, dye sublimation sounds like something you should be investigating.

What does it take to be “Sign Company of the Year”?

The thumbnail version:

  • The Sign Company of the Year for 2020 has been announced
  • It takes certain qualities to win this

The full version:

The recent BOSCIes awards included one for “Sign Company of the Year”.

So what does it take to qualify for this award? How were Access Signs of Longueil, Quebec, described in the announcement?

“Aside from concentrating on revenue, Access Signs has made a direct effort to ensure it is engaged and involved in the industry through its director of business development, and by encouraging industry initiatives. The company is actively involved in provincial and national sign associations and is also a member of the local chamber of commerce, as well as donating signage to various food banks and charities. The shop offers each employee full training when onboarding them by matching them with a senior employee. Weekly lunches and learning sessions on Fridays help expand the staff’s product knowledge.”

So, there you have it. Any ideas you can use?

Employee compensation vs recognition

The thumbnail version:

  • Recognizing an effort beyond the call of duty is smart business
  • There are many, many ways of recognizing employees

The full version:

A recognized employee is a happy employee.

Bob Nelson in his book, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, writes: “Compensation is what you give people for doing the job they were hired to do. Recognition, on the other hand, celebrates an effort beyond the call of duty.”

So what are examples of recognition? Well, he lists 69 items but, to be frank, some of them are too silly to mention and some of them are dated. For instance, I’m not sure any of your employees would appreciate a “tape deck for their car.” Some are not at all realistic for the average Canadian digital and graphics shop such as “an overseas training trip.” But here are some that any shop could manage:

  • Paid day off.
  • Magazine subscription
  • Birthday card and cake
  • Tickets to an event
  • Recognition lunch
  • Post about the employee on social media
  • Round of golf
  • Home computer
  • Gift certificate
  • Finally, a long list of other things you could dream up if you tried.

Recognizing employees who perform beyond the call of duty, is smart business.

Floor graphics can’t be slippery!

The thumbnail version:

  • The demand for COVID-19 floor graphics will be here for some time yet
  • The substrates for floor graphics haver to be carefully selected

The full version:

The demand for floor graphics is probably going to persist for a while yet as COVID-19 shows no signs of abating. This isn’t news, we’ve been addressing the topic in posts for some time.

It must be specially designed non-slip material.

But recently an article (can’t remember where) addressed the topic of substrates suitable for floor graphics. The point being made was that if the floor graphic were printed on the wrong substrate it might solve one issue but cause another, in the form of a slip and fall with serious consequences.

The writer urged printers to be very careful in their selection of substrates for floor graphics. This might seem obvious to some old hands at producing floor graphics but right now there are a lot of shops meeting the demand for floor graphics that have never printed them before. They in particular need to be aware that the substrate has to be specifically designed for non-slip qualities.

Not only is it common sense to use the right substrate but failing to do so could lead to negligence suits should someone slip and be injured.

Décor printing

The thumbnail version:

  • Customized décor prints are trending
  • Some research could get a graphics shop into this market

The full version:

Judging by a number of recent articles there seems to be a trend in businesses and individuals looking for ways to create unique customized décor for the spaces they occupy.

Interior decorators would make good contacts.

This presents an opportunity for large format digital printers to provide customized short runs. While wall coverings may be beyond the scope of most smaller digital and graphic shops in Canada, textile prints to be used as cushion covers, fine art printed on canvas, wall decals, blinds and a host of other items, are not.

Hooking up with a few interior decorators as well as some market research into this potential opportunity could be worth your while.

Industry associations

The thumbnail version:

  • No sign shop is an island
  • Join an industry association

The full version:

The BOCSIes awards results are always a good reminder to encourage sign shops to join an industry association, in this case the Sign Association of Canada.

No shop should try to exist as an island.

If your shop is not  a member of an industry association you run the risk of being out of touch with developments in the industry. And aside from keeping in touch and being inspired by developments as and when they occur in today’s rapidly-changing environment, there are also of course all kinds of facilities to be enjoyed and contacts to be made.

Just one such facility is the Sign Media Job Board where employers looking to fill a vacancy or employees looking for a job can meet.

Just as John Donne made the point in his 1624 poem that no man is an island but part of a greater society with which he needs to interact in order to thrive, so it can be said that no sign shop is an island but part of an industry with which it needs to interact in order to thrive.

Join an association.

 

Inspiration from the winners of the BOCSIes 2020 awards

The thumbnail version:

  • The BOCSIes awards winners have been announced
  • Check them out and be inspired

The full version:

The winners of the 2020 Best of Canada’s Sign Industry awards (BOCSIes) have been announced.

The merit of entries were judged in five aspects: originality; creativity; materials; appearance; and design sustainability. There were thirteen categories of signs covering every aspect of the sign industry in Canada.

Every year we encourage sign shops to consider entering this competition. It’s the kind of thing that can set standards for the shop and boost morale. Then there is also the benefit of exposure which could lead to new business.

So, check out the winning entries in the November issue of Signmedia magazine and be inspired.

Are you your customers’ bank?

The thumbnail version:

  • Cash flow is a problem in these COVID-19 time
  • Some of your customers could be at risk of failure
  • Bad debts can kill your business
  • A cash-only policy could save your shop

The full version:

COVID-19 has had an impact on the way business is done. For instance, cash flow is a problem for many businesses, your customers included. Some established businesses have failed because they haven’t been able to collect the receivables on their books when the pandemic struck.

No credit. No receivables. No bad debts.

I once spoke to a shop owner who built his business on a cash-only basis; no credit, no receivables. Of course this disqualified him with some customers who required credit but his argument was that building a bigger business with a big receivables list is kidding yourself and and incurring unnecessary stress and risk; COVID-19 has proved his point.

No credit. No receivables. No bad debt.

if you want to reduce your exposure to risk by not serving as your customers’ bank, you could start with a notice that: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we require full payment upfront with all orders.” Then list the various ways you accept payment. Some customers may object and you’ll have to do some persuading. But if your survival is at risk . . .