Monday, March 5, 2012

Dream. Act. Matter.

A little something different today.... While we're grateful we're able to highlight specials and such for our customers (existing and new, alike), and perhaps start a conversation about some promo ideas for upcoming projects, today's post is more about following a dream (or several) you may have.  Actually acting on it.  Moving forward with it.

Our company actually started out that way: I had a dream of patenting a sunvisor I'd invented, selling it on home shopping channels, and using the gazillions I was sure to make on it, to pursue other dreams. Well, I did patent it, and I did get it on QVC several times (Yaay!), but after having consistent issues with manufacturing, decided to put all my energy into my [then] headwear business (knowing I would re-visit my visor, and other inventions, later).

My goal was a web-based business I could run from virtually [pun totally intended] anywhere. Of course, when I told people of my plans way back then, in the olden days (1999), they looked at me like I had two heads. Now, of course, there are gobs of businesses that are web-based. It's accepted, acceptable, and completely do-able. Regardless of what people said back then (insisting I "needed" an office, or a showroom, or rent to pay, before we were a "real" business), I ignored it. I knew they were reading from an old script. A new day had dawned.

We started as a headwear business, selling promotional headwear to pretty much anyone who had a logo, regardless of the size of their company (which we still do), but, in focusing on what we do most: eco-conscious, earth-friendly promotional items, I realized, how we really do walk the walk. 

We're TRULY a super eco-friendly business, in a dozen different ways: we don't commute anywhere; we use natural light 95% of the time because there's lots of light streaming in; I almost never print anything. My faxes come as emails and I, TRULY, cannot remember the last time I EVER printed one. If I have to sign something and send it back to one of our manufacturers, I open it, digitally sign it and send it right back. (I haven't bought ink for our printer in at least a year. That's the absolute truth.)    Now, for the first several years, I'm sure I printed everything, because I thought I "needed" a physical back-up of everything. But, now, with cloud-based storage, there's simply no need. I've never mailed a purchase order or an invoice. Ever. It's pointless. And a waste. Every business has email, and a fax. And that's what I use. I do send physical thank-you notes, however, because I think that's important to do. I appreciate each and every one of my customers, and I want them to know that I realize they have a choice (well, thousands of choices, of course, just a click away), and I genuinely appreciate their entrusting their promotional products choices to me. And I think that deserves to be said in my own handwriting.

Anyway, I'm entering my 13th year as an ad specialty consultant, and I'm finding I love it now more than ever. And I'm blessed to be able to say that. I also think that one of the [very big] reasons I'm able to say that is because I've continued to keep it simple. I haven't let ego -- or others' expectations -- push me into taking on things I haven't needed to (examples noted, above). I simply ask what my customers need, and I work to deliver A+ quality products, 100% of the time, with quick, attentive, customer service. On time. Every time. And I mean every time.   Focusing on those things has helped grow our business in ways I could never have imagined.  Plus, because we do run a very smooth, consistent operation, it's allowed me (without constantly worrying about what "else" I should be doing) to use time away from work to focus on those other dreams (a new visor, a new this, a new that), while taking steps to bring them to fruition (stay tuned).  It's fun, it energizes me,  and makes me happy.

We're in the last month of the first quarter.  Why don't you dust off some of those dreams you had at the beginning of the year, and take one step (even a tiny one) today (a phone call, an email, a note to yourself, a piece of material you'll need, etc.), to get that much closer to bringing them to fruition. 

Funny thing about dreams: If you don't act on them, they rarely come true.

Keep dreaming.  But act.  Now.