Lessons I’ve Learned As A New Business Owner

As we near the end of the first quarter of 2017, I can’t believe I am already about to go into my fifth year of owning Image Builders. It has been a crazy ride so far, but I could not be happier with where we stand as a company today. Here are a few lessons I have learned along the way.

download (1)1. Surround yourself with good people

 

I have to brag a little bit, my staff is amazing. They are an incredible team and are always working together to reach our goals and take care of our clients. We are a small operation but everyone is always willing to go the extra mile to take care of business. They make me look good!

2. Give up some responsibility

I’ll admit,  giving up control over certain things as an owner was not easy. However, everyone has certain skills and it’s important to let go of some things and let people do what they do best. Trust is the key to every successful work environment.

rocking3. Never worry alone

Sometimes things get stressful at work, it’s okay to talk to others and share your concerns. Worrying is like being in a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but won’t get you anywhere. If needed, grab another chair and rock together! 

4. Don’t forget to have fun at work

Let’s face it, we are here for 40 plus hours almost every single week. We may as well enjoy ourselves and have some fun. It’s okay to laugh at yourselves for the silly little mistakes and blunders. Life goes on either way!

5. Put the customer firstdownload

We strive every day at Image Builders to put our clients first. We make it easy for them to trust us and work with us. We always want our customers to know that we have their best interest at heart before anything else.

6. You don’t need to be perfect

It’s okay to make mistakes. None of us would be where we are today without making some mistakes on the way and learning from them. The road to success is not a smooth freeway; it’s a road full of potholes, roundabouts, and red lights.

comfort zone7. Get out of your comfort zone

I have been so far out of my comfort zone at times I wasn’t sure I would find my way back. However, each one of these sometimes uncomfortable experiences has helped me grow personally and professionally.

8. Be grateful

I am incredibly grateful to all of the wonderful friends, clients, employees, and suppliers that work with us and help to make us a success, I never take that for granted.

9. Time flies, so enjoy the ridefb1

As the great Ferris Bueller once said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look
around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

 

– Julie Zniewski

Doing It Right: Fulfillment

There were many sounds to be heard last week within the confines of the Image Builders shipping room. The squeaky snarls of the tape dispensers . The subtle slapping of labels onto boxes. The chit-chat of Traci as she stuffs boxes with bubble-wrap whilst trying to decide which 90’s Bruce Willis movie was the best (see below).

After having collectively put together, packaged, and shipped over 1200 barbecue gift sets (1 sportula, 2 bottles of barbecue sauce, and a custom bag) in a matter of a few days, we felt like we had just climbed Mt. Everest (minus the gale-force winds and lung shattering atmospheric conditions). In our defense however, the shipping room was humid enough that we had to casually fan ourselves with folded up packing slips – which is nearly as extreme as any mountain summit. It’s a rough life, we know.

All jokes aside, when you work with Image Builders for your promotional needs, just know that we take pride in our fulfillment capabilities. We want to make sure our customers are 100% satisfied, and fulfillment is a large piece to the puzzle. Every package is personally handled by one of our team members from start to finish. This approach allows us to ensure each and every order is defect-free, packaged carefully to prevent damage, sorted correctly, and shipped out on-time. Whether it’s 12 t-shirts or 1200 multi-piece gift sets, we handle and pack each order with more care than a suburban dad handles and packs his beer cooler. Now that is some serious attention to detail.

 

 

 

Doing It Right: Customer Service

Back in the day when I gracefully (awkwardly) pranced the hallways of my high school, I occasionally had friends ask me if my mom could do an order of custom t-shirts for them. Whether it was for student groups, miscellaneous events, or just for fun, there was always some unspoken expectation that these t-shirts would be super intricate and dirt cheap at the same time. Even after requesting apparel that included 97 different colors, 4 pockets, a multi-colored zipper, and a built-in GPS system, people just didn’t understand why the t-shirts were so expensive.

Why shouldn’t they just google “custom t-shirts”, create their own design right on the website, and order some cheap t-shirts from overseas? That’s exactly what most of them did. And I shook my head in disappointment every time, knowing what was going to happen. I’m going to refer now to the old adage “You get what you pay for”. 

Obviously there are exceptions to this. For example, the 99 cent slushies at Super America are just as good or perhaps better tasting than the 4.99 slushies at the movie theater (I hope I didn’t spark controversy here). When it comes to custom apparel however, you really do get what you pay for.

It always brought a smile to my face as I watched classmates walking around with flustered looks on their faces, trying so hard to avoid that temptation to pick away at the uncomfortable (and already peeling) heat pressed logo on their “awesome” new t-shirts. Along with that, it was always fun observing the two or three t-shirts with blatant misspellings or crooked logo alignment. On an overall awkward/failure scale, these t-shirt orders ranked just slightly above actor Michael Cera’s attempt at growing a mustache (see below).

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Pretty painful, I know. With Image Builders however, this kind of awkward pain can be avoided. Having a small customer-oriented staff with knowledge about all phases of our operation, we can assure you that you will be more than satisfied with whatever promotional item you may need.

We aren’t just some computer generated design and order system; we will work with you to make sure your promotion is high quality, with a visually appealing and effective message. If there are bumps in the road, we have the expertise and flexibility to quickly address any issues to ensure your satisfaction. That’s the small business advantage.

So remember the next time you order custom apparel, you get what you pay for. You can go experience the second-to-none customer service here at Image Builders, or you can roll the dice and end up looking dweebier than Michael Cera’s mustache. Your choice.