Doing business is stressful and difficult, but one thing that keeps me going is that I truly take pride in the products that we produce and get gratification out of the fact that our company takes our customer’s ideas and designs and turns them into reality with actual tangible products.
Everything we do is customized so we do projects for groups that range from the military, schools, popular fashion brands, Fortune 500 Corporations, police departments, motorcycle groups, airsoft teams, sports teams, and the list could go on and on. I once told one of my friends that our products are historical artifacts. If you look at the embroidered patches, tshirts, and caps that we do, you can get a snippet of what is happening socially, and politically in the United States and the world at the time. For example since the companies existence we have done a lot of patches for the military in Afghanistan and Iraq, and have even done orders for Afghan and Iraqi units trained by the US military forces. The terminology used in the products that we design for sports teams and motorcycle groups will give you a sense of the slang or colloquial language being used at the time.
There was a time where I was intimately involved with every order in the company. As the company’s only sales and customer service rep, and our only production employee I did everything. Thankfully we employed more people and I’m now far removed from this process. However, everyday I still briefly inspect the orders going out of our office each day. Its something that I spend at least 15 minutes doing everyday, because I enjoy it, but also because it allows me to get a sense of our quality. These 15 minutes are very valuable as I have completely changed the processes of our company, and created new initiatives to improve quality by doing these brief inspections.
As an entrepreneur or manager you have to be focused on the big picture. However, to make the big picture clear, it is also very important to get a tactile understanding of what is happening in your organization. Why do you think Jeff Bezos the CEO of Amazon requires that all of his top managers including himself must take at least two days of customer service training every year? Or why does Bernard Arnault spend time traveling around the world to visit their Louis Vuitton retail stores? This is not a publicity stunt, but rather an understanding that no matter how large your organization is, it is important to touch and feel the key components of your operation, which will allow you to understand a story about your business that goes beyond the data.
By looking at our products I can get an understanding of who our customer is, what they are ordering, the quality coming from our manufacturing vendors, and the level of quality control standards that our production team is exerting over our factory suppliers.