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Thinking of buying or selling a shop? Three things you must know.

Thinking of buying or selling a shop? Three things you must know.

Buying or selling your shop can be a complicated process dependent upon a number of considerations. But there are three things you need to know before you begin the process—not the only things you need to know but certainly important things to know.

#1: The first thing you must know is that regardless of what I write here, what you read online or in business magazines, what your “expert” friends and family tell you, or what your know-it-all loud-mouthed neighbour advises you over the garden fence, you must consult with experienced professionals such as business valuators, accountants and lawyers when buying or selling a business. They bring a perspective and guidance you must have. That doesn’t mean that they have the last word—that should always be yours.

#2: The second thing to know is that there is no magic formula for calculating the value of a business in the real world. People will talk about multiples of sales and other such glib formulas—most of the time they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Of course there are methods for valuing businesses but just like a scalpel in the hands of anyone but a skilled surgeon is courting disaster, business valuation methods in the hands of anyone but skilled professionals can have similar consequences.

#3: The third thing you must know is that in spite of a focus on the number crunching that will go on, buying or selling a business is not a precise science and it’s not just about the numbers. A good deal of emotion can find its way into the mix too. Then there are “market” factor intangibles such as how badly the seller wants to sell and how badly the buyer wants to buy. All of that plays out in the negotiations leading to a price.

In the end, you’ll find that the experts’ advice and the numbers crunched by them will serve as a guide or a starting point around which the final price will be settled. There are various methods used to gain a theoretical value of a small business. It helps to know this and to expect your expert assistance to demonstrate that they know it too.

Automatically lock your PC with Dynamic Lock

This week the newsletter from RGCS of Edinburgh has an useful tip for automatically and dynamically locking your PC when you step away.

Dynamic Lock is a method that uses your Bluetooth-paired phone to automatically lock your Windows PC. The idea is to enhance security by ensuring that your device is locked when you’re not there.

This is how to set it up:

  1. Pair your Bluetooth-enabled phone with your PC.
  2. On your computer, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Accounts’ > Sign-in options.
  3. Scroll down to the ‘Dynamic Lock’ section and check the box for ‘Allow Windows to automatically lock your device when you’re away.’

Now Windows will use the signal strength of your paired phone to determine when to lock your PC. You’d have added a extra layer of security assuming of course that you take your phone with you when you step away.

Price isn’t everything

Price isn’t everything

I was recently reading an article by Lee Salz who argues that it is a myth that price is a paramount consideration in buying decisions..

He offered some amusing points to illustrate the argument and, while they make obvious sense, you can decide if it’s  possible to place T-shirts in the same context as drugs, sports events, electronics, water, cars, electric shavers, and food.

Salz points out, “Price has always been a main reason that keeps sales people from selling. At least, that’s what sales people say. And they’ve always had a laundry list of excuses that keep them from being able to sell.. Yet, is there any excuse more infamous than the price one? If we just lowered our price, I could sell a ton of this stuff.”

He dismisses the idea that people buy primarily based on price by offering some humourous counter-arguments.

if price is all that mattered:

  • Everyone would buy generic drugs
  • The seat every fan fights for would be the last row in the stadium
  • No one would own a Bose product
  • You would get your drinking water from a faucet
  • A Yugo would be in your driveway
  • Everyone would shave with a single blade razor
  • Starbuck’s wouldn’t have poured a single cup of coffee
  • The only food in your kitchen would be supermarket brand
  • And you wouldn’t have any customers.

And as he concludes, “After all, someone bought from your company. Not just one person, lots of people have bought from your company. Remember this the next time you let yourself argue that you can’t sell because of price. It isn’t the price… It’s your ability to demonstrate value to prospects. And, people will pay for value. You’ve just seen evidence that they do, even in your own backyard.

Soft hand starts with the screen

Soft hand starts with the screen

The first thing you are going to have to do to produce a softer plastisol print is put away your trusted old friend—the 110 mesh screen.

What you want to do is put down as little ink as possible and still get the look and feel you want. And if you are going to minimise the ink deposit, finer meshes are going to be necessary. You will have to pull out the best screens you have in 150 mesh and higher.

Your best screens will be tightly stretched (not less than 26 Newtons). Sloppy screens are not going to help your soft-hand cause at all. If you have re-tensionable screens such as Newman Roller Frames, you can reach much higher tensions which will be even more helpful for producing a softer print.

Soft-hand printing with plastisol is tricky enough without handicapping yourself with less-then-ideal screens. And, as usual, there are variables in the process impossible to quantify here— experimentation with mesh counts will almost certainly be necessary.

Obviously the ink you use matters too, but it all starts with the screens.

The constant battle against bleeding Polyester

The battle against bleeding Polyester requires a whole array of measures, one of which is setting up.

There are measures that can be taken during set up when preparing to print on Polyester that you can be pretty sure will bleed. If you conducted a bleeding test (such as we described in a recent post)  and confirmed that the fabric will bleed, you would be taking a number of measures but set-up is not one often mentioned in discussions about dye migration.

Here are set-up measures you can take:

  1. Screen mesh  tensioned to 25 to 35 newtons per sq. cm.
  2. Off-contact settings should be 1/16″ (1.5 mm) for automatic presses and 1/8″ (3 mm) for manual presses.

And, as always, keep in mind that Stanley’s staff are always available to assist with technical issues. If they don’t have the answers right away, or if it is a particularly tricky problem, they have the manufacturers’ experts to consult with as well.

These are the contact numbers for Stanley’s branches: Cambridge, 1 877 205 9218; Calgary, 1 800 661 1553; Edmonton, 1 888 424 7446; and Richmond, 604 873 2451.

Nickle and diming doesn’t win repeat business

One of the big challenges for textile screen printers is customer retention. A promptly-paying, no-hassle repeat customer is like gold to your business. So if your job is to retain the customers that you want to retain in the face of cheap competitor prices and other outside challenges, why would anyone create challenges by irritating customers by nickel-and-diming them?

Yet it happens. Perhaps when the airlines do it by deciding to charging a nominal fee for the first item of baggage (as both Canada’s major airlines ‘coincidentally’ did within a day of each other) they can get away with it because, regardless of how much you might hate them for it, what are your alternatives really? And law firms are notorious for charging for every photocopy page; there is just something unbearably irritating about a hundreds-of-dollars-an-hour lawyer charging a few cents for a photocopy on a bill of thousands of dollars. But again, what are your alternatives when they all do it? It is these little nickel-and-dime barbs that contribute to the negative impressions people have of airlines and lawyers.

While airlines and law firms can get away with irritating nickel-and-dime irritations, screen printers and a host of other businesses in competitive situations for whom irritating customers is risky, should be very cautious no matter how much they might be tempted to try recovering small costs by small charges. Logically, if you incur a cost you should recover it, but how you do it is critical.

I recall a trip to England to attend a wedding. The reception was held at one of those magnificent stately homes set in the Cotswolds countryside and now turned into a small hotel . Some of us stayed over in the hotel and when I went to pay the bill, I offered my credit card. The clerk then told me that there would be an additional charge of GBP 2.50 (about CAD4.50) for paying by any method other than cash or debit card.

Now, it is not the $4.50 that is the issue, but the irritation at being nickel-and-dimed. It would be an exaggeration to say that it spoiled the stay but it certainly left a bad taste. In a move that could only have been thought up by some bean counter with no understanding of customer relations, they managed to create a negative talking point in what should have been an entirely happy and positive experience.

The lesson here is that while it is necessary to recover your costs of doing business, there are smart ways and dumb ways of doing it. Any way that leaves your customers feeling that they have been nickeled-and-dimed, is the dumb way.