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Manager's To Do

Scout Your Competition, Upgrade Your Lighting, and More Must-Do Items to Start the New Year

Also, your best chance to cross-train is right now.




Jan. 8-14

STRATEGY Look at what your competitors are doing and learn from them, both the good and the bad. Visit their websites and subscribe to their newsletters. This will keep you up to date on trends, where your market is moving, and, at a glance, what everyone else is advertising, discounting, and featuring.

Jan. 15-21

TRAINING The early part of the year is a great time to do cross training as staff are usually more receptive to new concepts and the idea of change. Draw up a schedule. Once trained, all your staff, from sales to production, will be able to discuss installation, artwork maintenance, or anything else that comes during an interaction with a customer.

Jan. 22-28

MANAGEMENT Take an inventory of your tech use and evaluate each item for its usefulness, working on the assumption that if something can’t justify itself, it’s out. Exit the social networks you barely use and get rid of the apps that have no benefit. Yep, that means Candy Crush may have to go.

Jan. 29-Feb 4

SHOWROOM Nothing has the immediate impact on your showroom that a lighting upgrade will. Bring in a consultant for a day. With their help, you may be able to upgrade to the latest LEDs and make other changes to bring sparkle to your showroom again.

Feb. 5-11

STRATEGY A lot has changed in the last few years. Ask staff to answer this one question: Why should people in your local community still buy from you? After you’ve been in business for a while, it’s easy to get complacent and ignore new competitors and changes in the industry, society, and marketplace. It’s time to try and get in your customers’ heads.

Feb. 12-18

HIRING Be prepared. You never know when you might come across your next superstar employee. It could be the server at a restaurant or someone you meet at a party. Business coach Bob Negen recommends keeping business cards on hand and committing to memory the phrase “I hope you’re happy here, but if you ever want to make a change, here’s my business card.” It makes the “ask” simple and effective.


Feb 19-25

OPERATIONS Dump Your Bacn. This is the term for those dozens of email newsletters you’ve subscribed to. A study by MessageGate estimates up to 30 percent of emails are bacn. A huge inbox slows searches and makes your head hurt.

CUSTOMER SERVICE Add a monthly tip to your website.

Big Picture magazine has been serving wide-format printing professionals for more than 25 years, providing business-specific content to help boost bottom lines through its industry-leading magazine, website, email bulletins, Brain Squad and social media channels.





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