Diversification 101

Award-winning author and international speaker Jimmy Lamb has over 25 years of product decoration business experience. Mr. Lamb has extensive knowledge in many facets of digital decorating and embellishing including business startup, applications, techniques, marketing, sales, mobile, production and management. He has owned and operated a successful production facility, started a retail franchise operation and has provided production solutions to a variety of Fortune 500 corporations involved in customization, decoration and embellishment. His articles appear regularly in various industry magazines in the United States and Europe. In addition, Mr. Lamb is a frequent speaker at Industry Events and Trade Shows domestically and internationally. Currently, he works with Sawgrass Technologies as the Manager of Communication and Education, where he has been instrumental in developing their educational seminars and webinars. 

Diversifying your business doesn’t mean running out and buying the latest and greatest equipment in hopes you can put it to use. Rather, it begins with an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, followed by an in-depth look at procurement trends. What products are customers buying that you can’t deliver? How often do they order? What the expected turn-around times? What are the preferred quantities?

For example, if you are an awards and engraving retailer who is focused on corporate accounts, you produce plaques, awards, ID products, signage, promotional items and more. However, those same businesses all have a need for embroidery on caps, shirts, jackets, etc. with embroidered logos. If you only offer awards and engraving, you aren’t getting that business because you don’t have the capabilities to produce it.

And there is another twist. Since your customers are going to other sources for things, they may find a shop that can service more of their needs, including the things that you were supplying. Thus, you may lose customers in the long run.

Therefore, if you are a decorator of any kind, you need to pay close attention to the full spectrum of needs that each customer has and focus on getting all of their business rather than just a small portion. The key here is diversification of services so you can produce a much larger range of products on demand and in small runs as needed.

—Jimmy Lamb, Sawgrass