Friday, May 29, 2009
For instance, I heard of a guy at one GBA who outfitted the inside of his sprinter van with a full set of decorative glass and a tile floor to take to homeowner shows and unveil the possibilities. There was another guy who covered his truck with tarp and displayed his customer’s logo in giant lettering on the tarp along the side of the truck.
Trucks can be moving billboards for your company. You can use them as a canvas to paint your company's brand personality and to impress your target audience. A lot of you are doing that already. In the July/August issue, we want to put your trucks in the magazine and up on the Web in a photo gallery, so everyone can see how you are using them as a marketing tool. Some of you have already heard from me, soliciting images of trucks that tout your company; for the rest, this is your opportunity to display your rolling billboards in the magazine. E-mail the pictures to me and show off your rides to all your peers and customers. The images need to be high resolution, 4X6, 300 dpi, and the deadline is June 5. For caption information, we need:
Name and location of company submitting truck photo
Name/model/type of truck
Name of truck supplier
Name of company that provided signage
Favorite feature of the truck
Let's line up those babies for all to admire!
—By Sahely Mukerji, news editor/managing editor, Glass Magazine
Monday, May 25, 2009
I am a big believer in what my friend Bill Evans preaches in this same blog: a positive attitude can and will drive our economic recovery. Most of the time I do have a positive attitude, and when I don't, I'm pretty good at faking it. So I had a real conflict going on inside of me last week after spending just three days in Washington, D.C.
I guess that I perceive negativity emanating from D.C. for two reasons: first, most of the news reported out of D.C. these days is either negative on its face, or is contrary to my own fiscally and socially conservative views. The negative press has been well-documented and at this point is just "a given," and my political differences with the "powers that be" are really a personal problem to be remedied through the democratic process. So, there's no reason to let them get me down. The real reason I get a bad attitude soon after arriving in D.C. is disillusionment.
This was our third year in a row to attend the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Summit in D.C. The first time, I was excited and had grand visions of sitting down with my senators and representatives to discuss the issues facing small business. After all, I was there with the U.S. Chamber and thought they would want to hear what I, their constituent, had to say. (At this point, you are laughing at the typically naive first-time visitor to The Hill, right?). Well I wasn't laughing, I felt pretty small after getting turned away at every office I visited, without even getting to talk to a staffer. That's right, I relinquished my control over my own attitude to people I didn't even know, and I "let them" turn me into a cynic with a bad attitude.
I regained control of my attitude pretty fast, though I did remain a devout cynic in regards to our representative form of government. When we returned the next year, we had strength of numbers--a small delegation of award-winning companies, rather than one lone voice. While we did rate a private tour of the Capitol from a congressional staffer (it was her third week in D.C., and I think she found the tour to be educational), we again realized how important we are in Washington's eyes as we were leaving. We had been told that the Congressman was not in, but when we left his office, we saw him leaving through another doorway! Props, however, to Senator Hutchison--she took time to speak (ever so briefly) with us and pose for pictures. Of course, the newfound cynic in me wants you to note that this could have been somewhat self-serving, as she is about to run for governor ...
Last week, our third visit in as many years, saw mixed results again. At least this time I wasn't surprised. The Congressman that dodged us last year made up for it with a lot of special attention, devoting a couple of hours to personally give us an after-hours tour around the Capitol. He seemed sincere, and he does have the best pro-business voting record around, so he somewhat redeemed himself. Our other senator, on the other hand, pretty much blew us off. I had to just laugh. Actually, I had entered the week with a sarcastic attitude toward the whole thing, but I ended up with a net improvement in my feelings about our Congressional delegation.
In the end, I did leave D.C. with a positive outlook. The U.S. Chamber puts on an excellent summit, full of experts and well-known personalities. They are a good resource for small businesses, and (as I discovered first hand), they do have clout on the Hill, and they exercise it on our behalf with much success. They also offer first-class business seminars, but the best part of the summit is the opportunity to meet and interact with other business owners from around the country--this is where meaningful learning takes place. Don't be tempted to cut out professional and personal development when times are difficult, this is when we all need to be growing, learning, and looking for that next opportunity. This is when we need to be setting an example for others in our business community, and even for our employees, by investing in ourselves, our businesses and our economy. It's really a win-win opportunity to improve ourselves and our businesses while helping others to do the same.
Everyone reading this should take at least one such opportunity in 2009: The Glass Build America show in Atlanta Sept. 30-Oct. 2. I personally guarantee* that your benefits in attending the show will come back to you 10-fold. See you there.
*Chris Mammen's personal guarantee only applies if you bring a good attitude and make a bonafide good faith effort to learn something. Does not apply if you already think you know everything. Any claims against this guarantee must be made in writing and must include the correct answer to this question: What is the original source for the title to this blog, "The Captivity of Negativity?" Eligible claims will only receive an e-mail from me telling you that you must not have had a positive enough attitude and stop being a victim! No monetary guarantee is made or implied. Guarantee void in D.C.
Monday, May 18, 2009
--Phil James, president and CEO, National Glass Association, McLean, Va.
Monday, May 11, 2009
The bookkeeper gives a report of all accounts that are at least 30 days old. Each respective salesperson must report to the group the actions, if any, he/she has taken to collect the account. This permits all of us to learn which accounts are slow pay and which accounts do not pay. We have worked diligently at this and our collection period is currently averaging 32.3 days from the date of invoice.
A “third party” approach to collecting works well. We use a “third party” approach to help collect debts. For example, I say to a debtor “My dad always said that people that stay in touch with you will always pay you, but those that do not will always bat you out of it.” By referring to a third party, in this case my father, the message is clear, but not taken as a direct attack. Invariably the response is “I won’t beat you out of it. I’ll pay you.” This response allows you to set deadlines for payment without appearing attacking. The debtor has already promised to pay you. You are merely asking when they will pay you.
Another tool we use to increase our cash flow and reduce our days outstanding is to get deposits when taking the order and collecting the balance immediately upon completion of the job. Most customers are prepared to pay upon completion. Ask for the money.
Good cash flow allows you to pay your vendors within a discount period and take a discount from them. Ask you vendors for better terms. They will increase the discount amounts if you just ask. Two percent 10 days, 1 percent 30 days, net 45 days are all available in these times.
Creating good positive cash flow is a cycle that is vital at all times.
Friday, May 1, 2009
For 2009, we’ve added several new categories for the commercial, retail and fabrication markets. Review the instructions for submissions, categories and judging process below; then fill out the nomination form.
The deadline for nominations is May 14, 2009.
Here's how to submit your nomination: To give the judges a fair idea of your product/project, please describe your entry in 400 words or less, with a focus on the unique or innovative elements. For the “most innovative application” categories, only projects completed between May 2008 and May 2009 qualify. E-mail corresponding electronic images to me. The photos must have a resolution of 300 DPI or higher and be in JPG format.
A panel of judges that represent a cross section of the glass industry decide the Crystal Achievement Award winners. Judges are not allowed to vote for their own companies, or in categories in which their companies are competing.
Once nominations are received, Glass Magazine staff members prepare a judging packet consisting of descriptive information and photographs of the entries for the judges to review. If you would like to be a judge for the 2009 Crystal Achievement Awards, please call me at 703/442-4890, ext. 150, or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions or require additional information, please feel free to give me a jingle.
Review the 2009 Crystal Achievement Awards Categories. Submit your nomination today.
Get on the ball now, you don't have a whole lot of time left. May 14 is less than 10 days away. Good luck!
By Sahely Mukerji, news editor/managing editor, Glass Magazine