They say, “Your preparation determines your outcome.” This, by the way, is 100% accurate.
Sustained victorious results happen when you put the work in on a continual basis. For example, let’s look at baseball.
In practice, the team constantly bangs out 6-4-3 double plays, which is when the shortstop catches the ball and tosses it to the second baseman, who then fires it over to the first base. They also do variations, where the ball is hit to the second baseman, who flip it to the shortstop covering second base, who then launches it over to the first baseman. That’s called a 4-6-3 double play.
After years of playing the game, don’t you think that these guys know how to do that? They keep practicing it so that it is ingrained in them and it is all automatic muscle memory. During a game, it looks effortless.
Preparation. Determining outcome.
Let’s Look At Your Shop
So how is the quality of your preparation? Are you doing what it takes to get your employees to learn and hone their skills?
Example: Is the only way you can get consistent opacity with plastisol ink on dark-colored shirts is to double stroke every color and run your press on revolver mode?
Hmmm. There is probably a better way. The challenge is that a lot of shops, would rather put a bandaid on the process and get it to work than invest the time and effort in learning how to do it the correct way.
Preparation. Determining outcome again.
The above example could be really anything in your business. How you sell. The way your website works. Maybe the current method in your receiving department. Your lack of processes for preventative maintenance on equipment.
There is a never-ending list of things you could be doing better.
The challenge is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Many shops are happy as clams doing things the same way as they did when they started. The problem is that if you are not continually learning, you are getting left behind.
This industry is constantly evolving. New fabrics to print on. Entirely new decoration methods. Evolving equipment technology. Customers that crave something new.
Three Questions to Ask
So stop for a minute and take a deep breath. Ask yourself these three questions.
One: Do we have the right people?
Some shops fill positions just because they need people doing the work. These days, it could be a challenge in your area to find folks who can consistently show up every day. I get it.
However, there is a consequence to staffing your business with anyone that can fog a mirror. If you are constantly talking about so-and-so and their inability to do whatever-it-is, the time is now to let them go work for someone else and hire someone better.
How are you letting new people onto your team? Is there a process? What are you looking for in an employee? Are they a good fit? Can they handle the work?
Again, preparation determines the outcome.
Two: Are we doing the right things?
What are the right things for this industry? Do you know? How do you know?
When was the last time you compared your processes, procedures, and basic methodologies for doing the work in your shop to others? What if there is a better way? Would you change?
Say it with me. Preparation determines the outcome.
Three: Are we doing those things right?
As many of you know, I’m a data nerd. I love a good spreadsheet that is tracking metrics.
Frankly, it is because I suck at math. Yes. I’m one of those people that need a calculator for everything. I’m an artist for starters, so math skills work on the wrong side of the brain. But, spreadsheets are a different story. All you need to get is the formula right. Then, the numbers sing their own song.
There is nothing better than visualizing your data with a graph. Especially if you don’t play well with math. The squiggly lines going up or down inform you of progress and status so you can make changes.
The challenge is that getting that data can be tricky. Unless you use good tools.
How does it go again? You got it now. Preparation determines the outcome.
See? Now all you have to do is get to work on this stuff. Talk to me if you need some help.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser
“Victory is a child of preparation and determination.” – Sean Hampton
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Marshall Atkinson also shares exclusive blog content at Supacolor.com. Supacolor makes The World’s Best Heat Transfer and provides tips, inspiration, and other resources designed to empower professional garment printers.