Small Biz Confidence Drops Amid Government Shutdown
Concerned by the wrangling in Washington, small business owners' confidence in the American economy dropped to a nine-month low in October. Read Article
That's according to a new survey from Vistage International Inc. and The Wall Street Journal, which reported that only 36% of owners feel the economy is improving, down 11 percentage points from September.
As telling, the survey's owner optimism index dropped from a record-high of 105.3 in September to 97 this month. While that's up from the 95.3 reading a year ago, it's a downward departure from the rest of 2013's readings, which have been above 100 – the index's baseline score – since February. Conducted between October 7 and October 16, the survey of 692 businesses with less than $20 million in annual revenue found that just 21% of owners expect economic conditions to improve next year, down from 30%.
Analysts said the government shutdown played a central role in driving down confidence. Richard Curtin, a University of Michigan researcher who analyzed the October survey results, told The Wall Street Journal that it was “troublesome” that Congressional impasses were causing economic uncertainties. The assessment that the angst in Washington contributed to the sentiment slip was evidenced, too, by the fact that confidence dropped most precipitously among federal contractors – all the way down to 89.4, compared to 99.1 among firms that conduct no business with the federal government.
Meanwhile, a separate survey from the Principal Financial Group also found apprehension among small business owners. While two-thirds reported that they have surplus capital, 75% said they aren't spending the cash, primarily because of concerns over the economy and health-care costs.
3M Reports Quarterly Sales
Minnesota-based 3M, the parent company of Counselor Top 40 supplier 3M Promotional Markets (asi/91240), has announced its third-quarter sales were $7.9 billion, a record for the three-month period. Read Article
3M reported third-quarter net income of $1.2 billion and announced a Q3 operating income margin of 22%.
“The 3M team delivered another strong performance in the third quarter,” said Inge G. Thulin, 3M's chairman. “All business groups generated positive organic sales growth and operating margins above 20%. At the same time, we further strengthened the company through increased investments in innovation, commercialization and manufacturing.”
Sales in 3M's safety and graphics division rose 8.1% to $1.4 billion during the third quarter, while revenues in its health care segment increased 6.8%, reaching $1.3 billion. Industrial sales gained 6.2%, consumer sales jumped 4.2% and electronics improved by 3.8%. Geographically, 3M reported a 10.5% sales increase in Latin America and Canada, and a 4.5% rise in the U.S.
Updating its full-year forecast, 3M expects 2013 sales growth of between 3% and 4%, a slight upgrade from previous predictions. In its latest financial statement, 3M did not break out sales revenue for 3M Promotional Markets. According to Counselor estimates, 3M's 2012 North American ad specialty sales were $103.2 million, ranking the supplier as the 12th largest in the industry.
The Joe Show: Fun New Products
In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off some new items that are perfect for a variety of upcoming promotions. Read Article
Looking for a product that's sure to intrigue dog owners? How about a multi-function item that's guaranteed to garner desktop real estate? Watch The Joe Show for new product and promotional ideas.
Click here to watch this new-products episode of The Joe Show.
Proforma Introduces Results First Program First increase your sales and profit, then join Proforma. Would you buy a lottery ticket if you were guaranteed to win? Of course you would.
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The new Results First program makes it possible to receive the increased sales and income you're looking for without making a commitment or paying a penny. As a proven network of independently owned distributors, Proforma offers you the unusual opportunity to grow your business without an upfront investment.
Other networks say, “Join us. Pay us fees. Then we will get you results.” The Proforma Results First Program says, “We will get you results first. Then join our network and benefit from additional services.” Joining Proforma is virtually risk free. As a member, you do not need to change your business name and you're free to leave after 60 days' notice and continue to own all the customers that you brought with you.
With Proforma, you gain $400 million in purchasing clout. You'll have your own sales advisor to help plan sales growth. You're backed by $4 million dollars of marketing tools and programs to optimize success in the four key areas of business growth: selling more to current customers; earning new customers; hiring and managing sales reps; and making acquisitions.
The program is so successful that eight Proforma members recently made Inc. magazine's list of the 5000 fastest-growing companies in America. They're part of the industry's largest group of million dollar and multi-million dollar members. To see for yourself the growth potential, learn more about Proforma Results First Program at http://www.onlyproforma.com/resultsfirst/.
Counselor How-To: Hire A First Employee
Picking the right person to hire as your company's first employee is among the most critical decisions any business owner will make, according to consultant Lori Davila. "It really is important to take the time to define specifically what you're looking for and hire a person not only who you can get along with, but has evidence in their history that they can do the job and succeed," says Davila, author of How to Choose the Right Person for the Right Job Every Time.
So what should your approach be? How can you avoid mistakes? Before actively looking for an employee, Robert Wendover, author of Smart Hiring, suggests a little reflection. "First of all, I would decide whether I really need somebody," he says. "There's real confusion on the part of small-business owners – and I know, because I am one – to go out and hire a staff person, but they don't necessarily realize the costs involved. It's not only the cost of hiring, but it's the cost of bringing the person up to speed, the insurance, the worker's comp, and all of a sudden, they're spending 40% more than they thought they were."
Wendover recommends conducting a Google search for virtual assistants and determining whether this type of arrangement might fulfill your company's need. "Number one, that would give them an idea of what they should be looking for in an employee, and number two, that may be a nice stop-gap until they really get a sense of supervising people," he says.
For more tips on how to successfully make an initial hire, click here to read the full Counselor article.
Martz Agency Acquired By Entrepreneur
Arizona-based distributor and marketing firm Martz Agency (asi/263240) has been acquired by MP Agency LLC, which is owned by Phoenix Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Parsons. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed, but the combined company will now be known as Martz Parsons and Martz Agency founder Carrie Martz will assume the title of CEO.
“I am thrilled that someone I consider to be a marketing genius has purchased the agency,” said Carrie Martz. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our agency and for our clients. With Bob Parsons behind us, I believe our agency will become even more valuable to the clients we serve.”
Parsons currently has many Arizona entities under his ownership – including Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale, Go AZ Motorcycles, Spooky Fast Parts & Engineering, YAM Properties, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation and Scottsdale National Golf Club – and they will be using Martz Parsons as their agency of record for both marketing and promotional product purposes. Separately, Martz Agency's current client roster includes Yurbuds, Arizona Commerce Authority, Toronto-based Pacific Links International, Valley of the Sun YMCA, Fennemore Craig, RLC Labs, One Neck, Mirabel, The Reef Residences at Atlantis, Estrella by Newland Communities, and Olympia Group.
SGR MagazineNames Supplier Reps Of The Year
A veteran of Counselor Top 40 supplier Norwood (asi/74400) for the past 12 years, and currently with 3,000 Norwood and BIC Graphic (asi/40480) customers in her role as an inside sales rep covering Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado, Kari Rehder received an overwhelming number of nominations – more than 130 – from distributors to be SGR's 2013 Supplier Sales Rep of the Year. This is the magazine's fourth year holding the awards competition.
Gavin Unruh of Counselor Top 40 distributor EmbroidMe in Dodge City (asi/384129), notes that Rehder has always stepped up to provide samples, ideas and selling techniques for Norwood & BIC products. “She has helped us close many deals with her support,” emphasizes Unruh. “Kari is an excellent choice for this award.”
Ed Rodriguez, sales rep for TradeNet Publishing (asi/91760) and this year's first runner-up for the Supplier Rep of the Year award, is responsible for nearly 10% of the company's total annual sales and handles about 80 calls per day and about 16,000 per year. “Ed is one of the very best people I work with, and he always has my back,” says Stuart Marks, president of A Grand Impression Promotional Products LLC. “He always returns calls, never gets upset and makes me feel like I'm his only customer. He is the reason I buy from his company.”
And for the first time, SGR presented an award to the Customer Service Rep of the Year, also based on distributor votes. Counselor Top 40 supplier Hit Promotional Product's (asi/61125) Adam Peffer was the clear winner. Linda Kendall of The Prestigious Mark (asi/299267) admits that Peffer is the reason she began using Hit as one of her suppliers. “I feel confident placing a Hit order because I know that Adam will take care of me,” says Kendall. “I'll have great pricing, a great imprint and on-time merchandise. I also know that IF problems arise, Adam will be there with a solution.”
Pete Catone, customer service rep for Counselor Top 40 supplier Leed's/Polyconcept, was named first runner-up. Sandy Simon of Konik & Company (asi/244815) can attest to Catone's ability to keep relationships working. “Pete embraces the epitome of teamwork,” says Simon. “He is the number-one guy you want on your sales team.”
ASI Radio: How To Handle Difficult Superstars
On today's Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts provided listeners with advice for how to deal with talented yet difficult employees. Plus, we shared our Favorite Things, interviewed the Supplier Sales Rep of the Year, and debated the best ways to be a better leader.
If you missed the show, a recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, don't forget to join us for our next broadcast – Tuesday, November 5. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show – and give us a call at (215) 953-4979 to hear your voice on the air.
In The News
AAkron Line (asi/30270) announced that it has partnered with Hour Glass Calendars to raise awareness for men's health. Aakron Line will be giving away wall calendars, featuring Men Of Aakron showing off iconic moustaches, to anybody that donates to the campaign. Go to www.mobro.co/aakronline for information.
Dyenomite Apparel (asi/51185) announced that it received Inc. magazine's Hire Power award for increasing its work force by roughly 50%. The awards are distributed annually to private companies across the country that are leading the way in creating jobs.
Gibas Industries Inc. (asi/56730) announced that it is phasing its Dobiline Golf Products division out of the ad specialty industry. Starting November 1, 2013, the www.dobiline.com website will start to show only the products that are still available. When inventory is depleted, products will be removed from the site. The phone will be monitored, and orders and questions will still be processed through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Towel Specialties (asi/91605) announced that it won gold, silver and bronze Golden Image Awards for excellence in screen printing on textiles from the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association.
People On The Move
Eversole Run (asi/53040) announced that Eric Withaar Sales & Associates will represent the company in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.
Fey Promotional Products Group (asi/54040) announced the hiring of Elizabeth Bennett as director of product development and Candy Cummings as territory sales manager. Bennett rejoins the ad specialty industry after most recently working at General Electric. Cummings will be responsible for selling Fey brands in Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and Ohio.
GNP Branded Gear (asi/200020) announced that it hired Jessica Enck as an account executive.
Innovative Marketing & Design (asi/231237) announced that it named Felicia Lyn to lead its production department.
THE DEADLINE IS TOMORROW FOR FREE TICKETS The ASI Dallas Show is returning to Gilley's for the 2014 Gala Celebration. And, ASI distributor and decorator members can attend for FREE. But, you have to register and order your ticket by tomorrow, OCTOBER 30.
Join your colleagues and friends at an exclusive party on February 5 at the renowned Gilley's Dallas! Famous for the movie Urban Cowboy and namesake Mickey Gilley, this world-class entertainment venue is sure to thrill.
Come ready to eat, drink (open bar!), dance and play
Enjoy a Texan buffet — including hickory smoked brisket, sweet smoked ham, mesquite grilled chicken and hot cobbler for dessert
Listen to live music by Southwestern band Chris Rivers
Ride a mechanical bull and play pool
ASI distributor and decorator members can receive up to two FREE tickets to the Gala when they register for ASI Dallas by October 30. As the industry's biggest show in the Southwest, ASI Dallas, February 4-6 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, is THE place to kick off 2014. From top suppliers and best-in-class education to around-the-clock networking and a Keynote by President George W. Bush, ASI Dallas delivers it all. Register at www.asishow.com.
The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2013 and 2014:
Orlando, January 5-7, 2014
Dallas, February 4-6, 2014
Long Beach, March 25-27, 2014
New York, April 3-4, 2014
Chicago, July 15-17, 2014