Why Continuing Education is the Key to Career Advancement in More Ways Than One

Print It Plus Continuing Education
When many people reach a career milestone – be it getting a job with that great new company or even starting their own business – they often leave the concept of education behind. After all, they’ve already had a huge amount of schooling up to this point and they’ve succeeded in accomplishing what they set out to, so it probably isn’t even necessary anymore, right?

Wrong.

Career advancement is a journey that never ends and continuing education is one of the single, best ways to make this road the easiest one of you’ve ever traveled.

The Key to the Future Rests in the Present

Even if you’re completely satisfied with your current position and can’t imagine ever wanting to go someplace else, continuing education is still valuable for a number of different reasons. Think about your long-term career goals. Where do you see yourself in a year? In five years? In ten? Even though you’re satisfied today, there will still likely come a day where you begin looking for a change or what a little something “extra” out of your current situation. Continuing education not only makes it easier to ask for a raise within your current position, but it also makes you more attractive if the time comes where a management position opens up within your business that you might want to pursue.

Many experts agree that when hiring managers start to look at internal candidates for a new position, they actually grade on a tougher scale than if they were looking to fill a position from outside the company. At this point, a simple history of “hard work” and “dedication” isn’t necessarily going to cut it – their expectations are higher than that. They KNOW you’re a hard worker – it’s why you still have a job. A history of regular, continuing education says that you’ve taken your dedication to a new level and that you’re not only ready for new responsibilities, but you have the ethic and the skills to back up that claim.

It’s All About Perspective

The late, great comedian Garry Shandling was a firm believer in the idea that the minute you stop working to improve yourself either personally or professionally, it’s all over. He was the type of person who believed that his work was never done. There was ALWAYS something he could learn and ALWAYS some way he could improve the quality of the product he was putting out into the world. He deeply stood by these ideals, even though by any objective standard he perfected not only the sitcom but also the comedy television format with his HBO series (and he had the dozens of Emmy nominations to back that up). Yet still, it wasn’t enough.

Just like Shandling, the moment you feel you’ve learned it all and the moment you feel like you’ve reached the point where you can’t get better, you’ve lost a game that you never really understood in the first place.

This simple idea is perhaps the most important reason why continuing education is the key to career advancement, regardless of the type of industry you’re working in. It forces you to think about ways that you could be doing better and about the shortcomings in your daily life that you need to address. It keeps you moving forward, but it keeps you grounded at the same time. Continuing education doesn’t just make you a better employee on paper because you get to add a new certification or qualification to your resume – it makes you a better person, period.


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Inspiring Company Cultures: A Great Place to Work

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How often do you dread coming to work in the morning? Even for business owners who love what they do, sometimes getting out of bed and coming to work can be a chore. Putting a priority on developing a company culture that inspires your employees to have fun at work can help take the dreariness out of the everyday mundane. While not all businesses have a budget to implement all of these ideas, you can find some creative juice from what these companies have put in place to make their workers enjoy the workplace.

What Makes a Great Place to Work?

Sparks, a marketing company, creates activities that make work fun for their employees. Some of the activities they have implemented include:

  • Mix & Mingle – A program that coordinates employees from different departments having lunch together.
  • Food4Thought – Focuses on lunchtime presentations from various departments and what they are doing.
  • Events – Creating parties for holidays and other occasions.

Encourage Staff to Get Up Out of Their Chairs

Limeade, an employee engagement platform, tries to get their workers out of their chairs by using standing desks, walking meetings, puzzle stations, coloring stations, fitness challenges, and even Nerf wars.

Let Employees Play Games

TinyPULSE, a performance review company, has office games that the staff play together to relax and de-stress throughout the day. Two of their favorite games are Werewolf and Eat Poop, You Cat. These games can be played by the entire staff at short intervals one at a time. Team members can take a few moments away from their job to have a bit of fun. You can find instructions for the two games at the links below:

Create Activities that Employees Can Enjoy After Work

SnackNation, a healthy snack company, designs activities for employees that they can do after work or on weekends. Most of those activities involve fitness at some level. Activities include going offsite to nearby parks such as Big Bear, scooter races in the parking lot, yoga in the office, boot camps, and Friday Happy Hours.

How Can You Develop Your Company Culture?

Even small companies can develop their business culture to bring employees together and make work more enjoyable. It doesn’t take a large budget to implement some of these ideas. While you may not be able to sponsor a weekend trip, you can certainly add some games into your day that only take a few moments away from the stress of work. You can find a lot of unique team-building games on the internet with a quick Google search, many of which take minimal money to run. Some take only a piece of paper and a pen. These types of games help your staff solidify by laughing together, and they will feel more comfortable working together later on. Additionally, work can be stressful. Taking the stress away will help staff become happier at work which will give them the incentive to stay with your company longer.

You can implement team lunches to share employee recognition or talk about what is going on in the company. You can also help employees build camaraderie with lunch-time sports. Think about how you can make small changes to create a positive, fun atmosphere in your workplace. If your staff is having fun, that attitude will translate to your customers who will enjoy coming into your office.

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Ways to Increase Your Foot Traffic at Your Convention Booth

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Conventions are and always will be one of the best ways to grow your brand, build your reputation, and generate new leads and opportunities moving forward. Regardless of the type of industry you currently operate in, you won’t have to look hard to find a convention that fits your needs. Conventions aren’t only excellent networking opportunities — they’re also a great way to attract the attention of potential new customers on a massive scale as everyone in attendance is already interested in products or services like the ones you offer. It’s always important to remember, however, that simply showing up to a convention won’t be enough. If you want to generate the maximum amount of foot traffic to your booth, you’ll need to keep a few key things in mind.

Make Sure People Can Find You

When you sign up for a booth at a convention, you’ll likely be given a location by the people organizing the event. This will not only be your own little corner of the event to carve out and do with what you please, but will also be the main way people will find you during the show. The booth number you’re given by the convention organizers will be printed in the program that’s handed out when people file through the door.

One of the keys to generating foot traffic involves making sure people can find you in the first place. Remember that you’ll likely be packed in a section with potentially dozens of other businesses, all fighting for the attention of the people walking by. Things can quickly feel overwhelming for convention attendees with so much going on, so sometimes finding a vendor based on booth number alone is a lot easier said than done. The layout of the convention itself may also make this difficult, especially if sections aren’t numbered in any type of logical way.

Before you go, also use your social media to advertise to others your location in the convention center. This will also alert people that there is a convention they may be interested in attending.

As a result, you’ll want to make sure you have at least one element (like an oversized banner or large poster) that clearly displays your company’s name so people can find you, even if they’ve already gotten lost along the way. Make sure you place it as high above your booth as possible, so people can see it from several aisles away if necessary. Many times, you’ll find that just making yourself visible makes a big difference in improving foot traffic to your booth.

Make Sure Your Staff Is Friendly and Approachable

Once people do find you, one of the easiest ways to scare them away is to have people behind your booth who seem like they don’t actually want to be there. Conventions are tough on everybody, but can especially be tough on vendors. You’re constantly under the gun to set up your booth, deal with your neighbors, make sure all your materials are in order and more. Your staff will definitely be stressed out, but the key is to make sure they never come off that way. Everyone who walks up to your booth should always be greeted with a friendly smile and a sunny disposition. If they’re greeted with a negative attitude, rest assured your booth WILL develop a negative reputation that will spread around the convention center as the event goes on.

Make Sure You Have Great Takeaways

The people attending the convention may also be hurried or stressed. Some may have traveled to get there and have to drive home the same day, or staying in a hotel. Either way and important thing to remember is they will have gathered a lot of information in a single day. It is important to have the right items for them to takeaway to keep your brand “Top of Mind.” Keep in mind that there are some things people will not typically discard, like Pens, Note Pads, Desk Accessories, or Household items. These items will vary depending on the type of business you are in because you want them to keep your brand close for as long as possible. A great brochure defining the benefits of your company is also a must. You may also want some rack cards that highlight your different services.

Conventions are excellent opportunities to grow your business — provided you’re approaching things from the right perspective. Remember, reputation alone will never guarantee convention success. Your reputation will only take you so far. You need to go out of your way to be as warm and inviting as possible to unlock the full business potential of these types of events.

Print It Plus has the knowledge and experience to guide you along the way.

Let our experts help you plan out your next successful convention. We can help you every step of the way with your booth displays, marketing materials and promotional products. You will be glad you came to Print It Plus.

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Contact us for a “FREE NO OBLIGATION” review of your marketing materials.

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Color in Print Advertising: Are You Sending Hidden Messages?

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A printed marketing piece — whether a brochure, flyer, catalog, or letter — contains many design components. From margin size to font, use of white space to size and type of paper, the elements that go into a printed piece require much consideration. But when it comes to color, marketers all too often make choices based on personal preference, anecdotal evidence, or even hunches.

However, people actually devote time and effort to studying this stuff; researchers have uncovered a large body of quantitative data about the many ways color affects consumer behavior. Their findings can help inform color choices, so printed projects can better reach their intended audiences.

How Important is Color in Marketing?

In a nutshell: Very. A study by the Seoul International Color Expo found that almost 93 percent of consumers said visual experience is the most important factor when it comes to purchasing. Of these, almost 85 percent listed color as the major factor. Even more impressive, a report from the Institute for Color Research notes that most consumers make a judgement about a product within 90 seconds of first seeing it and that color accounts for 62 to 90 percent of their initial impression.

Color is also key in branding; a University of Maryland study found that using a consistent color palette increased brand recognition by a whopping 80 percent! Why? It’s all about brain chemistry; our neurocircuitry is hard-wired to respond to color. Multiple studies indicate that color significantly improves mental processing, storage, and memory. And if you’re still not convinced, consider that colorful ads are read 42 percent more often than black-and-white ads. Readers also tend to spend more than twice as long lingering on a colorful ad than on a black-and-white ad.

These numbers aren’t exactly ambiguous — color matters (a lot!) when it comes to marketing. But which colors are best?

Color Choice for Intended Results

While each individual reacts to colors in their own way, research indicates there are some common themes associated with colors. In fact, certain colors actually trigger biological responses, some of which improve attention and evoke emotions.

Red: Studies indicate that consumers tend to associate red with attention, vigilance, excitement, stimulation, and enhanced concentration. When products are featured on a red background, readers tend to have more positive thoughts about the product if specific descriptors are used, rather than creative or evocative language.

Blue: In contrast, readers preferred emotive, creative descriptions for products featured on a blue background. The cool color blue tends to elicit feelings of calm, safety, and openness, which can open the door to creative expression and exploration.

Yellow and Orange: Like red, these warm colors evoke feelings of excitement and attention. Orange tends to be associated with extroversion and energy, while yellow is often seen as optimistic and friendly.

Green and Brown: Both green and brown are associated with nature, making these colors effective for outdoorsy, rugged, or natural products or campaigns. In addition, green is associated with security, while brown is linked to seriousness.

Pink and Purple: Pink and purple both evoke associations with femininity and sophistication. Purple also connotes luxury and authenticity.

Black: For the ultimate in elegance and sophistication, nothing beats black. Glamor, power, dignity, and high-fashion are all evoked by the use of black.

White: As the absence — or complete reflection — of all colors, white evokes feelings of purity, simplicity, and cleanliness. It’s also associated with happiness and peace.

When choosing colors or combinations for your print ads, keep these associations in mind. Select colors that support your messaging, rather than subconsciously undermining it.

Contact Print It Plus for more great tips on using color in your printing.

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Understanding Authority: The Milgram Experiment

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Back in the 1960s, Dr. Stanley Milgram conducted an experiment which was to become known as “The Milgram Experiment.”

Dr. Milgram wanted to find out why so many people in Nazi Germany followed the orders of Hitler’s regime with seemingly little questioning. He surmised that either the whole country was evil or that something else was at play. His experiment aimed at testing what that something else might be.

Dr. Milgram and his team devised a series of social psychology experiments. To get volunteers, they placed an ad looking for individuals who would be willing to administer a “learning test” to students.

When volunteers arrived at Dr. Milgram’s lab, they were greeted by what seemed to be an authority figure wearing an official-looking coat. Volunteers were instructed to sit at a table with a rather intimidating-looking shock-generating machine on it. The machine had switches labeled with terms like “slight shock,” “moderate shock,” “danger: severe shock,” and two others that simply read “XXX.”

Each volunteer was to take on the role of the “teacher” in the experiment. The teacher was to deliver a shock to the student each time a wrong answer was given. While volunteers believed they were delivering a real shock to students, the students were actually volunteer actors who were pretending to be shocked when the switch was pressed.

With each incorrect answer, the level of shock was to be increased correspondingly.

Results of the Milgram Experiment

Dr. Milgram used the experiment to measure the level of obedience among his volunteers. How far would the volunteer “teacher” be willing to go in obeying the shock application?

This question was posed to a group of Yale University students who predicted that no more than 3% of the participants would deliver the maximum shock.

In reality, 65% of the volunteers delivered the maximum shock. This study was replicated several times under different conditions, but each produced similar results.

So why would seemingly normal people be willing to subject another person to possible life-threatening harm? Is it because all people are evil? Dr. Milgram didn’t think so.

Appeal to Authority

The Milgram experiment seems to suggest that people place an immense amount of trust in authority figures. Even our own society seems to back up those claims.

A doctor tells us to take certain pills to cure an illness, and we obey without much questioning. A person steps on stage, appears on TV, or writes a book, and we immediately view them as an expert or authority, when in reality they may be far from it.

How This May Benefit You

The conclusion is clear. It’s wise to always think and question any command, even when it’s given by an authority. Yet, it’s easier to follow the crowd and obey rather than use our brain cells to think.

Most people prefer to follow rather than to lead. It’s uncomfortable to deviate from what everyone else is doing. It’s a part of human nature.

We can benefit from understanding this experiment in a different way. Knowing that the majority of people listen to authority figures, wouldn’t it be a benefit to be the authority figure in your field?

People like working with experts. They will often boast to their friends and colleagues that they have hired the leading firm to solve their problem.

Breaking from the pack and breaking the rules is not easy. It’s extremely hard to do the first time. But once you do it a few times and see the benefits, it becomes a much more natural process than following the crowd.

Be the authority figure for your field in your market, so you can set your own rules.

For more information or to request a quote, go to http://www.printitplus.com.

Boost Your Marketing with Postcards in Palm Beach

You probably get at least a few postcards in your mail every day. Have you noticed that you always look at the front and usually flip them over, too? Postcards are incredibly hard to resist because there’s something compelling about that small, stiff card stock.

Postcards are experiencing a revival as business owners and marketers are rediscovering the powerful impact postcards can deliver. What’s so great about postcards? Postcards have several advantages over many other marketing channels.
• Postcards are less expensive to print.
• They don’t require envelopes or other inserts.
• Postcards provide an instant visual connection with the recipient.
• The limited space for copy and graphics forces you to get to the point quickly.
• Recipients don’t set them aside to read later, leading to instant reaction.
• Postage is often lower than with other forms of direct mail.
• Postcards are great for personalization (with variable data printing – VDP).
• Postcards work very well in driving website traffic.
• Postcards are fantastic to use in a series sent over time to educate, engage, and drive sales.
• Graphics and copy are easier to create.
• Postcards work well for both short-run and larger-volume orders.
• Postcards make great appointment reminders, thank you notes, and follow-up cards.

Think of postcards as mobile mini billboards. They get your message across and can travel at very economical rates.

Of course, postcards do have some limitations. They’re obviously not great for any type of promotion or campaign that needs lots of space for copy due to the size limitation. It’s also not easy to generate direct sales with a postcard campaign. However, postcards are fantastic for creating awareness and generating sales leads. In fact, it’s hard to beat postcards for economical lead generation campaigns.

Postcard Creativity
Postcards can be created in traditional sizes, as well larger sheet sizes. They can be die-cut with custom-size shapes in order to stand out and create attention. Postcards can be made from very thick card stocks, laminated, and even made from plastic stock. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Using Postcards
Direct mail is only one way to use this powerful marketing tool. You can also include postcards as part of a media or brand identity kit; as a promotional handout at trade shows and networking events; and as part of a sales letter insert.

Marketing Takeaway
The humble postcard is a powerful counter-measure to digital marketing. As more people are turned off by spam emails and other digital waste, they’re paying more attention to postcards. Postcards have a higher read-rate than many other marketing mediums because they are easier to digest quickly.

Postcards have a place in your marketing campaigns. If you use eye-catching, powerful design in addition to strong, to-the-point copy, combined with a call to action, there’s a great chance your target audience will respond the way you’d like when you use postcard marketing.

At Print-It Plus we continue to offer a variety of printing services, advertising and marketing plans to our clients, including postcards. We work with our clients to design a postcard with the best call-to-action so that you will get the most out of your postcard campaign. Our printing services include color printing, Giclee printing, offset printing, brochures and direct mail. We also offer website design and cohesive marketing plans that often incorporate Foot-In-The-Door strategies to help build your business for both short and long term success.

For more information, go to http://www.printitplus.com.

Finding Your Next Great Employee in West Palm Beach, Florida

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup

Great companies need outstanding employees in order to grow. The problem is finding and retaining that caliber employee. Most small businesses don’t fully understand the process of hiring top-notch employees.  As a result, you can stunt or even halt your growth entirely before it gains the momentum needed to take your business to the next level.

“Effective organizational leadership is simple: 1. Have a vision of where you want to get to. 2. Clearly and persuasively communicate that vision to employees. 3. Be consistent in your behaviors as you strive to achieve that vision.” – from A Roadmap for Employee Engagement by Andy Parsley

Many make the mistake of hiring an employee without clearly thinking the process all the way through. They neglect to think about what they actually want from the new hire. Hiring in this way sets the new employee up for failure before they ever walk in for their first day of work. This turns out to be a waste of time and resources for everyone.

To help avoid this, you need to go through the interview process. The first and most critical step is to write an advertisement that attracts great people in the first place — one that encourages the kind of candidates who want to work for your company.

Thinking this through will also make you consider the short-term and long-term responsibilities and tasks required for this position.

The challenge of finding great job candidates starts with the ad itself. Mediocre job ads attract mediocre workers. To improve your placement ad, you should incorporate the following in the description.

Make your company sound innovative and interesting. This will help attract more dynamic applicants who want to work for a fascinating company. 

Let the applicant know with whom they will most likely be working. Candidates will look forward to learning from someone who is the expert in their field.

 If the location of your company is a plus for applicants, make sure to mention it. The more benefits you can mention in the ad, the more attractive your ad becomes. 

Make sure to mention that the position offers growth for the right candidate. Everyone wants to know that they can grow with the company. This also implies that they will be able to make more money as they grow.

Include the total compensation and benefits in the offer. Paid holidays, flexible hours, and other perks can be very attractive. 

Mention that the position requires hard work and dedication. This can help filter out the lazy applicants before time is wasted with the interview. 

The ad should stand out from all the others. If you want creative, superstar applicants, the ad should be creative, too.

Finding and retaining top talent is one of the most important tasks for any growing company. A strong recruitment ad is just the start but one that can’t be overlooked. Include these tips in your next ad, and hopefully you will attract the type of superstar employee you desire.

For more information about hiring new employees or on a whole host of other helpful tips to help you take your business to the next level, go to http://www.printitplus.com

6 Steps to a Winning Referral Strategy in Palm Beach, Florida

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Referrals are one of the best ways for growing a small business anywhere.  That certainly holds true for small businesses here in Palm Beach and Wellington, as well.  Yet most companies have no formal process in place to make sure this great source for quality leads continues.

Waiting for leads to fall in your lap is not a systematic referral-generation strategy! Some people feel guilty about asking for referrals because they falsely believe they are simply asking for favors. The truth is, if you believe that the products and services you provide deliver real value to people and will benefit those who use them, you’re the one who’s doing the favor in asking for referrals… not the other way around. Achieving that mentality is the first step toward building a solid foundation for your lead-generating referral system.

For example, at Print-It Plus we actively seek out referrals because we know that we give our clients – both new and old – the value, service and finished products that you crave in a printing, marketing and advertising company.  Whether it is digital printing, offset printing, full color printing, business stationery and cards, forms, brochures, logos, promotional products, direct mail, website design and maintenance, email marketing or other marketing solutions, Print-It Plus takes care of all of its referrals the right way.

Here are six steps to turn up your referral-generation machine:

1. Define your most ideal referral. Your chances of finding referrals increases if you know who you’re looking for. The tighter you can articulate the demographic characteristics of your most ideal referral, the better. What are their business needs? What problems do they have that you can solve?

2. Team up with matching referral partners. After defining your ideal referral, identify who would be ideal referral partners for you. Who’s already doing business and in contact with people that fit your most ideal referral profile? Find ways to provide value for them and make it easy for them to refer you.

3. Build a database. Create a contact list of potential referral sources and contacts. This can help you focus your referral-generating campaigns on people who can help you the most. Great communication starts with a focused list of ideal referral partners.

4. Create an incentive. Most people want to help others. You can encourage them to do what they already want to do by giving them an incentive to refer you. Incentives can be something tangible like gift cards, discounts, commissions, and other perks. A simple thank you card and other positive reinforcement goes a long way to building the goodwill generated from helping others.

5. Have a referral script. It’s comforting to know what you’re going to say ahead of time in asking for a referral. Your script should be adapted for face-to-face networking, email communication, phone conversations, and mailed letters. Practice until it becomes natural and not forced.

6. Set goals. An effective system includes a way to measure it. Setting referral goals and tracking results weekly is a great way to build and sustain continual momentum. Tracking your referrals also allows you to see how many referrals it takes to get one new client. 

No system works without action. Start your referral-generating system by implementing and tracking the results. Ask your current network for referrals. This will give you something to build on. As you practice and gain confidence, refine your tactics and branch out to get referrals from other sources. It’s easier than you think.

For more information, go to our website, http://www.printitplus.com.