What You See Is What You Get
Pessimism is destructive. Realism lacks imagination. Optimism inspires and opens doorways.
My brother John and that i started selling tee shirts on the streets of Boston in 1989. We had good days and bad. By September of 1994 we had been right down to $78 between us, but we had a big concept. After a dialog about how the media tends to deal with what’s incorrect with the world slightly than what’s proper, we decided to create a Superhero whose superpowers would not come from extraordinary bodily attributes or his skill to fly, but from his optimistic disposition. We known as him Jake, and we positioned him on a tee-shirt with three simple words: Life….is….good. It labored! Jake saved our fledgling enterprise, The Life is nice Firm grew to become a lifestyle apparel model, and our lives were modified eternally. Eighteen years later, individuals nonetheless like reminders that it is ok to get pleasure from life, so we’re nonetheless doin’ our thing. And folks still have a smooth spot for a superhero who wears flip flops, rides his bike, loves his dog, and plays guitar, so Jake’s still doin’ his factor too.
The Life is sweet Company, like most businesses in America, was badly damage by The great Recession. In 2008 we peaked at $117 million in gross sales. In 2009 we shrank to $98 million. The ugly pattern continued in 2010 at $88 million. For a company who had experienced nothing but strong growth for fourteen years, this abrupt decline in revenues and profitability induced trauma. Trauma causes worry. Worry causes worry. Studying the papers, we weren’t just worried about our company, we had been fearful about America and the world economy. In 2010, with over 200 salaried staff, it seemed clear that we wanted layoffs because we have been overbuilt. Then we caught ourselves. If the corporate built on the facility of optimism could not do our half to maintain and create jobs in America, who might ! How could we just crumble and look Jake in the eye We couldn’t. We did not.
We held onto one hundred p.c of our folks. Now we have began to thrive and grow once more, and most significantly, we at the moment are hiring!
Here are 5 ideas to join us in placing America again to work:
1. Organizational Health is Number one. Enterprise homeowners and leaders of struggling corporations will virtually always look to new expertise, new advertising and marketing strategies, and personnel modifications before looking at their own unhealthy behaviors as the foundation of their problems. At Life is sweet, in the center of the recession, we created a task drive of workers whose job was to critique the skilled behaviors and practices of the six owners of Life is sweet (my brother and I have formed a partnership with four of the other leaders at Life is sweet.) Merely put, we shut up, listened, and ate some humble pie. It turned out that from the highest down at our organization we have been creating plenty of internal confusion, an absence of alignment on overarching strategies, and a culture where people felt underappreciated and pissed off. We did not mean to do that, however we had been guilty. As an alternative of slicing our people, we’ve got spent the final 18 months chopping dysfunctional conduct from our group. The outcomes thus far are superb! We are more open and sincere with each other, extra respectful of each other, extra unified as a workforce, and extra productive by far. Workers are excited to come back to work once more, morale is back up, and our monetary efficiency is getting healthy again too.
2. A clear Long term Imaginative and prescient is a Catalyst For Creative Power and Speedy Motion. It was onerous to know the place to start out because the whole lot around looked dismal and scary. We decided to choose our heads up and paint a good looking image for inspiration. The image we painted was 2021, a ten-year model vision from 2011. We requested questions like, “What are we trying to do with our lives What do we wish to appear to be in ten years We imagined a group of fifty million optimists who would see us as a relentless source of fine vibes — because the hub of optimism. We imagined all of the constructive influence that may have on America. We had fun with it too. Then we requested every Business Unit at Life is nice (Wholesale, Retail, and E-comm) to create their very own imaginative and prescient that might ladder as much as our lovely painting of 2021. Before we knew it, folks have been assembly about user-generated content material for video from elderly properties, awards for essentially the most optimistic teachers in the nation, and second grade art contests asking “What makes life good for you ” We’re no specialists on macro-economics or the labor market, however we all know a sense of humor by no means hurts. Since occasions are tough for therefore many, and most cannot exit for lunch or dinner as often as they used to, we created a tee-shirt graphic of a Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich that says, “You complete me.” In lean times we have to be grateful for what we now have, and we want to acknowledge that typically the little things in life are the large things. Things do not look so scary to us anymore, and we have begun paving the method to 2021.
3. Swing The Bat. At Life is nice we sell apparel and equipment to males, girls, and youngsters, however we have long said that we’re not likely an apparel firm. “The apparel,” we say, “is only a vehicle for important messages.” That sounds good, but if we’re extra than simply an apparel firm why aren’t we making extra than just apparel The reply is as a result of we have simply been too conservative with our brand. While you start shedding all the pieces, like we did within the recession, you ask your self simple questions like, “What are we afraid of ” and “What are we ready for ” After some discussion about this, I penned a quick e-mail to the proprietor of one in all America’s largest greeting card corporations. I told him we now have virtually two decades of nice tee-shirt designs that might make nice greeting playing cards. He responded promptly and positively, adding that he has a Life is sweet hat he likes to wear on the weekends. After some meetings, a BBQ and a couple of beers, we’re close to signing a great licensing deal. We expanded our horizons by creating many new touch factors for our brand. We stayed true to our mission: To Unfold The ability of Optimism. And we created new jobs at both their firm and ours. Though we’re also cautious about transferring too fast, we are presently in search of the best chemistry with companions in the Footwear trade, the Pet Products industry, House, Workplace Merchandise, Food and Beverage, and more. How can we construct our community of optimists by means of these markets What number of new jobs can we create in these markets We’re even speaking to the automotive trade. What would a Life is sweet Version car look like
4. CEO’s and Marketing Executives Don’t Construct Manufacturers, Prospects Do. Anybody who’s paying consideration on the market has noticed that for the primary time in the history of the world consumers have taken management of businesses. The digital communication tools of the knowledge Age have empowered shoppers. If they do not like you, they can tear your corporation down. In the event that they do such as you, they will construct your online business up. This means if we all know what’s good for us, we had better know who our customers are and what they like or do not like about us. Thankfully, LIG has a powerful and supportive buyer base. They’ve built our enterprise from the start. And it appears as though they’ve an correct picture of John, myself and our firm. We’re not the smartest folks on the planet, however we now have a model concept that hits dwelling to them, we’re fun individuals, and we’ve at all times tried arduous to do the proper thing. In the technique of building our 2021 Vision it became clear to us that our clients most likely know extra about us than we do about them. So we hired a 3rd celebration (extra Americans going to work) to determine, interview, analyze, and summarize our greatest customers. They began online, but then traveled the nation to search out out who loves us and why. They sat at little league video games and backyard barbeques. They sat in our prospects living rooms and soaked all of it in. What did we study Too much. We have a far more detailed picture of who are greatest clients are and how to service them. For instance, we now know the four primary emotions these clients associate with our model. So what do we do with all this data We spend our assets extra effectively and we target our greatest current prospects. Why As a result of a 5 p.c enhance in customer loyalty can almost double our profitability. As a result of an existing customer is 5 instances more likely to buy from us than a brand new customer. (Data courtesy of The Cult Branding Company). And since servicing our best prospects empowers them to unfold the word and discover us new customers. As we lana del rey shirt outfit develop our business by lana del rey shirt outfit figuring out our best customers and servicing them, we are going to section into specialised Product Improvement, Marketing, Sales, and Operational groups that will create more jobs.
5. Make Capitalism the good Man. Much more important to a brand new part of growth and hiring for life is good has been our commitment to create a company that blurs the line between for-revenue and non-profit (Shhhhhhh… do not tell the government). At Life is nice we have now a deep-seated belief that companies for-profit are probably the most powerful instruments for constructive social change on earth. Why Because we’ve sources, we have built-in communication contact points where we sell our merchandise, and we could make it straightforward for the masses to help. Of equal significance, if we’re genuine and successful with social work that issues to our prospects, they will be loyal to us and help to build our companies. Cause-related Advertising and corporate Social Accountability are superb, but right this moment’s customers want and deserve extra. If you need your customers that can assist you make the world a better place, and if you want them to really join palms with what you are promoting, you need to integrate the precise social work into everything you do. At Life is sweet, in the midst of the recession, we merged a non-profit (formerly known as Venture Joy) into our Children Basis and rebranded the brand new organization as the Life is nice Playmakers. Doing so created a number of more vital jobs. Yearly, we donate 10 percent of our annual internet profits to Life is sweet Playmakers. The universal message to our prospects is simple: When you do business with Life is good, you assist kids in want. Lifeisgood.com now gives a customizable fundraising functionality via Life is nice Events. We empower our neighborhood of optimists to fundraise all yr long, turning youngsters’ birthday parties or Monday Night time Football at your neighbor’s house into fundraisers for teenagers who need assistance. Since implementing the fundraising tools on-line, our E-comm revenues have increased by 25 %, which in flip is enabling us to submit new open positions in that division. We also throw our personal fundraising events, like the Life is nice Festival this September 22-23 that includes Dave Mathews. In a single weekend we’ll elevate over $1 million for the kids. Guess what — we need folks to run large occasions like that. We’re spending money, but our clients believe in us and as a result they’re loyal to our enterprise. Our dedication to helping youngsters is vital to them and they categorical that to us over and over. “Keep it up,” they are saying, and “we’ll build your small business with you.”
I take my orders from Jake. He may be skinny, however he carries a big hammer, and his message is loud and clear: Don’t knock it, build it.