The Way You Do the Things You Do

Posted on Posted in opportunity, Promotional Merchandise, work

Spoiler alert: while many of my blog posts are geared towards general audiences, this one may be too promo-industry oriented.  Those of you who are not lucky enough to be involved in this $22 billion business (and yes, those numbers are just for Mike Schenker, Consulting alone), feel free to seek out the next cat video that crosses your screen.  Then again, I imagine that every industry has its own unique way of doing things…ways which make the uninitiated scratch their collective heads and wonder why we do things the way we do.

Over the years I’ve consulted for a few companies who contracted with me in order to either bring them into the promotional products industry, or to take them to the next level.  In each and every instance, I start the discussion with “well, you know we’re not going to make a million over night…this is going to take a few years” and, in each case, I’m met with “yes, we understand.  You’re a genius and so good looking too”.

I may have embellished a little there.  Start your own damn blog if you don’t like it.

In the instances to which I refer, my plan was to build up to the greatness I genuinely  envisioned for my client and, yes…they got it.  Until they didn’t.  I explained the process ahead of time: how we work as a three-sided partnership: we (the manufacturer), they (the distributor of our products), and them (the end-users).  By working via this time-honored method, yes we give up profit, but in the equation of T=$, using the distributor network saves us much of the legwork and, quite often, you can’t put a price on that.  And my clients got that.  Until they didn’t.

As I’ve tried to explain…it’s the same thing as buying a car.  I can’t just call up Ford and say I want a new Explorer.  I have to go to the local dealership and order it through them.

When explaining this to potential clients, I have been met with “Why are you buying a Ford?”.  I think you’ve missed my point.

The problem with entrepreneurs, quite often, is that they are the smartest guys in the room and aren’t afraid to let everyone know it.  Not only that, they are usually smarter than an entire industry, and they’re going to shake up the way we do things.  Until they get frustrated and give up.  I really miss them.


You know the problem with dealing with people who think they’re the smartest guys in the room?  They annoy those of us who really are.

Insert “raspberry” emoji here.


Mike Schenker, MAS
Mike Schenker, MAS, is an award-winning promotional products industry professional and All That at Mike Schenker, Consulting. He’s been a distributor and a supplier, and has a view of our industry which can best be described as “unique”.  He takes the promotional products business very seriously, but not himself, and his reflections on all things imprinted can be found in his monthly column for PromoCorner.  He is one of the admins of the popular Promotional Products Professionals group on Facebook, a two-time candidate for the PPAI Board of Directors (but he’s not bitter), a member of the SAAGNY Hall of Fame, and the recipient of the 2014 PPAI Distinguished Service Award.
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