When your business is your passion, handing over the reins to anyone else is a tough but essential step in growth. The more you have to manage, the less time you have to focus on the areas where you can make the most difference. So it’s essential that you choose the right partner.
There is a lot to consider. That’s why Tshirtify has created The 4 C’s Method - informed by our core values.
When relying on a third party, it’s vital that your partner provides clarity on their service. It’s hugely beneficial to work with someone that you know will meet all your needs and deliver exactly what you want. Not only does it remove the need to micromanage (allowing you more time to focus on the bigger picture), but it frees you from the stress of worrying about an inconsistent partner.
All of this comes down to trust. Trust isn’t a commodity that can be earned by itself. When you’re relying on a third party for products or services, trust means 3 things;
A quality standard is one of the first things you’ll look at in a new partner. It is too easy to see a sample of work in isolation and base an opinion on this one example. It’s far better to look deeper and see how that level of quality was achieved. Make sure that a potential partner doesn’t just have the right tools for the job, but also has the knowledge of how to use them. Having a printer is fine, but to get the best quality there must be experience and expertise to back it up.
For example, you can clearly see how many times we optimise your images for our equipment. Your designs will be optimised for print by an experience art worker, who will apply their knowledge of our systems and machines to ensure the highest quality final product. This might not be something you’d considered to begin with, but once you see the benefits it can have you’ll wonder why it’s not done everywhere else.
When you have a great final product, you want to make sure it’s dispatched quickly. In a world of Amazon Prime, customer expectations are set for fast resolutions. You need to make sure that your offering is in line with the current market. Don’t just check the time scales promised by potential partners, check the levels to which they can offer this. Be sure that they can handle the number of sales you expect at the speed you expect.
Quality and speed are both important, but it’s vital to ensure that both are kept consistent over a longer period of time. Once again this comes down to the experience and expertise of the company you’re working with. A great company will be transparent in how they maintain standards of quality and speed - providing you with regular reviews, demonstrating how they maintain their equipment or giving evidence of a robust process for resolving faults
Do you know how much you’re actually paying for each item? This might seem like a given, but it’s surprising how often it can be hard to find the exact figures for all sales. Make sure that all costs are transparent - that they can be seen and itemised. A great company can give you upfront costs for all of your needs and show clear itemisation after a charge is made. This means you are never in doubt about how much each aspect of your order costs, and how much you need to pay.
The final piece of the trust puzzle is recognising that no process is infallible. A good partner should be easily contactable, ale to resolve any issues and transparent about how the cause of the issue will be addressed.
Once you’ve found someone who provides a good service, how do you go about making sure they work the best for you?
Collaboration with your partner is absolutely essential - it’s how to get the most out of your products. Bringing together your passion and originality with their experience and expertise is what will form an outstanding relationship.
For example - let’s say you want to look at the personalisation aspects that your brand requires. It can be tough to find a partner that meets your needs when most printing platforms only offer a standard and rigid set of features. Do those inflexible features meet all of your requirements? In a crowded market place, it’s very important that your passion helps your products to stand out. Get a clear idea of what you want your final product to look like, and find a partner who is open to working with your needs.
It’s important to always keep the entire customer journey in mind. It can be easy to focus on just the end product - but small, key features along the way can drastically improve the experience for any purchase. Custom tags and neck prints can really build and emphasise your brand. Custom wrapping can turn the ordinary act of opening up the parcel into something customers remember. Have a clear vision of each step in the journey, and then collaborate with your partner to make something special.
The importance of your partner doesn’t end with the initial setup. The ideal partner takes care of their work with very little need for your intervention - freeing you up to do more and focus on the big partner. That’s why it’s important to see if the company you chose offers a sufficient level of automation after the initial setup.
For example, if you want to start selling a new design, it should be a simple and easy process that doesn’t require a lot of your time. You should be able to send the design to your partner, and they should be able to handle everything that is needed to ensure that the new product is the best it can be for your customers. If these processes is sufficiently automated, then you can spend more time developing your brand.
The key to getting all of these aspects right is communication. You need to ensure that the partner you intend to work with is easily contactable. Preferably they’ll have a dedicated team member overseeing your account, to make sure whenever you get in touch you’re getting meaningful dialogue.
Have you considered how to increase sales after your brand has launched? Do you know which tools are available to help your growth? Wouldn’t it be great to work with someone who has the experience and expertise to help you achieve your goals?
When selecting who to launch your products with, consider how they’re going to work with you to grow your business. A good partner will be able to connect with you and work towards increasing your business using all the right tools.
A great example of this is the immense benefit provided by having a robust promotional plan that’s driven by key analytics. A good partner will have a wide view of the trends and successes that have worked for their other clients and will be able to share this expertise by creating a plan to move your business to the next level.
As well as an active plan, a comprehensive dashboard is essential. It’s important for your partner to be transparent, and for you to have access to information on sales trends, traffic flow, and other metrics. If all this info is wrapped up in an easy-to-understand dashboard, you’ll be able to quickly and easily see the health of your business and where you can work to grow.
Once you have traction and sales, advertising is integral to growing your business. Even if you’re selling over 100 items a month, you can be working towards selling more. And the right partner should be able to guide you through advertising.
Are you using remarketing ads? Which demographics match your target audience?
How successful are your email campaigns? How can you increase your open rates?
How many customers come back again and again? How can you turn more people into repeat customers?
These are just some of the questions that you should be asking - and your partner should have the answers.
Taking all of this onboard means you should be able to completely visualise the customer journey - from when they first see your advert, to placing an order, to receiving their products. The customer journey should be one of the prime factors in deciding on a printing partner and something that the right partner can help you with at all times.
Finally, there’s an aspect that is often overlooked when creating a business. How can you use your business to represent yourself as a person, as well as a store?
It’s now more possible than ever for your brand to help further your personal and philosophical goals. This includes everything from your choice of raw materials, to the type of dispatch you use, and even what messages you put out to the world.
You can choose delivery packaging that is eco-friendly, garments that have been ethically sourced, or inclusive styles that embrace gender neutrality. There are schemes like Fair Wear Foundation and B1G1 which allow businesses to make positive contributions to great causes, with minimal impact to your bottom line.
You want to work with a partner who shares your passion and world view and enables you to put that passion into your brand. Whilst it’s true that customer goodwill can help to grow your business, it’s more important to know that you’re building a business you’re passionate about and that by building that business you’re helping others.