Going back to school as a returning adult…..and the value of an internship


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Making the conscious decision to go back to school as an adult was never a hard decision for me.  What can make it difficult are all the outside factors that always seemed to get in the way.  There always seemed to be an excuse such as:  children, summer, sports, vacation, finances, work, family obligations…life!  You name it, and I found a reason not to take that initial step.  You see, I was one of those girls who graduated from High School (number nine in my class), who got a job working in downtown Chicago because that’s what everyone in my neighborhood did, and at that time jobs were plentiful.  I managed to get myself to college for the first year, and I loved it. But then that thing called “life” happened; my Dad had passed away, and I ended up coming home to help out with the family.  With all that being said, I never made it back to school.imagesCACFSI79

Fast forward 20 years, I’m a Mother of 2 teenage girls, and the economy is pretty awful.  Let’s be brutally honest, it’s hard to get a decent paying job without some type of higher education.  The competition is stiff, and age was not on my side.  I almost had no choice, and I figured if I’m going to do this, I’m going to choose what I want to study…. especially if I’m paying for it!

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A couple of years later, here I am writing my last blog for Sharn Enterprises.  I’m their Marketing intern and within a couple of weeks I will receive my Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Summa Cum Laude.  It has been quite the juggling act going back to school. I learned very fast how to delegate, and balance my time because as we all know; the world doesn’t stop just because I need to do a research paper.  I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve typed a paper in the middle of five baskets of laundry, prepared dinner on the fly, or missed a family obligation because of a group study, or presentation that was due.   It seemed that to me, my house was always in disarray, but this is where my family came in.  I won’t lie; I had a great support system. My family not only understood the importance of higher learning, they encouraged it.  After all the hard work, and yes, even some tears, I was able to accomplish what I set out to do.  In the end, I want my children to know that even though Mom went to school and worked, she can still be a good Mom.  I can’t wait for my two daughters to see me walk across that stage.   It will be an emotional day for me, in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.

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My name is Lynne Donegan, and I’m a Marketing Intern for Sharn Enterprises.  Sharn is a manufacturer of POP displays.    Some of you might ask ….well what is a POP display?  I thought the same thing when I applied for this internship.  I actually “Googled” it before I went on the interview.  A POP display is a specialized form of sales promotion that is found in all retail stores. They are intended to draw the customers’ attention to a particular product.  Sharn is American small business at its finest.  They have been in business for over 38 years and all of their displays are manufactured in their shop in Frankfort, IL.   Yes…Made in America! 

I would love to obtain a position as a marketing/communications coordinator.  Thank you Sharn Enterprises for giving me the opportunity to learn about your business and strengthening my skills in marketing and social media.  The knowledge I’ve gained, well, you just can’t put a price tag on it.

Sharn Enterprises

sharn building

www.sharndisplays.com

815-464-9715

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Hope is not a plan…….


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Hope is not a plan

As this year is quickly coming to a close, we look forward to a terrific 2013 for Sharn Enterprises!

We are not just “hoping” for a good year in 2013, we have been planning for that good year for a number of months now.  You see, if you’re just kind of crossing your fingers, hoping that the economy picks up, that your existing customers will still buy from you, that Washington doesn’t do anything destructive to the economy, or small business, you’re off to a bad start.   And, if you’re just wishing for good luck, then I remind you about this famous quotation:

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity

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Here are just a couple of important points that we have been thinking about, and would like to share with you.

  1. Obviously, try to set realistic goals.  Recognize that any business has both strengths and weaknesses.  Most businesses also have their particular product and sales niches.  So consider how to emphasize your company’s strengths to get more sales, and work on improving any negatives. Drop what’s not working for you and move on.
  2. Sales are the most important part of any business, so begin the planning there.  Consider your overall marketing strategy for 2013.  What approaches will you take? Here are just a few to consider:  internet marketing, traditional print media, snail mail, telemarketing, or even a face to face meeting.     
  3. Make business planning a weekly event.  You just can’t establish plans in January and try to stick with them throughout the entire year.  Your plans need to be reviewed each week to see how you’re doing, and then “tweaked” as circumstances change.  We find that two of the most important things to review each, and every week are the amount of  your incoming sales compared to your forecast, as well as a weekly cash flow analysis.  We suggest you start there.
  4. Don’t just make do; if there is a piece of equipment in your plant (or office) that’s not running properly, bite the bullet and get it repaired or replaced.  The overall inefficiency and irritation of just making do isn’t worth the aggravation and expense.
  5. Finally… Network! Network! Network!  Get out and talk to your existing customers.  Visit or join other organizations where you can meet new people.  Go to industry trade shows.  That very next person that you meet might just become your biggest customer!

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There certainly are a lot of other planning ideas to consider that I have not listed here, but these are among the most important ones to begin with.  Perhaps you have some unique ideas that you would like to pass on for the benefit of everyone else.  Please feel free to do that.       

We at Sharn Enterprises want to wish you a very happy New Year!

http://www.sharndisplays.com

815-464-9715

 

Loyalty: Is It Still Important?


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Sharn Enterprises has been in business for over 38 years, and we have learned some important things along the way.  The reason we have been in business for as long as we have is because of three words: Loyalty, Trust and Confidence.  These 3 words are the foundation of how we do business.

Did you ever wonder how businesses keep their customers so loyal? Why they keep going back?  It’s really quite simple.  The secret to customer loyalty lies in putting the interests of the customer ahead of your own.

In a nutshell, loyalty is the key to profitability and this is because it costs more to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one.  Without customer loyalty, trust and confidence, you can end up sacrificing as much as a third of your profits.   With that being said, these qualities just don’t happen overnight.

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According to Jeff Gitomer, Sales and Marketing author, here are the 8 rules that could put you on the right track:

  • Have a business philosophy that emphasizes relationship building.
  • Define a unique niche and become the customer’s expert on it.
  • Help the customer build the customer’s own business.
  • Translate what you offer into the customer’s business results.
  • Value the relationship more than making your quota.
  • Think end-of-time friendships, not end-of-month totals.
  • Achieve a perfect job of delivering what you’ve promised.
  • Provide absolutely impeccable service after the sale.

At Sharn, some of our customers have been with us for over 25 years.  That is because we offer product integrity, fairness in price, and unparalleled customer service.  We also “walk the walk” with our employees as well. The average seniority of our entire workforce is 11 years, and we are very proud of that.  They are our family. We represent the true spirit of American small business.

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 Loyalty, trust and confidence are something that is earned, and not demanded.  Our record speaks for itself!

Call Sharn Enterprises today, to see how we can be of service to you.

815-464-9715

www.sharndisplays.com