Small Business Saturday


Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and it is a day that has been important for small businesses since 2010. American Express founded this great day in an effort to help local small businesses get more business through their doors on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Why wouldn’t you support the smaller shops?

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The smaller businesses are ones that have the more “organic” objects that you can’t get from a factory. Speaking of “organic” or “home-made” objects, here at Sharn all of our products are manufactured right here in Frankfort, IL.

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Small Business Saturday is also meant to be more of a social event for towns and businesses. In 2011 the US Senate Recognized this event as a National Day. From Washington D.C. to Washington State, governors, mayors, senators, and even President Obama, all voiced their support for Small Business Saturday. In 2012, American Express encouraged small business owners to take charge of the day, helping them promote their businesses with free personalized ads, which appeared millions of times across the web. Moving to 2013, more than 1,450 neighborhoods pledged to support their local small businesses. Finally in 2014, $14.3 Billion was spent at small businesses.

Sharn is a big supporter of Small Business Saturday!

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Thanksgiving: a bit of history and what we are thankful for


Many times when asked how Thanksgiving began, people don’t always know the correct answer. Not only is food, family, and thankfulness important on this great day, but knowing why we are able to celebrate this day is most important.

History of Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving is held on the fourth Thursday in November every year and is meant to be cerebrated with an overload of food, family and friends to honor the early settlers.  A long time ago, a group of English Protestants (also known as Pilgrims) wanted to break away and venture off to the “New World”.  So, they set out on a sixty-six day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean with 101 men, women, and children.  The goal was to land and settle where current day New York City is, but due to vicious winds, they had to cut their trip short and settle at what we now know as Cape Cod.  This is where the Pilgrims and the Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe (or the Indians as we call them) crossed paths with each other.

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When winter season arrived, the Pilgrims gathered anything and everything they could get their hands on, including the Indian’s supplies.  This is where the well-known, beloved Squanto comes into play.  Squanto wanted to avoid any struggle and tension with the Pilgrims, so he took it upon himself to teach the Pilgrims how to grow corn and fertilize their fields using fish.

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Here at Sharn we are thankful for many things. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the support our customers and vendors give us and all the hard work the employees do for us. So we want to wish them all a happy Thanksgiving.

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Family or Work


Is your particular business open or closed for thanksgiving?

I have read a lot of comments about this recently on social media so I couldn’t resist “Weighing in” myself. Our company, Sharn Enterprises manufactures retail product displays that are seen in many of the nation’s top retailers, so we certainly have a connection to that segment of the economy. However, since we are primarily a custom manufacturer of display products and we do not have any retail locations, we will be closed on Thanksgiving.

I know that television, newspaper adds, and the internet have all combined to make this into a real contest about who has the biggest and best deals, who is opening earliest, who has the most people showing up, etc. etc. I think that hype is justified for “Black Friday”, but just maybe not for Thanksgiving itself.

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In any business it is important to not only know your customers and what they need, it is also essential that you know your employees and take their feelings into consideration when making these choices. We know our employees well, and while a small group of them might want to come here and work, (just to avoid some of their relatives) the majority of them want to spend the day with their family and friends, and if we are lucky – watch the Bears defeat the Packers. Like many other companies, we have put Thanksgiving on our Paid holiday list, and our people really appreciate it.

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Being an important supplier to the retail industry, we want all of the retail stores to do well, not only on Black Friday, but throughout the entire holiday shopping season! One of the reasons that they call it “Black Friday” is that it is said to be the first day that many of the retailers go from “Red ink” (no profit) to black ink, or profitability. I get that, and completely support the whole Black Friday effort. However opening up on Thanksgiving Day itself, not so much!  I suspect that many companies would still be profitable at the end of the year, without working on Thanksgiving, and they would likely be better regarded by their own employees. That also pays dividends !

                                                                                    What do you think?

Roger Wandersee                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Sharn Enterprises, Inc                                                                                                                                                                                                             “A proud American Manufacturer”

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Veterans Day


Veterans Day is a special holiday here at Sharn, not only do we think about all of those men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, but we support the past and present employees that we have working for us for their sacrifice and service to our country. Not to mention, our very own President, Roger Wandersee is a Veteran.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day.  In 1938, Armistice Day became a federal holiday, and in 1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill to change the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day to include all U.S. Veterans.

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Tomorrow November 12th, Wandersee will be participating in the Veteran’s entrepreneurial boot camp at Governors State University, which is a program specifically for Veterans who want to start their own business.

Last year, Roger was asked, “What does Veterans Day mean to you?”

“My father was an air force pilot during World War II and flew a B29 Bomber.  My uncles served during the Korean War and my brother served in the Army during the Vietnam conflict.  I served in the USAR for six years as a teaching medic, so the military is a part of my family’s history and I honor all those who have served.”

As a proud American manufacturer, we here at Sharn honor all those who are currently serving and those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Thank you for your service.

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Why Small Businesses Fail to Grow


There is more than one way for companies to fail. Companies fail to reach their potential, fail to get beyond mediocrity, or just fail to grow. While not growing isn’t always a bad thing it can lead to problems if the owner is still doing a lot of the work and still not making much of a living.

On the flip side, there are many reasons some small companies grow and others hit a wall. External factors such as market size, competition, and demand. Internal factors that have to do with operations and leadership. In every industry there are companies that grow and dominate, while others struggle or shrink and conclusively fail. According to Jay Goltz, here are what he believes to be the 10 factors that separate the two:

Complacency

A popular topic these days is how driven the company is.  A small company is usually a reflection of the owners needs, desires and personality. Some owners have the mentality of wanting to take over the world, and some are happy just to make a living. Yet, there are those owners who want to play golf as much as they can. All in all, being the owner of the company, you need to display the type of work ethic you want your employees to have.

The right people

Building the right company without the right people is very difficult. Having the right people work for your company requires both a great hiring protocol and the stomach to make the changes that become necessary as the company continues to grow.  This is much easier said than done, especially when the person who you thought was the “right” person at the beginning turns out to not be the “right” person in the their roles.

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Lack of standards and controls

This topic covers a lot of territory, including quality, service and problem resolution. The customer satisfaction rate will have a significant impact on the size of a company over the long run. Standards are essential. You need to make sure that your company has in place quality, service and good accounting standards-and the ability to measure them.

The customer attitude

Read carefully, it’s not the customers’ attitude but you and your company’s attitude towards its customers. Even though you may get a “crazy” customer now and then, word of mouth travels real fast. If you already conclude that there is no way to help this customer and treat them without respect then they will obviously tell their friends about the service you have provided for them.

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Technology

Technology can be a blessing and a curse if you own a small business. New technologies can be very helpful, but can also be very expensive. This can be one of the biggest differences between running a large company or a small one. Assembling financial, technical and staff resources necessary to solve a technology problem can be difficult if you run a small business.  By not keeping up with technology, it often costs a lot of time and money to do the “work arounds” that are necessary to get the job done

Marketing

This includes everything from branding to advertising to market analysis. The way a company executes may be the major driver of its success, but how it is perceived is also crucial. The reality is that small companies can have a difficult time finding resources to help them with this.  Often local universities can be a valuable resource in providing advise, talent and networking opportunities to help move you to the next level

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Stale products or services

The market is always changing, and your products and services may need to change with it. Depending on your product you may get lucky, the changes are slow and subtle; sometimes they can be dramatic. Stay close to the trends in your particular market.

Lack of investment

Inventory, new technology, a bigger facility, more employees or more equipment, growing companies suck up more cash than non-growing companies. Getting more cash may require borrowing money from investors. Some entrepreneurs tire of the demands and decide to slow down the investments and that will slow down your growth.

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Stubbornness

Stubbornness is what helped the entrepreneur get the business initially off the ground, get through the learning curve, survive the recession and cope with every problem along the way. Policies and strategies that might have worked when you had about 20-30 employees may not be the same when you have 50-60 employees. For example, when you start to hire higher-priced managers who have different expectations than a $12-an-hour employee.

Leadership

Vision, courage, fortitude, attitude, and of course the ever important corporate culture, all of which should create an inspired staff. Here is the real secret: passion is critical, but it can’t make up for deficiencies in the other categories.  Keep a sense of humor and treat all of your people with respect!

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Here at Sharn we make it our responsibility to follow these 10 topics to make our company even better.

For more information on our products and services, check out our website at http://www.sharndisplays.com or give us a call at 815-464-9715.

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Source:

http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/why-small-businesses-fail-to-grow/?_r=0