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Remember, this business is FUN!

By Nowell C. Wisch, CAS
The new millennium...remember how eager we were to greet it on December 31st of 1999 and 2000? Remember when the most debated issue in the world was "When does the new Millennium start?" Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it.

This year, we have a million fewer square feet of office space in lower Manhattan, many fewer souls on the planet and uncertainty and fear all around us. Nothing is as it seems anymore, except for one thing. We control our attitude and actions, which ultimately controls our destiny. If we are not willing to give into the paralysis that fear creates we will make our world a better place and help each other achieve our dreams and goals.

The good news is that there is a lot of activity going on in the business world and there is business out there to be had. At this time of year, while distributors are taking care of year-end business, suppliers are finalizing travel plans for 2003. The first shows of the year are only eight weeks away. One thing binds us all, however. Supplier, Distributor and client are eagerly awaiting next year.

This year has been a tough one for everyone. There are reasons to be excited, though. During times of change opportunity abounds. As we move into the second year of the new millennium we have lots of reasons to be excited. We'll have a new government and regardless of who wins, the change will be good for business.

I speak with distributors all over the country in my travels and the most interesting thing I am finding is that many of them are thriving in this economy. I don't mean that they are getting rich. I mean that their spirits are high. They have to work for the business again and are being reminded of why they got into this business in the first place.

Do you remember working in another business and dragging yourself home on Friday night? Many of us do. Lots of us still drag ourselves home on Friday night but in the promotional products business we get into party clothes and have some fun. Well, maybe not, but at least our attitude is pretty good. After all, we get to sell cool stuff!

I recently had a chance to watch a distributor in Charlotte create a custom bobblehead doll of his father, a prominent promo products seller in the region. They were looking over the artwork from Prime Line and they were having lots of fun. I was reminded that this is a fun business and started to smile myself.

Later that week I watched three distributors give themselves and their client's back rubs with a massage roller from TagMaster. All five of them were laughing and having a good time. I'm sure that a sale was made because the enthusiasm was high and because I was reminded that this business is fun!

A month ago I came home to a big package on my doorstep from KC Caps. Inside was a really impressive sample kit featuring some great caps. The embroidered samples were pretty lame but one caught my eye. It was for Foodmaker and had a Jack In The Box Restaurant logo. I kept it for myself and I'm wearing it today. It reminds me that this is a fun business!

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I found a pen in my suitcase as I was packing for the trip I'm on. It had an interesting clip design and clicker. It is neon green, translucent and I swear that I do better writing with it than a plain old stick pen. I'm not sure but I think that at least, I write funnier stuff with it. I'm reminded every time I use it that I'm in a fun business.

For coffee this morning, I drank out of a great mug I got from World Wide. It has the NBC peacock on it and holds enough coffee to bring me back from the dead each morning. I'm not sure if it is really fun to drink out of an NBC mug or not, but it is better than drinking out of the little ones that come with our china set. I guess it's fun for me because it reminds me each day that I'm in a fun business.

Last week I shot in a skeet tournament at a local gun club. I am a very, very bad sheet shooter. Actually, I do most things with more enthusiasm than skill and skeet shooting is no different. My tournament hat has six pins on it. One is from AVALine, one is from Aminco and the other four are from companies unknown to me. Each has significance, though. The remind me of a particularly enjoyable shooting experience and the pins remind me that our business is a fun business.

Next week when I get home from my current trip I plan to take two days vacation and clean my closet. You may not think that this would be such an exciting project but if you make your living traveling you need to get staged for the next year and put things away that have become misplaced. I like it because I get to go through the seventy-five t-shirts I own and remember the fun I had collecting them. Each has some significance for me and reminds me that someone had fun selling them to the people who sold them to me.

As you start making your plans for next year, don't forget that this business is fun. Plan on coming out to our shows to see things you might have never seen or may have missed before. Bring a sense of wonder and whimsy and you will leave with lots of reasons to see your clients. You'll probably charge into their office with a contagiously good attitude and make their life a little more fun.

Happy Selling!

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