May 20, 2020
Serving Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Kern, Ventura & Clark Counties
Time to Adjust the Sails
By Lou Caron, PIASC President/CEO

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” – John Maxwell
For business owners in the printing industry, these are challenging times. But remember, we’ve faced tough times before. Many of us weathered the Northridge earthquake in January 1994, 9-11, and the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009. We made the necessary adjustments to survive.

Take the Lead

At this time you need to understand that your employees also remember those financially uncertain times, too. During difficult times, your employees look to you for direction. It’s easy to lead when things are going right. The real test of leadership comes when times are tough.
The first step in dealing with a crisis and your company is to be open and honest with your employees. Some employers try to withhold information from employees thinking they’re protecting them, but people know when leadership is not being forthright. This makes employees resentful and causes more problems than being straightforward about the situation.
Share with your employees the challenges the company is facing, then ask for their input. Remember if you ask for input, you need to respond to the input received. It doesn’t mean that you must agree or accept but it is important to respond...it is part of effective communication. By including your employees in the discussions, they can become part of the solution. And, if hard choices have to be made, they may not like the decisions, but they will understand because they were part of the process.

Create a Plan

There are some events or situations that are entirely out of your control. Don’t focus on those. Instead, take stock of what you have and determine how to best use that to your advantage. Sometimes an opportunity can be found amid a crisis.

Several PIASC members have looked for ways to support industries that provide essential services to the nation. These members are printing packaging and shipping cartons for essential products. Other PIASC members are printing labels for food and hand sanitizers, including for the craft distillers and brewers that are now making hand sanitizer instead of liquor.
Here are some PIASC member companies that have followed the advice to “take stock of what you have and determine how to best use that to your advantage.”

Local Business Marketing in Uncertain Times
Wondering how to stay top-of-mind with your customers, even if you aren’t open? Looking for new, creative ways to continue to show up for them?

To explore how local businesses can market during uncertain times, I interview Bruce Irving on the  Social Media Marketing Podcast .

Bruce  is a local business marketing pro. He’s the host of The Local Business Podcast and the Smart Pizza Marketing Podcast.
You’ll discover how four local businesses are staying top-of-mind with their customers right now, and learn how to encourage your customers to return to your shop when the time is right.



The Same Old Normal
The New Normal. The Next Normal. Nothing will ever be “normal” again. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much obsessing about the concept of “normalness” in my life!
 
Yes, the global pandemic has upended all of our lives and drastically changed seemingly everything. From the marketing perspective, once the economy starts to open up again, many organizations (including yours) may have to revise their marketing strategies, tactics and messaging. But even so, the basic principles of marketing are not going to change. The “same old normal” will still apply!
 
This means that you will still need to…
 
Understand your target audience – Who exactly are these people? What is important to them?
 
Focus on the benefits – The fact that all anyone cares about is “what’s in it for me?” is not going to change. You need to clearly communicate how your product or service will solve their problems, meet their needs or improve their lives.
 
Make an emotional connection – Your goal should be to present your offerings in such a way that prospective customers can start to envision and feel that they’re already enjoying the benefits that these things provide.
 
Build credibility and trust – If you do not come across as credible and trustworthy, no one is going to buy.
 
Anticipate and overcome objections – You can do this directly in your text or images, or indirectly by sharing third party endorsements, such as credentials and testimonials.
 
Have a clear call to action – What do you want people to do as a result of your marketing piece? Place an order, schedule a consultation, give you a call, fill out a form, watch a video, download a report, or what?
 
Track your results – You need to be able to tell which of your marketing efforts are working, and which are not. 
Source: Plumtree Marketing, www.PlumtreeMarketingInc.com, PIASC member
DOL Clarifies Some Common Questions about FFCRA Eligibility
The newly-enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) created new paid sick leave and emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave benefits. But what happens if your worksite is closed, your workers are furloughed or you have to reduce some workers’ hours—do the new benefits apply in these situations? The Department of Labor (DOL) has now issued clarification regarding these questions.
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Your Workforce Reductions Might Impact Your Qualified Retirement Plan
If you’ve been forced to reduce your workforce through furloughs or layoffs, here’s another thing you need to beware of: These workforce reductions might be “triggering events” that cause a “partial termination” to occur in your qualified retirement plan.

If this happens then all “affected employees” immediately become 100% vested in their accrued benefits (including employer contributions that would normally be subject to a different vesting schedule) or in the amounts credited to their plan accounts. “Affected employees” include anyone who left the company’s employment for any reason during the year or period in which the partial termination occurred, including those who left voluntarily.

In the past the IRS has found that a “partial termination” can happen if at least 20% of the employees participating in the plan are laid off or furloughed. However, whether or not furloughed employees should be included in the calculations can be tricky. Initially they would not be considered terminated. However, if they are not brought back to work within a reasonable period of time they would then be included in the count.
Quote of the Week
"Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."