The Ghost of a “Me-My” Future

The Ghost of a ‘Me -My’ Future

In the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, we recount the story of a wealthy banker, Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. I always loved this story and the many retellings of the story as time passed because the theme and relevance in life is so broad and yet so very specific for what I need to hear each Holiday Season. So, I’d like to take a look at this story piece by piece and expound on some of the thoughts I have, reading the classic in 2020.

 

Stave 1

The story begins by setting the tone with Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve all those years ago. He shows us his character, revealed in how he treats others who can do nothing for him in return. He lives a Me-My lifestyle where nothing matters except for what pleases him and what will profit him in the end. Disgusted by the thought, he refuses an invitation for dinner with his nephew, Fred, the son of his late sister. He turns away a pair of gentlemen who are asking for a donation to provide food and heating for the poor. The old miser grudgingly allows his underpaid and overworked banking clerk, Bob Cratchit, Christmas Day off with pay, only because this conformed to the social custom of the day. He looked at himself and made business decisions and life choices based on the Me-My lifestyle. 

Stave 2

That evening he was visited by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, who told Scrooge of his fate after his death nearly seven years earlier. He spoke of his own ‘Me-My’ Lifestyle and told Scrooge that after death he was doomed to roam the Earth, tangled in chains attached to money chests he could never open because of a lifetime of greed and selfishness. Marley tells Scrooge that he regrets ignoring the needs of his fellowmen in life, but alas, it is too late to ever make amends for his Me-My lifestyle. He then pleads to Scrooge, his still living friend, to change the way he treats others or he, too, may face the same fate. He warns that the three Spirits of Christmas will come to visit him that evening.

And so they did, beginning with the Ghost of Christmas Past, who took Ebenezzer on a journey through time where he was forced to watch and remember his lonely childhood, his only familiar relationship which was with his now deceased sister, Fran and a Christmas party hosted by his first employer, Mr. Fezziwig, who treated him like family when no one else did. 

Intermission

I’d like to pause there and remind us all to look at where we came from. Someone had to care for us when we were children. They had to provide for us when we couldn’t do so ourselves. When we started making our own choices, we had people who cared about us who guided us and inspired us and taught us so that we could become better. Most of us were born into the middle or lower class. Our parents fought to give us a better life than they had when they were growing up, and now we fight for better futures for our kids and grandkids. One day, when we are old and frail, we will rely on others to take care of us once more. We have been and will be cared for, so why do we not care for others likewise?

This is especially true with families. These are the people that you have spent the most time with and know better than anyone else. They should be the easiest to love and care for, and yet, many of us find them the easiest to overlook and neglect. Right there, in your own family tree people are hurting as they battle unseen demons and unspoken feelings. Yet, we do not see it. We do not hear those cries for help. Hearing this, I hope you will be more cognizant of what’s happening in your own home because it is building block number one. 

Now that you’re thinking about it, I want you to pick a family member and text or call them today to tell them you appreciate what they’ve done for you and how you are better because of it. 

Stave 3

The second spirit arrived soon after Scrooge was returned to his bed. The Ghost of Christmas Present whisked him away again to a common market place with a bustling crowd who were buying the ingredients for Christmas dinner. Then, across the way, the Ghost pulled him to a Christmas celebration in a lighthouse. Then, transported again, they visited his nephew Fred’s Christmas festivities. And finally, to Bob Cratchit’s family dinner. Scrooge noted Bob’s youngest son, Tim (‘Tiny’ Tim) who seemed happy though, to the best that Scrooge could tell, seriously ill. The Ghost tells Ebenezer that ‘Tiny’ Tim will die soon because of complications of the sickness. 

This brings us to a second important point, the Me-My lifestyle keeps owners and managers from true greatness. I have had the pleasure of working for some of the kindest and most caring administrators. They were attuned to the needs of their employees. They did all they could to meet those needs whether that meant giving them time off when there was no more PTO or sending them a ‘Thank You’ card or calling them when they found out a family member was sick or hurting. Remember Ebenezzer Scrooge’s disdain for letting Bob have Christmas Day off? He did so because that was what was ‘Socially Acceptable’. We should go over and beyond, because investing in our employees is investing in our future. So, take time and look at the people who you serve as a direct supervisor for. Get them Holiday Cards of your choosing and write a personal note. Not just “Thanks” but a heartfelt note to let them know what they mean to you and to your company.

Stave 4

The final spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Future, would be the last to visit Mr. Scrooge that evening, and he would show Ebeneezer a single Christmas Day in the future. This Ghost was eerily silent. It revealed a funeral for a disliked man attended only by local businessmen who were solely there for the food. The possessions of the deceased man were stolen away to be sold. No one showed even an inkling of compassion for the dead. Seeking to find out where he would end up, Ebenezzer asked the Spirit to show him his future. Down the way, they saw Scrooge’s house, but the Ghost pointed elsewhere. To a graveyard near a church where Ebeneezer unwittingly approached a tombstone and found his own name written upon it. 

Scrooge pledged in the end, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!” And so he did, and we should all follow his lead. 

We should give up this ‘Me-My’ lifestyle. Strive to live less of the miser life that Ebeneezer lived at first. Live more of a gracious, compassionate life like the one he took up in the end. Because, in the end of the story, he changed the lives of Fred and his family. He transformed the life of Bob, ‘Tiny’ Tim and all of the Cratchits. Scrooge changed the lives of the meat salesman and the beggars he passed on Christmas Day. Ebenezer Scrooge embraced that ‘holiday spirit’ not just in December, but all throughout the year. 

Salutation

Hoping your Holiday Season is filled with love given to you and bestowed upon others from you. May you receive and give gifts in like kindness with a grateful heart. May it be a season filled with quality time for family and friends. From our staff at Custom Equipment Company to you and yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! May 2021 be our best year yet! Remember, that what you are today directly impacts the person you will become. Let us be ‘people focused’, as we look forward to a brighter tomorrow!

 

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The Ghost of Mayhem Present

The Ghost of Mayhem Present

Navigating the Chaos of the World Today

“Smile past the mayhem because it can not hold you forever.”

The year 2020 will be remembered as a whirlwind that wreaked havoc on the world! A global pandemic, like the modern world has never seen, was and is still a major part of where we are as a society. It has affected all of our companies in one way or another. For many small businesses, we have been hanging on by a thread, just hoping this nightmare would pass. And, honestly, that’s been true for many of the big businesses as well. But it is a present and persistent virus that we have had to adapt and change to combat against. 

You’ve Made it this Far!

Take a moment and pat yourselves on the back if you were a part of one of those companies that tightened down the hatches and pushed through what I hope was the worst of the 2020 Mayhem. I spoke to managers and owners who thought, back in April, that they were finished as a company. Even with promises of Government loans and local subsidies they were sure they would be filing for bankruptcy by the end of 2020. But with some innovation and wit, many found new ways to safely provide for the needs of their customers. They looked in the face of death and boldly said, “Not Today!”

What are Other Companies Doing!

A cycling company in NC quickly realized that they had the means and technology to cut fabrics in such a way that they began to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE in the form of Facial Coverings). They made 26,000 on the initial run and still had a backlog for orders. Across the United States, breweries and distilleries began producing hand sanitizers to meet the growing demand for cleaning agents. Gyms began to do virtual classes so that members could workout from home. Even some smaller movie theater venues moved to viewing outside transforming their parking lots into drive-in experiences. These companies deserve a round of applause.

The Ghost of Mayhem Present would have liked to scare us off or beat us down, and for some, it succeeded. For the innovative companies that started thinking outside of the box, life didn’t cease. Instead, they made the best of this pandemic, and they made what was ‘present’ a thing of the past. Though the Covid-19 outbreak was the overarching cause of the shutdowns and closures, and even with reports of a vaccine building, companies need to, now more than ever, double down on a marketing strategy to get themselves back on their feet!

Marketing is for Leads!

“The sales team owns the sales funnel. But as a B2B marketer, you feed the top of their funnel”. 

The words of Doug Kessler, co-founder of the business-to-business (B2B) marketing services, Velocity, hit the nail on 

the head. Just like a newly formed company trying to get onto its feet for the first time, we NEED a dedicated marketing strategy to get us to our feet yet again. This is a task that many business owners dread as it is a reminder of the hard work they and their teams initially put into building the customer base they had grown over the last many years. But it is vital once again, to reclaim those customers as the world slowly, but surely, begins to open back up again.

So what are you doing with your marketing strategy? At Custom Equipment Company in Charleston, we are evaluating our entire company and revamping the marketing that has made us successful for so many years. People stopped walking in the front door, and so now we have to find them in a different way. That piece of the strategy involves video conferences and virtual self-tours of the facility.

It has required us to take a deeper look at how Social Media can assist us in reaching the appropriate markets. The current mayhem also revealed how emails can be the new rack cards. It has inspired us to hire an in-house Marketing Director to design new and revitalized content. They produce new print and even capture new graphics. Most importantly, it required us to take a long look at our customer’s needs and how we could meet those needs. Meet them without compromising health and safety for us and for them. 

Be New! Be Bold!

And hey, there is no time better than the present to revamp and transform the company you are, to the company you need to be! (Look for our January blogs where we discuss what CEC will blossom into in 2021!) Don’t let your sales, leads and prospects dry up because you refused to dig a well. Yeah, it takes effort and energy and possibly a leap of faith on a new employee or 

marketing company, but if we want to succeed, it will require something NEW and BOLD. Don’t let the Ghost of Mayhem Present derail your future!

Hopefully, we can all take from this what was expressed by Chuck Swindoll. “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it”. We couldn’t control what happened because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Our response when catastrophes strike and our business is jeopardized is in our control . Be innovative and think outside the box, and if you can’t, surround yourself by others who can. Let’s join in making marketing a part of our success story as we look forward to a brighter tomorrow! 

 

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The Ghost of Salesmen Past

 

 

The Ghost of Salesmen Past

A look at Selling and how to Improve our Methods

 

In a world filled with digital and social media, many of the ‘old ways’ of selling have fallen to the wayside. The percentage of sales made from door-to-door visits has become almost nil. Cold calling is a thing of the past. And in-person sales have begun to plummet as clients become more and more accustomed to finding their needs through online portals. Furthermore, online selling has tripled since the on-set of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Momentum that, in my opinion, will not slow down until the next evolution of the internet occurs. All of this in mind, what parts of the old selling methods should we leave to die in the past. And which ones should we pull forward to the present?

Well, I think it’s obvious which parts need to be left in the grave. It’s the archaic methodology of selling, or the ‘how’ we sell that should be left to Rest In Peace. People, especially in the United States, don’t like strangers coming to their door. That is unless they are bearing food from a favored nearby restaurant. Recognizing this, we have to adapt to meeting people where they want to be met. So don’t waste marketing dollars on door-to-door or cold calls because those are Ghosts of Salesmen Past, and need to be left as ghosts.

What we should take from the past, however, is the connection to our customers. You see, even though people seem, from the outside, like they don’t want interpersonal relationships with anyone except  their close friends and family, people desire to be known and acknowledged by others, even strangers. That’s why Social Media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn allow people to ‘Like’ posts and ‘follow’ users. It’s acknowledgement. People want to be seen and known, and seeing that, we should continue to get to know our customers on a more intimate level. Like the salespeople of old once did, we should know them by name. We should know their hobbies and their families and their traditions, because though we let the method die we need to hold on to the reason the method worked in the first place. Connection.

So what should we do to revamp the way we do sales as we seek to connect with our customers? Well, the answers to that question are infinite, but here are a few that we can chew on for today.

Form Customer Relationships

First, we need to have a system in place to create and maintain a good customer relationship. I know some people disagree with which customers deserve that kind of time and commitment and I won’t argue those sides here, but as a salesperson, administrator or owner, you need to be doing some kind of interpersonal connecting with customers to keep that bridge between them and your company strong. Patricia Fripp is an American Author and Sales Presentation Skills Trainer. She said “To build a long-term, successful enterprise, when you don’t close a sale, open a relationship”. To her point, even if you don’t make the sale, make a friend. When people realize that you see them as more than a number or a statistic they stop and pay attention. At that point, you’ll have already formed a strong foundation to start from. 

Mary Kay Ash was the founder of the Mary Kay Cosmetic line. She once said, “Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important’. Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life”. ‘Make me feel important,’ is a selling technique that has dissipated in our fast paced world, but it is what sets good salespeople apart from GREAT salespeople. Connection.

Reallocate Efforts

Second, I would suggest reallocating those door-to-door and cold call efforts in more effective ways for the times. E-blasts and Social Media posts are the best way to do this in today’s culture. I would suggest two emails a month so that you don’t overwhelm your subscribers, but you still keep them engaged. We do ours at the beginning and the middle of the month. The second part of that is writing blogs, just like this one, that is designed for customers and other viewers who want to know more about what you do and stand for. Those emails should give good information and resources that are relevant to your industry. They should draw your customers and should draw them back to your website. These blogs should be interesting, just long enough to catch Google’s eye but not so wordy that you lose the attention of the reader. Connection.

……………………………………………..   ……….

Utilize Resources

Lastly, use the internet and apps that are here to make your life easier! Marcus Sheridan, author of ‘They Ask, You Answer’ wrote,  “In today’s business environment, a company’s website is the key to their entire business”. This statement is so true because our world is engulfed in the internet. Sometimes, having no connection to the internet is worse than having no electricity! And your website is like your brick and mortar for anyone under the age of sixty. A place for them to ‘come’ where their needs can be met. They should be able to speak to a representative, see what you offer by browsing your ‘catalog’, be able to get to know your sales staff and management, and even discover more about your company’s history and growth. After typing all of that I realize, it’s better than your brick and mortar! 

And that doesn’t even touch on the millions of avenues available through mobile devices and other internet inspired functions.  – If you are in the business of selling and you don’t have an online store, you are missing out on sales.

– If you are a restaurant and you don’t use delivery apps, you are missing out on sales.

– If you aren’t utilizing the most prominent avenues to generate sales for yourself or your company, you are missing out on sales. Make these modern avenues work for you!

So let us let go of the Ghosts of Salesmen Past, or Salespeople as it were, and let’s become Salespeople of Today. Let’s bring that same high energy and enthusiasm to selling in the 21st century! Get out there and connect to people in such a way that they want to seek you out. That they want to buy your product. That they want to work with you. Join me in making sales personal again, as we look forward to a brighter tomorrow!  

 

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Rotational Molded Pallet

Rotational Molded Pallet

Rotational Molded Pallet

Production Process

Rotational molding, rotomolding, or rotocasting is a production process to form hollow parts of limitless size. This is a cost-effective method to produce large plastic parts. Resins are added into a mold that’s heated and rotated slowly, both vertically and horizontally. The simultaneous heating and rotation distributes and fuses the resin on the inner surfaces of the mold. The result is a product that contains seamless parts with a uniform wall thickness with more material in corners to absorb shocks and stresses where they occur most.

Rotational molding has had a place in industry since the 1940’s. The materials prior to 1961 were limited to vinyl plastisols in liquid form and were used primarily in the manufacture of novelty items such as artificial fruit, mannequins, children’s toys, and hollow display items. What is new in rotational molding in recent years relates not to plastisols but to powdered resins of about 35 mesh which have triggered improvements in equipment design and the overall technology, making this technique among the major plastics processing methods of today.

Decades Later

In 1961, the first polyolefin powder, a low-density polyethylene, was publicly demonstrated to the rotational molding industry. Polyetheylenes remain one of the most popular materials for rotomolding, because of the process ability, broad range of properties, and low cost. Major thermoplastic raw material suppliers have investigated specially formulated powders for rotational molding, including polypropylene, nylons, polycarbonate, rigid polyvinyl chloride and others. These powders can be foamed or reinforced with fiberglass. In addition to the raw material suppliers, many rotational molders also have used custom grinding services or have their own in-plant grinding capabilities which have also enlarged the material selection for this process.

Added Sanitation

Maximize sanitary food handling practices at your plant with the industry’s most hygienic plastic pallet design – Rotational Molded Pallet. Some of these pallets even have features built-in for an added layer of protection. This fights against bacteria harboring and abuse inside plants and operations associated with the FDA. Most pallets come equipped with an impact resistant double-wall HDPE construction. This feature delivers the industry’s highest useful-life-to-cost ratio, so you can be assured optimum sanitary service for years to come. Easy to clean, lightweight for operators and highly durable.

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