Candid Comments April 2020

Candid Comments April 2020

After a busy January and February, March started in the exact same way, until the COVID-19 calamity. Like with most businesses, stay-at-home orders, shelter-in-place orders, mandatory closure of “non-essential” businesses, and social distancing has changed the trajectory of our sales for the second quarter.

That’s not to say we won’t still meet our 2020 goals; we’ll just have to work a little harder, smarter, and be more creative. One thing I’m sure of is I have a very capable team ready to get Perfect Imprints back on track as soon as the country reopens. 

As statewide shutdowns were announced in March like falling dominoes, it was inevitable that our home state of Florida would also do the same. As the various state announcements were made, we began seeing our sales plummet. Since we have clients in all 50 states, every state that went down affected us. I knew we needed to be proactive so the company could stay financially healthy during this drought. All non-essential expenses were cut to prepare for the inevitable. We were in survival mode with plenty of strategic planning taking place to weather this long storm. 

During The Great Recession of 2008, I never had to layoff or furlough any employees even though times got really tough financially. I personally went without pay for 9 months in order to prevent my employees from hurting during that time.

Unfortunately, me taking a pay cut wasn’t enough with COVID-19. Our team made the decision to furlough all employees, including me. That means no pay, but benefits continue until we come back to the job. This was the single most difficult thing I ever had to do in my professional career. 

As an employer, I take on the responsibility of providing for my employees (of course, this requires a team of dedicated and talented people to keep the company profitable). I take on the burden of ensuring funds are available (with a lot of help from our Accountant, Dan) so each employee gets paid every payday so they can provide for their family. That’s something I take very seriously, so needless to say the anticipation of the topic of furloughs with my team kept me awake several nights in turmoil before the conversation took place. 

To my great relief, everyone seemed to take the news so much better than it played through my mind. No one stormed out. No one threatened to not come back. The team was unified even more than before. They understood this is the place we all are standing at this moment and we are all in this together. A huge weight was lifted from me and my respect for each team member grew immensely. 

Like many teams across the country who are separated, we have kept in contact through Zoom and Slack. We recently held a Zoom call with the entire team and it went very well. It was great seeing the team. Everyone has been staying safe, healthy, and all our team members are eager for things to get back to normal. 

But what will normal look like? Will everything go back to the same as before COVID-19? Will there be new policies in place at corporations around the globe to help reduce the chances of another pandemic? Will companies have enough budget to continue to operate as usual?

These are only a few of the questions being asked by management teams all around the country. I am confident that Americans will find a way to bounce back and I believe we will all bounce back quickly. As soon as the health threats wane, Americans will be ambitious to rebound. I believe many companies will see more enthusiasm from employees who are happy to return to their jobs, which will make their labors a lot more fruitful for their companies. From the commerce side, I am seeing much more activity online now than from just a couple of weeks ago. This tells me that companies are adapting to working remotely and they are planning ahead, which is a great sign for the future.

Personally, I can’t wait to get back to the office with my staff. While our sales have been much lower than normal, I have been working from home to help serve those clients who are proactively planning ahead for post-COVID-19. I’d also like to give out props to all my team who have contributed over the past several weeks on a volunteer basis to continue serving our clients who have needed us. The dedication they have shown is truly amazing and I am very grateful for each and every employee and I will never forget that. I can’t wait for our reunion as soon as it is safe to return to the office together.

Until that time comes, Perfect Imprints is open for business and ready to provide promotional items and apparel for your business. We look forward to serving you!

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Patrick Black
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Patrick Black, MAS, is the founder of Perfectimprints.com and has been in the promotional products industry helping businesses and organizations since 1999. When not geeking out over the newest and greatest promotional items, you can find him paddleboarding at the beach or hanging out by the pool with his wife, three kids, and his basset hound in Fort Walton Beach, FL.