30 Apr

Setting Goals And Surpassing Your Targets

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 30.04.13 by John Meloche

surpassAre you getting excited yet? The NHL Playoffs begin tonight! And, as we ever-so-proudly announced in yesterday’s blog, Synergy Marketing’s home team Toronto Maple Leafs will be part of it for the first time in nine years! The kicking off of the Leafs’ first playoff run, in nearly a decade, tomorrow night helps to bring a few things to mind. One, is that anything can happen!

Two, it is always possible to not only meet, but surpass your business goals. Now the Leafs have met their goal of making the post-season. But will they surpass expectations? Perhaps, making it to the second round of the playoffs is all that is needed for the Maple Leafs to surpass expectations. But just ask just about anyone in Toronto, and they’ll tell you that they want Lord Stanley’s Cup – no matter how far-fetched an idea that may be.

As a business owner, you too should set out to not just meet, but surpass your business goals. It can be argued that the greatest of achievements are the ones that are unexpected – or at least, the ones that, at one time, seemed unattainable. But how can entrepreneurs surpass their goals before even attaining them? How can such success even be conceived if never before achieved?

The UK-based Sterling Business Coaching website contends that all businesses need a sense of direction in order to succeed, and that setting certain goals the right way will help them to exceed expectations. The site offers up a number of tips that aim to assist business owners in not only meeting but excelling past their intended goals. So let’s look into how you may win your own version of the Stanley Cup.

Goals must stretch you but be achievable. Take a look at what your business has achieved over the past year or two. Most business owners naturally take a look at their yearly numbers and hope to beat them the following years. But it’s important to have a specific plan in place to accomplish getting greater returns. It’s probably best to look at areas where you had the most success.

What can you do to better advertise those successful parts of your brand? What products and services do you have that are the most popular? Then take a look at the features that didn’t do so well for you. Is it time to stop offering them so that you can focus your energies on your winning strategies? Or can you come up with new ways to increase their popularity?

All targets need a timescale and deadline. The failure of many a business plan comes from not setting a timeline. Be fair and honest with yourself. Can your goals be achieved within a calendar year? How long do you think it will take for your plan to be effectively implemented? Be sure to outline the amount of time it will take to see your plans through. This should keep you on schedule to meet your targets.

In tomorrow’s blog, we’ll continue our look at the tips offered by Sterling Business Coaching. Admittedly, many members of our staff will also be taking a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first playoff game in nine years against the Boston Bruins. We’re hoping that both the tips in our blog and the Leafs’ on-ice strategies will pay off in a big way!

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29 Apr

Leafs Start First Playoff Run In Nine Years

Posted in News on 29.04.13 by John Meloche

HKN Leafs SenatorsWell, it’s official! The NHL Playoffs begin tomorrow night. And yes, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a part of it. What comes as unbelievable news to Toronto-area hockey fans, the Leafs’ entry into the playoffs is the first time this has taken place in nine years. For Leafs fans everywhere, these were very long and dreadful years. Years when they were forced to watch other teams with less-enthusiastic fan bases vie for the Stanley Cup.

“It’s about time,” one our most excited reps, here at Synergy, commented, “And that’s stating the obvious. Toronto has arguably the most loyal and ravenous fan base of anyone in the NHL. Maybe in sports. For the Leafs to have taken this long to get back into the playoffs is ridiculous. But I don’t think anyone cares about the drought anymore. We’re in now, and that’s all that matters.”

For other fans, just making it into the playoffs isn’t enough. Anything short of a championship is a failure. However, with the Leafs not having won a Stanley Cup championship since 1967, it is unlikely that they will be playing in the finals this year. Or is it? As many a hockey fan will tell you, the NHL playoffs are an entirely different season altogether. And anything can happen.

“Look at last year,” reminded our team member, “The Los Angeles Kings were seeded eighth in the Western Conference and weren’t expected to do much (in the playoffs). The next thing you know, they start dominating and went on to win the whole thing. The Leafs are the East’s fifth seed. We could have done a lot worse. Now that we’re in, you never know!”

Perhaps, it is just sheer joy and excitement promoting this type of optimism in Toronto. But our rep can’t be completely out of his mind, can he? To be fair, the Leafs didn’t just squeak into the playoffs. Clinching the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference is certainly a great accomplishment for a team that was questionable to even make the post-season before the season started.

The shortened season, however, may be a considered a factor in placing luck on the side of the Leafs. It is not lost on any hockey fan that this year’s NHL season was shortened from the regular 82 to 48 games because of the lengthy lock out situation. Would the Leafs have made it into the playoffs if an entire season of hockey was played? Is this year’s season really all that remarkable?

“It doesn’t matter,” responded our Leafs enthusiast, “They played the same amount of games as any other team in the league this year. They deserve to be in as much as any other team that has made it. All that matters now is that they show up for the post-season and play the kind of hockey that got them in. Anything can happen now. All I can say is ‘Go Leafs Go’!”

The playoffs begin tomorrow night, however, the Leafs will kick off their first playoff game in nine years on Wednesday night when they go head to head with the Boston Bruins. It was thought that the rival Montreal Canadiens may open the first round against the Leafs, but after defeating Toronto this past Saturday (coupled with the Bruins losing their last regular season game to Ottawa), the Habs clinched their division and snagged the #2 spot in the East. Well, all we can say, here at Synergy, is…Go Leafs Go!

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26 Apr

New Strategies Are Bound To Boost Business

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 26.04.13 by John Meloche

new thinkingIn yesterday’s blog, we began looking at a Beth Laurence article from Nolo.com that included a number of tips on how to turn your business around. As we’ve been discussing on the Synergy Marketing Blog throughout this week, there are times when business will slow. During those slow periods, it may be time to reassess some of your business practices to get your company back on its feet.

Laurence writes that questioning your assumptions (or rethinking your ideas about your marketplace) as well as concentrating on your core business are two important ways to get your business going back in the right direction. In today’s blog, we’ll look at a few more of her ideas on how you get your company headed back to a much more profitable position.

Cut Costs. This tip sounds obvious enough, right? Writes Laurence, “You must slash costs to fit your new lowered income projection. Depending on your situation, this can involve cutting every possible expense, moving to a less costly location, laying off employees, and aggressively collecting past due debts.” Such advice seems extreme, but this is where proper planning comes back in to the fold.

Review the costs you’ve had over the past year or two. Consider what your return on those investments were. Did your expenses end up turning into sales? Did you make the money back that you expected to make? You don’t always have to go through an entire revamp to get your company to be successful again. But you definitely need to stop wasting your money on things that don’t make money in return.

Change Your Strategy. This, of course, underlines the previous tip. Are people spending money on you? If the answer is “no”, you simply need a new strategy. This may include re-evaluating who you market your business to. It may also include offering new products and services or eliminating other products and services that are not profitable. You may also want to look at changing your pricing.

This doesn’t always mean lowering your costs. People will pay for quality if they believe that the best can be bought from you. Do you offer a product or service that is unlike anything else out there? How can you develop a marketing strategy that exposes your competition’s products and services as inferior to yours? Highlight your strengths and get people buzzing about your brand again.

Come Up With New Marketing Ideas. A natural follow-up to the tip before it, this piece of advice asks entrepreneurs to locate a low-cost, but highly effective marketing campaign. “Your strategies must hinge on understanding who your best customers are, how to reach them most effectively, and how to provide incentives for them to purchase goods and services on which you make a decent profit,” writes Laurence.

Can you offer your clients a discount if they refer you to other customers who end up making a purchase? Can you offer a sale on one item that will actually encourage the sale of another item at its regular price? Can you offer a buy one, get one free promotion? Naturally, there are tons of ways to market your business in new ways. Find the one that’s best for you and find yourself boosting your business.

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25 Apr

More Tips To Turn Your Business Around

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 25.04.13 by John Meloche

how-to-maintain-a-profitable-businessAt Synergy Marketing, we specialize in providing business owners across the country with cost-effective methods of increasing their client bases. For decades, promo gifts have worked wonders in spreading the word about companies, as they are both useful and inexpensive. Having worked with owners of various types of businesses, our staff is well aware of one simple fact: all business owners are concerned about spending.

Naturally, good business entails making more money than you spend. But what happens when the opposite takes place? As we’ve been discussing for the past couple of days, sometimes your business may take a hit. Many entrepreneurs have experienced this unfortunate reality more than one time. But as law expert, Beth Laurence points out on Nolo.com, most business people are optimists.

As a result, when tough times hit them, they hit back! Especially during hard economic times, this is very hard to do. But it’s not impossible. “You need to create change and make cutbacks fast enough to bring income in line with expenses,” writes Laurence. And, with that, she offers up a number of helpful ideas to assist your business with getting back on track after experiencing a downturn.

Question Your Assumptions. “Every small business rests on a set of fundamental and often simple commercial assumptions,” says Laurence. One obvious example is that restaurant owners assume that all hungry people want something to eat. This, of course, is true. But does that mean that they will always be willing to come to your restaurant to get their food?

Laurence challenges business owners to challenge themselves with new assumptions about their respective market places. How has the climate changed? Have the needs and wants of your target market developed into something new over time? Have you become complacent in your thinking? What new can be offered to satisfy the demands of your clients? Answer these questions to start the turning-around process.

Concentrate on Your Core Business. It’s important to identify your business’ most profitable core, says Laurence. Do away with any focus on activities that are not part of it. Are some of your products barely selling? Do some of your products only allow you to break even? It’s time to pull the plug on some of the things that are simply not profitable to your company.

As well, it may also be time to start putting focus on certain aspects of your business that you have overlooked. Do you offer a service that you have rarely promoted? Perhaps, there is a part of the market you’re missing out on simply because you haven’t given it a chance. Perhaps, it’s time to redesign your business plan to start making money in areas that you haven’t before.

In tomorrow’s blog, we’ll take a further look at Laurence’s list of tips on how to turn your business around. One of the most important elements of fixing things at your company is to think positively. Of course, this is easier said than done. But implementing new business practices requires your full attention and motivated attitude. Remember, as a business owner, it’s up to you to inspire your staff to do the same.

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24 Apr

Get Stuck On Reversing Your Luck

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 24.04.13 by John Meloche

luckIn yesterday’s blog, we took a close look at an Inc.com article by Jeff Haden that supplied a number of suggestions on how business owners could turn around their struggling businesses. Hope should never be all lost when your business is going through a downward spiral. It’s important tackle problems head on, never losing sight of the people who make up your company. But what problems should be handled first?

Assess the brand. The disconnect that Haden writes about usually is found with either the brand and sales or on the back end in sourcing and operations. Has your brand lost its attraction? Can your distributors still support it? It may be time to stop trying to sell something that is no longer in demand. Find ways to recover your brand’s value.

Haden notes that value can always be recovered or extended. It just must be done so with the right audience in mind. Perhaps you can expand regionally, nationally or internationally. Have you looked into whether or not what you are selling is viable in places abroad? Maybe it’s time to branch out and expand the reach of your business.

Assess operations. The main problem may be with your brand, says Haden, “but ultimately the issue will be a question of operations, because if the wheels are not working the business is still a lost cause.” Remember that your back end should be expected to deliver. Also, keep in mind that no brand is better than its delivery.

Haden refers to this as the “QVC trap”. “A business lands a spot on QVC and gets excited,” he explains, “but they need production and sourcing and financing to complete that journey…Often a business bit off way more than it could chew. Oddly enough that’s a good sign, because it means there’s already an opportunity. Your job is to develop operations that can meet that opportunity.”

Go back to people. Participate in your company, insists Haden. This means doing away with bureaucratic nonsense and simply being open. It means talking to people and showing them that you care. This involves both your employees and your customers. It’s important to show those who mean the most to the success of your business that you care.

Assess and maintain the talent that benefits your brand. Yes, this may mean letting some employees go. But be sure to give everyone a fair chance. Too often, business owners simply think about cleaning house when business isn’t going well. This only starts them right back at the bottom making it much harder to get to the top.

Look for quick hits. Find ways to expand and find new sources of revenue, says Haden. Get to know your suppliers really well. They should be able to support you through financing and credit if necessary. Lastly, never forget that it’s all about the people. Make your staff feel secure in their jobs and make your customers feel secure in your brand.

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23 Apr

Turning Around Your Struggling Business

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 23.04.13 by John Meloche

fixbizLife is full of ups and downs. And as the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays are finding out, even when there are high expectations for your organization, it doesn’t mean that you can avoid struggles. All businesses experience high and low periods. One of the best things you can do as a business owner is stay positive during your lows to quickly bring you back to a high point.

On Inc.com, Jeff Haden writes that turning around a struggling business is far from easy. But after speaking with Niels Juul of Nofatego (someone who specializes in recovering assets and restructuring operations), he realized that there are some important steps for entrepreneurs to take if they wish to dig their companies out of holes. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either.

Think like a firefighter. According to Juul, this is the approach that business owners need to take when tackling tough times. In other words, assume your business is in worse shape than it is. This actually helps to encourage you to metaphorically kick down the door without a fear of what is inside. Basically, it’s important to handle your problems head on with bravery.

Avoiding your issues certainly won’t help you to resolve them. In fact, Haden writes that this is why purchasing an already-struggling company can actually be quite beneficial. Such companies have what startup companies do not: existing customers. Are you prepared to fight the fires that have been set ablaze in your industry?

Ignore the business plan. Here’s some advice that may sound contrary to what you are likely quite used to. You always need a business plan, right? Haden writes that “a business plan is often little better than a fantasy. On the other hand, a struggling company involves realities you can touch and feel.” Your plan may have been unrealistic. Perhaps, you never implemented the steps for proper follow through.

The key is to put your attention on reality, says Haden. That means focusing on such issues as revenues, expenses, operations and cash flow. Rethinking your original approach will be important if you truly want to turn things around. There’s no shame in admitting that your first ideas weren’t your best. Learning from your mistakes will always be a part of becoming a better business owner.

Focus on people. Writes Haden, “If a once-successful business is struggling, it’s almost always a people-related issue. Not financing, not capital: Employees, management, or owners.” A business relationship is just like any other type of relationship. It needs to have good communication. Did something happen along the way to disconnect you from your customers?

Sometimes, entrepreneurs get complacent or lazy. They forget that the needs and concerns of their customers continue to grow and change each and every day. It’s important to stay up on these changes so that your products and services can continue to satisfy those who depend on you. Don’t get left behind or left out. Always keep your customers in mind.

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22 Apr

Blue Jays Looking To Turn Things Around

Posted in News on 22.04.13 by John Meloche

lawrieToronto baseball fans got exactly what they were hoping for yesterday – their Blue Jays avoided a sweep at the hands of the hated New York Yankees. When the Major League Baseball season started at the beginning of this month, however, Toronto baseball fans were hoping for a lot more than its home team being able to avoid being swept. The Jays, thus far, have certainly underperformed.

“It’s been a bit frustrating,” one of Synergy’s Blue Jay-crazed staff members commented after yesterday’s 8-4 victory, “The team showed it can bounce back after being down, but honestly, there simply hasn’t been enough offence from our big bats so far this season. The heart of our order has to do a lot more to contribute. That’s what they get paid the big bucks for.”

The “heart of the order”, by the way, refers to the 3, 4 and 5 spots in the batting order. For the Blue Jays, those spots are generally held by the usually heavy-hitting Jose Bautista at 3 and Edwin Encarnacion at clean up. The 5th spot has seen some changes but is sometimes given to catcher J.P. Arencibia who has been swinging a hot bat lately.

“J.P. has like seven homers now,” commented our team member, “Jose and Edwin, on the other hand, really have to pick it up.” That much is true. As The Canadian Press pointed out after yesterday’s game, “Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion went 0-for-4 with an RBI on his bobblehead giveaway day.” Evidently, better days at the plate are needed from this slugger in order for the Jays to win consistently.

After 19 games played, the much-heralded Toronto Blue Jays sit last in the American League East, five games behind the first place Boston Red Sox. Of course, it’s still very early in the season. And the Jays could literally change spots with the Sox by the end of the week. This week, they will be taking on two division rivals in the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees once again.

“It’s time we start winning some series,” insisted another Synergy team member slash Jays fan, “We’ve won only one so far, tied another and lost the rest. That’s definitely no recipe for a championship. Especially when it comes to playing teams within the division, there’s no room for error. We need a big week this week. A sweep against the Orioles would be a nice start.”

Although the Jays are yet to sweep a series so far this year, they have also managed to avoid being swept thanks to yesterday’s win against the Yanks. Tonight, their series against Baltimore kicks off. The Orioles were a much-improved team last year, making it to the playoffs following a season when they finished dead last.

“If the Orioles could do it last year, we can do it this year,” said our first associate, “I still have faith in the Jays. It’s crazy how many so-called fans are already jumping off the bandwagon. The season isn’t even a month old yet! I’m sure they’ll be jumping back on soon. The Jays’ luck is bound to change.”

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19 Apr

More Ways To Make Your Brand Stand Out

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 19.04.13 by John Meloche

promo2It’s all about standing out from the pack. You want to gain new customers, don’t you? Well, what makes your brand so special? In many cases, the answer can be found in the way you promote your business. In yesterday’s blog, we discussed an article posted by blogger “kcarpenter” on Wahm.com. In it, she offers up a ton of tips on how and where to promote your brand.

She practically left no stone unturned. Everywhere from daycare centres to car dealerships to colleges were named as places where you can promote your business. But think about it. Is there really any place where you wouldn’t want to advertise? Well, maybe. But there shouldn’t be many. In today’s blog, we’ll look at a few more creative ideas on how to build your business.

Gyms. Who said gyms were only for working out? Carpenter writes that you can get table space at a gym quite cheaply. Set up three to five of your products on a display table and be sure to come equipped with plenty of catalogues, business cards, promo gifts and flyers to hand out to members of the gym that you’ll end up meeting.

Home Businesses. There are bound to be a bunch of other entrepreneurs in your community. “Find out what events and activities that they participate in,” recomends Carpenter, “They are usually ‘in the know’ and can help you get started in networking in your community.” This will also help to get you more acquainted with the people who live closest to your company’s location.

Scratch Backs. Not literally, of course (although that may actually help you somewhat!), but contacting companies to see if they would like to come into your store to set up a display table may help you to make some very profitable connections. Chances are, if you scratch their backs, they may scratch yours well. (Literally and figuratively, who knows?).

Small Town Newspapers. Carpenter has found that when she advertises in big newspapers, she doesn’t receive many responses. Small town papers, on the other hand, seem to garner greater interest for her brand. Contact your local newspaper and see if you can get an article written about you. It will cost you less than paying for an advertisement and help to highlight your people skills.

Go On The Road. The summer is coming! It’s the perfect time of year to utilize the great outdoors. Carpenter suggests that you “take your business on the road during nice weather. Contact local area parks and community centers to see what their schedule of events are and inquire about setting up a booth or table. This is a great way to network and market your business to those in your community.”

Promo Gifts. Yes, we’ve mentioned the use of promotional products in many of the tips listed over the past couple of blogs. But, you’ve got to get them before you can give them out! You know who to call. Contact one of our friendly and experienced reps at 1-877-748-9884 and allow them to help you choose the promotional product that is perfect for your business.

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18 Apr

It Pays To Be Different

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 18.04.13 by John Meloche

promoIt’s all about being creative this week on the Synergy Marketing Blog. Quite often, thinking outside of the box is the name of the game. Sure, we all want to promote our companies. But how can we do so in unique and awe-inspiring ways? It’s important to be different. And as we’ve been outlining all week long, there are different ways in which this can be achieved.

On Wahm.com, blogger “kcarpenter” lists over 100 different ways that business owners can be different in order to gain greater attention for their brands. Many of these tips are simple and very cost-effective. Yet, they are not often employed. Some of them are a bit daring and may even be considered strange. But they’re definitely worth giving a try!

Baggies. Carpenter recommends you take a small Ziploc bag and put your business card, flyer and even a piece of candy in it. We suggest, of course, that you include a small promo gift such as a pen or key chain in the bag as well. Feel free to hand this out to just about anyone you bump into. The uniquely strange gesture just may just garner you some much needed positive attention.

Tips. Carpenter reveals that when she stays at hotels, she leaves her business card along with a discount coupon along with her tip for the maid. She has received at least three orders by implementing this tactic. It brings to light the fact that you never know where your future customers may be. Make use of every opportunity you can to impress someone new.

Daycare Centres. On Monday, we blogged about the fact that using children to help promote your business may not be all that bad an idea. Naturally, promoting to parents is a good idea as well. Offer your business cards and promo gifts to fellow parents at daycare centres you may know of or use yourself. Find items that cater to children as well and offer them as small gifts.

Colleges. Hey, who said that we should be leaving the big kids out? As Carpenter writes, “Dorms and housing students are always looking to spend money! A lot of college students are also looking for an extra income so target them with the business opportunity too! Drop off fliers and business cards to the College Student Center! They usually have bulletin boards, tables and other things where you can leave your information at for FREE!”

Radio Stations. Dropping a commercial on your local radio station will probably cost you a lot more than you are willing to spend. Carpenter suggests that you donate some products to a station instead, and try to set up a contest. Radio stations are always looking for sponsors anyway. Plus, your donation can be written off as a tax deduction.

Car Dealerships. Work out a deal with a local car dealership where your company can provide a small gift to anyone who takes a test drive. Your promotional gift can certainly work wonders here. You’re guaranteeing yourself access to a completely new client base that will have your business contact information. Be sure to check out tomorrow’s blog for more creative ideas to getting your company noticed!

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17 Apr

Easy And Inexpensive Ideas That Build Business

Posted in Synergy Suggestions on 17.04.13 by John Meloche

bulb2For the past couple of days, we have been examining a blog post by Kimberly Turner that lists several ways that business owners can get creative when marketing their brands. Everything from using your kids to engaging in conversations with telemarketers has been suggested. In today’s blog, we’ll look at some very easy and inexpensive promotional techniques.

Pizza Box Stickers. According to Turner, it will only cost you a few bucks to manufacture some Post-It Note type of stickers with all of your business information on them. “Cut a deal with some locally owned pizza joints to place your stickers on their pizza boxes,” she suggests. Local spots versus the big name chains will likely be easier to work with.

Webinars. When it comes to internet marketing, webinars are nothing new, admits Turner. But they are generally either very cheap or free to do. Turner suggests that you create your own series of webinars to showcase your expertise to your customers and would-be clients. Position yourself as an expert in your field and show people how much of an important resource your company is.

Vlogging. Also known as video blogging, this is one of the most popular ways to market your business these days, says Turner. If you don’t know how to make videos, find someone who can. In case you haven’t noticed, YouTube has quickly become one of the most popular websites in the world. There’s no reason to not utilize it to your best abilities.

Hand stamps. You know how certain events and venues insist upon placing a stamp on your hand for the purpose of re-entry? Why can’t those stamps be a mini-ad for your company? It will help make an impression that will last longer than the time the ink is place on the individual’s hand. It’s also a great way to market your brand in a fun environment. Leave a lasting impression…literally!

Temporary Tattoos. With that concept in mind, Turner also suggests that you have some of your friends and closest customers show off temporary tattoos to promote your business name. It’s a fun and creative way to get people talking about your brand. Imagine if you could find someone to get a permanent tattoo of your company logo? Now that’s going all out!

Be Nice! Who would have thought such a simple tip would make this list of creative ideas? Well, it’s worth inclusion since so many people seem to forget how important it is to be nice to people. And we don’t just mean your customers. We mean everybody! “Strike up a conversation in the check out line,” suggests Turner, “You’ll be amazed at how much fun it is to actually talk to people!”

Inexpensive is certainly the way that most business owners would prefer to go when it comes to budgeting for their marketing campaigns. At Synergy Marketing, we are very well aware of this fact. We make it so that our amazing promotional products are the most affordable and effective methods of boosting one’s brand. Give us a call at 1-877-748-9884 to learn how. We know we have the right promo gift for you!

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