Discover your business’s true value with some tough love from Marshall Atkinson

What is value? Value to your customers? To your staff? Your community? Maybe even to your supply chain? How often are you considering the value of what you bring to these vastly different stakeholders?

Value is the foundational support for return on investment. If that value isn’t as obvious as the nose on your face, you aren’t in alignment with your customers, employees, neighbourhood, or vendors. ROI – return on investment – certainly is about money. But it is also about time. When people value something, they will be happy spending their valuable time with it. Otherwise, they will do something else.

So, I will ask again… and think about your business: how valuable are you to these groups?

Your value

How well do you know your customers, employees, neighbours, or suppliers? How well do they know your company? Do you really have a relationship if your relationship is based on an online sale, purchase order, or social media ‘like’? Are you doing anything to personally get in front of these folks and drive more actual engagement?


What is quality? Where does it show up? Sure, you can screen print, embroider, digitally print or heat press images like the badass you are. But how do you answer the phone, tape up a box, or deliver a sales presentation?

Does your notion of ‘quality’ deliver the value that your customer expects? What if you are over-building your quality on aspects your current or potential customers don’t care about?

You’ll have to charge more for that quality, and these folks won’t want to pay for it. The alignment is off.

As you sink money into technology, equipment, training, processes, and consumables that will drive more quality into what you do, stop and ask yourself if you can somehow measure the ROI of that investment. If ‘everything has a number’, what is a good number, and what is a bad number in what you are doing? Define that…

….Read Marshall’s full advice on discovering your business’s true value in our November 2023 issue here

Marshall Atkinson is a production and efficiency expert for the decorated apparel industry, and the owner of Atkinson Consulting and co-founder of Shirt Lab, a sales and marketing education company, with Tom Rauen. He focuses on operational efficiency, continuous improvement, workflow strategy, business planning, employee motivation, management and sustainability.