Monday, 6 June 2011

Advice for Print Shops

Last week we went to get some order of services for a family funeral. I tend to avoid such print shops as much as possible, but for some things needs must and there's a high street print shop that I tend to use on such occasions.

Whilst the service is friendly and helpful, I was amazed to find that the shop, which contains numerous large, expensive and specialist machines only has the one computer,and that's a Mac.

Now I appreciate that the majority of professional designers seem to have a preference for Macs and the Photoshop suite. Nevertheless, many such designers have access either to their own in-house printers or regular contact with an industrial printer.

On the other hand there are the rest of us. We're not going to win design prizes, we just want something to look smart. We don't have the Adobe suite, and we use PCs. Whilst the printer had word for Macs, the formatting change meant this didn't work. Fortunately I had a writer from word to pdf which just about worked.

Had I not they wouldn't have got our business, and they must lose business from others because of this. Not to mention that they'll get less return business from those who remember the difficulty and decide to avoid the hassle.

Given the relatively high capital investment such a print shop requires, it would be worth them spending £300 on a netbook and £60 on the latest office suite. Compatibility and convenience for a far wider range of customers, particularly ordinary customers rather than just trained designers.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Replying to Job Interviewees

A couple of years ago I was involved in recruiting new staff to my organisation. The official policy was not to reply to those applicants who didn't even make it to interview. Call me a rebel if you like, but I flouted that policy and would certainly do so again. More recently I've was applying for jobs, and faced the same type of policy from the other side of the fence.

Leaving aside the rudeness of such a policy, I want to look at why this is bad strategy and a missed opportunity.

Applying for jobs takes most people hours. Often you’ve not heard a great deal about an organisation but you scour their website, get your head round their passion, mission, vision and values, you imagine yourself in the post, how you would suit it and daydream about what it might be like. In short you grow an affinity with it.

At other times it’s already an organisation you already care about and are involved in. If it's a charity you might occasionally donate money. If it's a business you might occasionally shop there or use their services.

Either way when after all your hard work the organisation in question can’t even be bothered to take a minute to send you a rejection email / letter, you can feel quite put out. All that interest and connectedness you feel with them dissipates because of their rudeness.

This is particularly bad choice for networking organisations, which are built by making good contacts, developing them and growing connections. It's also a bad choice for charitable organisations who are potentially putting off potential donors, or retail organisations who are losing (potential) customers. Can anyone afford to waste that for the sake of a quick generic email? It's even possible that whilst the applicant wasn't suited to that particular role, they might excel in another role for you down the line.

No-one likes rejecting applicants, but a quick email or even a letter thanking them for their interest maintains the connection they feel. They’re disappointed of course, but people get used to that job hunting. The validation, however small, is important and maintains the opportunity to make the most of what the person does have to offer in future.

Friday, 14 January 2011


Welcome to the Creative Strategic Thinking weblog, developing original and creative strategic solutions for business, every day life and beyond.

As is no doubt apparent this site is still in development, but come back soon as content should be fairly regular (I know everyone says that but I've got a good track record in my other blogs).