One of my biggest lessons of 2015!

You hear it all the time….your never too old to stop learning! I firmly believe in this statement. When you stop learning you stop growing, evolving, gaining wisdom and experience. If you use your wisdom and experience to help others why on earth would you want to stop learning!

When I was younger, naive and quite honestly…foolish,  I used to think that I would reach this point, summit if you will, where I have the majority of all the knowledge I need to know and now I can cruise off into the sunset using what I know to live life to it’s fullest and excel in my career. Well, then in my early 30’s the wake up call and realization of how this is really going to go down became more clear. I will ALWAYS be learning, growing, and evolving. I just have to be sure to have my listening ears on and eyes open to take in all those learning opportunities.

So now, let me get to the point in all this. In 2015 I was taught a big lesson. I was attending a peer group meeting. We have been a part of this group since 2012. The moderator of our peer group kicked off the 2 day meeting with an exercise. It seemed simple enough but boy was it hard! For me anyway! The instructions were to make a list of the top 3 things you accomplished professionally in the last three years. The things you were most proud of accomplishing. Then narrow that down to your top 1. Then, once you narrowed down your 1 accomplishment, write down why you were proud, why was it hard to accomplish, what would have happened if you didn’t accomplish it, what expertise do you now have and so on. I began to see people quickly writing as we only had about 5-10 minutes to get all this on paper. I sat there…staring at a blank sheet of paper and no thoughts in my head. Surely, I should be able to come up with something!? We’re talking about the span of 3 years! It was so difficult that it made me think, what the heck is wrong with me? I think the moderator saw my lack of movement and passed behind me saying, “Seriously? I can think of a million things you should be writing down right now!” My response…”Really? Please share with me so I can write something!” HA! So, when time is almost up I muster up one thing and quickly jot down all my answers, not feeling very proud of my race to come up with something at the last second. As I was sitting on the plane on the way back home, I realized the magnitude of that exercise and the lesson that I was now in the midst of learning.

Celebrate your successes! Sounds simple, however for me it was obviously a challenge. Take the time to digest what you accomplish and allow yourself to know and understand what that success feels like so you can go after more of it! Even if they are small accomplishments, celebrate them. I found that I was just moving on to the next challenge and not enjoying even a moment of celebration on what I worked so hard to accomplish. Aside from this not being a good practice for me to do to myself, I certainly don’t want to pass this sentiment on to my team members or my kids! So, there it is….what I would say was my biggest lesson of 2015! Something so simple, yet will be so powerful for me as I charge forward into 2016!

holmes-employee-38 (2)

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Reinventing your company is not a one person show.

I wanted to post a shout out to our team at Holmes! Talk about a transformation! We are so different from the company we were, even back in 2011. This could not be done without a great team working together towards a common goal.

I watch how challenges are faced head on and with optimism! How we challenge ourselves, our knowledge base, our comfort zones and keep on going. I admire those that are passionate about the work we do at Holmes and all I can say is that it shows in the output from the team. You make me proud!

In today’s fast pace of technological advancements if you are not pushing to be a leader, then you will fall behind and become irrelevant. It’s only a matter of time. I encourage those in small business to step back and analyze your team. Think about your customer experience and evaluate what that picture looks like for your company.

Our team is awesome because from all angles….company management, sales, creative, production (yes we still manufacture here in Springfield!) and accounting we truly care about our clients success and want to form lasting partnerships….whether your need is simple or complex, we aim to bring the best customer experience.

There is always so much more we want to do better and sometimes impatience for that change gets the best of me. Slow and steady wins the race. Just think about one thing you can do today to improve the customer experience at your business or organization.

After all, we are not here for ourselves. We are here to serve others and carry on that 41 year tradition. Some things change but service does not.

Do you have a team behind you to help you transform? If your a small business I’d be happy to share our journey of transformation with you anytime.

Carisa Holmes-Peters

Carisa Holmes-Peters

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Change is scary…but not changing is frightful!

ChangeGiven the subject line, perhaps this post should have been saved for the month of October which will soon be upon us. Or I could just say that I am working ahead of schedule. Yes, how about I go with that!

As a small business owner, much of the change that we face can be scary, especially in a time where technology advancements and new opportunities are all around us. I wanted to briefly share our personal journey of change which at times was scary and even frightful. There is a reason I want to share this story. It is for all the business owners out there in various industries that are hearing and seeing signs of change and they just don’t know for sure if they can or want to embrace it. Whatever you do, at the very least see the change coming and have a discussion about it. Don’t look the other way and say, “that technology won’t affect us” or “that technology is too far away for us to worry about”. It’s called disruptive technology for a reason.

We saw it coming…..9 years ago….change….and it was headed right for us. We could either make the choice to stay business as usual or embrace what was headed our way and continue  to provide a valuable service to our loyal clients. Our industry was about to face a huge turning point after 32 years in business. The type of work and the way that work was produced would never be the same.

First, we as business owners, myself and my two brothers/business partners thoroughly discussed our options and what would be required to change. What would be required of us and our staff. Then ultimately reviewing the pros and cons of not making the change. So after all the countless hours and late nights filled with meetings, strategies, charts and lists, a plan was devised of how we would step by step move toward this change. And no, we did not have every last detail worked out and many decisions had to be made along the way. That is just how it works sometimes. Fellow business owners know, there is no crystal ball in business. You make the best decision you can with the facts in front of you…and of course that feeling in your gut. By the way, I am greatly appreciative of how I have been able to rely on my gut over the years and honestly, I cannot say that it has ever failed me. Let’s hope that doesn’t change.

Fortunately we had positioned our company to be lean and nimble so we were able to turn the ship a new direction with minimal disruption and face change head on. With a staff that was also willing to navigate this change with us we pushed forward as a team. For this I am very grateful to all of them. It’s now been 9 years of change and as a result we are serving clients in new ways and staying on the cutting edge of what the latest technology can offer us and our clients. Every day we face new challenges and we push through. As much as it is scary and at times it was even frightful, it has been invigorating at the same time and stirred up some passion in all of us about what the future holds. We really do love to see our clients thrive as a result of our efforts.

So, my message in all of this is…be alert, know what is coming and how it would affect your industry, and  more importantly your company. Do not turn the other way if your plan is to continue what your doing. I have seen countless industries and businesses that once thrived, exist no more. Change is scary absolutely, but not changing is downright frightful because it means your reacting to everything instead of proactively facing it.

We now have the luxury of looking in the rear view mirror and being thankful for taking the steps we did. What a shame if we didn’t share this experience to help others. I love small business. Everything it stands for and all that it does to provide opportunities for others. I wish all small business owners much success, but most importantly I hope that you’ll know it’s ok to fear change and keep going anyway.

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You’re Only as Strong as Your Team! And the Oscar Goes to…

Group photo 12:14

I like this simple quote from Steve Jobs…”Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” This quote is straight to the point….we accomplish more together. By tapping into the strength of each person on a team, you develop a troop of individuals who are ready to charge forward towards progress. That is something we all can use right now in the business world, as the environment rapidly evolves around us with ever changing advancements in technology.

As an owner of a small business, I have always believed that our team is our biggest asset. Over the years, I have worked hard to try and recognize the contributions of those on our team on a regular basis., whether it is with a small comment in passing, a written note, or a larger form of recognition. It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday tasks and take for granted those who have a great impact on how successful a company can be.

Recently, we had a team meeting where we shared current trends, new ideas, and an update of where we are as a company, in addition to a fun team building exercise. We also knew we wanted to take the opportunity to recognize each individual on our team for the contributions they make to the success of the company. We planned to present an “Oscar” to each team member; we felt it was a fitting award since we turned our conference room into a movie theater to show an inspirational video. Time was spent to reflect on each individual and highlight a trait or action that we recognize as being a strength to the organization.

I started thinking…why should this all be kept a secret? I realize our presentation of the Holmes Oscars was not televised but why not share the great news of our team with our clients and friends too! So here are the recipients of the Holmes Oscars! Continue reading

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GUEST BLOG – Website Tips

Web Design

I’m Mike England, Graphic Designer at Holmes, and I wanted to help intimidated website owners with some helpful tips on ways to improve their site. This post is not a “How To” guide, but focuses instead on the basics of some different topics and ideas that you can research further. It is my hope that by shedding light on these topics, I can change how you view the web and manage your own site.

What Makes a Likeable Website?

You develop an opinion about every website you visit from the moment the webpage first loads in the browser. These opinions are formed by site appearance, user experience, and search relevance. As a website owner, these are the things you must address, and here are some ways for you to do so.

Be Relevant & Specific

When it comes to writing great content for your website, don’t be intimidated. You probably aren’t writing a book, so don’t overwhelm your visitors with too much text. Instead, be specific! For example, if you sell honey, be sure to include what type of honey it is and maybe even the specific name or location where it was made. Search engines will pick up on this, and it will help improve your website bounce rate.

Google’s definition of Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. 

Continue reading

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PW Spotlight Blog1 Promotional Items for Various Events

Project Woman is a Springfield-based, 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault by providing services and programs to protect, educate, and empower. Holmes has partnered with Project Woman for over a year now, providing them with a variety of services to help them educate our community.

Each October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month), Project Woman hosts several events in an effort to raise awareness, and they also put on a Strides Against Violence 5K in April. We created print materials, signage, and email campaigns for these events, as well as redesigning the Project Woman website to allow for an easier, more efficient user experience. We spoke with Laura Baxter, Executive Director of Project Woman, and asked her to share with us her thoughts on the experiences working with Holmes.

Q: “What prompted you to want to make changes to your existing website?”

“When I found myself frustrated by trying to find information on our own website, I figured those in need of our services had to be too! When I am looking for information, I need what I am seeking to be simple because I am busy. If someone is seeking help and may be in crisis, they need things to not only be simple but found in as few ‘clicks’ as possible. Our old website just didn’t offer that.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 2.35.01 PM New Project Woman Website Homepage

Q: “What was the creative process like from your perspective? What roles did you play in the steps from start to finish?” 

Continue reading

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Holmes Print Production Team…Thinking BIG

wide format blog

It’s been almost a year since we made the investment to expand our print capabilities by purchasing a new wide format printer. Since then, we have experimented printing on many different materials and installing on a variety of surfaces. We’ve gotten the opportunity to explore new solutions thanks to our open-minded and trusting clients, and we are excited to continue expanding our services due to the capabilities of our equipment.

Our successes in this area of the business wouldn’t have existed without all those involved in the print production and installation. Some of the team weighed in on the process from their perspective to help paint a clearer picture of everything they, and therefore we at Holmes, can do!

Q: What is “Wide Format Printing?”

A: The difference between wide format printing and standard printing is all about size. Most production printers have a max paper size of 13×19. Wide Format Printers use rolls of paper any where from 18 to 100 inches wide. This allows us to produce large format pieces such as signs, graphics, etc from one continuous sheet. Wide format printers also are able to print on more stocks (called substrates) than a normal printer can. This allows wide format a great range of applications, from wall paper to canvas prints to car wraps. Wide format uses inkjet technology to carry the ink/pigment to the media. We also use latex ink which is eco friendly, safe in schools and hospitals, and long lasting and durable, all while providing high end photo resolution. Continue reading

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