Preparation of the unknown might be the biggest challenge businesses face in 2021.
by: Mark Gordon, Managing Editor, Business Observer FL, January 2021
The word pivot was thrown around so much in 2020 it’s enough to make an entrepreneur puke.
Then again, shifting, changing and all-around adapting, whether it’s to chase new markets or capitalize on unexpected customer needs, is the hallmark of a good business owner and executive. Lucy Costa, president of Fort Myers-based Promotional Incentives, likes to say she’s been staying on the move like that for 30 years. Between multiple recessions, global fuel price hikes, tariff wars, and now, of course, the pandemic, Costa, selling logoed promotional products to businesses since founding the firm in 1990, says flexibility is essential.
Promotional Incentives, Costa says, has been “substantially challenged” because trade shows are a primary source of business and leads. Her shift? Work with companies that now have large home-based workforces, providing new products. That, and continue to maintain low overhead, rebuild internal systems and be ready for the eventual comeback — whenever that is. “We hope to come out of this in much better shape,” Costa says, echoing a sentiment many entrepreneurs say when looking at 2021.
The be-in-better-shape philosophy might be 2021’s version of the 2020 pivot. At least half of 12 executives interviewed for this economic forecast issue have taken, or are about to take, steps to be better prepared in 2021, for whatever direction the economy goes in. Phoenix-based specialty grocery chain Sprouts Farmers Market, for example, to meet the surging demand grocers are experiencing, plans to go from 23 Florida stores to 34 in 2021 — a 47.8% increase.
At State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, meanwhile, preparation involves figuring out how to make virtual higher education a regular, revenue-producing part of the college’s model. It’s Go Live program, where students and instructors gather virtually in real time, is one of the most significant upgrades to how the school connects with students in years, say school officials. “I think for us the biggest opportunity is taking advantage of this creativity and innovation,” SCF President Carol Probstfeld says.
The preparation theme only goes so far — in that the uncertainty of the pandemic has made preparing data-driven economic forecasts a considerable challenge for many businesses.
Jen Whyte, co-founder of Fort Myers Brewing, says the preparation challenge has been especially acute. In recognizing that, Whyte also offers valuable words for any business owner or executive stuck in the mire of navigating the pandemic: hyper-focusing on how you react to any challenge goes a long way toward determining the outcome.
“Everything from how do you staff the bar to how much equipment to buy — everything is unpredictable,” Whyte says. “It’s a very odd and difficult time for businesses. What 2020 has really shown us is how little is really in our control.”View Article
We would like to extend a special Thank You to
Southwest Florida Business Today
for publishing this article, December 2020.
President Lucy Costa of Promotional Incentives®, Inc. announces the company's 30th business anniversary this month. Founded in August 1990, this organization is a proven success in providing promotional products to companies and organizations throughout Florida and the United States.
Located in Cape Coral, Lucy along with partner and husband Jack Costa, have been part of this region's most recognizable branding efforts and promotional campaigns, providing custom apparel, recognition awards, business gifts, and branded products.
Promotional Incentives® has earned a stellar reputation by staying up to date on new trends and products, along with working with high quality suppliers. Claude Emler, Advertising and Production Manager for Shell Point Retirement Community says, “ Lucy’s knowledge of the industry and insights into ‘hot trends’ not only provides us with a plethora of options when we're looking for a specific item, but she is also diligent in suggesting other great ideas.”
They have received numerous advertising and public relations honors through the years. Their copyright protected “Shop On Lion®” campaign, implemented as a giveaway to promote shopping online, was recognized for its creativity and innovation as it was introduced on the cusp of the internet revolution.
A unique campaign in 2011 introduced “PromoGumby” as the company spokesman designed to re-engage customers and reinforce brand identity. The universally recognized character travels the world with clients and friends appearing in photos with his logo branded t-shirt touting a fitting message, “Creative, Flexible and Going Green.”
Most recently, the company has been successfully navigating the waters of PPE and safety products. As PromoLucy notes, “We want to be known as a trusted resource with our brand top of mind in this new environment.”
Over its 30 years, Lucy and Jack have contributed to dozens of SW Florida charities, serving on boards and committees, offering significant discounts, and implementing cost-effective, strategic promotions to help each reach its goals.
Their tag line, Getting Results®, defines their mission. Whether celebrating milestones, strengthening morale, simplifying technology, or boosting health and safety, Lucy and Jack continue to fulfill their purpose. "When we help a client implement the perfect promotion or find the ideal recognition gift, we are fulfilling our passion of helping people feel valued and part of a team.”
PromoLucy concludes, “We are grateful to our clients who have partnered with us through the years. With their support we have weathered many challenges, and throughout continue to promote and recognize brands. We look forward to Getting Results® for another decade."Award Winning Promotional Gifts
Promotional Incentives® Celebrates 30 Years in BusinessShop On Lion
“I have worked with Lucy Costa at Promotional Incentives for more than 25 years. Not only do they provide the very best selection when it comes to promotional items, Lucy is there every step of the way providing excellent customer service to ensure our complete satisfaction. I know I can rely on Promotional Incentives whenever I need an item that makes a “WOW” impression! Thanks, Lucy, for your superior service and Happy 30th anniversary!”
Director of Marketing and Communications
Shell Point Retirement Community
Promotional Incentives would like to thank Waterman Broadcasting and Delia from NBC2 for covering an important story for keeping our community clean. We have been the longest adopt-a-road sponsors in Cape Coral since 1992 and we are proud to help keep the neighborhood we live in clean. We believe it is a civic duty for members in our community to help keep the place we call home clean and safe.
Enjoy this article in SW Florida Business Today about how Promotional Incentives, Inc. has grown through challenges over its 21 years in business.Click Here to see the article more easily
At a recent Lee Health Foundation event, Lucy Costa, owner of Promotional Incentives, Inc., a Boston Red Sox Golf Classic committee member and part of the Little Red Wagon Giving Society, won four tickets to SeaWorld and a hotel stay. Once she realized she was unable to use the package, she decided to donate it to a family at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Lucy shared her experience below.
“Through Lee Health Foundation, we have had the privilege of helping to promote the development of the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida for nearly 30 years. Professionally and personally, we’ve participated in a community-wide philanthropic endeavor supporting the hospital’s transition from a community asset to a world-renowned pediatric facility.
While there are many donors who have given way more than we have, one of the ways we have fun and help is by participating in fundraising events. Live and silent auctions engage donors in a meaningful way, by offering memorable products, trips or experiences, in a fun and exciting atmosphere.
There are, however, times when many of us lose track of the items we’ve ‘purchased,’ especially when it comes to expiration dates.
One of these packages we purchased came to mind as our family planned to convene in the Clearwater area. I got out the Busch Gardens certificate that included two tickets to the park and two-night stay at a nice hotel. Much to my chagrin, the expiration date for the theme park expired in two days!
Fortunately, my friend (who coincidentally has worked for Lee Health for over 30 years) was willing to take a day and play with me. We had a spontaneous fun day! And, I used the complimentary hotel stay when our family gathered in the Clearwater area.
While I was at it, I thought, ‘I better check the SeaWorld package,’ which as it turned out also expired at the end of the month (note to self and others: put these dates in your calendar!).
Not wanting to waste such a wonderful opportunity with tickets for four to SeaWorld and a comp hotel night, I contacted Lauren Jordan at Golisano Children’s Hospital, who with her team, selected a family that would be able to enjoy the gift.
I cannot adequately describe the satisfaction of donating this purchase back and knowing that a mother whose life has been challenged with a sick child, would enjoy a mini getaway!
My reason for sharing this story is not to get credit for what we did, but to remind all supporters that it is always an option to donate back or ‘re-gift’ purchases made at fundraising auctions. Especially, if you realize they are not going to be utilized.
Most companies who donate auction items certainly have a charitable intent; however, they also hope it will encourage a new or current customer to enjoy their products or services.
When I explained to the hotel manager in Orlando how we planned to use their donation, the she jumped in to help make the whole happen and even overlooked the blackout dates. As an ironic twist, she herself was suffering from a terminal illness and vowed to make the family’s experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Truly, it was a Gift enjoyed by many.
Respectfully submitted by,
Promotional Incentives, Inc.”
Thank you, Lucy, for your continued kindness, generosity and support of Lee Health!