Time to Plan

President’s Message, Winter 2010

Once again, another year passes. We have another year of “experiences” under our collective belts, which means we are wiser, more frugal than ever and cautiously optimistic that the worst is behind us.  That also must mean that, for the first time in a long time, we are going to plan next year now — we are going to set goals, establish time lines, and assign responsibilities. After all, we plan to do that every year, and now is the time to actually write down our priorities!

What is your strategy to achieve your goals? What steps will you take to fulfill your dreams? Some of you only want to be able to learn more as a hobbyist. Others yearn to make stained glass a full-time endeavor. Some know that, if ever, it is time to quit renting and actually buy their own building. Studios that have built their reputations and markets for decades may have had to downsize and lose loyal employees, and that may will impact how they do business next year. Whatever your goals, the business of stained and architectural glass is both challenging and rewarding.

Setting priorities to ensure continued excellence for your business will involve planning now. Identifying your markets, controlling your labor and overhead, maximizing your assets, and communicating with those who can help you — all are essential elements for success. There is yet another new year approaching. Are you ready to do something differently? Will you plan for success, think “outside the box,” and make a map to arrive safely and successfully? Or will you just continue to drive with no real destination, no budget, and no priorities?

All of us have different experiences and different goals in this business. As I reflect on my stained glass journey of more than 40 years, it is very apparent that my lack of planning limited my accomplishments. However, the fact that some planning is better than none is also evident! Without a doubt, the most important asset has been the wealth of information obtained from listening and talking with other members of the Stained Glass Association of America. Next year will mark 23 years for me as an Accredited Member. It was absolutely the best investment I ever made in my business.

Over the years, many opportunities in stained glass have presented themselves, and I have not always been able to participate. Attending conferences is a priority, and I budget for it. Sometimes it goes on a credit card, but I still attend! The Sourcebook has resulted in two commissions for me over the years — those two commissions have been instrumental in my financial success as well as enhancing my reputation for future clientele. The new Call for Bid program, using the Sourcebook as the essential marketing strategy, will promote the Accredited Studios, but the program will be successful only if you participate in the Sourcebook program. This program is not a right; it is a privilege to have the opportunity to participate. Plan to be a part of it for the long term success of your business.

There is currently a discount incentive to register for the 2011 Conference in Syracuse, New York. Final plans are already being completed for the speakers and seminars for this outstanding Conference. Furthermore, the additional tour after the Conference to Corning and selected wineries is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I ask for your attendance in Syracuse in June 2011. Now is the time to plan and to register for the 102nd Conference.

As I read the President’s Message from a year ago, I reflect on the accomplishments of 2010 for our organization. The most ambitious undertaking of the organization has been the purchase of property and a commitment to build a National Center for Stained and Architectural Art Glass, which will include classrooms, archives, space to house the National Headquarters of the Stained Glass Association of America, and a community room for local events. This accomplishment was achieved through much research, planning, and commitment to the future. The SGAA is to be commended for its efforts. 

In addition, the first step was taken in a totally new marketing strategy for the Stained Glass Association of America. This comprehensive plan to educate and promote stained glass was developed by Jim Piercey and is based around creating jigsaw puzzles of stained glass windows. The first puzzle — Faces of Mary in Stained Glass — was presented at the Summer Conference and is currently being sold and promoted for fundraisers by members of the SGAA.

I want to thank all of our members for your support this year. I wish the best to each of you this season of thanksgiving and blessings!  

Jack Whitworth, III
President, Stained Glass Association of America