Oftentimes, even the sharpest eye can't decode the hodgepodge of notes found on college bulletin boards. But Bob Levitt was able to cut through the clutter, which ultimately jumpstarted his career.
As an undergraduate at San Diego State University, Levitt spied an "Earn While You Learn" advertisement from a promotional products distributor in need of a campus representative. Levitt made the call—and after just nine months of employment, he launched his own company: Levitt Specialty Items. Levitt continued his work for five years before going corporate. During the next 24 years, he assumed various roles—including sales, sales management and new business development—for large national distributors.
Today, he serves as president of The Bob Levitt Company, located in Encino, Calif. Levitt also is an executive board member for the Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC), the California region's nonprofit association and the force behind the annual SAAC Show slated for August 7-8 in Long Beach, Calif.
Here, Levitt talks about himself and shares his thoughts on the promotional products industry.
Print+Promo (P+P): How do you set goals for yourself? For your business?
Bob Levitt (BL): In my personal life, the formal goal-setting process has always eluded me. I believe in it and I know it works—but I never got into the habit of it. Honestly, this is one of the shortcomings I am constantly working on. I tend to be more reactive than proactive, and I work on reversing this almost daily. It's kind of ironic, because in my business life, I actually train it, preach it and know its value.
For my consulting clients, we start with macro goals, then break them down into micro ones. By assigning point people and specific targeted completion dates, we are able to cover a lot of ground. Essentially, it's like the old saying: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. From an association standpoint, many of us are on boards and volunteer our time for a larger cause. On the SAAC Board, we are strong on process, we work with a strategic plan, and we [excel] at taking goals and breaking them down into small, achievable steps. By having nearly 40 volunteers on numerous committees, all working toward pieces of the same goal, we are able to make huge progress in improving the SAAC show in August and providing tremendous value to both attendees and exhibitors.