Succeeding at the Business of Print
It doesn’t matter if you have been in business for generations, or you are looking to open your first print shop. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small, local shop, or a multi-location brand with locations around the world. Every print shop, of every type has one thing in common: they are all businesses.
And there are best practices and key points to keep in mind no matter where you are in your company’s lifecycle, or where you hope to be in the future.
Do your homework
Like most industries today, print is very technology driven, and it can quickly get overwhelming, even if you already have a good idea of what type of printing you want to do. If you’re just getting started, it can be even more challenging trying to parse through all the options, and what pros and cons each brings to the table.
Especially for those who are looking to jump into the print industry from scratch, Mike Compton, product marketing manager for Top Value Fabrics, notes that there is a wealth of resources out there that should absolutely be exploited.
“Look to industry organizations and tradeshows such as SGIA and ISA for guidance. Beyond organization websites and journals, attending the tradeshows is a valuable opportunity to collect information under one roof. Locate industry experts who are well-rounded in all aspects of the printing business for unbiased advice. There is much to be learned from LinkedIn, Twitter and other types of social media including forums on exactly the type of print business you are interested in starting. Carefully study potential vendor websites and information. A consultative vendor who is interested in your wellbeing and the success of your company as a whole, will take a vested interest in guiding you.”
David Conrad, director of sales and marketing, Mutoh America, agrees, noting that anyone looking to get into the business of print needs to, “Do your homework. Know your market and your customer base. Stay focused. Study all your options. Hire smart. And train, train, train.”
Train, train, train
Speaking of training, Conrad points out that training, in particular, is critical to the success of any print business. And “not only for the job you are hiring for, but cross train to support other disciplines in the organization. This is especially critical in smaller companies where people will be required to wear many hats.” He goes on to note, “There is so much involved in increasing staff and personnel. Although there are many things that need to be addressed when adding employees, a main concern should be training and education. Making sure the new hires are properly trained for the position they will fill is critical to successfully integrating new people.”
“Employees should be cross-trained to eliminate a loss of productivity and allow for smoother transitions if someone quits, gets let go, is sick or on vacation,” says Jessica Blevins, S-One applications specialist. “Cross-training also allows flexibility during large jobs or tight deadlines to add resources in other departments as needed.”
“Important items to keep in mind are that once the move is justified you need employees you can trust and rely on to undertake and help you manage growth. Long before you grow, I strongly recommend cross training your work force in roles that will help your company stay consistent as well as allowing you to develop leaders who will take on the responsibility of managing and training new personnel,” agrees Compton.
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