Make Your Business Enchanting to Clients –Michelson

Mike Stevens

Mike Stevens, a former successful quick printer and now the owner of MarketingIdeasForPrinters.com, is highlighted in author Guy Kawasaki’s latest business-to-business marketing book.

Mike Stevens is not your typical printer. The first member from an extended family of blue-color, union automotive plant workers in Michigan to graduate from college, Stevens—armed with a business degree, but no knowledge of printing—decided to purchase a Fargo, ND, quick printing establishment in 1983. As a customer who bought business cards and direct mail to keep his name as a used car salesman in the forefront among buyers, Stevens found himself drawn to the hectic front office atmosphere and the sounds of running equipment whenever he visited the print shop. So, when the opportunity came, he bought Express Press using $30,000 he had saved from selling cars.

But, just the second day after Express Press reopened under Stevens’ ownership, Fargo was hit with a major blizzard that brought the city to a standstill. “I didn’t have any extra cash, and needed to be open because I needed daily sales to make my payroll in a few days,” he recalls. “I managed to get to work, thinking I could complete a few of the unfinished jobs in progress so I could invoice them for cash. But, I quickly realized I didn’t know how to operate a single piece of equipment.” The only thing he could think to do was call his father—by then a retired auto worker living in Florida—for help. Arriving just 48 hours later after driving 1,500 miles, Jerry Stevens actually wound up staying on for the next 23 years to help his son build the business, serving in various roles. He finally retired at age 77, only to die 16 days later, on his way back to Florida.

Mike Stevens’ personal story of the “enchantment” he felt from a loving father who came to help rescue a son unprepared to run a print shop ended up in best-selling author Guy Kawasaki’s latest book, “Enchantment, the Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.” In the book, Kawasaki tackles the tricky art of influence and persuasion techniques that can make a business enchanting to customers in today’s digital age.

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