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Playground Rules Still Apply –Farquharson/Tedesco

December 2011

Where do children first learn the world doesn't revolve around them? The school playground!

The biggest kid got the top of the jungle gym to himself. The fleet-of-foot arrived at the swings first. The rich kid with all the candy had all the friends. The rest of us stood sadly on the blacktop and learned to deal with disappointment. Or did we?

No. We learned how to compete. We used our brains, adapted and beat them at their own games.

Big Kid Loses His Spot

Twenty Years Ago: I'm bigger than everyone else. My size alone gets me everything I want. The top of the jungle gym is mine for the taking! Outta my way, shrimp!

I'm like a rock—big, dull, and inflexible. The clever kids may exploit my weaknesses and stake out a spot on the jungle gym anyway. Let 'em! I still rule the roost.

Today: Yeah baby. Today's my first day on the job at BK Printing. We've got the biggest and baddest presses. We don't need to listen to our customers or deliver value beyond what's on our production floor. We've got the biggest presses; what else could customers possibly want?

Six Months Later: BK Printing is in dire straits. Customers are dropping left-and-right. Prospects are falling off the radar. Our equipment list is just one factor clients consider when making a buying decision—and not among the most important. Who knew?

What could I have done differently? I could've honed in on what makes BK Printing different, other than our equipment list. I could've emphasized how my company provides convenience, safety and peace of mind—three priceless traits that trump any press.

The bottom line: Print buyers buy results and easy sourcing experiences, not hardware!

The Swingset Girl Falls

Twenty Years Ago: Nobody, and I mean nobody, makes it to the swings before me! After class, I fly across the blacktop like I have rocket shoes. A voice in my head says: "Breakneck speed often entails breakneck risk. One trip over a stray rock or stick is all it'll take to sideline you." I ignore that little wimpy voice.

Today: Whee! I just landed my dream job at SG Printing, a company that offers faster-than-sound turnarounds on proofs and most work. Sure, we're pulling out all the stops just to land the first jobs. We've already heard competitors mutter that our pace is "unsustainable and reckless." But we can keep it up!


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