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Small Printer Thinks Big

November 2003
SPRINGFIELD, IL—Global Printing may be a small company, but its owners strive to offer its workers big-company perks and benefits.

The 3,400-square-foot facility, with five full-time employees, has enjoyed a 300 percent growth rate in the past three years. The firm began in 1999, when Rhett Mays and Jim Burke purchased two separate companies and merged them into Global Printing. When purchased, the combined company's annual sales were $200,000. Today, it boasts revenues in excess of $800,000.

In a challenging market, where many small shops are closing because they can't compete with larger companies, Global Printing proves that a back-to-basics business approach mixed with innovation often reserved for larger companies can mean that even a small, startup shop can still succeed in an extremely competitive market.

Burke, who owned a graphic design firm, initially founded the company with another partner, but Mays bought out that partner after six months. Mays came to the company after a career in the insurance industry.

What the men lacked in pressroom experience was more than made up for by their new employees. "We have excellent, talented workers who are experienced and committed to what they do," says Burke.

So to ensure that Global didn't lose their employees to their competitors, the men took several steps to earn the trust and respect of its work force. The pair instituted a profit sharing plan and tried to make the workplace more employee-friendly.

Gone is the time clock. Instead, Mays and Burke instituted flex time. "We both have young children, and so do a lot of our employees. If someone needs to take off to take their kids to a doctor's appointment or go see them play soccer, we accommodate them. Family is important to us and we extend those same values to our staff. We try very hard not to work on weekends. It's critical to maintain a balance between work and family," Burke states.

The employees are also given a voice in how the company is run. "We told them that they can work a little harder and longer, and make more money. Or, we could hire more people. They chose to work harder and longer," Mays remarks.

The partners also do what they can to make work a fun experience for their employees. The company regularly plans outings such as paint ball and pizza parties. The keys to the bosses' fishing cabin are often handed over to employees for use on the weekends.


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