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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Inorganic Growth Strategies Will Help Your Business Prosper


In a previous blog, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) marketing maven Marka explained to the FEI tribe why customer brand perceptions matter, and how to change them. This week, Numo takes the lead by explaining why inorganic growth strategies are essential to FEI’s continued success. Remember, fire = print.

One lovely summer afternoon the FEI tribe met for a finance meeting. Toward the meeting’s end, accounting tribe leader Numo stood before the tribe to give a presentation.

“Let me start off with a quick fire history lesson,” Numo said. “Over the past 30-odd years, what’s been required for sustained growth in our industry has changed repeatedly. The progression has gone something like this.”

He scribbled on the whiteboard:

  1. 30 years ago—Offering a quality fire product and adopting the right technology (e.g. electric kilns) consistently put Drachma in the bank.
  2. 20 years ago—Quality had become ordinary, but fire companies that could deliver torches in a hurry stood apart from the crowd. Not coincidentally, this was when Pyro and his band of speed-demon pyromaniacs emerged.
  3. 10 years ago—The bar moved again: only fire businesses that had complete value propositions—and were at least dabbling in advanced fire technology, like auto-light torches—were growing.

“Today FEI needs to nail all three of these items to even have a shot at growing in the traditional, organic way,” Numo explained. “Just one problem: fire is no longer a growth industry. In other words, executing in all the areas above to squeeze out market share growth will likely get us about back to baseline.”

“Whoopee!” Zoot said sarcastically.

“I think I speak for the whole tribe when I say surviving is not enough for FEI,” Org said. “We want significant, sustainable growth!”

“We can do it,” Numo said. “We just have to think and plan differently. Today’s real growth opportunities lie in a different realm: acquisitions, different niche markets, and new capabilities. Although the term is a bit awkward, let’s call this ‘inorganic’ growth.”

Org stroked his hairy chin thoughtfully. “I appreciate you ‘thinking outside the rock,’ Numo. But what evidence do you have that so-called ‘inorganic strategies’ actually work?”

Numo winked at his boss. “Glad you asked!”

Next week: Numo presents an inorganic growth strategy.

Today’s FIRE! Point

Inorganic growth—through acquisitions, mergers, diversification, and more—can help your printing company continue to thrive in a declining market.

FIRE! In Action: HBP Makes Strategic Acquisitions, Grows
Nearly three years ago HBP, a printing, graphics, and communications business based in Hagerstown, MD, acquired Balmar, a printer with two locations. Last year, HBP expanded again by purchasing assets of Whitmore Print and Imaging, another local printing business. The results of these acquisitions? Top and bottom line growth, significant employee size growth (200 employees today, up from 130 pre-acquisition), product line diversity, and geographic expansion...all accomplished during an uncertain business environment.

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