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Perception IS Reality

By Ryan Sauers

About Ryan

Ryan T. Sauers is president of Sauers Consulting Strategies and spent nearly 20 years leading printing and promotional product companies prior to founding the firm. The organization consults with printing and promotional product related companies across the country, helping them grow the front end of their organization. Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and is the author of the top-selling book “Everyone Is in Sales”, with another book in the works.  He is a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator and DiSC Practitioner and Certified Marketing Executive. Ryan writes national feature articles and speaks at national conferences on such topics as sales, marketing, communications, leadership, organizational strategy and social media. He is also an adjunct university professor. More info at

What Type of Company Is Yours?

After years of consulting with printing companies of all types/sizes, several things have become clear. There seems to be a logical way to group organizations into one of three types. The first group is the one that makes things happen. These guys are the ones acquiring other companies, diversifying, thinking about 2015 and are in growth mode. Based on my first-hand experience, this makes up a small group of the printing and related industry.

The second group is the one that watches things happen. This type of company is cautious, yet will make a move once it sees other companies moving in a specific direction. An example of this is when printing companies waited until they saw others buying and having success with wide-format and/or digital presses and then decided they, too, should jump into that game. Thus, they went out—many without a plan—and bought such equipment. Again, this is the “watch things happen” group and, based on my experience, this segment makes up a decent amount of printing-related organizations.

The third group is the one that wonders what happened. This group thinks social media and Facebook are the same thing. Note to reader: Facebook is one of countless parts of social media. Many have been lapped. Some have given up. Some do not even realize they are not in the game. There is a way for such companies to turn around, but some do not want to try, are not willing to invest time or money to do so, and they long for the glory days. I call this pure insanity. Definition of insanity: Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. 

Here is my question as we head toward a new year. Do you want to get better? Do you want to grow? Do you desire to change? Do you want to think beyond equipment and grow the front end of your business? Are you willing to invest in your human resources and think as a business, and not a printing company? Please be honest with yourself; do you really want to change?

Companies in our industry that are growing are “outthinking” the competition. Everyone can offer a competitive price, adequate customer service, a reasonable turnaround time and good quality. These do not make your firm unique. By the way, your competition is everyone and everywhere.

So, I challenge you to take time to think of what needs to improve within your business. How do you change your culture? Your strategy? Your brand? Your sales? Your talent? A changing industry? A new workforce? Many say they desire to be a make things happen company, but few do it. Why? You have to ask yourself that. However, always remember it is easy to sit back and play it safe.

To remain relevant in 2014 and beyond is to review your organization from top to bottom, and side to side. Yes, you need outside help to do this. From there, you can see what needs to improve. The question, then, is not if you need to do this, but if you are willing to do this. Trust me, printing companies need a fresh and objective perspective—no matter which group they fall into. I hope this post makes you reflect upon the type of business you are. Let me know how we can help you make 2014 a make things happen type of year.

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