Eight Business Principles for Success as a Printer

In addition to all of the Comments posted online in response to my recent “You’re a Printer. Stop Denying It!” blog post, I received the following email message (posted with Jim Petritz’s permission):


My company Carr Communications, AKA Carr Printing, has been in business over 40 years and like many companies is struggling to grow and get to the next level. You read so many articles about print being a dirty word, there are times you are tempted to enter into strategies that don’t fit well with your strengths.

It is Saturday and I am doing research when I came upon your article. THANK YOU. I love this business and it has been my pleasure to be in it for over 30 years myself. (I am 51.) As I spend money on Web-to-print solutions and digital technologies, I keep asking myself the following question. Can we grow and thrive in the future doing business as we always have based primarily on Quality and Customer Service? If you read too much from the experts, it would lead you to believe the only way to succeed is to be an Internet based company.

I have always believed if you follow some basic principals you will be successful:

1. Return estimates in a matter of minutes or hours.

2. Offer alternatives that will improve the project.

3. Review the job once it is committed to make sure it is what everyone thought, so if adjustments are required they can be done then and there before the project runs into trouble.

4. Communicate additional charges or changes in writing up front to allow buyers to make an informed decision.

5. Constant communication thru the production process.

6. ** Be honest and up front about any changes or challenges that may occur during the production process. The buyer can usually adjust or figure out something with the supplier if given a heads up. Calling the day of delivery or worse yet on the mail drop date is a cardinal sin. (Although I am shocked how many sales people over the years think they can slide by.)

Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched her new business in 2013 as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. Now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content.

You may know Margie as the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event production business, she’s still publishing her Print Tips newsletter. She looks forward to helping companies create and style all of their content so their potential customers sit up and take notice. For details and to sign up for her Print Tips and new marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com or e-mail Margie at margie@margiedana.com.
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  • http://AndrewField Andrew Field

    Margie and Jim,

    Great discussion!

    Jim’s principles still hold true today. Even though PFL has a strong online presence and a national customer base, we adhere to most of your “old fashioned” principles. Print is a trust buy, at least for anything more than a box of business cards. In fact, even business cards are important if they need to be right and on time, and the buyer’s time has any value.

    When we “went online” in 1999, we thought that the Internet would do it all for us, or customers would help themselves. We were wrong. A business person needs to know that their project will be successful, and they don’t want to have to perform heroics in order to insure success.

    Every customer gets a dedicated account team, regular updates, and all the consultative time they need. We help keep on budget by not nickel-and-diming people for prepress work. And we hire only nice, friendly, competent people, and give them great tools and wide latitude, so that they can deliver the best possible customer experience.

    Sounds a lot like Jim’s principles…

    Andrew Field

  • http://WayneG.Reese Wayne G. Reese

    Would like to receive your newsletter