Success at the Speed of Systems
When opening the doors of my business, in June 1988, I had no clue what to expect, as far as growth; no special vision for where we might be in five or 10 years. My first order of business was just to stay in business, by making a profit.
This is “Music City USA,” and I was fresh out of rock ’n’ roll music, trying to get my feet back down to earth in the “real” world. I was also still sporting a head of long, blond hair and enough confidence to think I could just about leap tall buildings, bringing in customers for my new shop.
I had hardly finished setting up my first printing press—a well-used Hamada 600—when I headed out the door, looking more like Mick Jagger than the owner of a small business. I went to a large, nearby company where the manager was kind enough to visit with a budding entrepreneur. If he was suppressing laughter at my lion’s mane and glittery shirt, he didn’t give it away.
Handing him my brand new business card, I boldly asked for ALL of his company’s printing business. But, the man didn’t laugh, even then; he actually gave me a small printing job to start with. I was encouraged—my venture was bound for success!
Back at the shop, I knew we would have to deliver a quality product at a competitive rate, and ON TIME, to gain even a small foothold in the market. I must say, that went pretty smoothly for the first several years we were in business. We were three employees strong then.
Thinking I was some kind of Superman, I moved around the shop faster than a speeding bullet (well almost)—handling all the issues, being in several places at once—even with everyone tugging on my “cape,” asking me umpteen questions. I’d fly to the back of the shop to rescue our one pressman from his quality and technical press problems and, with my sure superpowers, I was able to hear the phones ringing above the roar of the press and our small Balm folder, spitting out our latest product.