Which Way Do You Want Go?
It seems that everyone or every company I speak to in the printing industry is facing the same concerns, questions and fears. Here are some of the questions I hear.
How do we increase our sales? How do we keep from cutting our prices? How do we stay in business? What does the online world mean to our pricing? How will it affect our future? What is social media “really” all about and what does it mean to us? Should we focus on what we do best or diversify? What is it that we do best? What type of staff do we need to meet the needs of today’s buyers? How do we differentiate ourselves? How do we communicate our message in this rapidly changing world? How do we bring about change or even know if we need to change?
These are all great questions. I have heard such questions and know it is tough to navigate through times of uncertainty and change. However, this post will try to help you think through this. Tough times call for creative, well-planned and confident strategies. Such questions, as the ones above, are ones that can be addressed through three components known as assessment, challenge and support.
First, your current situation must be assessed. A number of “how and what” questions are listed above and should be used in this assessment. So, reflect on where are you as an organization/individual. What is it that you do really well? What areas need to improve? So, an assessment is a snapshot (taking all things into consideration) of where you are right now. Today! So, take a time out, take a deep breath and assess everything—internally and externally—to determine where you have been, where you are now and where you seek to go. This is your benchmark.
The second component is known as a challenge. This is when you purposely determine what “gaps” exist between where you are now and where you seek to be. You must focus on areas you desire to improve. For example, if you want to diversify in new ways you should identify these as “challenge” areas. Your goal is to look at any area of your organization (or at yourself as an individual) that needs improvement and develop a plan to reduce the deficiency. In doing this, be very specific of what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.
The third aspect is that of support. Who is going to “champion” these initiatives? In other words, who is going to push the change to occur? You? Another person or group? What support mechanisms should be in place to allow the changes to occur? Without support from the proper people and systems, such changes will not occur. At best, they will begin and slowly “fizzle out” as common thinking is that such “long-range” stuff is fine, but not a pressing priority. Your focus instead will be on (short-term) concerns such as quick client jobs, slow paying clients, problems and employee/customer issues, etc.
My belief is that both the (short and long term) play a key role in your overall success. Unless you are 100% (not 110%) dedicated to bringing about the needed change (as noted above), you shouldn’t spend any time on the components listed above—as they will not work. However, if you are 100% on board and desire to bring about meaningful/sustainable change, then I applaud you. This also means you will begin a new day, direction and future for you or your organization.
In closing, there is no such thing as “staying the same” in life—which includes the printing and graphics industry. You are either growing/moving forward or declining/going backward. Nothing more and nothing less. I hope that you will take time to assess your situation, create challenges of what gaps need to be narrowed, and put the proper support in place to allow theses change to occur.
Who is on board? I hope all of you. I am going to send a signed copy of my book www.everyoneinsales.com to the person who does the best job of answering or providing insights to this post. So, which way do you go? I am listening...let’s go!
Ryan T. Sauers is the president of Sauers Consulting Strategies. The firm consults with the front end of printing and related organizations across the U.S. Key focus areas include: sales growth, brand positioning, organizational communications, organizational strategy, and integrated marketing. Sauers is a national speaker and writes feature articles in global publications. He is also an adjunct university professor teaching leadership, communication and entrepreneurship to business leaders. Sauers has been recognized as a thought leader in human behavior. He is a Certified Myers Briggs and DiSC Practitioner, as well as a Certified Marketing Executive. He is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and will achieve certification in Emotional Intelligence later this year. Sauers is author of the best-selling books: "Everyone is in Sales" and "Would You Buy from You?," and the host of Marketing Matters, a weekly radio show discussing relevant topics as they relate to marketing and communications. Visit: ryansauers.com