2018 Top 50 Suppliers: Why 4over CEO Thinks 'Gloomy' Industry Outlook Is Overstated
Each year, Print+Promo compiles the Top 50 suppliers into one comprehensive list. High sales numbers aren’t achieved by luck. Rather, these firms excel at hearing and responding to the voices of their customers — especially when those voices express differing needs. We asked a few of our top suppliers to talk about their recent accomplishments, leadership style and what they’re doing to stay relevant. Here is what 4over, No. 2 on the 2018 Top 50 Suppliers list, had to say.
What was your company’s biggest accomplishment over the last year?
Zarik Megerdichian: 2018 has been a great year for 4over, as we continued to introduce new print products, but also introduced digital products such as Printer Bridge, a website solution that allows printers to sell online. We knew it was going to be popular, but didn’t envision the adoption being as high as it was, with thousands of registrations and installations, and growing each month.
How is your company positioning itself to continue to stand out in 2019?
ZM: As a trade-only printer, [we find] our success is tied to our resale partners and how much we can empower them. In 2019, we’re just making it easier and easier for our resellers to quickly service their customers by revamping our ordering process through an exciting website, adding new products and services and speeding up turnaround times.
What must one have, aside from impressive sales numbers, to become a top supplier?
ZM: Sales numbers come as a result of two things for us: speed and reliability. Without those two, you cannot expect to be a top supplier. At 4over, we’ve tried our best to decentralize to get closer to our customers and become their “local” national printer and, at the same time, work tirelessly to optimize our internal processes to ensure reliability. Even though our resale partners know printing comes with the usual headaches with reprints and other issues, we need to be able to quickly respond on issues and find ways to minimize them.
What is the biggest challenge that people in this industry are facing, and how does your company tackle that matter?
ZM: According to recent industry surveys, the hardest thing for printers is finding qualified sales talent and attracting new business. This is on top of trying to run a printing facility and all the usual headaches that come from any manufacturing process. 4over has tried to eliminate the headache of the production process by being the outsource partner so our resellers can focus on handling customer needs and growing their businesses.
What is the most enjoyable part about holding your position within the company?
ZM: I was a small business owner once, so, for me, helping small businesses grow is the most enjoyable part. Our business is not based on a handful of large customers, but rather tens of thousands of print resellers of various sizes. I have seen customers go from $100 to hundreds of thousands in sales as they grow their businesses. Even as 4over has grown, we’ve always operated as an entrepreneurial environment and tried to keep that spirit. The result is a fast-paced, exciting, sometimes stressful but fun, environment.
As a business leader, what do you consider your most admirable trait, and how do your interactions with your employees help you to improve that quality?
ZM: I have too many to list (just kidding, of course), but I think my most admirable trait is that I trust my team and am hands-off. I’m involved in every aspect of the business, but allow my team to find their own way, as I hate micromanagement. ... I hire people who have ideas, the desire to do a good job and [the motivation] to be a part of something greater. If you give them the ability to take ownership, the safety to make some mistakes along the way, and provide support, guidance and encouragement, they can achieve great things.
Whom do you admire as a business leader, and why?
ZM: I try to borrow from everyone—I like Jeff Bezos’ ability to transform an industry, I admire Warren Buffett’s sustained success and Elon Musk’s ability to think outside the box. I also try to understand from their failures. Often, you learn more from a critical analysis of failure than you do from a success.
What else might you like to add to give our readers a better sense of your business approach and the industry at large?
ZM: I am probably the most bullish, optimistic person on the future of the industry. I feel that the doom and gloom in the industry is overstated. Every day, I meet business owners who are growing their business, and it’s because they’ve been able to adapt rather than hang their heads. We’ve tried to make 4over have a lot of capabilities for thousands of different products, as we want our resellers to be a one-stop shop for their end-users, who are often looking for a business they can trust rather than just the rock-bottom price. If you can become that trusted partner, you become that much more sticky to your customers as an extension of their capabilities, not just a supplier.
View the full 2018 Top 50 Suppliers list here, or click here for stats, trends and analysis from the list. For more in this top suppliers profiles series, click here to download a free PDF resource containing all four interviews.