Fast-track Firms --Thriving, Not Just Surviving
Over the years, Trend has reduced the percentage of retail circular printing at its facilities and increased publication and catalog production, which gave the company more balance at its California facility and the opportunity to increase sales and margins. That opened the door to larger, enhanced press lines, binders and postal ink-jet technology.
"Our marketing and sales culture is aggressive," Sweetman says. "We exposed the marketplace to our facilities and, as a heavenly voice spoke to Kevin Costner in the movie "Field of Dreams": 'If you build it, they will come,' and customers have and continue to come to our plants."
Sweetman credits hard work, relationships and making educated business decisions based on the numbers as being catalysts to Trend's success. Trend Offset Chairman Anthony Lienau taught Sweetman and President Todd Nelson to understand, evaluate and make objective decisions, "by the numbers." Thus, the company grew nearly 30 percent in a lackluster market. Sweetman also attributes the growth to maximizing "face time" with clients and prospects.
"Our relationships are key. We've built many that have lasted 10, 15, and 20 years of mutual growth," he says. "As time has passed and client acquisitions and consolidations have occurred, we have continued on this relationship path."
The growth was bolstered by a pair of high-profile installations: a new eight-color Heidelberg M-600 with Autoplate at the Texas facility, which was booked nearly solid inside of 10 months, and the building of Trend's new Jacksonville, FL, plant. The Florida facility came online in March of 2001, at a time, Sweetman notes, of dwindling print demand. Despite the climate, Trend generated nearly $20 million in business there from March through December.
Being a marketing-driven printer, Sweetman says that Trend's electronic marketing continues to expand its core business revenues, along with new publication, catalog and directory categories. "We have steered away from the acquisition road of other printers to buy market share and top-line revenues. We look to continue to focus and expand our core client model and revenues in California, Texas and Florida."