New Vision Is Thriving Despite Bad Economy --Michelson
FRANK STEWART and Carrie Parkinson shared a common vision when they launched West St. Paul, MN-based New Vision Printing and Graphics five years ago. Seeking to offer more than mere platitudes, their company would truly focus on exemplary customer service and teamwork when providing fast-turnaround digital and offset printing, at competitive prices. Their red-carpet-treatment concept has resonated with clients, resulting in New Vision's sales tripling during the past three years. That success, largely through word of mouth, prompted the company to open a second shop in White Bear Lake, MN, 12 months ago and, more recently, resulted in New Vision being named the 2009 West St. Paul Small Business of the Year."It's still possible to grow your business amid this recession, but you have to work harder and smarter, and plan better," contends Frank Stewart, president and CEO. It also means being creative to meet individual needs, including those of the many small startup companies being launched by once-employed people now seeking to create their own companies. New Vision offers new business enterprises a special starter "Stimulus Package," which includes 500 black-ink flyers on bright colored paper, or their choice of invoices or door hangers, and 500 full-color business cards—all for $175. New Vision also prints color copies for 25 cents apiece, charges 4 cents for black-and-white copies, and can print 500 white envelopes with black ink the same day for $48.
Helping fledgling businesses in tough times helps entire communities. "If more people spend just $50 a month with their local businesses, that will help them keep their doors open and keep neighbors employed, providing a great stimulus package to our communities," he says.
Stewart also applauds his two in-house graphic designers for developing creative ideas that incorporate customers' logo designs into the business starter package. And he credits his firm's Website (www.newvisionprinting.tc) as a great sales tool by projecting a more sophisticated image than one would expect for a company with under 20 employees and a little more than $1 million in annual sales.
In fact, Stewart and his staff are always looking for novel ways to help their clientele—and build a loyal following in the process. Adhering to the credo of "Creative Ideas Unleashed," he is constantly on the lookout for simple, often commonsense, promotional and marketing ideas. For example, New Vision started giving away 5-1⁄2x8-1⁄2? note pads printed with the wording "Dad's things to do list" as bait to reel in business for its custom note pad capabilities. Soon, customers were asking how they could order customized note pads featuring their own companies' names and logos. "Many of the ideas we come up with are not original," Stewart admits. "I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel. Often, the key is to just make what are old ideas seem fresh."
One of his favorite posters features the late comedian Jonathan Winters yelling into a phone: "What? You want it good, fast and cheap? Pick two and call me back." "We're able to provide all three, so our printing is really cost-effective," Stewart stresses. Just like the other four well-managed, small commercial/quick print shops featured on this issue's cover, New Vision realizes that the failure to constantly innovate and provide one's products and services good, fast and cheap is no laughing matter. And may even be fatal.
Mark T. Michelson