Cannibalize Print to Grow Bigger
If we buck the trend that makes business sense for our customers, sooner or later they will see us as aging dinosaurs and will find other partners that are more progressive. If Ralston Purina would have stayed with only the two pet foods they started with—Dog Chow and Cat Chow—they would not have become the major player in the pet food market. They recognized early on that to grow in the market, they needed to cannibalize the very products that made them so successful. The new products were costly to research, and they also needed to build plants to manufacture them. Investments are always necessary to keep your products and services in growth mode.
I am realistic enough to know that making moves like this are not easy, and one must be realistic about what we are capable of doing. There are other ways to grow besides promoting cannibalization. Some can grow by getting a bigger piece of a shrinking pie. This can be a good way to grow without working against the hand that feeds us. My main message is to be sensible, and not to fight a trend that we can't change. Instead, consider joining the trend so your customers perceive you as an innovator and not a laggard. No one wants to do business with a laggard; it's just not good business sense and sensibility.
Carl and his wife, Judy, owned and operated their own successful Allegra franchise for nearly 20 years before selling the $2.3 million operation in 2003. He is a PrintImage International/NAQP Honorary Lifetime Member and was inducted into NAPL’s prestigious Soderstrom Society in 2010 in recognition of his contribution to the industry.