Mañana Man's Fan Mail —DeWese
THANK GOD I didn’t help the man in the letter below. My bride, Attila the Nun, will tell you if I offer to help you, you should do something to distract me, and then run like hell.
I’m going to change or redact the names of the letter writers in this column. The first letter is one I got in January (this year), and it is a classic example of the power of human enterprise.
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It was four years ago now that I first contacted you in hopes you could help the company my father and I were running. You asked about the plant, what our sales were, which were only $1.5 million, and you said that there was nothing you could do for me at that time, which I understood.
I just want to thank you for not helping! For it allowed us to go through a hard time mentally and financially. The crew we had was let go, and the plant was shut down.
(That’s me. Ol’ Mr. Helpful.)
My father, Bill [Redact], went off and pursued a real estate career, and I went off to a “Giant Financial Company.” At the time our plant was closed, another printing facility in Brooklyn, NY, was also closing—not because of financial problems, but due to a buyout by a (real estate) developer.
Irv [Redact], who owned the printing company for more than 60 years and was one of its founders, was retiring. His son, Myron [Redact], was still interested in staying in the printing business.
Irv and my father knew each other from the industry and had a friendly relationship, especially at printing equipment auctions, for Irv would always out-bid my father on equipment. They became good friends, and Irv told his son to look into this plant in Northeast, PA—the one that my father and I ran before it closed.
Myron made the trip up to the plant, met with the bank and, on his way home, decided it was a good deal—only if he could get my father and I to rejoin the company. Needless to say, we returned, hired all the people back and added many more. Many of them had worked for my father for more than 20 years.
We are a true success story, with me as really the only salesperson besides Myron, the owner. When we reopened the doors to our former plant, our sales started at zero and just continued to grow:
• October 2005: $1.7 million
• October 2006: $5.2 million
• October 2007: $7.5 million
We look to continue growing as a privately owned, family run company. My father is president, but is often found loading pockets, bringing roll stock to the web presses, etc. We have great people who have been with us for more than 25 years and who know how hard it is being without work.
I always look forward to your great articles in PRINTING IMPRESSIONS and always chuckle by the end of the read. You are an inspiration to me, and I use your advice in growing the sales of this company every day. In a world of big corporate printing companies, many people find a relief in dealing with good old country boys, who deliver what we say we will deliver.
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You think this is unabashed self-promotion? Hey, I didn’t write the letter. I’m not going to stand in the way of the truth.
Sometimes turning my back on some deserving people “makes it all well.” “Making it all well” is what happens when I kiss my granddaughter’s boo boos. Then, other times, I just bring a little fun to a heavy situation in a very big company, and it “makes it all well.” Here’s an example.
All of my people passed this article around the office, “How Not to Succeed,” published in the January issue of PRINTING IMPRESSIONS. What a great chuckle we all had, since we interface with our own reps (on and off-site), as well as reps from vendors we deal with. It is astonishing how some people operate!
Thanks for a well-written article aimed at a big subject.
[Redact], production manager,
[Redact] huge printing company
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Understand, please. This is not self-aggrandizement. This is what the people say. I can’t stop ’em.
These letters have reminded me of one I received about 12 years ago. My book, “Now Get Out There and Sell Something!” had been published, and I received this letter from a young woman in Alabama.
Down on My Luck
Dear Mr. Mañana Man,
I’m Norma Jean Clark, and I live in Umpulatta, AL, and sell printing for Umpulatta Litho. You may remember I bought your book, and you let me pay for it in $2 monthly payments with money orders from the post office.
I was really down on my luck when I bought the book, ‘Now Get Out There and Sell Something!’ My husband, Derek Dwayne, left me and the kids for my best friend Brenda Wanda Sludd. He took Brenda in the pickup, and I sure missed my truck. Now, I’ve got four kids under seven, and I’m three payments behind on the house and no pickup.
My sales were so low that my boss, Junior, let me work a shift on the six-color. So I’m workin’ two shifts selling and printing, and thank God for Mama lookin’ after the kids.
I read your book during my breaks and lunch.
Soon, things began to change for me. I landed three big corporate accounts over in Birmingham and two more down in Montgomery. All the sudden, I’m too busy to keep up my six-color shift.
It wasn’t long before Junior came to me and offered to sell me the company. I decided to play hardball and told him, ‘Junior, this is a printing company. You are supposed to pay me to take it.’ Well, we reached a fair price, and now I’m the owner and president. I still sell, and I let Billy Ray Daniels run the administration management stuff. I’m also on the board at the bank, and I bought the Ford dealership, so I can get a new F150 whenever I want.
My old best friend Brenda Wanda drives one of our trucks since she left Derek Dewayne.
But, best of all, plant clean-up maintenance is handled by my ex. I personally sign his pay check.
Your book gave me all this success, and I love you Mañana Man!
Well, Mr. Mañana Man, I heard you are coming out with two more books, and I want you to send them to me immediately. Same deal, right? $2 per month.
Norma Jean Clark
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OK, it’s a deal. But you will have to stay out there and sell something!
(Good grief, I’m so good.) PI
About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of “Now Get Out There and Sell Something,” which is available through NAPL or PIA/GATF. He is chairman/CEO of Compass Capital Partners and is an author of the annual “Compass Report,” the definitive source of information regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 141 printing company transactions and is viewed as the industry’s preeminent deal maker. He can be reached via e-mail at HDeWese@ CompassCapLtd.com.