The Shows on the Road
Trade show season is just a few months away, with PRINT 17 returning to Chicago in September and the SGIA Expo kicking off its 2017 edition in New Orleans in October. At New Direction Partners, we see events like these as opportunities to reconnect with clients and friends and to stay in touch with the pulse of the industry — something that’s always easy to detect at the big equipment venues.
Are PRINT 17 and SGIA Expo on your calendar? If you own a printing company, one or both of them probably should be.
At the shows, you get a panoramic picture not just of the latest technology, but of the business opportunities that the technology opens up. You get to benchmark what your company does against what it could be doing with the right investment in new systems and equipment. That comparison tells you a great deal about the perceived value of your business to potential buyers.
Modernizing and expanding your capability increases the value of the enterprise. Most of our buying clients want to see candidates that have branched into wide-format output, digital printing, and other high-value services that distinguish them from the competition. General commercial shops operating more or less the same way they did 20 years ago aren’t as desirable, and they certainly don’t attract the kinds of offers that technologically progressive businesses do.
At a trade show, you can make a shopping list of what you need to enter the ranks of the industry’s high-value acquisition candidates. If you are not thinking of selling now, adding these capabilities can strengthen your income statement by boosting your present revenues and profits. This will go a long way toward preparing the company for sale when the moment finally arrives.
What’s so interesting about these new technologies is the way they enable firms to offer products and services that, once upon a time, nobody would have associated with the commercial printing side of the business. With a wide-format device, for example, almost any shop can add signage, vehicle wraps, textiles, interior décor, retail POP, packaging, and other specialties to its menu of applications. This is precisely what attracts buyers, increases EBITDA multiples, and facilitates profitable sales.
Attending trade shows isn’t the only way to obtain this kind of information. And, with the costs of airfare, hotel rooms, and time spent away from the business, the investment connected with going to a show isn’t small. But, from the point of view of building the value of your business, we think it’s an investment with a guaranteed return. Your smartest competitors won’t hesitate to make it. Neither should you. See you at the shows!