What Type of Company Is Yours?
After years of consulting with printing companies of all types/sizes, several things have become clear. There seems to be a logical way to group organizations into one of three types. The first group is the one that makes things happen. These guys are the ones acquiring other companies, diversifying, thinking about 2015 and are in growth mode. Based on my first-hand experience, this makes up a small group of the printing and related industry.
The second group is the one that watches things happen. This type of company is cautious, yet will make a move once it sees other companies moving in a specific direction. An example of this is when printing companies waited until they saw others buying and having success with wide-format and/or digital presses and then decided they, too, should jump into that game. Thus, they went out—many without a plan—and bought such equipment. Again, this is the “watch things happen” group and, based on my experience, this segment makes up a decent amount of printing-related organizations.
The third group is the one that wonders what happened. This group thinks social media and Facebook are the same thing. Note to reader: Facebook is one of countless parts of social media. Many have been lapped. Some have given up. Some do not even realize they are not in the game. There is a way for such companies to turn around, but some do not want to try, are not willing to invest time or money to do so, and they long for the glory days. I call this pure insanity. Definition of insanity: Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
Here is my question as we head toward a new year. Do you want to get better? Do you want to grow? Do you desire to change? Do you want to think beyond equipment and grow the front end of your business? Are you willing to invest in your human resources and think as a business, and not a printing company? Please be honest with yourself; do you really want to change?
Companies in our industry that are growing are “outthinking” the competition. Everyone can offer a competitive price, adequate customer service, a reasonable turnaround time and good quality. These do not make your firm unique. By the way, your competition is everyone and everywhere.
So, I challenge you to take time to think of what needs to improve within your business. How do you change your culture? Your strategy? Your brand? Your sales? Your talent? A changing industry? A new workforce? Many say they desire to be a make things happen company, but few do it. Why? You have to ask yourself that. However, always remember it is easy to sit back and play it safe.
To remain relevant in 2014 and beyond is to review your organization from top to bottom, and side to side. Yes, you need outside help to do this. From there, you can see what needs to improve. The question, then, is not if you need to do this, but if you are willing to do this. Trust me, printing companies need a fresh and objective perspective—no matter which group they fall into. I hope this post makes you reflect upon the type of business you are. Let me know how we can help you make 2014 a make things happen type of year.
Ryan T. Sauers has spent 25 years leading and/or consulting with printing, graphics, promotional and visual communications related organizations. Ryan is President of the independent consulting firm, Sauers Consulting Strategies, founded in 2010.
Key areas of focus of the firm include: sales training, marketing strategy, personal branding, leadership development and organizational change.
Sauers is a frequent national speaker and columnist. He has been recognized as one of the top 80 CMOs in the world and achieved the top designation of Certified Marketing Executive through Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Sauers is an adjunct university professor teaching leadership and communication courses to current and aspiring leaders. He is a Certified Myers Briggs, DiSC and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner (one of few in US to achieve all 3 rigorous certifications related to human communications, personality & behavior).
Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and hosts a radio show in Atlanta (Marketing Matters). He is author of the best-selling books Everyone is in Sales and Would You Buy from You? More info at: RyanSauers.com