Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Looking In From The Outside

It is a luxury when you can look at things from 10 miles away. You are able to see things that when you’re right on top to them, in the thick of battle, you are not able to see, the old “can’t see the forest for the trees thing.” With that distance comes the possible of a realist look. When you are removed you can “tell it like it is.” Since 70% of my business comes out of printing and the graphic field I’ll be directing this right at YOU!

> Printing has fallen 24.2% during the recession
> 2007 thru 2010 sales have stabilized but have not been sustainable with peaks and valleys, surges and stops like city traffic.
> Despite rising costs of nearly 60% prices in the industry are at or below year earlier costs.
> The NAPL expects total commercial printing to increase in 2012 for the 1st time since 2007 at about .0.05% to 1.5% but that is still at over 20% of prerecession levels. And at even 1.5% grow we are losing.

Printing and the printing business is not a pretty picture right now. Having grown up and been in and around the industry for my entire life, I’m sad, really sad about the present state of the industry.  People and friends have built up good, or what looks like good rock solid business, and in the blink of an eye, poof they are gone. Yes really it can happen that fast. Do you have 1 key account with over 25% of your business? Think about it. I have seen it in being a Typographer and then have seen it again in the CD/DVD multimedia industry. Now it is Printing Companies fighting the commodity service and online print shop battle.

It gets played out over and over, and always in the same way. Just look at your financial reports. Read the numbers. I did too late before we realized things bad things were going back in 1990. We were losing money in accounts receivable. Sales were dropping as were profit margins. Sales staff was out of control, directionless and clueless. We were looking for something to grab onto but where clueless to what that was with no real long-term direction.

You can be doing everything you can within your expertise, experience and ability but there comes a time when you need to step out of the box.

So what is the problem? For each of you it can be different and played out differently. But it is there and it is quite real.

If you stand pant and try to work your way out of this mess you will lose or at least most of you will. Why? Because it is a different world out there. Evolve with it or die. You can try to take control of what is happening but you cannot stop it. Do you feel the need to exert more control than you are now?  Adapt or die.

It is very hard for a print shop or graphic studio owner. Most of you have built your businesses from the ground up, making all decisions and running the whole show.  Some of you are 2nd or 3rd generation printers and never saw this coming.

So now ask what happens if you’re not in there, daily hands-on and running the show?  What if your people screw up?  Your company, your livelihood, your family’s livelihood, your employees’ livelihood – are all on the line.

Times have indeed changed and now this kind of action might in reality be holding you and your business back.

Do you really know what’s best in today’s “global economy?  Are you stuck in the thought pattern that you know what is right, are you shutting out other possibilities and other great opportunities?

You’re in “control-mode” at the moment. I did it 22 years ago and I’ll bet you are in the same mind set as I was.

Right now in this period of fast change / high stress, your peripheral vision literally disappears.  You lose sight of quite a bit of the world around you, and you have trouble remembering exactly what is happening. Maybe you’re not this bad, but I suspect that your problem-solving ability has shrunk as your open mindless to new ideas.

Once you let go a bigger wider picture of what you and your company can become starts to evolve.

The more you push the farther away you get pushed away.

If you are able to become receptive to this new world we have in front of us and see the potential in it as to what you can do with what you now have, you will be amazed.

I feel bad for printers and graphic artists.  I invite you to take a step back and look at some of our solutions to the way we see the reality of printing, communication and advertising.  I hope you will start to understand that you are welcome to join us in a printer and graphic friendly world, one where the Larson team will support you at every turn.

Larson Notes & Satire:  Yes I feel your pain. I have been there. I have lived it. I (really) don’t want you to go through it.

2012 found me building a special alliance of a group of advisors to broadening the scope of a printing company. This team is bringing to the table new thoughts, new ideas, new perspectives and new markets to some of my current clients and the graphic community at large.  This wave of potential energy we have put together is something you need to hear about. There is an exciting buzz of calmness. There are areas I am not an expert, but in the power of the team, we are.  I let them do their thing using to their expertise so I can excel better in mine. It gives me the kind of flexibility I need to take a step back.

Want to know more? Call us for an appointment.

“We don’t sell lists, we find customers.”

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.

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