It’s easy for commentators and journalists to tell printers how much better they’ll feel when they’ve become marketing solutions providers. But becoming a marketing solutions provider takes far longer and requires more resources than anyone ever expects.
Here’s what a recent Harvard Business Review article (“Rebuild your core while you reinvent your business model,” December, 2012) had to say:
It can take years for an innovative initiative to become large enough to replace the revenue from traditional sources… If your company completely abandons its old model, it throws away any advantage it still has.
We propose an approach that’s more practical to implement and more sustainable…
Major transformations need to be two different efforts happening in parallel. One should reposition the core business, adapting its current business model to the altered marketplace. The other should create a separate activity to develop the innovations for future growth.
IT’S A THREE-STEP PROCESS
There are only three fundamental steps involved in making the transition. The details will take a little longer to explain. (But that’s why I wrote my book!).
- Fight hard (and systematically) to preserve the sales you have.
- Work relentlessly on being more cost-effective and efficient – to become as low-cost an operation as possible.
- Reconfigure your company to make customers feel good about doing business with you, while building new sales around enhanced services that often have little to do with ink (or toner) on paper
Those new kinds of sales will require an entirely new kind of selling effort. In fact, they’ll require you to create quite a different kind of company – smarter, faster-learning and easier to do business with. I’ll discuss these further in next week’s article.
Bob Rosen is president of R.H. Rosen Associates, a New York-area consulting firm that specializes solely in the graphic arts.