By Sid Chadwick
“The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference… The opposite of art is not ugliness, but indifference… The opposite of faith is not heresy, but indifference… And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference….”……Elie Wiesel, Romanian-American Writer and Holocaust Survivor
Our associations’ leaders have spread the false word, through their frequent and updated Industry Reports - for decades: “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
You can’t, and won’t – survive – or thrive - believing that aphorism.
In the meantime, with only one or two top-notch regional associations, too many industry associations will keep promoting their golf tournaments, which somehow seem to receive more PR and required staff time - than their (a) Business Development webinars, and (b) publication of Member success stories.
While our industry leaders keep their PR machines turning - supporting their M & A and Supplier Teams, with the subtle message: “There’s little reason to focus on improving your understanding and development of your differentiation, your revenues, and margins…. The Federal Reserve is driving the bus – profoundly influencing your customers’ purchases of print (and use of your Services).”
There is an alternative to their paradigm.
We have multiple clients – with increasing revenues, margins, and quiet but expanding plans - for an even better future.
A “rising tide…” they are not waiting- to save them.
Well, it depends…but there are always options – for a better tomorrow – if you do your homework re.: (a) learning the profile of your most profitable customers, (b) what Services you provide – that keep them sending you more work (very possibly not a sharper dot….!), (c) learning where to go to Research who you need to be serving, and (d) keeping those Referrals coming – from customers - who want to give back to you…!
A few examples:
- One, really several clients, are focusing on Storage & Fulfillment, recognizing that niches in this particular capability can drive not only increasing revenues, but also superior pricing, superior margins, and organic growth - of both current and new customers.
- Another client (really two clients), primarily publication printers, are serving publications – growing organically, opening multiple new publications - each week. Both organizations are experiencing their best revenue and bottom-line years – ever. Note: Their Value-added Options for their publishers – are like an encyclopedia…!
- A Commercial Printer, whose Wide-Format revenues - now represent their largest, fastest growing, and most profitable revenue stream. It’s also a fact that their “Creative Department,” a stand-alone profit-center – generates revenues, improved margins, and organic growth - of new accounts….!
- A Commercial Printer, whose “next generation ownership” were recently recruited – because of their proven talents - in another industry – with outstanding Sales Records – has “shocked” their organization’s productivity – and accountability. Target revenues and profitability – are all raised – significantly…! Major new equipment – is in the budget.
- A Commercial Printer (all Offset equipment), is in a transitional focus toward packaging, and folding cartons. Importantly, they (a) first organized improved Sales Team structures, and now (b) attend four major Trade Shows, that predictably generate well over 60 new customers a year. Revenues have jumped from about $18 million to well over $32 million – right through the Pandemic…!
There’s one common theme in these organizations:
Development of Sales Strategy, Talent, and accountability - for developing profitable customers, and Profitable Sales Team productivity – was THE Priority….!
All of these organizations developed a purposeful, market-based strategy, with supportive plans, with frequent check-ups and accountability. (They were not, and are not – waiting for their phones to ring, or listening to suppliers and M & A specialists - tell how slow the markets are turning.)
A rising tide – does NOT lift all boats…..Try to avoid organizations that promote that falsehood. …of Indifference.
“Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”………Steve Jobs