Okay, real quick, I want to share with you two small items before I get to the meat of my column for this month.
My first item is just an observation, and while it technically has nothing to do with printing, it does illustrate how old I am getting. Plus, it has really been bugging me these past few days.
The hair stylist I go to once a month (they used to be called barbers), told me the 15-year-old girlfriend of her 18-year-old son is pregnant and expecting a child in about three months.
I was sort of stunned to hear this, but I get the feeling that this kind of stuff happens all the time in high school. I tried to be courteous and asked what their plans were, once the baby was born. Well, since the girlfriend is only 15 she plans on living at home and she will return to school this fall and bring the baby with her. There is a day care center set up at the school, and it is supervised and operated by teen mothers.
Not only do the young mothers get to bring the babies to school, but they actually get high school credit for taking one or more child rearing courses. Of course, the sarcastic me wanted to ask her if her son got any credit for creating this situation to begin with, but I decided not to ask. Another thing that bugs me is wondering if the girl gets a failing grade in the course, do they take the baby away and put it up for adoption?
Okay, how many of you are old enough to share my amazement at the above, especially as to how it reflects how much things have changed in 50 years? Looking back on those days, I realize how naïve I really was.
Every once in a while, when I was in high school in the early 1960’s, you would hear about a popular girl from the junior class not showing up for the new fall semester. Sometimes a similar situation would happen mid-year. If you inquired about Cathy or Shirley’s whereabouts, someone would offer up, “Oh, I heard she went to live with her aunt in Connecticut or she went out west to see her sister.” I think many of us believed that. It was only later that I learned the “visiting Connecticut” story was a code of some type that meant the girl had gotten pregnant and that she had been forced to leave school.
Now kids get credit for this? I can’t help but wonder, if you have more than one child while you are in high school do you get additional credits, or are the original credits deducted since you obviously didn’t learn from the first course? Oh well, enough rants for now.
Benchmarking Study Released
My second not so small item is that by the time you read this column the 15th edition of the NAQP Benchmarking Study (formerly called the Operating Ratio Study) will have been released.
It is 80+ pages in length and contains more than 240 profit and loss, balance sheet, and key ratio pages for just about every possible breakout you can imagine. Comparisons and breakouts range from large firms vs. small, high profit vs. low profit, companies with sales reps vs. those with none, and of course, franchise operations vs. independent operations, just to name a few.
The study contains, as usual, an outstanding Executive Summary by industry expert Larry Hunt. Hunt reviews the industry’s ups and downs over the past two years and offers suggestions as to how readers can become more profitable. If you would like to order this popular study, simply call the association at 800/642-6275 ext. 4, or go to www.napl.org and click on NAPL Store.
If you participated in this study, you should have already received your customized 20-page report via email during the first week in May.
Selling & Buying Opportunities
During the course of an average month, I prepare between five to 15 print shop valuations. Sometimes they go pretty smoothly and sometimes they turn out to be a nightmare.