Editor's Note: Sleepless Nights

What keeps you up at night? And, no, I’m not talking about the barking dog next door or your crazy neighbors. What I’m talking about are the issues and concerns about your business that   make it hard for you to run your business.

According to a reader survey we did in April, the top five concerns were:

  1. Economy
  2. Maintaining profitability
  3. Distinguishing ourselves from the competition
  4. Anticipating the client’s needs
  5. Being flexible, bold enough to change with our markets

It’s not news to anyone that the first half of the year has been a struggle in all countries and markets.  It doesn’t seem like anyone is immune. But even though difficult times, businesses survive and thrive by making smart decisions and sticking it out with creative solutions for their customers.
Wide-format suppliers have been providing some much-needed support to aid shops through this difficult time. In our article on flatbed printers, we focus on the incentive programs, financing options, and educational courses equipment suppliers are offering to those who are looking to purchase a new printer. While this might seem like a bad time to invest in such a purchase, savvy shops look at this time as an opportunity to find new business and expand some of their services, or even educate themselves about niche markets that can offer a bigger bang for their buck.

For the first time, we’re focusing on the inkjet ink market. This market has been under pressure over the last few years, especially with the rising costs of raw materials. And we’ve seen that it hasn’t been immune to the global economic climate, showing a slowdown like many other businesses. But what does the future really hold? Inkjet ink experts were cautiously optimistic and point out some print-service-providers were finding success in new markets—such as textiles. Turn to page 16 to get more detailed information in our 2009 Ink Report.

As I mentioned in the July eBook, we’re going to be doing a special three-part series that will focus on a survey from April 2009 by InfoTrends and Wide-Format Imaging that was issued among print service providers, print buyers, and consumers purchasing wide-format printing. The first part, focusing on the print buyer, is available in the July eBook. Part two, focusing on the print service provider, can be found starting on page 12 of this issue. Look for the third part, focusing on consumers who purchase wide-format graphics, in the August eBook.

And stay tuned. There’s lots more to come in August!