This past year we awarded two of our shops with the top award in our program called the Superior Performance in Print Shop Management Award. To receive this, a print shop owner must achieve the following in the same business year: a 2:1 or higher current ratio, 20 percent or more profitability, and 15 percent or greater sales growth over the last three years. We feel this puts a print shop in the top five percent of all shops in North America, and we are proud to say that two CPrinters achieved these marks while many print shops were struggling to keep the doors open.
Additionally, 64 percent of our National Board affiliates achieved an average of 16 percent sales growth as of the close of the fall meetings. And all shops were achieving their growth by adding intangible services to their sales mix, including desktop websites, mobile websites, email marketing, as well as wide-format and other products. Of course, they continued to print ink or toner on paper because that is still a large segment of their business but they now think like entrepreneurs and not just printers. That’s the key to survival in our opinion.
The future looks bright for CPrint affiliates because they have tools at their disposal that much of their competition doesn’t even know exists. And, instead of staying in the shop, pulling the covers over their heads, and waiting for the storm to pass, CPrint affiliates are making money, having fun, and spending a lot more time with their families.
Franchise Services, Richard Lowe, president
The big picture is that all segments of the printing industry continue to operate under stress from the pressures of the economy, technology, and low cost competition, which has commoditized much of our traditional work. The dynamics of change won’t stop in 2012. Growth will come from changing the way we do business in order to capture market share. Today there is a certainty in our industry, it has dramatically changed in nearly every facet and there is no going back to the old ways. The new axiom is simply change or die.
The good news is that we started changing four years ago with the introduction of our Marketing Services Provider (MSP) strategy. We have made significant strategic and tactical changes to our business and it is playing out. New partnerships with technology companies have allowed our franchisees to offer new high value products and services to their customers and prospects. Some of our more traditional product offerings like signs, posters and banners, Web-to-print, mailing services, and promotional products are finding their way into integrated marketing campaigns that our franchisees sell to their customers. The introduction and adoption of marketing services by our franchisees has enabled them to fill the holes left by business lost to online vendors, customers changing the way they communicate, technology influences, and low cost providers.
Today’s franchise owners are constantly confronted with the changes and dynamics in the market. We are working together as a team in terms of research, partnerships, business development, marketing, and training to help our company grow. We are bringing them solutions that enable them to help their customers grow their business that, in turn, grows our franchisees’ businesses.
We have reason to be excited about the prospects of 2012 being a good year for both our franchisees and our company. Our franchisees have proven to be a most resilient bunch. They are marketing their businesses utilizing the same marketing activities that we want them to sell to their customers and prospects with good success. The great thing about looking at our franchisees as a group is that they are all in the game.
Our plan is simple. We have a commitment to growth. We plan to help our franchisees capture market share with innovative printing and marketing products and services.
ICED, Jay Groot, president, ICED print brands
As we wrap up 2011, our industry challenges continue. Franchises under the ICED umbrella are not alone; the industry as a whole is facing common challenges. But on the upside, more of our centers are seeing signs of a slow recovery, with orders up and more consistency from their clients.
ICED, the parent company for seven franchises, six in the print industry, has weathered many an economic storm since our beginning in 1967. What we’ve chosen to do is to focus on the positive. Our center owners have had to redefine themselves as something other than print providers, some reluctantly. For those with a desire to grow, we are guiding them toward being marketing solutions providers (MSP). They must learn how to market better, how to develop successful campaigns, how to track their ROI, how to be more efficient, and so on.