Quick and small commercial printers are counting on their own resourcefulness to improve sales and profitability despite an unfavorable business climate and disruption of their traditional markets.
The latest NAPL Quick and Small Commercial Printers Trends Report points out that sales growth was up 4.3% during the first quarter of 2012 for the quick and small commercial printers surveyed, calling those numbers “very encouraging, considering that not long ago sales were declining for over three-quarters of our group.”
It notes, however, that these numbers do not mean that all will soon be well because of a variety of factors, from inconsistent business patterns to accelerating cost inflation. “Even if the economy were growing robustly, we’d still have a lot of work to do,” it says, adding: “Sustainable success requires new mindsets, methods, and approaches. Consequently, every owner should be asking this question: What are we doing that’s new?”
When companies were asked this question in a recent survey, more than half said they were paying closer attention to costs, moving into new services/markets, and revamping their marketing efforts, while more than one-third noted they were revamping their sales efforts, being more proactive with client relations, and paying closer attention to receivables, debt levels, client creditworthiness, and other financial issues.
The report’s authors say that among all survey respondents there is “broad agreement on three key points:”
We must look closely and critically at every part of our business. More than 90% of those surveyed were taking at least two of the actions noted above, nearly two-thirds (63.8%) were taking at least three, and 42% at least four. “The key is to review strengths and weaknesses function-by-function,” says the report. “If something is working, figure out how to keep it working—never assuming that it just will—and how to improve further.” If it isn’t working? “Figure out how to make it work, never assuming that a problem will self-correct or that strength in one area will offset weakness in others.”
We can’t let complacency creep back. “To ensure that it doesn’t, 58% of our survey group are paying closer attention to all costs and over 36% are monitoring receivables, debt, client creditworthiness, etc..”
We can’t cut our way to prosperity. Four of the top five initiatives and six of the top 10 pertain to revenue growth, not cost reduction: Move into new services, revamp marketing, revamp sales efforts, be more proactive with clients, become more solutions oriented, and do more consultative/team sales.
The majority of the survey group are not looking for an external factor, such as an economic upturn, to improve conditions, but instead are counting on something they are doing to develop sales and profit potential. “Many of the quick and small commercial printers we survey are creating their own paths based on their unique resources, capabilities, and goals.”
Quick and Small Commercial Printers Trends Report is in the mail to members in this segment next week. If you are a member who is not in the quick and small segment, but would like a copy, stop by NAPL Booth 4023, or call Donna Komlo at 800-642-6275, ext. 6345, or email her: firstname.lastname@example.org.