Editorial: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Printers have always been on the lookout for new profit centers and other opportunities to grow their businesses. Back in the dark ages most quick printers basically just reproduced customers’ monochrome originals. Over the years, phototypesetting, desktop publishing, color copying, mailing, digital printing, etc. were added to the mix. Most have become staples in the typical shop. Of course, some have not. Convenience or walk-up copying is pretty much dead. Fax services even had a brief heyday. As in most industries, things evolved. They continue to do so.

In this issue we present the results of the 2013 Franchise Review. QP has been conducting this survey for nearly three decades, and the results have reflected the changing nature of this industry segment. What hasn’t changed is the search for growth. Unfortunately, there isn’t much growth reflected in this year’s franchise numbers—sales are generally flat. However, as you’ll see in the Franchise Review article, the franchises systems are showing keen interest in acquiring sign franchise outfits as a new avenue toward growth. That’s not surprising considering the similarities between the two. It also is not the only example of growth opportunities discussed in this issue.

In his Digital Original column, John Giles shows how even smaller printers can take advantage of the growing popularity of providing marketing services by emphasizing print as an integral part of integrated marketing campaigns. “Not everything can be communicated on the Internet,” he tells us.

On a related topic, Jeff Steele interviewed representatives of two larger companies that have mastered the skills needed to create and sell highly personalized, one-to-one marketing campaigns. They were kind enough to share their hard-won knowledge with you.

Tom Crouser emphasizes that adding e-commerce capabilities is a great idea, but “adding capacity without selling what the system can do is a waste.” In other words, if you can do it, get out there and sell it.

While printers have been involved with mailing services for quite some time, others are only now looking to offer more than simple mail merge. In this month’s Priority Mail, Nancy DeDiemar cautions that “the secret of success in mailing services, as with any service offered by quick printers, is whether you can sell it.” Are you seeing a theme?

New technology can also provide an avenue for growth, and our senior consultant Bob Hall takes a look at Benny Landa’s Nanographic printing process, a new technology that could eventually become a game changer.

Even in slow times, there are always opportunities to grow your business. Step one is to recognize the change that fits your business model. Step two? Sell it!