New year predictions: Robert Cross, Micropress Printers

Printweek team
Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Suffolk, family-run print business’s commercial director is excited about the future because he believes the post-Covid landscape will create opportunities that were perhaps never there before.

Cross: The new business opportunities are there
Cross: The new business opportunities are there

If possible, what positives are you able to draw on from the experiences of 2020?
I know it sounds like a cliché, but this year has made us realise more than ever what a fantastic team we are lucky enough to employ; everyone has gone the extra mile to support the business. It has also made us appreciate how fortunate we are to be part of a solid business that can enter 2021 in a positive position despite the challenges of 2020.

We have taken the opportunity to review the business and look at what is working well and what’s not working so well. Build for the future!

What trend (business or technology) do you think has been accelerated because of the pandemic?
I think prior to the pandemic there was already a trend in small to medium print businesses pulling back on investment of equipment and moving more towards an outsource model to trade printers. I believe the pandemic has accelerated this trend as companies review their business models. There will be further consolidation within the industry.

What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2021 and why?
New customers. We are all lucky enough to enjoy loyal customers and long may this continue. However, I believe that as we enter a new business landscape opportunities will arise that were not necessarily there before. Businesses are reviewing budgets, what they buy, how they buy etc. If you're prepared to work for it the new business opportunities are there.

What are your hopes for 2021?
Simple. A return to similar business growth that we have enjoyed for many years pre-Covid and for our profit margin to return to where it was in 2019. This may be ambitious for the first half of 2021 but I am hopeful by the second half we will be back to this level.

We can't believe we're asking this question for the fourth year running: what is your one-word view on Brexit?
Irritating.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Under promise and over deliver.

What, if anything, will you do differently in 2021?
Print our calendars earlier rather than leave them to a mad rush in December!

What’s your favourite Christmas cracker joke?
What is Dominic Cummings’ favourite Christmas song?
Driving Home for Christmas.

Sprouts: yes or no?
Yes, in fact they are a favourite.

Are you making any New Year's resolutions? If so, what?
Less wine and more exercise.

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