This issue’s interview features Aron Priest, who, along with business partner Andy Smith, is co-founder of Solopress, which, until very recently was one of the UK’s largest, independent online print businesses.
While the company the duo sold earlier this year to Germany-headquartered Onlineprinters is very much part of the new generation of print businesses, the way the firm began was 100% old-school: a bank loan, a knackered press and an abundance of youthful drive and ambition.
The Solopress journey is an inspiring one, and Priest is frank about the challenges he and Smith faced and the lessons they learned. In fact, there were lots of things he shared that, for reasons of space, didn’t make the final edit – but there was one in particular that I wanted to mention.
I asked him if he could start all over again, armed with what he knows now would he?
He thinks that to do what he did then, now, would be too difficult, too expensive and too risky in this age of highly paid web developers and SEO experts and highly automated print technology.
Which got me thinking about the obstacles that face the print start-ups and whether print is effectively off limits to young entrepreneurs.
And then I read this issue’s business inspection on two 20-somethings that have launched a new print business and my faith was restored.
Priest is absolutely right, setting up a print business the same way he and Smith did would be beyond the means of most youngsters today – which is why they come at it from a different angle.
Because while the challenges and opportunities may have changed, the drive and ambition that makes up the DNA of a young entrepreneur hasn’t, and in the end that’s what always drives success.