In separate conversations this week, two print bosses detailed at length their belief that the days of the ‘traditional’ print business are numbered.
One was the owner of a thriving print business, the other was the owner of a recently collapsed print firm – and while their experiences couldn’t have been more different, the strength of their conviction was evenly matched.
But what constitutes a traditional print business? According to the duo it’s not the type of work it undertakes or the technology it employs that labels a print business traditional, in the same way that having a swanky web-to-print storefront or the latest digital technology doesn’t automatically guarantee modernity.
It’s not even the size of the business that is relevant; the smallest of companies can be at the cutting edge of print proficiency, after all. But in those instances, rather than relying on the latest all-singing, all-dancing hardware or software like a large company might, the business ‘smarts’ are in the mind of the owner/manager.
Because it’s how a business is run, behind the scenes, that pigeonholes it – regardless of size.
Evolving the processes of larger companies is usually an incremental change driven by investment in systems. But where the challenge differs for smaller companies is that evolution is much more personal, because the need arises when the business becomes too large for one person to manage alone, regardless of the size of their brain.
It’s then that the processes and systems need to take the strain, because if they don’t then the ‘brain’ of the business will begin to crave the comfort of how things used to be, rather than embrace the excitement of doing things differently.