New year predictions: Tim Black, Black & Callow

By PrintWeek team, Thursday 24 December 2015

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It's been a big year for Tim Black, joint managing director at the former Imprima Financial Print business, now renamed Black & Callow following the MBO at the company 12 months ago.


Black: being ‘just a printer’ is too hard these days

What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?

A pile of novels I’m keen to read… and some free time in which to read them.

What trend do you think 2015 will be remembered for?

As the trend towards smart, wearable technology and user-rich computing continues, I think we’ll see 2015 as the real start of ‘The Internet of Things’: analytic, networked, intelligent machines working ever more closely with us. Scary stuff!

What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2016 and why?

To get closer to their clients, by helping them take advantage of possibilities offered by technology for producing both electronic and printed documents at the same time – go with the flow rather than fight against it.

What do you think will represent the single biggest threat for printers in 2016 and why?

Lack of niche and lack of vision. Being ‘just a printer’ is too hard these days with the reduction in printing volumes, and it’s easy to become commoditised. But if you have a specialisation, some knowledge and experience, and if you can help your clients in a way no-one else can, then you’re (hopefully) here for the long run.

What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2016?

Really be 100% committed to providing “World Class Service” in everything they say and do. For Chris (Callow, my Joint MD) and I, joining the ICS – the Institute of Customer Service – was our first action following our MBO and we’ve never looked back on our ambition to provide the very best service.

What was your biggest disappointment in 2015?

That Monica Bellucci didn’t have more screen-time in SPECTRE... can I say that?

What was your highlight of 2015?

Post-MBO, the incredibly positive reactions and support from both our team and our clients was greater than we ever could have hoped for.

What are your hopes for 2016?

I hope that global economies are stable, financial markets remain positive, and that companies still look to public markets for fundraisings and M&A activity.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

A book called “Who moved my cheese?”, which our former MD gave us one Christmas, contains the single best piece of advice for any individual or business: change is inevitable, and you have to embrace it if you’re to enjoy the rewards it can bring.

What was the most important thing that you learnt in 2015?

That you have to lead from the front and, more than anything, look after your team every bit as well as you look after your clients.

What if anything will you do differently in 2016?

Once and for all, Chris and I are going to try to nail that elusive balance between taking time out to work out our strategy, alongside spending invaluable time meeting clients and all the vital day-to-day tasks… and then if I have any time left, I’ll try and nail the home-life balancing act, too.

If you’re thinking of going to Drupa next year, what are you keen to see?

I have no plans to go to Drupa at this point.

What’s your favourite Christmas cracker joke?

As a James Bond fan, it’s this one:

Q: What do Secret Agents eat at Christmas?

A: Mince spies

What was the best Christmas present you ever received?

The look on my daughters’ faces that first Christmas when they really understood that Santa had left a half-eaten mince pie and glass of sherry behind on the hearth. That has to be the best Christmas present ever.

Are you making any New Year's resolutions? If so, what?

Enjoy it while you can!

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