Several years ago a book was written on the topic of adults needing to remember the golden rules they were taught as a child. The book was titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” and the author was Fulghum. One of the things we all remember about being a kindergartner is sharing. Yet why is it that sharing is not necessarily seen as a good thing in the business world?
Case in point. I’ve recently had conversation with several of our members regarding a company/customer who did not show up on our SlowPay/NoPay List and which also showed a clean bill of health in the D&B reports. The customer in question was a Big Fish (or purported to be a BF) and really wanted to do business with the member. Our member didn’t feel comfortable with the story line given by the customer; so, he decided to contact one of his buddies who had done business with the BF. The report wasn’t good. BF still owed that printer money. A few more phone calls were made and needless to say the story wasn’t pretty. BF was leaving a trail of printers in his wake — and no one was sharing. Was it pride? Was it embarrassment?
Here’s where thinking like kindergartners could help all of us. If BF, who’s really a barracuda, would have been reported on the Association’s SlowPay/NoPay, or similar service, odds are that these folks would not continue to prey on printers, and our industry would be much healthier for it. As we start crawling out of our recession, credit checking will become very important. As I have observed in past business cycles, firms hungry to replace lost print dollars are less likely to question the customer’s ability and reliability. It’s now, more than ever, that credit checking and authentication becomes critical. So, remember what it was like to be a kindergartner. Sharing is good.
I heard the news this morning while driving into work, and there was more detail in the Wall Street Journal. JC Penney is closing down its catalog business – the print version.
I’m not going to fault a company for making decisions which bring its costs in line, or be parochial because we’re losing another print job. What does concern me is the possibility that Penney’s is making a short term decision because of the barbarians at the gate (Ackman, Icahn, Whitworth). These folks have taken equity positions in the company and are not happy with the stock price.
Too many companies, who got rid of their catalogs, later discovered that print drives eyeballs to their websites. It should be folks who have the company and its customers in mind making strategic decisions, not the Wall Street types and the empty suits who just want to make their personal play for wealth. All short-term decisions become long-term decisions.
Although Steve Jobs is taking a personal leave of absence that doesn’t mean that the iPad and tablet computing is going to go away. A bigger question is what’s the impact going to be to the desktop computer – and print? Richard Romano recently took a stab at that question in a podcast moderated by Dr. Joe Webb last week. Is he predicting the end of the world of print? No, he’s not, but Romano definitely feels that it could be a game changer in how print is produced and read.
2011 has now officially begun as we’re well past the holiday hiatus and folks are starting to get tuned back up again. Although many are not predicting a wonderful 2011 for small business, there is still potential. At the recent KBA Open House in Dallas, many of our printers in attendance shared that 2011 was looking better and the last two quarters of 2010 were “acceptable.”
Given that everyone who still is around has made all the necessary changes to survive, it’s just a matter of positioning for rebound. One of the critical aspects is finance. Although many of the major banks are still not willing to look at small business loans (companies with sales less than $15-20 million), there will be opportunities for loans from small regional banks – if one has a well positioned company (profitable/strong balance sheet). Check out this WSJ article.
There is a YouTube video making the rounds in the print community lately — and if you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out. Is it a bit over the top? Sure, but if you talk to anyone involved with production (print, web, video, etc.) who has to interface with a designer, you just might hear similar stories. Although I do have a question. What is the Pantone match for luscious pink?