Building and maintaining a business in the age of Amazon can be intimidating. We turned to screen-printing innovator and pioneer Mark Coudray for his advice on navigating the rapidly evolving eCommerce landscape.
Get to know all aspects of your business
I would encourage all printwear business owners to have a strong understanding of all aspects of the business, not just the technical and art printing aspects of it. You need to understand business, marketing, and the administrative aspects and keep track of what is making you profitable. The printing industry is changing too rapidly, you can't afford to be sloppy any longer!
Fact check the forums
If you rely on forums and influencers, make sure you check their credentials. Associations like the SGIA (Speciality Graphic Imaging Association) have got vetted individuals who really understand the industry and know what they're doing. Where possible, expand your knowledge beyond a quick google search, and don't rely on YouTube as your main source of information to grow your business.
Create a personal experience
With social media, every individual is a publisher. Design your user experience so that every new customer can tell your story to the people they know. In this way, the story you tell and the experience you deliver will be your primary marketing tool. People do business with companies that they like, know, and trust.
Adapt to digital
The fundamental difference between the digital and industrial economies is that in the digital economy, everything is driven by a 'unit of one'. As the digital economy is not constrained by creating in bulk, it means you can create a much more personalized experience for the client. This means that companies like Amazon are redefining consumer experience in terms of turnaround, delivery, and personalization, and that's something the print industry needs to adapt to.
Give your business a good foundation
It's common to see new companies use PaperClick or social media advertising to rapidly grow their business. Invariably what happens is they blow up because they haven't taken care of other parts of the business, and they buckle under the pressure of large orders and customer demands. This is why it's so important to get all the pieces together right at the very beginning. You need to align all operations, sales, and marketing with the financial sides of the business. If any one of those pieces is out of balance you're going to have a big problem.