Scott Valancy is a long-time player in the printing industry and is currently taking his company, Tee Shirt Central, into its sixteenth year. Coming from a business background, Scott has both the know-how and the experience of running a well-oiled ship. We speak to him about his best advice for growing a decorating business, and how to keep up with the fast-paced industry.
“Our motto is: if you’re not evolving, you won’t last.” Scott’s boldness when it comes to the business side of printing may sound brash to some, but he strongly believes it’s in every business’s best interest to think about scaling. “The landscape is tough, and it’s getting tougher,” observes Scott. That’s why he’s happy to share some of his best advice today to help others approach growth, and what they should consider when scaling their business:
Regularly evaluate your company
For Scott, one of the biggest and best steps you can take in growing your business is to start by evaluating where you are. “Define where and when you want to scale. How many shops do you want? Are you going in a direction you’re familiar with? If so, do you have the resources for it?” Taking a moment to think critically about some of these questions and the general state of your business can be really beneficial in discovering where’s best to develop, how to do so, and by how much.
Prepare with a plan before you scale
If you’re hoping to scale, Scott’s advice is to take a little portion out of every day to plan. He finds that preparation is sometimes more important than the scaling itself, as it sets a secure foundation for growth. At Tee Shirt Central, Scott works in 1-year plans, setting a full year’s worth of goals prior to the year beginning, and then checking in with it every quarter to make sure they’re on track. “We also do 2 and 3-year strategic plans for some longer term objectives we might want to get to — just to have on the burner,” he adds, highlighting the value of also having more aspirational goals. He does discourage having anything longer than a 5-year plan though, as the industry is moving very quickly.
Learn from courses and other people
As well as being naturally inquisitive, Scott tries to actively learn more to help scale his business. For him, that meant leveraging his business degree and taking some Lean Manufacturing programs on the side. “Continual learning,” he notes, “allows you to look at your business differently and inevitably makes you more efficient.” Scott also wants to remind business owners to consult the experts already within their own company. At Tee Shirt Central, he holds regular committee meetings and is sure to include the people in his company who know the most about technology, manufacturing, or whichever area they’re hoping to expand.
Foster strong supplier relationships
“Another key component to making sure you're scaling properly is supplier relationships,” Scott explains. For his own business, having close relationships with their garment, machinery and technology suppliers really helped him stay up to date about the market. By engaging with others in the industry, it will ultimately make you more prepared for scaling your own business, while also creating a supportive network who can help you along the way.
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