The 10 Things you Should be Focusing on in your Print Business Right Now

The 10 Things you Should be Focusing on in your Print Business Right Now4

We hope you are staying safe and healthy and are ok mentally and financially. This is obviously going to be a difficult time for many and we are getting many queries about what our plans are here at IBS as well as what suggestions we have to help make sure you survive and thrive throughout the duration of the pandemic.

We have taken some immediate steps and have outlined some of these below along with what we think you should be looking at in your business;

  1. Do your bit to help contain the spread

    The only way we are going to get back to normal and get this bloody thing under control is to take all the appropriate steps to stop the spread. We assume, that like us, you have been putting in place the appropriate steps including increased cleaning and allowing staff the ability to work remotely where possible

  2. Make sure you can fulfil orders 

    You can’t pay bills if you can't get income and you can't get income if you can’t fulfil your orders. Make sure you have a solid plan in place to continue on no matter what happens. We have locked in back up manufacture partners as a worse case scenario for our business but have also taken the added measure of splitting our production team in half and separated our operations between a 4am to midday shift and a 1pm to 9pm shift. We have a skeleton staff in the office but have ramped up our LiveChat customer support with remote access to our systems for the rest of our team working from home.  Make sure you have a backup for your own internal production and as always we are here to support you through this area if you need us.

  3. Chase the work that is out there 

    Whilst, for a lot of small businesses, it seems as though the world has fallen off a cliff, there are a significant number of businesses out there that are seeing an incredible surge in business. If you are not chasing work out of the medical centres, takeaway stores, mortgage brokers, job centres, corner supermarkets etc then you need to be…now. Businesses that sell products or services that are in high demand will need your help to get their messages out to the market as quickly as they can. Even the ones that are pulling back will need print to assist communicating and preserving their database. Our design team is currently working on templates to help you get the topical products like sanitisation signage, takeaway flyers, “we are still open” signs and “support your local small business now” messages to help you get to market as quickly as you can in these areas. Our Marketing Manager is working on a presentation to go into more detail with you shortly.

  4. Tweak your marketing

    Ok let’s get this out of the way up front…. It is NOT ok to continue on with your normal marketing and pretending like nothing is going on. I saw a great quote today that said “marketing is all about engaging with the conversations your customers are already having” and ignoring what is going on around the world today will make your brand appear tone deaf.  One of the best things you can do right now is to help your customers out as much as you possibly can. Provide them with as much free information as possible because EVERYONE is looking for the right advice at the moment. It is unchartered territory for us all. If you provide value to your market you will endear new customers to your brand while locking in your existing customers when things inevitably bounce back. People remember who gave them great support and the right advice when they needed it most. Be that guy.

  5. Increase your online presence 

    If you can afford it, now is a great time to build your database. People are soaking up information as quickly as possible and so it is a great time to start getting people engaged and signed up for your business e-communications and newsletters. It is also a time that many people are pulling back on keyword advertising making it an ideal time to start buying leads for a lower overall acquisition cost. Google ads for keywords like “business card printing” etc will be significantly cheaper when your competitors stop competing in the auctions. You should also be focussed on your social media at this time, as more people are spending more time on it. And of course, if you do not have a good ecommerce presence then you should also be looking at this seriously. More and more businesses will be moving into online sales over the coming months and with it, overall consumer habits will shift. When that happens, ecommerce in our industry will become even more critical than, in my opinion, it already is.

  6. Create or join a community

    Now more than ever, people are looking for the support of a community. Our strategic plan included the release this May of our own Closed Group Facebook Community to allow our clients a safe space to network and use each other as sounding boards for ideas and strategies. Given the current climate we have escalated the launch of this Facebook Group and now intend to use this platform intensely over this period of instability to highlight to everyone that they are not in this by themselves and that as our very own community of resellers that we can get through this together.  Please take a moment to join when you get a chance by clicking this link

  7. Promote entry level products and services

    Everyone is going to be looking to cut back and save where they can and so even though you can still go after high end sales, you are bound to get better conversion by focussing on the entry level products. It may mean less overall margin, but good margin is irrelevant if no-one is buying at the top end. We have spent considerable time to put together the very best entry level products at the very best prices in our “Super Saver Range''. If you have not checked these out before, I would highly recommend that you start to look at these products as the basis of your immediate promotions. Another critical fact for all of our clients to understand is that we are increasingly living in a world market. People ask us why we sometimes partner with overseas suppliers and the answer is simple. If we can get it cheaper overseas than what we can make it for here it then there is every chance that you can too. Our advantage is that we ship hardware in by the container and have the sales volume to bring in significant daily air freight shipments when required. This means that we can offer you economies of scale that you can’t get if you tried to manufacture it yourself or attempted to find your own overseas suppliers. We are under no illusion that we only exist as a trade only supplier if we can provide you with quality products and services cheaper than what you can achieve on your own. This is the mindset you need to adopt in your business once you enter survival mode. Your clients would much rather get you to do their designs but if they can use a service like Fiverr or Upwork and save some money in a climate like this, they will. You need to be innovative and creative to either prove the return on investment on your service over overseas suppliers or bend to the market. I am not saying you need to drop your prices through the floor, but you need to be very mindful of where your customers' heads are at and price your products and services in a method that will allow you to stay relevant in the marketplace.

  8. Focus on efficiencies 

    Whenever we survey our clients one of the biggest pain points we hear is that no one has the time to do everything they need to do in a day. Well guess what? You now have the time… so use it wisely. Make sure you use the downturn to get all of those nagging jobs off your to do list. But more importantly, use it as an opportunity to take some inward reflection on your systems and procedures and to identify efficiencies you can put in place now, to make your life easier when things pick up. We all know that we could save ourselves time in the long run if we could just set aside enough time to get a new system or procedure set up here and there.  Don’t waste this opportunity to make this happen because when you get busy again you will regret not having put the work in when you had the time.

  9. Cash is king

    As the old saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I am finding it interesting to see that restaurants forced to temporarily shut down are promoting gift vouchers, airlines are promoting heavily reduced up front payment deals for next years flights and even some of our own clients offering buy now, print later type of promotions or pay for one and get one free etc. All these promotions are key to keeping cashflow moving. We are not quite sure yet how we can help you in this area but we are looking at ways that we can potentially underwrite an offer where you get cash up front from your clients in return for them getting discounted print into the future, This allows those that have the cash available to help you out and get the advantage of some good savings in the longer term.  We are still trying to tweak this to make it something that is sustainable and effective for all of us but open to your ideas if you have any as we would like to support with this…. if we can.

  10. Look for ways to Pivot

    If the last week has not given you the feeling that all your eggs are in the one basket then it probably means you have a well balanced business with a good spread of risk. However if you have received a bit of a reality check then you are probably amongst the majority rather than the minority. Once the dust settles and you get through the process of implementing your immediate crisis management plans the very next thing on your to do list needs to be a look at your long term strategic planning. Every business large or small has opportunity and your business, in this time, is no exception. So even if your long term goals are in place, the coronavirus curveball will no doubt affect this in some way. Ask yourself what can you do to realign your plans and more importantly, take the opportunities that are currently out there? For example there are an awful lot of businesses out there right now that are worrying about the ramifications this will have to their bricks and mortar businesses. If you don’t offer website services this is a good time to look for a partner to help take these clients online. If you are already an expert at working from home, you are in a great position to offer your services to help others out who have suddenly been thrust out of their comfort zone. Whatever it is, if you have a customer out there who has a pain point that you know you could be uniquely positioned to assist with, even if it is not part of your core delivery, this may be the time to take the leap into that new area for your business.  We are putting the finishing touches on a number of complimentary services to offer our clients to use or resell based on some of the feedback that we have received that we think will help you in this regard, so watch this space.

Whatever your plan of attack and whatever you do from here, the most important thing to remember is that THIS WILL END, even though it may not feel like it now. The period we are in now can only be temporary and so your primary goal needs to be survival. We know that things are going to get harder before they get easier, but we can guarantee that those with a plan and a can do attitude that just roll their sleeves up and get on with it are the ones that are going to come out of the back end of this the strongest. If you follow these tips, we believe your business has the best chance to be one of them.

We have created a more generic version of the message above so you can forward this onto your customers to help them out. You can find that here 

Kind Regards, 

Kelly Mackay
General Manager