Getting clear about what you and your team are good at is a great start to figuring out where you can go and what you can take advantage of in this changing digital world.
There is a lot of talk about printers needing to evolve/transition/change/react to the new landscape of digital media. Nothing wrong with the talk – there is a heck of a lot changing under our feet; no doubt it deserves a response.
One thing I would like printers to consider first is; what are you good at? (If you prefer smart sounding business lingo then what’s your core competency?). I know it sounds simple, obvious, no duh – what are we good at?
But you have to agree that it’s a good starting point for determining where/how/what you’re going to evolve into? You can’t simply run off and jump into the marketing services arena if the only expertises you have on your staff are great print manufacturers (excellent press folks, pre-press, etc…). Please don’t kid yourself, there may be some exceptions but the knowledge/expertise transfer from manufacturing to marketing is not common.
Look at your talent, look deeper than your initial impressions, ask more questions than just assuming you know what individuals are good at because they’ve worked for you for years. Do you know how they engage in digital/social media outside of work? Do you know if they have a personal passion for environmental issues? Could the leader of your green initiative or your social marketing strategy already be sitting in your pre-press department?
What are you good at – as a business and as an individual business leader? Maybe a merger makes sense because you know you absolutely love the manufacturing part of your business and absolutely hate the sales and marketing part? Find a partner that loves what you can’t stand.
What I love about getting older (yes, I said that) – I love that I keep getting more and more clear about what I’m good at and what I struggle with. It’s a liberating moment, not sure when it happened for me, later than I hoped it would, when I realized I didn’t have to be good at everything. Find what you’re good at and figure out how that can be leveraged in the new digital media world. Find your niche, trying to be something you’re not is a recipe for business disaster and personal unhappiness.