May 25, 2012

Followup on "Who Me, Who Three - Fixing the Local Print Business" Can the Local Printer Survive?

 There is an economy of scale that the local quick printer (franchise or independent) needs to have to survive.  Read my blog entry "Who Me, “Who Three” - Fixing the Local Print Business", it will provide some further background and insight.

The local printer's first issue is utilization of assets which means increasing it's business.  Since they have higher end and more capable equipment than the new competition (office product stores and postal stores), they have a bigger financial mouth to feed.  Reduced copy business revenue and traffic and then losing some of the higher end business to online printers has made this difficult and their future questionable. It will require some aggressive creativity for these businesses to continue as an ongoing entity.

The local printer needs to aggressively network to two groups, the graphic designer and the local postal stores and signing them up as partner/affiliates (sound familiar).  This will require very attractive commissions be paid to the partners; so attractive that they wont want to do it with anyone else.  As it is said in the venture capital business, "Do you want to own a percentage of something or 100% of nothing".  It's a strong argument.  This is one of those areas where I can tell everyone the answer, and for one reason or another (can't execute, too busy, don't have talents beyond retail, etc), its doesn't happen. Let's just say they need to begin to collaborate with each other more aggressively.

The franchisors should be all over this as they need to help (save) their franchisees.  BetaGraphics (our make believe franchisor) needs to do more than educate, but actually push their local franchise into partnering with local graphic artists and postal stores, basically offering satellite franchises (BizOps) and relationships to the local BetaGraphics.  These people are looking for a solution that the local quick printer has.

What you read is the why our business model at LightsOnGraphics exists.  A player needs to unify the fragmented local market or the local market will ultimately disappear causing everyone to lose; quality will suffer (as it already is) and prices will ultimately rise.

Bob Leonard
LightsOn Graphics

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