In this series our CEO, Gord Griffiths, reflects on lessons learned throughout his years in the printing industry.

I am a big loyal Toronto Maple Leafs fan, but if they were my employees I would have traded them several times in the last 50+ years. I would have also blamed myself for forgetting attitude and character beat skills every time.

I keep my passion hidden, but I’m also easily frustrated when people are ok to finish second. The only good thing about second is it’s good practice.

There are very good people available in print today and I think most companies, on average, are two good people short.

When I look ahead to 2024 I see plenty of opportunity, but I also see unavoidable changes. I believe commercial printing will decline, looking at the paper projections. We need to sell more added value to support our print customers. The best print companies have a solution that leads to print which sure beats quote and hope!

Not enough of us plan our work and work our plan. A poor plan worked is better than a good planned not worked.

Sales is not easy but it sure helps when you show up. Do the tough things like prospecting early in your day. Even one call a day will be 200 more than most.

There are some fantastic companies in print, equally profitable and well branded, which is proof it can be done.

When it comes to selling your business, start early to plan how to increase EBITDA which you will get around 5 to 7 times return on your investment. I’ve always been good at turnarounds except once when I should have looked before I jumped in. Even if you make a profit, I am convinced our team at Connecting for Results can improve things.

I didn’t always believe in consultants and now I am one. My views changed when I engaged a group for waste management which helped us to save $2 million on a $50 million spend on paper. We were cash positive in 21 days.

Every time someone says print is not dead, it drives me crazy! They make it sound like it is just a matter of time. Get out and convince the media buyers of print’s value – the truth is, print is not dead, it’s evolving.

I had some great mentors when I was young, but later in life – on both sides of the border – I ran into some doubtful leaders. I should have left when I first discovered this but stayed instead. There’s no happy ending to these types of situations.

It’s not easy compared to the days when companies had a couple of great accounts you basically lived off of. But there’s nothing stopping you from building a world class company today with the right team and the right mindset.

Wishing everyone good health and a successful New Year in business. Life is good. Enjoy every moment as it is not coming back. Be kind to all and always take the high road.

By Gord Griffiths