The Fear Factor! Musings from the PODi AppForum

By | February 4, 2011

Picture of Joe Manos EVP Mindfire Inc.I just returned from the PODi 2011 AppForum in Las Vegas.  It was a great event and my colleagues and I had an opportunity to meet with many of our customers in addition to many Print Service Providers (PSP’s) trying to find the “silver bullet” for new revenue growth. During my flight home I was thinking about the many attendees that regularly attend events like AppForum and get all fired up about exciting new opportunities for growth and then go back to their business and continue to do the same things, day in and day out.  By doing so they miss out on the success that others enjoy.

I thought about this and I identified a possible reason that Print Service Providers (PSPs) don’t “embrace change” and continue to use the same approach for their business.

I call it – The Fear Factor!

Let me explain.  During this year’s PODI AppForum there were many excellent presentations where PSPs demonstrated how they had embraced new solutions and were growing their business in many new, exciting areas of opportunity.  Several Print Service Providers (now Marketing Service Providers) introduced example after example where they had generated millions of new printed pages (higher value pages with new services) as a result of embracing change in their business and building new capabilities.

Was it easy – NO!  But is it possible – absolutely!

Why is it so difficult to embrace change?

Here’s a short list of PSP Fear Factors that have been shared with me over the years:

  • The FEAR of failure
  • The FEAR of change on their business
  • The FEAR of change on their customer
  • The FEAR of their competition
  • The FEAR of change on their employees
  • The FEAR of a new technology impact in their organization
  • The FEAR of commitment to something new and the learning curve
  • The FEAR of “can the sales team sell new offerings”
  • The FEAR of any change on core offerings

Every one of these concerns is valid and worthy of further analysis.  Rather than viewing these concerns as threats what if we viewed them as opportunities? As executives continue to face the fear of the unknown they will just as quickly tell you that they are working hard for business improvement. The executives I have spoken with will typically tell you that they would like to achieve improvement in the following areas

  • Grow top line revenue
  • Secure new customer wins in new areas of opportunity
  • Improve shop floor efficiencies
  • Lower production costs
  • Grow bottom-line profit
  • Grow the business with new capabilities

If executives seek business improvement, but at the same time, fear the changes that drive it, what should they do?

Here’s a short list that might help answer that question.

  • Identify market opportunities that complement your business capabilities
  • Identify services that are an extension of your business
  • Build capabilities that your customers are investing in
  • Seek market opportunities that are generating significant growth
  • Invest in the necessary resources for success
  • Make the time to meet with others that have made the journey successfully – learn from them
  • Identify partners that have the means to help you achieve success
  • Do the research, embrace the change and develop a plan for success

There are just too many examples of new growth in our industry to not pay attention to how this is being accomplished and to learn from it!

In closing, there are a number of significant growth arenas available to every Print Service Provider in the industry.  The growing number of successful companies achieving business transformation is a reality!  Fear is good as a guide to what you need to plan for but not if it leads to paralysis.  Embrace the growth opportunities in front of you, learn from others and find the right partners for success!

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