I did something a little spontaneous for me, making a last minute plan to drive over to visit with another business friend – Craig Dellinger from New Haven Print, and several others that all met just to get together and talk. While this may not be too big of a deal, it was a 4.5 hour drive over to Fort Wayne, Indiana and meant staying over night – all for the sake of a shop tour and a chance to talk about printing!
I’m glad that Julie and I went though. It was a very relaxed but interesting way to learn from others. You see, although we all have the opportunity to go to conferences or seminars, this was different. Much more personal and a way to really see – not just talk about, but actually see Craig’s shop. I have often said to clients that ultimately all printers do the same thing – putting ink or toner on paper. Much of our equipment is similar too. And yet, all of us really are different…
How we get the work in the door, how our workflow operates, the different markets that we serve, our specialties or what our priorities are. How we do things might be different than how Craig – or Doug, Buffy or Michelle do them, and that does not make any of us necessarily right or wrong – just different. On the other hand, if we take the time to talk with and learn from others, we might just find new ideas or potential markets. I know that I drove away with a few thoughts about workflow, quality control, teamwork, potential markets and a note to check on optimizing a landing page for mobile phones. Likewise, I shared some of what we are doing in the area of marketing and also suggested that there might be a real time saver for a production step on a job that Craig is doing. Nothing life changing, but worth the time to make the trip!
It was also good to meet in a more personal setting – we all went over to Craig’s house for a cook- out (thanks Jane!), and had the opportunity to talk more about the wonderful world of printing, along with some non-print related discussion. All in all it was not something I had planned on doing as of just a couple of weeks ago, and although the weekend is a good time to get away from work, this was a good opportunity and I am glad we made the trip. Maybe next year we could plan a similar trip up to Crystal Lake.
How is it that you have learned from others? What are some of the not so ordinary ways you gain insight about business?