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Entrepreneur

Succeeding in a Roller Coaster Marketplace

By Tom Irmen

The last five or six years have been a virtual roller coaster ride for most small business owners. As a business owner for more than three decades, business has always been tumultuous, but this most recent recession has certainly served to accentuate these common marketplace swings. But innovative, forward thinking entrepreneurs have taken advantage of today’s marketplace conditions while other small business owners have chosen instead to become victims of our recession.

One innovative entrepreneur, the owner of a retail printing store, introduced a new technology that resulted in a while-you-wait printing advantage that allowed its retail customers the opportunity to wait five to 10 minutes for their printing order rather than to have to return days later. Customers loved the convenience. In fact, only months later, sales from this new technology eclipsed existing sales from the former printing technology offered by this printer.


This same print store owner also introduced free pickup and delivery for its customers. Recognizing that the owner was unfamiliar with many of their customers’ businesses, the owner elected to make these deliveries personally. The owner now had the opportunity to visit customers and learn more about their businesses and to discover all the missed opportunities for additional sales that existed. Sales began to rise precipitously. In fact, this printer received two orders from one client that totaled more than three times the printer’s average total monthly sales volume.

Just 18 months after this printer initiated these innovations, this franchised printer became the third fastest growing printing store out of more than 1,000 locations nationally. This owner was also able to sell this business for 350% more than the original purchase price paid after only three-and-a-half years.


Can innovation change your business? Absolutely! But first you have to decide not to become a victim. Secondly, you have to determine just how to break out. What are your customers telling, and what are other similar breakaway companies in other cities doing? Watch and listen carefully for the answer.

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