Being Nimble And Strategic Helped This Entrepreneur Overcome Enterprise Obstacles

In October 2017, Ginger Bowman bought a business printing enterprise. Within the 5 years since, she has overcome three vital challenges by being versatile and pivoting.

  • Excessive buyer focus.
  • An trade that was set in its methods.
  • The pandemic.

Some within the trade thought Bowman would fail. However, generally, it takes an trade outsider to suppose exterior the field to see the place alternatives are.

The printing trade is male-dominated. At first, nobody took Bowman severely. Many within the printing trade have had their companies handed to them by their fathers.

Her background was within the movie trade as a technical director. She had held management positions in Oscar-nominated and successful movies. When she had youngsters, she realized that the movie trade’s lengthy hours weren’t suitable with the kind of mom she needed to be. She began instructing at Savannah Faculty of Artwork and Design (SCAD), which has applications in movie and tv.

When her youngsters have been older, “I felt like I had a variety of abilities and talents that weren’t utilized as a professor,” mentioned Bowman. “I needed extra, and I needed to push myself, use all my strengths, and have extra management of my future.”

She meant to modernize a business printing enterprise by mixing advertising and marketing and print providers. Bowman wasn’t a marketer, however she had confidence in her potential to study. In any case, she hadn’t gone to high school for animation, however she realized on the job and rose to be a senior technical director for prime films.

“I needed extra management of my monetary future,” mentioned Bowman. “I needed to push myself and use all my strengths.” She selected to purchase a enterprise reasonably than begin one from scratch.

Earlier than she purchased it, the enterprise had modified palms a number of occasions and its enterprise mannequin had modified, too. It began as a franchisee of Franklin Printer, based mostly in Atlanta. It was very similar to the print providers Staples and UPS now provide. “The enterprise catered to individuals who walked in and wanted one thing printed rapidly,” mentioned Bowman. When the enterprise modified palms once more, it modified its enterprise mannequin to business printing reasonably than walk-in providers and adjusted its identify to Southprint.

Bowman now owns the corporate, which has been rebranded to Synergetic Media. Underneath her management, the enterprise mannequin has modified but once more.

Some great benefits of shopping for a enterprise is that the tough start-up work has already been accomplished. You’ve quick money move from current clients. The corporate has a monetary historical past, making it simpler to get a mortgage. Present staff and managers have expertise within the enterprise. Bowman mortgaged her house to get an SBA mortgage for $500,000 to purchase the corporate and put in $200,000 of her personal cash.

One of many disadvantages of shopping for a enterprise is that you could be not know the corporate’s weaknesses earlier than you buy it. Little did Bowman know that 70% of Southprint’s enterprise got here from simply three clients.

A type of shoppers, Complete Meals, accounted for about one-third of revenues. When Amazon bought Complete Meals, it modified its print buying habits. Whereas Bowman has maintained Complete Meals as a consumer, it’s a a lot smaller consumer. The 2 different massive shoppers had began to insource their printing wants.

Gross sales dropped 50% within the first yr. Lesson realized: When a enterprise depends on a small group of shoppers, its earnings is extremely weak. “I not too long ago checked out buying one other small print firm,” mentioned Bowman. Earlier than making a choice, she requested the enterprise proprietor to see the corporate’s earnings by consumer to see if just some clients have been accountable for the majority of gross sales. Revenues have been concentrated with just some clients. She walked away from the deal.

Bowman started working rebuilding Synergetic Media’s consumer record. Regardless of how small, each consumer was handled prefer it was the corporate’s #1 buyer. Small clients grew in measurement and new clients have been introduced in.

Since she knew video, Bowman added video providers first. Nobody acquired why a printing firm would provide video service.

Nonetheless, enterprise picked up. Then Covid lockdowns occurred. Colleagues shared with Bowman that their income had precipitously dropped by two-thirds. Whereas she felt good that her firm did higher than her competitors, its earnings nonetheless had fallen by one-third.

Bowman credit her better-than-average efficiency through the pandemic to studying easy methods to be nimble when her prime three clients diminished spending dramatically throughout her first yr in enterprise.

Whereas others reduce, Bowman invested in her firm. She skilled employees on constructing web sites and search engine marketing to increase providers. All of a sudden, clients and prospects acquired why all these providers together with video and printing have been below one roof.

Bowman swooped in and scooped up their gear for pennies on the greenback when one other printer went out of enterprise. She will be able to now produce signage, which is the place the cash is.

It was time to rebrand the corporate to a reputation that mirrored what it had develop into. Bowman renamed the corporate Synergetic Media. The rebranding leverages Bowman’s film making abilities in creating content material that will get consideration, stirs emotion, and creates significant connections.

Synergetic has moved from 4,000 sq. toes to 11,000. It simply gained a giant consumer and a number of other smaller ones. Enterprise is again to pre-pandemic ranges and on observe to surpass gross sales ranges for the corporate she purchased in 2017.

What enterprise challenges have you ever overcome?