This article was submitted by T.J. Tedesco, founder and president of Grow Sales, Inc., and keynote speaker at the 2014 Print Leadership Summit.

In 2012, would you have predicted that a book manufacturer would increase its sales 50% in 2013? Or that a postpress equipment manufacturer would grow sales more than 15%? 

“Whoa there, T.J.,” you might be thinking. “Are these significant companies?”

Absolutely. Both have been around for decades, and both crossed into the eight-figured sales level last year. The book manufacturer client has reached heights that would’ve been unthinkable five years ago. The equipment manufacturer client may have been larger once, but that was nearly two decades ago.

How did they achieve this growth? Better operations execution? Better marketing? Better selling? Together these activities might boost sales and profitability a smidge. But double-digit, sustainable growth? Keep dreaming. In this industry, better execution alone isn’t enough.

Change the Game

These companies grew because they moved their markets. They’ve both tapped into our industry’s growing on-demand segment. Not by simply subbing in digital for offset, but by completely re-orienting their approaches to their production workflows, their customers, and their businesses in general.

It’s not enough to keep moving the chains. You have to change where the game’s being played. Leadership discussions at your business should begin with this question: Where should we play ball? 

Stay Competitive

Bill Gates had an awesome quote about twenty years ago: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”  All printing company leaders would do well to keep this thought in mind today.

Let’s not panic and forget to block and tackle. Doing the fundamentals well will keep us competitive for the next two years. But if we don’t reimagine our companies, industry, and competitive landscape within the next ten years, we’ll likely be out of business.

T.J. Tedesco will deliver a keynote presentation, Gloom or Bloom—Setting the Course For the Future, at the 2014 Print Leadership Summit, June 2–3 at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, TX.

T.J. is founder and president of Grow Sales, Inc., an outsourced sales growth services company serving the graphic arts industries since 1996. Grow Sales, Inc. has helped many dozens of companies grow their top and bottom lines by carefully guiding their sales, marketing, public relations and graphic and web design efforts. T.J. is the author of eight books, three on marketing and sales. T.J. can be reached at (301) 294-9900 or