Your business planning guide for 2022
Everything has changed—everything. In today’s new business landscape, with no rulebook on what values will motivate your clients to act, profound shifts in attitudes, mindsets and daily routines are redefining the way every business draws up their strategic plans. Not only that, now more than ever, what constitutes business success seems to be up in the air.
But hold on a minute. That statement is not as wild-eyed as it appears. Simply broken down into context, it just means that in order to formulate some plan for success, you must learn the ins and outs of how to adapt to what is happening today. For example, Bill Blair, VP of Business Development for Lithographics Inc., says that means printers must be committed to thinking about change and new value propositions.
“Regardless of the pandemic, working remotely is here to stay, and those of us in sales better figure out how to deal with it,” Blair says. “If you are not working on new ways to develop relationships, establish trust and ultimately provide value for your clients and prospects, you will be left out.”
“If you are not working on new ways to develop relationships, establish trust and ultimately provide value for your clients and prospects, you will be left out.”
— Bill Blair, VP, Business Development, Lithographics Inc.
If you want to read a little between the lines of what Blair is saying, it might be best to start with one of the main tenets of surviving (and thriving) in a changing landscape—be flexible and stay open to change. “If you have always done it that way it’s probably wrong,” Blair says. “Our world changed in early 2020, and we are never going back to the way it was. In business, we have only two choices—change or die.”
For Lithographics, that means crafting a 2022 business plan leading with some of the focuses, programs and tactics that are succeeding this year. Sitting at the center of the Nashville, Tennessee-based multi-service printing and graphics company’s strategy is the commitment to trying new ways to connect and making customers feel comfortable in a socially distanced environment.
At the top of its 2022 playbook is to focus on expanding business with existing clients and putting a renewed emphasis on referrals. In both areas, Lithographics is ramping up its efforts to meet customers via technologies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, as well as continuing its content efforts in social media, website SEO, blog posts and email marketing. “Communication, education and excellent client experiences,” Blair says. “We must continue to find new ways to add value.”
With significant growth in areas like higher education, healthcare, manufacturing, packaging and book printing verticals, Blair says the Lithographics’ team will seek ways to provide value for their existing clients, as well as find and attract new clients.
New Year, New Plan, Same Goal
When the pandemic hit its fever pitch last year, Kevin Cassis did what everyone else did and shifted his work acumen to a home office. During his time in new digs, Cassis, VP of Technical Operations for Hatteras Press, also took on new responsibilities, including running reports on operational performance, and providing detailed analysis and dashboards to directors and plant managers.
From his new role on the operational side, he was able to gain a different perspective and analysis into what lies ahead for the Tinton Falls, New Jersey, printer and the industry at large. “There will be continued challenges with supply chain and staffing,” Cassis says. “We’re still unsure about the market activity, but we remain hopeful, as we are somewhat protected by the nature of a segment of our clients, whose businesses have been unaffected or positively impacted by the pandemic.”
As far as areas Hatteras is honing in on for 2022, targeted direct mail and variable direct mail remain strong areas (although the latter has been challenged by long times required by equipment manufacturers and a tight paper market). Cassis says that because getting the message into the hands of decision makers is proving to be challenging with email box clutter, direct mail seems to be making a comeback.
“Planning ahead is critical due to the conditions we are facing with material supply chain challenges. The key is to keep talking to your customers so that you can understand their needs and how you can fulfill them by being flexible with your offering.”
— Kevin Cassis, VP, Technical Operations, Hatteras Printing
Like anything else, the Hatteras brain trust will stay committed to laying out their plans ahead of time. “Planning ahead is critical due to the conditions we are facing with material supply chain challenges,” Cassis says. “The key is to keep talking to your customers so that you can understand their needs and how you can fulfill them by being flexible with your offering. By continually monitoring your performance, you ensure you are getting the most out of your team.”
As the print industry looks forward to 2022, printers constructing focused, practical and collaborative approaches to their business planning strategies will stay one step ahead of the curve in a time when change is ever-present.
Your 2022 Playbook Here: The 6 new rules of business
1. Trust, reputation and other intangibles drive business value
Today, the real value of the enterprise is hard to measure, and it cannot be found on a balance sheet. Reputation, trust, the ability to attract and retain talent—these are the things that drive business value.
2. Companies serve many purposes beyond shareholder value
A company’s purpose is revealed through how it operates and makes decisions, not by slogans. This purpose signals long-term goals, and helps a business prevail over short-term pressures.
3. Corporate responsibility is defined outside the gate
Responsibility is about more than your carbon footprint. In the social media age—when both employees and change agents identify with concerns that defy easy answers—you must play offense, not defense. Use your employees to identify both risks and opportunities.
4. Employees today are more than stakeholders; they are the business
Employees hold the business accountable, connect social and environmental issues to business priorities, and give voice to risk and competitive advantage in a culture of growing inequality and social unrest. And they must be valued as such.
5. Culture, not capital, is king
Business news continues to be dominated by stock performance and quarterly earnings. But financial capital is not where the action is now. What matters is culture—competition for talent, innovation and the human element are what take precedence.
6. Co-create to win
This is about the need for business collaboration—for co-creation over competition. When the system is at risk, value creation requires partners along the supply chain to raise the bar for the industry at large. Inaction is not a choice. Everyone has a role.
Source: “The Six New Rules of Business: Creating Real Value in a Changing World”