What motivated you to start your own business?
I worked part-time with a small owner-operated print shop while in my youth and this is where I was first introduced to the print industry and entrepreneurship. From a young age I dreamed of one day owning my own print business. By the age of 20, I had realized this dream.
How do you define success?
Contentment defines true happiness and success is your chosen level of contentment.
What quality is most essential to being successful?
Being a visionary is an asset. Defining and setting goals and having the guts to reach for the “stars” you desire.
Was goal setting part of your business planning?
Not during the early stages of my business 25 years ago. But I soon learned the benefit of focus and proper planning. In today’s marketplace you have to adapt to changes quickly and your goals may have to be adjusted from time to time.
What was your biggest challenge in building RP Graphics?
Knowing when the time was right to make the changes to meet the demands. Being able to meet the challenges of the marketplace and having the resources to do so. Developing and managing good personnel posed a greater challenge as the company grew.
And your biggest mistake?
In hindsight, what one thing would you do differently?
Operating a business today, especially in the rapid changing print industry, requires a great deal of knowledge and training than was needed 25 years ago. Today, I would recommend much more education in your chosen field, as well as developing good marketing and management skills, prior to starting a business.
What is your management philosophy?
After many years of trial and error, I believe that the success of any company requires a loyal and highly ethical team. Recruiting the right people from the start is as essential as developing their skills and offering good incentives.
Where do you see RP Graphics in five years?
I plan to continue as a full service print provider with quality service being a high priority. We house specialists in offset and digital press, pre-press operators, graphic design and fulfillment. In November of last year, we added the Igen 3 to our floor and are making great headway in the variable imaging field. Over the next five years, we plan to expand into the global market.
Is it possible to “get close to the customer” in this Internet era?
Yes, customers are much more knowledgeable of their company’s needs and the products they use. One can communicate very effectively using the Internet and once you are able to establish a client’s profile, you can service that client more efficiently.
How do you juggle business and family?
“Juggling” is a really good analogy! You have to establish priorities and stick to them. Staying focused on what is important to you certainly helps. Good time management skills, inherent or learnt, are a must. Sometimes you have to trade off family time to handle a crisis when you are a business owner; therefore a highly supportive partner is the key to staying balanced.
Would a 9 to 5 job working for someone else entice you at all?
I don’t believe that I would have the same level of contentment. I strive on challenge.
What advice would you give start-up entrepreneurs?
Choose something you love to do. Set realistic goals; do all the research you can, have good financial support and develop good management skills.
Is there an influential book you’ve read?
I don’t recall having been influenced in my business by any one book so far. I do find the Venture series documentaries interesting and sometimes relevant to my own start in business.
What quality of life is the most important?
Being able to set work aside and enjoy everything life has to offer.
What are your dreams for the future?
I feel fortunate that I have been able to realize my childhood dreams. I love what I do and plan to continue developing a stable and profitable business. If I choose to retire at some time down the road, I plan to travel with my family more extensively. I may explore sharing my skills on a volunteer basis, which will keep me connected to this industry.