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Career Day with 62 Students Talking PRINT – What fun is that!?!

Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2014 by Jules VanSant.

We are so fortunate with our educational Trust Fund and the support of our members, trustees and the School to Work Program to bring forth yet another career day showcasing the exciting job opportunities within Visual Communication firms.

62 Students, coffee, water, Costco Muffins and a cast of a dozen to give tours, discuss position descriptions, show off the equipment, explain that PRINT IS NOT DEAD to a generation that is pinned with that belief (of which I don’t necessarily buy).

We’ll share stats from ChoosePrint, Print Grows Trees, Print In the Mix, Print is BIG and other advocacy groups who have stats on how PRINT is the communication glue that brings digital to another level. And how it’s environmentally sound, not harmful nor killing trees.

We’re thrilled to illustrate how interests in computers and IT can lead to prepress and digital press operators. That designers can make money creating campaigns within a print facility. How social high schoolers, leaders might make terrific sales people, customer service reps or even run a shop. Engineering fans can get creative with processes, technology applications and streamlining the customer experience at a printing plant. Love numbers? How about becoming an estimator or accounting lead?

We’re Big. We’re in a new era. Print isn’t going away. AND There’s so much talent out there – Print needs them! With the advancements in communications, integration and specialization out there, upcoming high school, trade school and college graduates can use an industry like ours. Print conception through execution thrives on innovation, hard work, technical savvy while creating beautiful messaging in marketing, packaging, point of sale, direct mail… so much we touch every day!

We can’t express how happy we are as the regional association serving the Visual Communications and Print industry to have the opportunity tomorrow to connect with the students from the tri-county area. Thanks @SchooltoWorkSTW @WhyVizComm and @BBPrintSource for helping to pull this together for our kids and our future. Photos to come.- See more at:

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Scientific American: Why the Brain Prefers Paper

Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by Jules VanSant.


December 2, 2013 by Two Sides U.S.

There is good news for those who enjoy paper and print! An article in the recent November 2013 issue of Scientific American magazine clearly supports what we already know: most people understand and remember text better when read on paper rather than a screen. According to the article, while e-readers and tablets are becoming more popular as these technologies improve, reading on paper has many advantages.

Since the 1980s, there have been more than 100 compa

rative studies in the Unites States, U.K. Taiwan, Sweden, Norway, France and Japan to explore differences of how people read and comprehend on paper versus screens. While technology has continued to improve, it still hasn’t reached the comprehension level of traditional paper users. What we have learned from these studies is that readers prefer real paper over its electronic counterpart and achieve high levels of comprehension and retention with paper.

In the article, researchers agree that “screen-based reading can dull comprehension because it is more mentally taxing and even physically tiring that reading on paper. E-ink reflects ambient light just like the ink on a paper book, but computer screens, smart phones and tablets shine light directly on people’

s faces. Prolonged reading on glossy, self-illuminated screens can cause eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision. In an experiment by Erik Wastlund, then at Karlstad University in Sweden, people who took a reading comprehension test on a computer scored lower and reported higher levels of stress and tiredness than people who completed it on paper.”

While there are obviously several advantages to using digital technology like being able to access an abundance of information at any time from one device or being able to conveniently travel with a number of different resources in one digital location, paper is still more conducive to learning. And e-readers fail to re-create certain tactile experiences of reading on paper, the absence of which some find unsettling.

The graphic below helps to weigh paper against pixel with some compelling points.

Source: Scientific American – November 2013 issue.

Paper not only has inherent environmental features such as high recyclability, carbon storage, and a renewable primary raw material (wood, recycled and alternative fibers), it also fills a key societal role by helping readers create their own unique experience whether it is through learning and study habits or getting personally involved in a work of fiction. It is less distracting and allows the reader to focus on the text. The absence of multi-tasking leads to a greater understanding of the subject matter and in turn creates a memorable experience.

Check out the article for yourself. It goes into great detail about why the brain prefers paper and how the human brain interprets written language, perceives text and constructs a mental representation of the text that is similar to the mental maps we create of terrain and indoor spaces.

Do you prefer to read on paper or screens? Click here to take the Scientific American poll.

Scientific American is available at many newsstands. To subscribe to Scientific American on-line or purchase the November issue go to:

Passed along from our PIA Partner — Gary Jones, Assistant Vice President, EHS Affair at Printing Industries of America- See more at:

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Stu’s View: Succession Planning for Those Who Want to be Wealthy Afterwards

Posted Tuesday, December 17, 2013 by Jules VanSant.

By PPI Partners: Stuart W. Margolis, CPA, MT and Paul Reilly, New Direction Partners

For most owners, the day will come when you’re ready for a change and want to consider options to “get out”. Popular options float through your mind like:

SellMergeGive it away to charityDissolveGift it to familySell it to familySell it to key employee(s)Sell it to all of your employees (ESOP)Any combination of the above.

In any scenario the message is clear, the company needs to be positioned it in the best possible light possible with:

Higher EBITDAEasy to Understand Products / ServicesStrong Financial PositionBusiness / Marketing Plan in PlaceThe Good, Bad and Ugly Explained Honestly

If theses items are achieved, you stand a better chance to make a deal, avoid spending wasted time on a deal that doesn’t go to closing, and the most money possible from the fruits of your hard work. Others have done it. But how?

Get Started.

Typically, when an owner decides to leave a company, the business plan is written to that end. On average, plans to roll out your business to sell could take from 6 months to 4 years to achieve.


Preparing for the succession should include action such as these:

“Clean up” Real Estate – Consider timing of lease renewal. Is it in your corp? Can it be spun out. Get to a fair market value and pay/accrue every month.

“Clean up” Multi-Employer Union Plans – Be prepared to discuss fluidly how the prospective buyer can handle any pension liabilities or the merits of having a union.

Appoint a Successor/Replacement –Get a management team working. Prepare a flow chart. If the current flow chart leads from you to a zillion areas, make plans to change who reports to who. Loosen up your control.

“Manage” Large Investments in Equipment and Technology– Any new debt reduces the Equity Value, be wary. Buyers want companies who embrace technology.

Fix Problems and Finish Projects– Don’t leave unfinished projects for the next owner. Finish installing that MIS system you purchased 5 years ago. When a prospective buyer says, can you quote 5 jobs for me, don’t let it be on a handwritten sheet or excel mock up. Don’t leave yourself open to having to tell them your estimator does it the “old fashion way” or “we do our estimates off line”.

“Clean up” Voting Control – Be mindful of any and all varying objectives among shareholders. Shareholding and voting rights do not need to go hand-in-hand. Make sure the voting shareholders are all on board.

Have Financial Statements that are Clean and Easy to Understand– Audited financials are very helpful. Keep an annual analytical review. Write down why things turned out the way they did. Hire a good CPA to make your financial snapshot sparkling clean, easy to understand and error-free.

Keep a List of your Perks, or EBITDA Adjustments that can Help you Increase your EBITDA— These are one time discretionary expenditures that have nothing to do with business per se. ( EG golf club membership, conferences to very nice vacation areas, etc.). The more you can adjust your EBITDA upwards with provable items, the more your company is worth.

Untwine– If you have intertwined multiple companies in your business, either untangle them or prepare financial information so it’s easy for a third party to understand them. Make it so the successor has no work to do, except make a decision to buy or not to buy. Remember, no one is going to buy or pay top dollar for something thats difficult to understand.

Strengthen your Customer Base– How secure are you? You have time to reinforce that relationship. Now is the time to fix.

Value your business every year. Don’t wait till your in negotiation to find out the real value of your business, value it occasionally.

Proceed with a Knowledgeable Team

When you feel ready and feel that potential has been maximized:

Hire an advisorReward key managers for the extra help in attaining the new goals ! Only get key managers involvedEnjoy the ride!

About Margolis Partners

Margolis Partners has long been recognized as the financial expert for family-owned businesses with a specialty in the printing, packaging and allied graphic communications industries, assisting thousands of companies with strategic and financial management, valuation, mergers/acquisitions, accounting, audit and tax services. The firm is noted for its expertise in enabling companies to optimize profits. Proudly, it is the purveyor of the industry’s Value-Added Principles of Management, and compiles the annual Printing Industries of America Ratios, the printing industry’s premier financial benchmarking tool.

About New Direction Partners

The team at New Direction Partners LLC has guided over 200 printing company owners through the sales and merger process. The advisory services reflect a full set of skills to help you sell or expand your business: valuation, management consulting, financial advisory and investment banking. The deep experience and industry expertise at New Direction makes it uniquely suited to serve printing, packaging and allied graphic arts businesses.- See more at:

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Michael Makin To Testify Before the Senate Judiciary Committee

Posted Monday, December 16, 2013 by Jules VanSant.


Dear Member:

Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 17, will be a big day for our industry as I have been invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue of patent trolling. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., and will be broadcast live from the Senate Judiciary website. If you are interested in seeing the proceedings you can bookmark this page* and watch live on Tuesday.

Throughout the year, Printing Industries of America’s Government Affairs team and I have been lobbying Congress in support of legislation to combat patent troll activity. Curbing abusive patent litigation practices (aka “patent trolls”) that have targeted printing companies by an alarming rate this year is a key policy initiative for our organization. The future of print depends heavily on innovation and technology. Therefore, America’s printing and graphic communications industry applauds efforts on Capitol Hill to enact legislation that roots out the patent trolls. This will allow printers large and small the freedom to redefine print through the use of new technologies while doing what print has always done best: creating jobs. Printing Industries of America looks forward to engaging in conversation with the Senate Judiciary Committee on legislative options to address this problem.

This is a great opportunity to voice our industry’s views on public policy and to share concerns about the severe impact of patent trolling on our membership and our industry.

Let’s rally behind our industry to stop patent trolls!


Michael Makin, MBAPresident & CEOPrinting Industries of America

*The webcast requires Adobe Flash 10.1.0 or greater to play. The link will go live when the hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. EST on Tuesday, December 17, 2013.


Printing Industries of America and Its Affiliates—Your National and Local Resource


We need your help to make the most effective case on behalf of the industry as possible. If your company has received a “demand letter” from a Patent Assertion Entity (i.e., patent troll), please complete the following questionnaire and email to our VP of Government Affairs, Lisbeth Lyons ( These real-life examples are key to making our case at next week’s hearing.

We’d like to know the following information:

  • Type of patent/business process your company was accused of violating? (i.e., QR code, CTP, etc.)

  • Impact of demand letter on your company? Did you pay attorneys? Take time away from your business to address? (We’d like to demonstrate the diversion of resources that frivolous and abusive litigation causes for small printers.)

  • Did you pay the demand? If so, what were the consequences? (i.e., unable to hire new positions, etc.) If you were forced to pay in the future, what would the consequences be?

  • If you were forced to stop using the process/patent in question, how would that impact your business? (We’d like to demonstrate that patent trolls chill innovation and the business processes they are attacking would chill growth in our industry at a time we need it most.)

  • May Printing Industries of America use your company name in testimony? Yes/No (If No, we will simply identify you as “A printer in (state)?”

  • Are you willing to speak to the media on this issue? Yes/No

PLEASE EMAIL YOUR RESPONSES TO GOVTAFFAIRS@PRINTING.ORG. Printing Industries of America is accepting examples thru Monday, 12/16, at 12:00 p.m.- See more at:

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Top Line Tips: Guiding Sales Teams to Land Must-Win Deals

Posted Thursday, November 21, 2013 by Jules VanSant.

November 2013

Lisa Magnuson, Top Line Sales LLC

From PPI Consulting Partner ~ Lisa Magnuson, Top Line Sales

Learn More about all our consultants at

Use the Magic 5 to Achieve Sustained Sales Results

How many times have we put all our relationship eggs in one all-purpose basket?

Have you ever experienced the despair associatedwith your key contact moving on?

Is it possible to get so enamored with your internal champion that you miss opportunities for expanded sales?

If we’re really honest with ourselves, we’ve all fallen prey to one or more of these issues in the past. But have you ever considered what the real cost of these less-than-optimum conditions might be?

Magic Hat

Lost opportunities for more salesAccounts going southMaintain vs. Grow mentality

More to the point, as we move up-market into larger accounts, this environment will naturally provide ready access to more lucrative opportunities and greater revenue-generating potential. If you want to put gain (instead of just maintain) on your sales results, it’s essential to think more broadly and pro-actively about your existing client contacts and general account relationship plans. Enter the ‘Magic Five’.

The Magic Five

The Magic Five helps us to re-define, re-evaluate, or re-prioritize our accounts (or divisions, locations, subsidiaries) in terms of both depth and breadth, and in a far more meaningful and quantifiable way. Regardless of the nature of your product or services, or which market segment your sales effort is focused on, there are general “rules of engagement” that we can all use to apply the Magic Five. The Magic Five are the five essential relationships needed for success in a complex selling environment. For example, to achieve any measurable and sustainable level of success in this profession, we all need:

An executive sponsorA financial approval contactA day to day or key contactRelationships with end-users of your products or servicesAn internal champion

In today’s do-more-with-less economic reality, sometimes these roles or relationships are combined or re-purposed based on current trends or market forces. But as you can see, it’s fairly easy to target the Magic Five for your situation. (And by all means, don’t stop at five if the opportunity presents itself. Five is a minimum, not a maximum!) Why five? Because five is where the ‘magic’ starts to happen. There may be other ‘must have’ relationships associated with your solution, such as project management, legal or HR contacts, and so on. Consider the benefits of casting a wider net, and re-thinking all avenues of approach in terms of viable chances for real and measurable expansion.

Don’t Be a Lone Ranger

The good news is that you don’t have to establish and maintain all these relationships on your own. As a matter of fact, it’s best not to. Your customers and prospects also want to see depth and breadth from your company. As the team quarterback or leader, assemble your team and start calling the shots from a re-organized and more refined playbook. Develop a simple and effective three-phase strike – 1. target the Magic Five making sure you cover all important relationship bases for your business; 2. discuss appropriate pairings; and 3. assign critical next steps for each relationship. Review your relationship plan on a regular basis to keep it fresh and dynamic. No amount of thoughtful scrutiny or a more expansive profiling of your client list will ever be a wasted effort. Avoid the common pitfalls of:

No relationship planToo few relationshipsContacts all at the same levelOnce and done approach to top executivesLetting too much time lag between contact

The Magic Five will help get you started and can be considered a general rule for all medium to large sales opportunities. It should also be used for existing clients as a key part of your foundation for future account growth and retention.

The Magic Five Pays Huge Dividends

The benefits associated with the Magic Five approach are numerous and quite lucrative. This ‘extraordinary’ method will go a long way toward getting your solutions through the sales pipeline much more quickly, making roadblocks and setbacks disappear before your very eyes. They include:

Faster and larger sales through executive sponsorshipAwareness of new opportunities through internal championsStreamlined contract negotiations by knowing the financial decision makerPulse on customer satisfaction and changes by interacting with end-usersAvoid or reduce technical issues with clear communicationsAvoid the pitfalls we outlined aboveAnd the list goes on and on…

We’re Here to Help

The featured Top Line Sales tool this month is the Magic Five Relationship Builder. Visit to get yours today.- See more at:

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