The printing industry is undergoing rapid change. Online competition, advances in technologies and changing consumer behavior — to name just a few — are transforming the competitive landscape right in front of our eyes. Demographics of owners in the industry bring us to the start of an interesting crossroads — Baby Boomers are starting to retire. Roughly 50 percent of the business owners will transition ownership of their business over the next decade.
I. State of the company. This first step looks at the overall health of the company and would include a narrative on the company’s expertise, production capabilities, geographic reach, management team, cost structures, margins, equipment and marketing strategy.II. State of competition. It is extremely important to understand as much as possible about the company’s competitors. Having a firm grasp on their strengths and weaknesses can have major implications on potential value drivers going forward. Take your top three competitors and undergo a similar exercise as we discussed in the "State of the Company" section above.III. Benchmark results. Every company needs to analyze their strengths and weaknesses by comparing results to specific standards. These benchmarks will measure results in the areas of financial, operations and service. In this exercise, benchmark the company against three common criteria: past performance of the company, comparing that performance to the main competitors and comparing them to industry averages.IV. Rank issues. Companies that get higher valuations tend to exhibit much stronger averages in key metrics than the industry as a whole. Pick the areas that are most important, and create a framework to discuss all possibilities for improvement. This list should contain three to five major actions.V. Execute. For each item on the list, the company would create a separate spreadsheet to track progress on items such as timelines, costs and accountabilities.