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Mon, Jul

If you’re thinking of selling-up, take note of these preparatory ground works to ensure you get he best value out of your business. Dr Colin Thompson, managing partner at The Cavendish Academy gives his top tips.

InfoTrends is globally renowned for its research and consultancy services in the imaging, print and digital media industries. As its director of wide-format printing, Tim Greene is well placed to talk about the trends within the sector. As usual, he’ll be involved delivering the analysis from the data collected in the Image Reports’ annual Widthwise survey - currently being conducted among the UK’s wide-format participants. So in the run up to those findings we discussed how the UK wide-format sector fits into the bigger global picture and what’s impacting the market.

Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, explains dispute resolution tactics.

Disputes are time consuming and, even when successfully resolved, will very unlikely lead to both parties being happy with the result. Given that the majority of disputes relate to print quality or problems relating to equipment or software, which can be very costly to settle in court, it pays to take another tack. And the fallout can have more than a monetary cost of course. So if a dispute does develop, what can you do to reduce the impact on your business?

Have you ever read that business bestseller about the seven habits of highly effective people? 

There is no such thing as a domestic market. 

Matthew Parker, consultant and director of Print and Procurement, provides strategic steps to help you increase print profit margins by over 12%.

What do key manufacturers have in store for us in terms of technical trends and developments in 2013? Melony Rocque-Hewitt investigates.

2012 was a huge year for Hollywood Monster, formed in 2009 through the coming together of Hollywood Signs and Monster Digital. During the past year it has invested £2m in print kit, announced the formation new digital sales team and the appointment of a business development manager to generate new leads, and forecast a £1m growth in turnover to take it to £6.5m. And behind all that was a canny marketing plan that put Hollywood firmly in the limelight. So have Hollywood’s efforts paid off so far, and what are its mission targets for 2013 and beyond?

Believe it or not, there are still funding programmes in the UK, but it can be a nightmare to identify those right for your business. Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, explains how to find project funding.

Searching the Internet for funding is a long-winded process, but bookmarking useful sites and signing up for RSS and Twitter feeds is a useful way to keep abreast of developments as programme criteria are often altered and deadlines launched with very little notice. Similarly, the regional press is a really good reference source. You may read about a funding programme when the funder announces the successful applications under that particular round. While it does not help you this time around, it is always a good idea to make a note of the fund details so that you have a folder of potential funders you can refer to at a later stage. And there’s the BPIF funding search service (called Funding Finder), which allows you to home in on funding opportunities according to various criteria.

 

Towards the end of January Fespa will bring its annual Global Summit to the UK. And this year, Fespa is throwing open the doors to what has previously been an ‘invite only’ event for the industry’s top brass. It’s where the great and the good meet to take the temperature of the wide-format market and discuss the way forward. So is it worth putting your hand in your pocket to get an insider’s perspective at the 2013 summit? I ask Fespa’s Duncan MacOwan, what’s in it for printers?

In 2006, Disney paid £4.1bn to buy Pixar, the animation studio that had created such gems as ‘Toy Story’, ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘The Incredibles’. As it turned out, that price was probably a bargain but Disney could have saved billions if its management hadn’t made the wrong call in the 1980s.

The irony is that a studio founded by master animator Walt Disney, that had been responsible for such marvels as ‘Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs’, had to pay so much to get back into a market it had once dominated. That’s because in the early 1980s – with the studio’s founding genius long dead – the company’s traditional values led it astray. Because traditional 2D animation required so much skill and resource, Disney had come to focus on blockbusters. So in 1982, when it delved into computer graphics to produce ‘Tron’, it looked at what it considered so-so grosses for the sci-fi feature and made the logical, but stupid, decision not to venture any further into computer graphics. Four years later, Pixar was founded when Steve Jobs bought the computer graphics of Lucasfilm. Within eight years, the new company was cooperating with Disney. The dissolution of that partnership in 2004 convinced Walt’s old firm it had to act – and it made a £4.1bn offer Pixar’s owners could not refuse.

If Disney had taken a longer, broader view of ‘Tron’, seeing the movie not just as a one-off item on a profit and loss account but as an investment in the cutting edge technology of computer graphics, Pixar might never have happened. Although this blunder gave the world ‘Toy Story’, it is a salutary reminder that merely by applying the conventional wisdom – or judging every project according to its traditional values – every company can get it spectacularly, expensively wrong.

 

 

 

Technology must always be useful, the British scientist Sir Patrick Linstead once observed, whereas science need not be. In the wide-format industry, too many technologies have proved not be as useful as the printing companies who bought them had hoped. So it is easy to understand why, despite all the hype, many companies have been reluctant to embrace Web2Print.

Yet those helpful folks at OnPrint Shop (www.onprintshop.com/eight-steps-for-sme-printers-to-choose-right-web2print-solution.html) have chipped in with a handy eight-step guide to making the most of this new technology which sums up the challenges in plain English, raising such basic questions as why do you need to go online before ending with a cautious analysis of the investment options – from renting to sharing and licensing. The best single piece of advice? “Companies usually give only ‘how to do’ support, which is not that helpful if you’re not IT savvy. Look for a company that helps you set up your online store and makes you functional in a short time.”

 

 

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