Choosing the right supplier for the job

Getting the best from professional service suppliers

We typically seek professional help when the problem we have requires a solution that goes beyond our own scope of knowledge. As a case study, consider having some bad pain in your lower abdomen which is running down your leg. Now you wouldn’t walk into a doctor’s surgery and ask for an operation to remove your appendix, would you?

My guess is that you would tell the doctor of your symptoms, let him make a professional diagnosis and recommend a solution. This is how you get the best value out of your visit.

Now why not do the same when you meet with your accountant, financial advisor or even your graphic designer? Tell them what you would like to achieve rather than suggesting a pre-conceived solution devised by somebody else, which may have flaws or may not be the best solution to your problem.

For example, instead of asking for a brochure for a new venture, you could instead suggest what you want to achieve: an increase in sales, capture a new market, increase your market share or perhaps diversify your offering.

What this does is leaves the door wide open for us to find out more about the business venture and discuss the most effective solution. We may discover that a well targeted direct mail campaign will require a smaller investment and help get the new venture off the ground faster.

Ask the right questions and you will get the best answers!

Choosing the right printer

Small to medium enterprises should look to employ a print broker or graphic designer, instead of dealing with printers direct. An experienced print broker or designer will have spent years dealing with hundreds of local printers, all of whom have varying machinery, capacity and expertise. Experience is critical in selecting the right printer for the job and also finding the best value.

Small businesses should avoid selecting the cheapest printer they can find. As a graphic designer with over 10 years experience in dealing with printers, I have found that the cheapest printers cut corners on print quality or customer service. I’ve learned that you’re better off paying 10% or even up to 20% more for a job you’re going to be happy with. Be careful with the most expensive printers too, you may be paying a premium for ‘a name’ or for the upkeep of machinery which is not suitable to your print job.

A good printer will have a great sale s rep that will help resolve printing issues before the job goes anywhere near a press. They will not deliver inferior quality jobs—they will reprint a job that has a print quality issue. Their priorities include their reputation for quality and establishing long term relationships with clients.

As well as managing the print process a graphic designer will also be able to advise on the most suitable paper stock and finishing techniques. If the end product is for a high quality brand, it needs to be well designed and the print specification needs to reflect the brand positioning. Printers are notorious for advising customers to green light the cheapest or easiest methods, even when they aren’t suitable.

Choosing the best printer can be difficult because there are so many different printing methods. Experienced print brokers and designers will know which printers have the right equipment for the job. A good graphic designer or print broker will get 2 or 3 quotes from the leading printers with the right machinery, giving the small business owner the best value and advice for ensuring a quality outcome.

Without experience, finding the right printer is like looking for a needle in a haystack.