3: You Can't Get There from Here

As shared last time, the first couple of months of ownership of The Digital Frontier were all about the learning curve. There’s a lot to know about the world of digital and large format print, not to mention owning and running a small company.

The more I learned, the more I saw opportunities. I needed to get back to networking to start driving growth, improve our website, create the ability for clients to purchase online, and modernize and streamline our internal and client-facing processes. Unfortunately, there were no straight lines from ‘here’ to there.

Enter: the prerequisites.

Each ‘first-tier’ opportunity had preconditions that needed to be met. To identify them, I had to reverse engineer the ‘problem’ until the most basic prerequisite was completely fulfilled. ‘We can’t do this (priority #1) without first doing that (task #1), and it turns out we can’t do task #1 until we do job #1. Job #1 requires thing #1 and thing #2. We have thing #1, but not thing #2, which will require step #1, and so on. I backed aaaaall the way up into the following five immediate-term priorities:

  1. Perform a quick and dirty cost analysis to identify and eliminate unnecessary spend [‘found’ $1000+ per month which helped pay for some of the next priorities—ongoing]
  2. Perform an end-to-end IT audit and upgrade as needed [outsourced—complete]
  3. Invest in sales resources, including external sales and solution design skills [complete]
  4. Refresh the company brand to establish a clear identity that would resonate with and inspire existing clients, our team, and prospects [outsourced—complete]
  5. Implement a print industry-specific management information system (MIS) that the business owned but had never implemented due to the significant effort required [hired consulting support from the vendor—in progress]

Nearly all of the above have one thing in common: they cost money. However, if done properly, I am confident that they will collectively deliver many times their cost in the form of operational efficiency, employee satisfaction, market visibility and engagement, and increased revenue via existing and new clients.

Tip: When buying a business, try not to spend all your liquid capital on the purchase itself. If you can, hold back some resources to embark on the necessary projects and new opportunities that will inevitably present themselves.

I just completed my six month of ownership of The Digital Frontier and the first four tasks above are complete (for now). Implementation of the MIS will take another month or two (or three) as it's definitely the most difficult, and arguably the most valuable.

So, what’s next? Stay tuned for the next blog installment.

Thanks for reading, and Be Bright,

Sara

p.s. I love to collaborate. Feel free to reach out directly if you’d like to discuss or brainstorm!