A Mindset to Win

In business, mindset is everything.

I didn’t always believe that, but the longer I survive as a business owner, the more I recognize how true it is.

For the last 10-15 years, the printing business has felt like a roller coaster ride and the shops that have not adjusted their mindset and mission – well, many of them no longer exist. I often meet other printers who, with a smile on their face, tell you they can’t wait to sell their businesses. While they probably say this in jest, if someone came up with some cash, I bet plenty would sell.

That’s why my experience at a large digital print conference last month felt like a breath of fresh air. Nobody there was talking about selling – in fact, it seemed like everyone was buying.

The difference was mindset.

Most of the companies I encountered were on the cutting edge of technology with their equipment, software and automation, but most importantly, they believed they belonged there. They were excited, they were full of ideas and they wanted to do something different that stood out.

A good conference is always filled with that type of positive energy. If you don’t walk away with fresh ideas, you’re not engaged in your craft. Being a photographer, I couldn’t help but spend a lot of time looking at wide format output and flatbed printers to help move the visual presentation of our photos and graphics to a higher level. I also looked at the next generation Indigo digital presses and, yes, one of those would undoubtedly make Oregon stronger. We’ll wait and see…J

But I digress. The bulk of the conference focused on developing one’s mindset, seeing the opportunities there for the taking and making good decisions. I’ve attended Dscoop for many years and because I believe in its mission, I volunteered to join its education committee. This group selects most of the speakers, including the keynote and breakout speakers. It was a cool process to listen to potential speakers on YouTube and select who we thought were best.

Listening to them live, I think we did good.

The opening keynote speaker, Chris Barez-Brown, was quite a character. He made a great case about establishing the right mindset for success and the relationship that has to the creative process. Hint — creativity doesn’t happen sitting at your desk “trying” to be creative – it can strike at any time. While we can’t completely control the creative process, the more we open ourselves to a creative mindset, the more successful we can become.

The second keynote speaker, Kristen Hadeed, shared some great stories that demonstrated how we learn through making mistakes. If we went a whole week or even a day without making some sort of mistake, we wouldn’t be positioned for the breakthroughs that lead to success.

The closing keynote speaker, Johnny Cupcakes, was an absolute trip. He had started 16 businesses by the time he reached his 20s and told great stories. He was an idea machine. Now, he runs a T-Shirt Bakery (yes, you read that right). It’s really his brand “Johnny Cupcakes” that he’s selling, and he’s taken it international. He was young, he was dynamic and at the end of the show, he was selling T-shirts to everybody at Dscoop for $30+ a piece. He’s worth looking up.

There were two breakout session speakers I also really appreciated. One was Clint Runge of Archrival, who some AAF Dayton members will remember from a Lunch & Learn awhile back. Archrival specializes in working with and understanding the youth mindset (millennials, Gen X, Gen Z and younger). He talked about the markers that set generations apart and some good reasons why each group thinks the way it does. Another hint — if we learn to manage them well, younger workers can be phenomenal producers.

Mark Potter, who publishes Canvas magazine and runs a content producing firm (Conduit), urged printing companies to think and act like media companies. He believes in using content creation as a sales tool versus sending out an old-fashioned sales force. It made sense the way he presented it and I hope my effort to write this blog is a good start for Oregon.

After being in this business most of my life, I’ve seen what makes companies win and what puts them on the cutting edge. They succeed because they believe they can – they have the mindset that puts them there. My time in Orlando confirmed that.

And that’s my final word on Dscoop Edge for 2019. See you next year!