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In this episode, we feature David and Jack Parry of Online Print Smart. The Parry’s detail their journey from a home-based graphic design business started in 1992 to becoming print brokers who help clients navigate the complex world of printing.

They discuss the evolution of their business model, the transition to digital tools, and how they leverage trade printers to deliver high-quality, cost-effective solutions.

The conversation also highlights the challenges and rewards of running a family business, the importance of calculated risks, and their ambitions for future growth, including a focus on servicing local franchises.

David and Jack share the benefits of their roles, the significance of robust systems, and their collaborative approach to ensure client satisfaction.

00:00 Introduction to Celebrating Small Family Businesses

00:19 Founding Parry Design and Transition to Online Print Smart

01:11 Evolution of Graphic Design and Printing

06:17 The Role of Family in Business

08:35 Challenges and Solutions in Business Growth

12:27 Implementing Systems and Software

14:53 Expanding Services and Client Education

20:13 Working with Graphic Designers and Publishing

22:34 Meet the Team: Roles and Responsibilities

23:15 Shifting Focus: From Publishing to Web Design

23:59 Building Strategic Alliances

25:31 The Power of Networking: BNI and Referrals

26:32 Lessons Learned in Family Business

28:23 Taking Calculated Risks for Growth

28:46 Expanding Services: Promotional Products

31:41 Future Plans: Niching Down and Franchises

37:23 Ensuring Quality and Customer Satisfaction

39:54 Nationwide Reach and Flexibility

41:46 Contact Information and Social Media Presence

43:03 Final Thoughts and Appreciation

Reach out to the Parry’s at

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Transcript
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Hi, and welcome to another episode of Celebrating Small Family Businesses.

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Today we are celebrating, well, from left to right, David and

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Jack Parry of OnlinePrintSmart.

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com.

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Hi, David.

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Hi, Jack.

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Hey, thanks for having us.

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We're excited to talk to you.

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You're an old established company in the Tampa area, if I recall.

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Uh, well, I am pretty much I've been a graphic designer for quite

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a number of years, uh, started Parry design back in 1992.

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I'm really dating myself, but, uh, yeah, I just, I wanted

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to, uh, own my own business.

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I missed a time at home with family.

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So I worked out of the house for quite a few years and it's progressed nicely.

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Nice.

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So when you, when you say you started Parry Design, you started so you

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could, that's when you started your own business so you could be working at home?

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Yes.

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Yes.

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I used to work at GTE graphics department, started Parry design and came home and

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have been Parry Design for a number of years, just about eight, nine years ago,

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we changed to Online Print Smart and we can talk about that in a little bit.

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I'm looking forward to getting to that.

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So, um, being a computer geek myself and having owned, you know, both the Mac

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and PC since the 80s, , in 92, that was the beginning, that was the early stages

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of stuff like Aldus PageMaker and the desktop publishing and, the ability to do

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the graphic design at home on a computer.

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Is that right?

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Yeah.

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It, uh, it took a, lot of expense to get a computer back in those days

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and they weren't very powerful, but, uh, yeah, when I brought a Photoshop

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home and did a gradation within about five minutes, I My wife was doing an

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airbrush in the other room and it took her several hours, we said, it's maybe

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time to take this Photoshop seriously.

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Yeah.

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So your wife was with you too.

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And airbrushing, man, that was that's, that's something I never got

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into, but I would, I remember having catalogs and looking at airbrushing

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because it seemed like a real, you know, that's when they were doing the

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vans, you know, all the really, uh, creative designs on the side of vans.

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And I was thinking that was the way to go, except I'm not an artist.

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But yeah, photos touching up photos for many, many years, especially

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in the black and white world.

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That was all done with airbrushing, wasn't it?

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I remember doing that in school and getting the warm grays, the cool grays,

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and it was really old school back then.

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And I'm so glad that we have progressed because that was

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not my favorite thing to do.

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So.

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cool that you were able to learn those kind of skills in the analog and learn

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like what came before it so that when you switched over to digital it really

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became natural because the digital tools are meant to replicate the old standard.

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Several photoshop tools are the icons are based on darkroom techniques so

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Okay, that makes sense.

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And I would think that that experience, especially with the

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colors and the knowledge of colors would have would really give you

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a leg up in the digital world.

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it does i i'm using nothing i learned in school but it's all all self-taught so

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Okay.

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Okay.

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I can relate.

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I, I cheer that because I'm, I'm pretty well

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yeah.

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self-taught on the computer.

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I don't think, I never took any real classes.

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I just spent a lot of hours banging on a keyboard and

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Yeah,

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a lot of mistakes.

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that's the way to go.

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So in the, in the online print, I was actually thinking you were, you know,

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like 38 years in the print industry.

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So how did, how did the transition go from the graphic design into printing?

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Well, I have been in the print industry.

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I've always wanted to help people print, even since high school.

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But, uh, even through college, nobody could tell me how to print.

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So I came to Florida from Pittsburgh and got a job in a printing company.

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I figured they would be able to tell me.

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And, uh, learned the trade from that up.

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And so I've been in the print history, but just recently in the last eight,

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nine years, we turned into online print smart and became less of a graphic

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artist and more of a print broker.

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And we just work with trade printers all over the state, all over the country.

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To, uh, find the best vendor for the job that's come, come into our business.

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Oh, now I'm hearing a real differentiator.

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So you're not actually got a big shop with a bunch of expensive print, uh,

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big printers and, uh, the stuff that cuts the, you know, a hundred sheets

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of paper at a time and all that.

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Or a

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Yeah.

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We stay away from the hardware side of things.

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We work with, uh, with people specialized in that, that can

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handle on different types of jobs.

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Uh, so yeah, our, our business model is more of a consulting

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and brokerage at the same time.

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So we don't actually have ink on our hands.

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We don't have a press in the garage.

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Um, in fact, one of our things we tell people is that we're print

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brokers, not broke printers.

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I like it.

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That's cute.

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I like it.

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But, so yeah, you're, you're able to use your knowledge

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and experience to help people.

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Well, your website says the confusing world of print options, and I would agree.

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And I think from my little bit of experience talking to print

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shops, they're so lost in their own lingo and what they know that it's

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very hard for them to translate.

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It sounds like you're kind of a translator.

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We try to walk the line where we, we help the, help the customer, but we also help

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our vendors too, and give them artwork.

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It's ready to go first time, every time.

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Ah, okay.

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It saves them a lot of extra work and saves cost overall

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on the whole job, doesn't it?

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Right.

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And we're able to build a relationship with the client in general and be that

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kind of one stop shop for them for, for all their, their printing needs.

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And then we communicate that with the, uh, with the vendor.

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So they're not having to chase artwork back and forth or proofs

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that, you know, they're focused just on the actual physical printing.

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And they're actually trade printers.

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They don't go after our customers at all.

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We're not in competition with them.

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And they only deal with print brokers like ourselves and other print shops.

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So, uh, we're not worried about them stealing our customers.

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We are their unpaid sales staff and they, they love us.

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Okay.

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That's what a nice model.

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Yeah, I didn't even know that was available.

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Yeah, that's cool.

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And I was going to get to what it what exactly is a trade printer.

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So thank you for

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Yeah.

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that.

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Okay, , getting to the family aspect of things.

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What is it that you love most about working with family?

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Jack, I guess I should start with you because you've been

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doing it the longest and worked with your wife and now your son.

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Yeah.

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Like I said, my wife's a graphic artist.

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She is more of the typesetting, the public desktop publishing

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that you mentioned before.

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Uh, she works in InDesign, but I love having David by my side now, because he's

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seen me, He's growing up years and he's seen me working as an entrepreneur as a

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business person and he fits right into it because he knows that he's learning.

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He doesn't know everything yet, which is fine We work in different

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roles, but he helps me so much.

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He does the back end stuff the billing the uh, organization And

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he's also , in a networking group and he's bringing business in.

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So I depend on him every single day.

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So I feed him lots of vitamins.

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Yeah.

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Lots of Advil too.

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But, it's really good to be able to be working with family.

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I mean, we grew up , like you said, with him at home.

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So, you know, dad's always been home and obviously in his office

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working, but he's always been there.

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And, uh, so it's really nice to kind of continue that with, you know, having gone

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and done different jobs and coming back to, to help with the family business,

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uh, having that closeness again and being able to work side by side and

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just see him all day, you know, just be as close as we were growing up.

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So

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Nice.

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And David, you left to go do a military service for a bit, right?

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I did, yeah, I went to , went to UF , and graduated there and, was a, \ , military

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police officer for a little while.

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And then , I moved outta state.

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I was kind of gone for a bit and, uh, really wanted to

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get back and close to family.

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So I took a, uh, a construction job , here in Florida for a little while.

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And, uh, and, and that wore me out . and then I, I really was wanted to, to

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come and help dad and, and I'd seen.

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You know, he'd gotten to a certain point in the business where he

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needed, , some organizational help.

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And, , and so here we are, we're, we're making that happen.

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Yeah.

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I was hitting the ceiling.

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I couldn't go any further as a one person shop, a solopreneur, and I

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needed the help and you're very modest.

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You said you were out of town.

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Afghanistan is out of town.

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Yeah.

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Just for a little while.

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So we got a real life Jack Reacher here.

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We do.

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Wow.

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Well, thank you for your service.

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Normally we ask what's a challenge you've overcome in your journey

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together that you might, that other family owners might relate to.

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I, I don't know if that's a fair ball question since I know David,

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you've, it's been just about a year.

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is

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Yeah.

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to pivot that question that makes sense for you guys?

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Yeah, I would say, um, like we kind of were explaining that, you know, we hit

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a ceiling, we kind of hit where dad had so many hats on that he was having to do

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a lot of the invoicing and a lot of the.

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The stuff and not being able to focus on the art and the clients per se.

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So, um, really just, uh, with, with us coming on, the challenge was how to

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develop a system that we can communicate with each other back and forth.

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And I can take some of those hats off of him, but at the same time,

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he still know what's going on.

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So the biggest challenge I think early on coming into the business was

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that communications piece between the two people, uh, where he'd been used

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to so long, just doing it himself.

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So.

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, I think we've overcome that quite a bit.

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We've put some things into place.

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We've developed a CRM, uh, to deal with our jobs so that we're

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tracking everything along the way.

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We switched our billing system up a little bit.

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So it's, it's a lot more, robust.

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We're able to , track our invoices and attach them to jobs.

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So just kind of the back end office stuff that, uh, we've developed

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together , over this past year.

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I think knowing your strengths and your weaknesses, and it's

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okay to say you have weaknesses.

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I am not a spreadsheet guy.

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I am not an organizational guy.

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I was getting to the point in my life where I literally could not handle

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another job, and now we've got more and more jobs than we've ever had

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before, but I feel comfortable that I can leave the office at night and

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know we know where we are and know where we need to start in the morning.

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So it's very organized.

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This is such an important thing to talk about it at that, you know, at

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that growth stage because I think it's a very common thing where solopreneurs

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in small businesses they do hit that ceiling and, and you know that's where

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first of all wearing too many hats and some of them don't fit because they're

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not in that strength area second of all then the um, the systemized part of

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it, you know, but it's Like , you know it, it's in your head, so you just, you

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do it out of habit, but then when you need somebody to help you, how do you

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communicate, how do you lay it off, because they don't know what you know, and

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you're not used to telling people, right?

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Well, I've always been worried as a solopreneur is by myself.

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I never really owned a business.

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I own my own job.

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And now we're actually moving into the realm of starting a business.

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We're actually starting a business together.

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And, um, we're, I'm taking calculated risks that I would

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not take without him by my side.

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Because I can't do that.

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I don't understand that, but he does.

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So we're taking risks and like, as going online and getting QuickBooks

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and, and doing things that I would not have done normally,

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Mm

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he's really helped my business into more of a business instead of just a job.

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And kudos to you, Jack, for, for understanding where you were at in

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the process, and that you needed help,

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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It was very frustrating.

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I was tough to go to bed at night.

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And just all these thoughts going in my head.

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And now that it's down in a system, I have nothing up there.

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No, I don't have to think about it.

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So , it's all, it's all in the system.

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Now, and he's been really great with , cause you know, along with

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developing a system, there's a lot of trial and error, right?

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So there's a lot of.

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Okay, we're going to try this and we do it for a little while, man, it's

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not working quite the way we want it to let's change that little bit of this.

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So I feel like throughout this past year, we were going closer

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and closer to an efficient system.

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And, uh, and I just really applaud that walking through

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those changes and keeping up with.

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One of the little things that are, that are, , on the move, uh, I

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should say like, uh, where was this?

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You know, I, Oh, I put it over here.

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So, he kept up with the flexibility.

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So,

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So were you able to, again tech question right, were you able to use an off

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the shelf piece of software for, for these things or, or multiple pieces

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and, and, and string them together or, and make little changes to them or

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did you have to go from the ground up?

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yeah, no, we actually, uh, we looked at a couple of different ones.

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When I first got on, uh, we, we were using Trello.

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, which was, uh, kind of a, a thing.

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We could create these little tickets that you can move along , and that worked

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well enough when we were first getting started and understanding what we needed.

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But, , we moved, uh, probably two, three months later to, Monday.com.

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, and it just allowed us to, to make it our own.

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, we were really able to, to customize it to, uh, our stages of production

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and what we wanted to track , and also who to assign tasks to.

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Um, so I think Monday really was the game changer that set us apart

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along with switching to QuickBooks.

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We were in another program and it only did the invoices.

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It didn't do any of the actual financial tracking.

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So by doing that, we're able to pull the, the profit and loss reports and understand

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our business more and understand, you know, what our major sellers are.

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So there's a lot of data we gathered from that.

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Managing my data, I love to hear that.

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I'm the spreadsheet guy.

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Just tell me if we have any money left.

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He's the creative and I'm the spreadsheet guy.

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I get it.

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And yeah, for one of the first questions we want to type of question we ask

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coming in the door when we work with somebody is, so what are you measuring?

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And, you know, and what are you, what's it telling you?

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Amazing amount of people that don't measure anything.

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Yes, that's, you've got to have a system to be able

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Yeah, we're both part of BNI, Business Networking International,

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and we, they track everything in BNI.

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Now we know how much we thank people for closed business, who's given us the

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work, how many return clients we have.

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One of the biggest challenges we have, I think, in the coming months is keeping

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in touch with past clients and really niching down and just, uh, going and

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keeping in touch with past clients.

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And, uh, cause that's, that's a whole lot easier to, to, uh, Get money that way.

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Yeah.

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I think just, and it's important for the followup, like, yeah, you know, a lot of

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times we'll, we'll hear from a client that used us last year for the same project.

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And that's the only thing we've done for them, like once a year, when we

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really look like to hit them up maybe every three months or so, and develop

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that kind of followup relationship.

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I think that's kind of what I have on our, on our sites moving

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forward is, is just maintaining that communication saying, Hey.

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You know, just checking in with you guys and also, um, education, um,

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letting people know, Hey, we're not just the business card people, right?

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We do all kinds of different things.

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We do print, you know, we were talking about postcards and pocket folders

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and things, but we also do promotional items, uh, pens and stuff like that.

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We do signage and we do wearables.

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So we do, you know, hats and shirts and everything we have.

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Well, I said we do, we have vendors in our, in our, you know, connections

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that can provide those things.

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So, uh, you know, it's, it's more than just business cards.

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I would say, you know,

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you're, if I hear you right, you're educating your, your existing customers on

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other use cases that might apply to them.

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So that they can be thinking, Oh, well I could also do

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this or I could also do that.

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correct.

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Yeah.

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We run into situations where, you know, uh, we'll show up at an event

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and they have, say yard signs, uh, like advertising the event and we're.

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And we'll go over there.

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Hey, where'd you get your own signs?

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It's like, Oh, I went here and here.

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You're like, we, you know, we do those.

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Really?

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You do those?

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It's like, you know, yes.

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So we, uh, you know, just educated and just saying, Hey.

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You know, uh, and being able to, to present those things without relying

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on, Hey, just go check out the website.

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You know, how do we actively engage our, our, our current clients?

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Can you just let them know what we're up to?

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We fight against being salesy.

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We do not want to be salesy and just pushing things.

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We just want to let you know what's available.

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We're here to help when you're ready.

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Give us a call.

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We'll check in every two or three months to see how things are going.

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And what's not a sales call.

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So we just, uh, we don't want to be order takers.

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We want to be consultants to really, to really help them.

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Excellent.

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Yeah.

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Cause most everybody's trying to grow their business.

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I mean, there are, there are lifestyle businesses.

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I get it.

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And that's a, that's a choice.

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But if they're trying to grow, there's, there's something

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they're thinking about doing.

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And if there's something about they're thinking about doing, then

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you could probably be helping them think about something related that

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you could help them make happen.

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Yeah.

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When they're, when the businesses, when our clients grow, we grow

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because they come back to us.

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They, they use the things that we give them and when they use them.

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They run out of them and we're like, we can print some more for you.

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Yeah, you do have a consumable product.

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That's also nice.

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We also tell people like if you're a, for pocket folders, if you're gonna buy

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pocket folders, don't buy 250 of them because they're going to be $4.00 a piece.

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Buy a thousand of them and they're under a dollar a piece.

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So we kind of guide them in the ways to, uh, spend their money more wisely.

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Now, is a pocket folder like a little portfolio thing that's got

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slots on the inside for papers to, so

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yeah.

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with your branding on the front?

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Yes.

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Okay.

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Very cool!

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Yep.

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So, and just, uh, just understanding the industry and cause a lot of times people

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come with a, you know, I'd like to get a hundred business cards or whatever.

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It's like, okay, you're, you're spending more per card than you would,

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you know, for a few dollars more, you're getting, you're spending more

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on shipping than you are on cards.

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so

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hmm.

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and it's not, and it's not in the, in the heart of an upsell or anything, but

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it's, it's generally understanding the way that the industry works and, and, and

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advising them on those, those options.

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And so we like to present kind of a range to them of things and

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maybe even different products.

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Um, and then let them choose from there.

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So

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Okay.

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Yeah, I I, of course my question mind, right, goes right to, well, if you're

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ordering a hundred cards, I'd be asking, are you, are you like testing?

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Are you still trying to get your design right?

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You know?

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Is that why you're ordering that smaller quantity?

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The main, the main thing I hear a lot of times, I'm just, I'm

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just trying to keep costs down.

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I just need to get through, I just need to get to this next thing.

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And I'm like, all right, well, if, you know, if for a few dollars more, if you do

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the 500, you're going to have five times as many to make, you know, make them more

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like is the value is in, is in there and I'm going to present those options and

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what they choose is what they choose.

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But, uh, I, I feel like that's part of our, our, uh, uh, mission

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as a consultant, uh, to, uh, to let them know their options.

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So

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Exactly.

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Well, it's nice that you've got in, in-house graphic designer to help

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yeah.

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Yes.

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you know, it's, it's so much better than us going to Canva and trying to teach.

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Well, people use Canva and that's, that's fine.

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I don't mind that at all, but they usually don't allow for bleed and they

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don't allow for the folding of a product.

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And what I do is I send them a template and they work on that template

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and I tell them how to save it.

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Um, sometimes they save it and it's just good for websites.

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It's not good for printing.

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So I, again, educate the client.

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So they'll,

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cool.

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uh, give me good artwork.

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So they'll get a good, uh, result.

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We say friends don't let friends go to Vistaprint.

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Yeah.

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That's, I like that.

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I like that too.

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Okay, so you've got, you've got that range of do it, you kind of do it yourself,

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done with you and done for you as well.

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Yes, definitely.

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And, and, and we, we can provide the done for you.

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Uh, we're, we're kind of trying to get away from the,

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the complete graphic design.

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We want, uh, to work with graphic designers from, companies,

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marketing departments and such.

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But if it is a smaller business, we are available to help from the

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ground up if needed, if need be.

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Okay.

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Wow.

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Oh, so many questions.

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Well, ask them.

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Is there Well, you just mentioned working with a graphic designer, so if, um,

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I know you've got the skills, but how does it become cost effective

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to work with a company that's got their own graphic designer in

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it, and where do you fit there?

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Well, if they've got their own graphic artist, then I don't

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have to spend any time at all.

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And I don't have to charge them at all, obviously, for any graphic design firms.

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I started, when I started Online Print Smart, I wanted to be

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totally just the print broker.

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So I'm the middleman, I take it, I send it to the right person, I connect people.

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I'd rather not spend the time, because if I spend 10 hours on a graphic

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design project, that's 10 hours I'm not out selling and talking to

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customers and making relationships.

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And that's what I want to be doing.

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It's more of the time element.

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I mean, we're happy to do, you know, design and even tweak

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designs and, and make sure things are going to fit in margins.

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We, you know, we have the Adobe products to be able to do that, but I think the

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main thrust of it is, uh, time management for, for his time to be able to, um, to.

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Work through multiple projects in the amount of time that are, that the,

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the graphics would take him to do.

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Uh, so as we grow, we'd like love to work with, um, graphic artists.

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We'd love to work with marketing departments, so that we can, have

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print ready art and then just handle the, the actual printing piece of it.

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Mm-Hmm.

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And you speak their language, so they don't have to try to educate you.

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Okay.

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Yeah, he speaks the language.

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Like I said, my wife does the typesetting.

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She works for the publishing company.

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Uh, and they send her books.

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We develop the book covers.

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She typesets the entire inside.

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Um, gets the ISBN number, Library of Congress, and puts the entire book

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together, and we send it back to the publishing, publishing company.

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But we also have a local company that prints books for us.

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So that's a great way to get yourself known is to write a book.

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Yeah.

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So you guys are in that space as well.

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Yeah, we were in the type setting and the formatting.

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We're not really in the editing or proofreading, but we are in

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making sure that the pages are going to look consistent and the

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headings are all the same and the formatting of the books, yeah.

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So we don't do that.

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Elizabeth, my wife, does that.

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Yeah, she's the rock star at that.

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I mean, it's very tedious, you know, detail oriented work, and

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she's great at just making sure that everything flows well.

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But that's still under your umbrella.

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She doesn't work for another company.

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No, no, she's in the other room.

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Yep.

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She has her own little office and, uh, and, uh, her stuff is kind of,

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kind of separate from our workflow.

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Cause a lot of times it's, you know, she's the only one working on it.

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Um, so we, she has her own, you know, workflow that she works with that.

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Uh, whereas dad and I are pretty integrated together with the

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rest of the design, the rest of the design printing projects.

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Uh, but yeah, that's one of the things we can offer to people as, uh, as a

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consultation or as, uh, as clients.

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you also help them get published on like Amazon Direct

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Publishing and Kindle and that?

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Now, we used to do that.

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Uh, we don't really do that anymore because for Kindle, you can always,

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uh, on your Kindle, you can adjust the size of type, your margins.

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Everything.

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So it's a whole different animal and it's constantly changing.

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So we don't do that as much anymore.

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Like we don't do websites because that's constantly changing as well.

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So,

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my God.

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Like now there's a

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I forgot, the company right now.

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But yeah, there's one, uh, it's an AI driven website designer, you know,

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generator that, you know, in 30 seconds you, you give it a concept and it

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generates a whole website for you.

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I kind of stay away from that.

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That's amazing.

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Yeah.

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And, but the good thing is that we do have relationships.

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Like, I don't know specifically off the top of my head on one that we would send

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an Amazon book to, uh, or a Kindle book.

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Um, but we do have a relationship with like web designers and,

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um, like social media websites.

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So the, the stuff that's kind of like on the periphery of what we do, we do have

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good contacts in those industries too.

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So we're able to partner with them to help a client out.

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So, um, we, you know, who else do we know?

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We know website people, we know social media, um, The SEO and just marketing.

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Well, what's good is we give referrals to them.

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They give referrals back to us.

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So we're trying to integrate them into our onboarding process.

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When we first meet a client, we have all these, uh, strategic alliances.

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We'd love to hook you up with, and we don't make money on that.

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That's, and they don't make money on ours.

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That's just a

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Yeah, but it's value added in that they, they aren't now figuratively

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looking through the yellow pages to try to find a, a, uh,

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plus

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designer.

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we've got all the files and we can send the files directly

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to all these web developer.

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And so and there's trust there, you know, there's familiarity.

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There's there's hey I'm going to refer you to this person because

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I know them and i've used them.

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I trust them That goes a long way, you know, like you said, we're not

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looking through yellow pages here You're not looking on angie's list

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to try to read random reviews from from people, but you're actually

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You know, have that connection with those, uh, those qualities.

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We're putting our reputation on the line by offering that

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Exactly.

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Exactly.

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Which is again, the heart of the networking, you know, you know,

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that's, that's very closely related to what you mentioned with BNI.

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Nice.

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And that's, that's, uh, was one of the main things that, dad, did

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when we, when I first came on.

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Within the first week, he's like, all right, well, you know, you're welcome.

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You're you're here now go visit some BNI chapters.

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And, uh, cause he's been in it for how many years, eight years now, eight or

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nine years, just signed up for two more.

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So that's been a major part of our business and, and, you know, and

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professional development to learn to speak in front of people, do interviews

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and to really drill down in your business to understand what the core of it is.

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Um, it's been super great for us.

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And I'd say, you know, a good portion of our, of our business

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comes from BNI referrals.

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Which we can tell from the QuickBooks.

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Yeah, we can tell.

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We can tell from the Markets QuickBooks.

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It's about 60, 65 percent come from referrals, word of mouth.

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Word of mouth is our big.

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That's excellent.

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That's very telling also.

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Congrats.

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Thank you.

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Thanks.

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Yeah.

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Is there anything about being in a family business that you know now that

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you wish you'd known when you started?

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Hmm.

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I didn't start it, but, uh, but I would say we, in, in kind of preparing

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for this and talking through it, we, you know, I think the biggest thing

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that, that, uh, the, the way I posed the question would be, what, what

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would you tell yourself if you went back in time and told yourself right.

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And, uh, and so I think the biggest thing that came from that conversation

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is to take the calculated risks, right.

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To take the, you know, the step that doesn't feel comfortable.

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Um, and that's the only way you're really going to see the growth.

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Like the, the big step he took was, was to, to start his own business.

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Right.

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I mean, that was, you know, such a leap of faith, but, um, But past that, like

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being able to, to hand the reins off to, to somebody who can trust somebody

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for a certain aspect, to, to take those calculated risks, not you know, flippant

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risks just for no reason, but you've done your homework and you decide,

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okay, I'm going to step into this.

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That's the, the lesson that, that really is going to, going to stick with us.

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The second lesson I would learn is I wish I would have started earlier.

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I wish I would have started the print broker business earlier because

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I'm having so much more fun now.

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And when I was a graphic artist, so I was just chained to my desk, doing stuff.

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And I was giving something to a person who would give it to the printer.

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And then I thought she's probably making money off of me.

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I want to see how she's doing that.

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And technology has allowed me to do that now because I probably could not

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have done it before nine years ago.

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The technology has gotten to the point where it's made it really

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easy for me to be a print broker.

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And that's not telling everybody else to go out and do that because I like

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what I have in my own monopoly here.

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But, uh, I enjoy what I do.

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Well, yeah.

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So don't, don't be afraid to take the, take the leap as long as,

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as, as long as you've done your homework and you're prepared,

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You've used the phrase calculated risks a few times.

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So I want to, I want to make sure we're clear on that.

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Uh, I think I'm hearing that you're rather than, you know, rolling the

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dice and betting the whole company on, we're going to go this way.

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Now you're talking about, okay, we're going to try this with a

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little bit and see how it works.

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And then we can grow into that if it works.

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Is that what I'm hearing?

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yeah, we started, um, uh, We had a rough time with, uh, several years

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ago before David came on board, really rough time, uh, 2008, 2009.

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A friend of mine got me into promotional products.

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I'm like, well, what am I going to do that for?

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I'm a graphic artist.

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That has actually grown to be a pretty big size of our business.

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So I took the risk there and, um, learned that industry.

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And, uh, but yeah, but you didn't put the farm.

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No, I still do graphic design.

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I still did everything else, but no, I agree with the concept of that for sure.

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I think that, you know, it's not necessarily dipping your toe in the water,

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but it, but it's saying, okay, I'm not going to put all my eggs in the one basket

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and just like completely go do that, but there are instances and aspects like,

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like with the promotional items where, okay, we're going to try this and we're

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going to, you're going to implement that.

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And, and like you said, grow into that.

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And.

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For that example, it has, you know, has taken off and

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become one of our four pillars.

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So,

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Yeah, it's, it's always, there's always some level of commitment to it.

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I mean, you can't, you can't,

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right.

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Yeah.

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your toe in the water, especially if there's equipment

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purchases or anything like that.

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I mean, you know, you can't do a delivery unless you buy a vehicle, right?

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But, okay, wonderful.

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I, I, I keep thinking there's a guy, um, an author named Michael Mikhailovich.

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He's written a whole series of books.

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One's called Profit First, uh, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.

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You familiar with him?

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I don't have the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, but

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I've got The Pumpkin Plan.

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Okay.

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is where I've gone through it a couple of times.

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David's reading through it now.

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So yeah, I'm just.

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Have you read

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Fix This Next also?

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Um,

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No, I haven't.

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okay.

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And I'm trying to remember the last one.

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It's, uh, I think it's called Run Like Clockwork.

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Mm hmm.

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Or just Clockwork, these sound like, uh, that, what you're talking about

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that either you're already doing or it's right in line with what you're doing.

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So you might enjoy the, his other book.

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Oh, I'll definitely do that.

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I enjoyed the pumpkin plan.

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I listened to audio, read it twice, gave it to David.

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So

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Very

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moving.

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Very cool.

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Um, guys, do you have any outside employees?

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Is it just, or just the

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Not, not really.

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We have outside alliances, but we don't really, , they're not

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on payroll or anything now.

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Okay.

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Yeah.

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It's all in the family at the moment.

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I mean, just kind of, you know, looking, looking forward to, to growth

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and expansion there, you know, we're, we're We're deciding what roles,

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um, we could potentially fill with, with other people, but we, we haven't

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gotten to that point quite yet.

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Okay.

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So, one of my favorite questions is like, what's next?

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And without giving away anything, any secrets.

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Uh, I just wondered what, you know, where, where you're looking

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to, what, what are you, what are the changes that you're seeing, I

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guess, in the industry, um, that.

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That you see a need to, to be preparing and pivoting towards.

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Well, next, next thing learned actually from the pumpkin plant about really

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niching down and going for your favorite clients and kind of getting rid of the,

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the, the ones that you don't really want to work with that aren't as profitable.

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And, uh, franchises really came up to us because we'd love to start working

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with franchises, not the McDonald's or the Burger Kings of the world,

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but, uh, the Hungry Howies, the Salem sandwich shop that have 10 to 12 that

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are really local and, uh, we want to work with one and once you get one down.

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You start a string of working with the rest of them in the area.

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We want to set up a web portal that has all the printing needs and signage that

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they need so that every hungry Howie can just go up to the website and say,

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I want this, I want this many of them.

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So that's what we're trying to do next.

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I see

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Yeah.

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You have a custom portal for, for a particular client?

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Password protected so they can just go in and well, not that anybody

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from a, Custard yogurt shop would buy a pizza place, but, um, just to

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protect their, uh, their proprietary.

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And that way we can keep the logos, the colors, the styles, everything consistent.

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So corporate doesn't need to worry about it.

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And they just send their people to us and we take care of them.

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Make sure it meets the corporate standards.

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And I imagine that is something that happens in the, in the franchising

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world that corporate does need to worry about that because people just

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decide they're going to get creative.

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Well, I'll just change this.

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Yes, let's make the golden arches blue.

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Yeah, and like you said, we're not going after, you know, Coca Cola or

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anything here, but we are talking like local local chains that have,

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you know, maybe a central office and control several locations.

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We really love to meet.

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People in the central office, especially the marketing department,

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people advertising, um, to, to show them, present them what we have.

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And, the web portal is great.

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it's, it's something that, uh, you're not gonna be able to check out on

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it like you would at VistaPrint or an Amazon or anything like that.

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But what it does is it's in a form that, that allows us to gather the

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information we need to make sure that we, we start that conversation

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with everything we need and it speeds up the turnaround time on our end.

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Um, it's personalized.

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It's personalized.

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And it's not like again, we're not, we're not wanting to be order takers.

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We're not wanting to just, you know, just, you know, being get an

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order and process that we really want to start that conversation.

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So, it's a way for us to collect the information that

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we, that we most often need.

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So there's not as much back and forth right at the beginning of the process.

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So preserving as much clarity or creating as much clarity as you can right up

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front rather than having to go back.

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Right.

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Exactly.

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Yeah.

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Clear expectations and clear, um, Ease of use, though.

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We want to make it easy for them.

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Ease of use, yeah.

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It's not going to be a complicated thing to do.

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And what we want is to work with the central hub to make sure

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that the satellite locations can order easily and everything is

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fulfilled in a timely manner.

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So that it's less stress on them.

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It's one less thing they have to worry about because it's, you

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know, it's centrally located.

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And make reorders easy when they run out, especially like tray

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liners or the sandwich paper that you wrap sub sandwiches in.

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You can't just use regular ink on that.

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You have to have food safe ink.

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To be able to wrap because it's touching food and it's got grease

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and water and cheese on it.

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You have to be able to have printing withstand that.

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So we, we do that kind of thing.

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see, I see.

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And I think, guessing that a lot of the franchise models like that, you've got

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one investor that might own several shops.

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you're talking about the central hub, right, that's that that

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actually the Central

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Ah.

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even further up the chain.

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Well,

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the Mothership.

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It's the actual franchise and they're the ones that sell it to the franchisees.

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But somebody, yeah, may own 10 in the area, but we can also go to the Mothership

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that distributes across the country.

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So.

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And that's, that's the ultimate goal, right?

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Is to reach like the regional, the national levels.

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But, uh, really we've, we've had some, uh, some conversations with some

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local , a franchise owner that owns, you know, three or four locations

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and just getting, getting to speak with that person and show them.

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Um, kind of the advantages to having a one stop shop for all of your,

Speaker:

you know, design and printing, uh, saves them so much headache.

Speaker:

And, uh, and it's, and it's great for us as well, because it's a, it's a good

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size client that, that has a lot of, repeat business, and not, one offs.

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We let them know we answer the phone.

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Yes.

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That's the biggest thing too, is we, you know, we were able to be

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reached and really, we prefer to, to, to work a lot more on email just

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because there's, There's kind of a chain and if we need information, we

Speaker:

can look back and find it and, and plug it into our sales, , our CRM.

Speaker:

, but we're happy to answer the phone call too.

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And we have, have our phones with us all the time and we

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are easily, easily reachable.

Speaker:

So.

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They're turned off for this interview.

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Yeah, yeah, exactly.

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Well it's so nice to work with an owner, Yes.

Speaker:

operator, because you know that you're going, you know, who to go to

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if there's a problem and, and it's, and it behooves you to make sure

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that you get that problem fixed in a

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Yeah.

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rather, if you go to some of the other, um, big box places that do printing.

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I, you know, you get Joe Blow, who, you know, maybe has been printing

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for three days and, and all he knows how to do is push a button.

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Well, the other thing is they will print whatever you give them and they don't care

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if it's low resolution or the wrong color space, you Or it doesn't fit the template.

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They'll just print it because you send it to them, they'll send it back.

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Exactly.

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in fact, if, if something's wrong with the print job, if it's

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slightly off, if it's cut wrong, if you don't like it, let us know.

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And what we do is we go to bat for you with the vendor and we get them to print

Speaker:

it again at no cost because there's a, there's a, I mean, it's an actual problem.

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We can, we can go to bat for you.

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Yeah, it's our responsibility to our clients to do that.

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And I take it as a, as a responsibility to, to make sure it's right.

Speaker:

And, uh, so yeah, I agree with you working with someone who has

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that investment in, in, into the process is, , is an advantage.

Speaker:

We really try to get the proofs right though, before we go to print,

Speaker:

Sure.

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because 10,000 prints happen in a fast hurry.

Speaker:

So if you have a mistake, you have about 10,000 mistakes quickly.

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Uh, somebody came back one time and said, well, my phone number is wrong on this.

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I'm like, Well, one, you proofed it, you approved it, and two,

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I don't have your phone number memorized, so I can't proof it.

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We spell checked it, obviously, but her phone number was one digit off.

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And I'm like, that's why we always give it to them.

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It's their responsibility to proof.

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And so that's why we try to stress with our clients too.

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It's like, Hey, you know, we, you know, these are the problems

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we've run into in the past.

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So please check your phone numbers, check your email addresses.

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And so we're able to, to, you know, coming back around to the education

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piece, like say, Hey guys, we've been there, done that we've, we've

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run into these problems before.

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And this is why we're asking that question.

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Test your QR codes, test, test those.

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Yeah,

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Mm hmm.

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Yes.

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Test the QR code.

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Please.

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test it too, but we don't know if it's going to the page you want it to.

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Yeah.

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Great.

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That's why we like working with small entrepreneurs and small family businesses.

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Because you're so responsive.

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And that's very important to other small family businesses.

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Mm hmm.

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Yeah, because a lot of times, you know, a mistake like you're talking about,

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that can really hurt, you know, if, uh, if there's a big, you know, a big

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part of the budget is being spent on something, you know, that they, that they

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can't afford to make a lot of mistakes.

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So, it's

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Yeah.

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And we help them out in that case.

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If, if they come back and they're, Oh yes, it's my fault.

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I'm so sorry.

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We give them a discount on the next time around.

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If they want to print, let's print a smaller, a smaller lot this time,

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we'll give you a discount and we'll go with it to make sure it's correct.

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We have that flexibility and we have the ability to, to mitigate, you know,

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those, those problems because I'd rather have the customer for their next job

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than not have the customer at all.

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Correct.

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Exactly.

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Correct.

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Well done.

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So you guys are in the Tampa Bay serving the Tampa Bay area, but if

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you're online print smart, I'm guessing you're not restricted geographically.

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Is that accurate?

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Yeah, no, it says online print smart.

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Uh, originally I wanted to have.

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A website where people could go up and get the pricing and

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everything, but it changes so often.

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We just prefer them to talk with us directly and we'll say, well,

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this is the price this week.

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And it's good for, you know, good for 30 days.

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Um, we didn't want to automate it.

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Like I said, we don't want to be order takers.

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We want to be in their business, in their lives.

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And not just sit here and have jobs come in online.

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But we do have a, have a relationship with people out of state.

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Uh, we, you know, we have had businesses move.

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We've also made contact with, with people that have found us online.

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Uh, and, and we're able to ship out throughout the nation.

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Some of our print facilities are in different parts of the country.

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Actually, a really cool example is we had a client that was

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flying out to Vegas for a show.

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And, uh, you know, it was kind of a last minute thing.

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Hey, I need these things there.

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And so we were able to contact a trade printer that we'd never even worked

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with in Las Vegas and get the job printed and delivered to his hotel.

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The same day he got there.

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Um, to, to make this tight deadline.

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And, and, uh, it was just a really cool experience to be able to see

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that system work, obviously we don't want those every time, give

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us some, uh, some, some headway.

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It would be great.

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Um, but it is cool to, to be able to see that we have that flexibility

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and that those connections, you know, even with printers, we haven't

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necessarily worked with before.

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Um, but we, we, you know, have, have lingo down and have, you know, Have the ability

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to, uh, do things all over the nation.

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So

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Well, yeah, that underscores the both the customer service and the

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flexibility that you can offer.

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So our, our listeners, you know, maybe anywhere, um, certainly

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anywhere in the country.

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So I wanted to make sure, you know, we include some information

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about how they can reach you.

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So best way is through your website, then online print smart dot

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com.

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sure.

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And,

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I think I disabled our contact section on there.

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We're working on, on building that back up.

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Um, but the best way to get us would be either one of our emails, uh, either Jack

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at online print smart or David at online print smart, uh, and really that we have

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a lot of different online prints where if you do print or anything, it'll come to

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us, but, uh, Jack or David at online print smart would be great, uh, and if you want

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to reach out to us by phone, that's fine.

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Uh, just, uh, You know, text or call us.

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I would be happy to answer.

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And are you active on social media at all?

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Facebook or LinkedIn?

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We aren't at the moment.

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We're again.

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That's kind of like a building block that we're putting in place.

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Um, we do have them and, uh, I can check them.

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But, um, you know, if you want to give us a follow, that'd be great.

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We are planning on putting out some more content on those those platforms,

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but, um, you know, it's not the quickest way, but it is a way to get ahold of us.

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the great, it's not the first way they should try to contact you.

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Yes.

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Yeah.

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Email would be perfect.

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Yeah.

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And, uh, and then we'll, we are working on that piece though.

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We'll make sure we get that in the show notes.

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Is there anything else you'd like to share that it, it, uh, that's important to you?

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Well, no, we appreciate the time.

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Uh, definitely.

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And it's cool to see, you know, the, the network at work like that, you

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know, I was able to, to meet with you guys, , through, , other contact

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we have mutually, so I definitely appreciate your time and, and, , and

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your investment in, in family businesses and, sharing those, those stories.

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So we, we, we appreciate you all.

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Thank you.

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And if you have any friends that are in small family businesses,

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we'd love to talk to them too.

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Perfect.

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them your way.

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Absolutely.

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We can do that.

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thank you again for spending this time with us and we will look forward

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to when this goes live and, uh, and hearing what you hear from others.

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So

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We will push people, we'll push people to the, , your website and

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get them, uh, connected to you.

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Wonderful.

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Thank you.

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Thank you.

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