Good judgment comes from experience, experience comes from mistakes.
In 1975 we started a business – the word ‘startup’ didn’t exist then – a simple copy center in lower Manhattan. It was a retail store which served the public with copies, wedding invitations, rubber stamps, offset printing etc.
After six months we learned that there was a very big commercial copy industry. Namely, large law firms bought ten of thousands of copies on a daily basis. We also learned that large corporations regularly utilize outside printers for their large copying jobs.
We decided to join the fray.
After six months we moved out of the retail location to a large commercial space. We set up a sales plan, upgraded out equipment, hired professionals and started to grow.
We had a lot of competition. Some of our competitors were in business some 30 years before us. But we were innovative in our approach. We did things differently than our competitors; we came up with new procedures to improve our image, our service, our customer response and our general operation of business. We offered 24 hour pick up and delivery.
And it worked.
By 1990 we were doing $10 million dollars in sales (selling 10 cent copies) with a staff of 150 employees, two locations in New York and one location in Washington, D.C.
We were proud of three things:
1. We were very profitable.
2. We had customers who were with us for over 20 years.
3. Half of our staff was with us from the beginning.
Starting a business from scratch and building it to such a large company has provided us the opportunity to make all the mistakes that a business person would make. We learned from our mistakes and are glad to provide and share with you the knowledge we have acquired over the years of running a business.