We spent five minutes with Theo Pettaras, founder of Digitalpress to discuss innovation and flexibility in the face of change.
What makes Digitalpress different?
We pride ourselves in being extremely innovative; we’re constantly searching for ways to enable our clients to benefit from the best possible technology available.
After 15 years working in off-set print, you started Digitalpress in 2005, focussing on exclusively digital print solutions. Some might argue that this was a risky move. What challenges did you face as a start-up?
Traditional printing became very competitive. The industry was becoming commodity driven and I wanted to change direction and bring creativity back to the industry.
At the same time, digital printing was developing into an exciting new area. I saw a gap in the industry for high quality, diverse, digital print producers. It became my goal to fill that gap.
It was indeed a risky move; apart from the obvious capital costs to set up, there was also need to educate the market about the new technology available. We found that even some of Australia’s best designers were not aware of the possibilities offered by digital printing.
We learnt very quickly that education needed to be an integral part of our business model; your clients can’t purchase a product or service if they don’t know it’s available.
We believe in keeping people informed and interested, and therefore we use a combination of marketing approaches including social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, blogs), monthly newsletters, and design/marketing publications to showcase work/developments/ideas.
With the introduction of smart phones and e-readers many say that “print is dead,” how do you maintain your position in a declining industry?
This is an interesting question, one I am often asked.
The print industry faces significant challenges due to the online revolution. With constant connectivity and information overload, it’s becoming harder to communicate clearly with the printed message.
It’s important for us printers to offer a strong point of difference. Rather than feeling threatened by the new technology we’ve chosen to embrace it. Printing companies are evolving into cross-media service providers; we don’t just print but offer a full range of marketing services that includes print, email and sms for example.
Businesses in any industry need to embrace change and adapt rather than fear it.
You describe yourself as a ‘print innovator.’ Does this innovation apply to your business practices?
Absolutely. My email signature finishes with the quote; “Innovation is an instrument that endows resources with a new capacity to create successful outcomes.”
I developed this quote as a constant reminder not just for me but for the recipients of my emails to embrace innovation.
Innovation plays an integral part in our business we need to demonstrate to our clients we are always trying to find new and better ways of doing things. We’re currently working towards new ways to make ordering easier for our clients. Innovating not just the product we deliver but how it is delivered.
In just six years, Digitalpress is now a multi-award winning company at the forefront of the print industry. In the face of such growth, how important has it been to seek objective business advice?
As a business owner you have to realise that you have limitations. You simply cannot have all the answers and certainly you can’t expect your staff too either.
That’s why we rely on expert accountants and business advisors. I have regular meetings and phone calls with my advisor at William Buck to make sure I’m on the right track and discuss new ideas. Bringing in specialist advice when its needed means I can focus on the things I do best.
What’s the most valuable piece of business advice you’ve received?
When I was a teenager, I worked in my Dad’s deli. He once told me “look after the customer, they may be buying devon today but tomorrow they will buy smoked salmon”.
It’s pretty sound advice; I remind my staff that every client deserves the best service they can provide; not just the big fish.
What makes you get up in the morning?
Seeing ideas come to fruition, developing new digital techniques, working with great people, collaborating with creative minds, learning from mistakes and knowing that my contribution in the industry will play an important role in the industry for the future.
Digitalpress has been a client of William Buck’s for over five years.