Philie Group Blog

Action Ideas to Consider as Your Print Business Pauses Due to Health Crisis
By Mike Philie

Triggering events can cause disruption to any business. Disruption can lead to new opportunities, or become huge challenges. One determining factor is the baseline from which you are working from. That is, where were you and how could these changes have an effect on your business. Today we contend with a world-wide pandemic that poses an immediate threat to almost all businesses — how’s that for a triggering event!


Reading the daily news headlines can cause staggering inaction and paralysis. The things that flash through your brain while wide awake in the middle of the night include the health and recovery challenges for your family, your people, and your business. The lens you view these through, though, play a factor in how, and how long it takes you to re-start your engine.


The business has taken a pause, and the level of pause is different for each company. During this time, you take care of your people, keep them safe, and manage the checkbook. But what else to do until this rescinds? In “normal times” if you were trying to transform your business I would begin by focusing on your people, your plan, and the level of perseverance you and the company has. Well, these are not normal times, but I believe that these three areas are a good place to start.


We’ve all seen the scene where the grandchild is sitting on grandpa’s lap and asks, “grandpa, what did you do during the war?” Well, fast forward and be prepared to answer the question, “what did you do during the health crisis?” And, my guess is that you’ll answer that based on the lens you decide to view things through. Also, your answer may be predicated on what do you want your business to look like on the other side? Here are some ideas to consider during your pause.


  • Your people
    • The table stakes for people include ongoing communication with everyone, keeping them safe, keeping the environment in your business safe and following all the health crisis guidelines.
    • From there, identify who needs to be cross trained, who needs a deeper dive into those applications that you paid for last year and who are your “unsung heroes” that can help you convey and carry on a sense of normalcy (as best they can) during these times.
    • Create small groups of people to share your thoughts with and enlist them to generate some ideas of how you can do things better and add more value to your customers.
  • Your process
    • Maybe it wasn’t broke, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t fix it! How can you work to remove non value-added steps and touches out of your workflow to increase the throughput and velocity of the work going through the shop. Whether it is offset, digital, wide-format, mailing, or anything else you do, how can you do it better?
    • What applications or technology do you have that can be better optimized to enhance your offering and results?
  • Your perseverance
    • These are challenging times at best and your perseverance will be tested. As you lead your business through this crisis, you will be faced with uncomfortable choices and decisions to be made. You didn’t sign up for these, but here you are. You’ll need a steady hand and the ongoing advice of your inner circle to help guide you to the best decisions.
    • For some it’s a focus on keeping the business a business with an emphasis on liquidity and solvency — survival instincts will kick in.
    • Some may focus their resolve on finding opportunities that will help to grow their business.
    • And for others, this triggering event will be the catalyst to look for an exit strategy.


Working on your business right now is a must-have. Don’t try to be the hero and shoulder everything yourself. Keep your inner circle involved, delegate, and make the decisions that will enable your business to be even better coming out of this health crisis than it was going in. I hope that you are all OK. If I can be helpful in any way with ideas or to validate your plans, please leave a comment or reach out directly.


Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at, LinkedIn or email at

This blog originally published in Printing Impressions



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