Philie Group Blog

Back to Normal May Not be Good Enough
By Mike Philie

The print market recovery has begun to show signs of life. Not everyone was affected equally early on, and the rebound has shown to be inconsistent throughout the regions. We hear of many firms looking forward to getting back to normal — that may take some time still, but we remain cautiously optimistic.


Many things have changed this last year. How and where folks work, how they shop and learn, and what they do for fun and recreation. How will those changes impact the client base you had pre-COVID and how have the changes that you’ve made to your business change what normal looks like for you?


When you examine your customer base, ask yourself which groups will prevail when the business climate fully resumes. And when they do re-engage, will their needs and how they conduct their business be the same or different than before?


Your business looks different than it did 12 months ago too. You’ve spent time and resources to re-tool and re-imagine your offering, your workflow and your staff. The challenge for business owners will be to prepare for an operating environment that is, or will be, and not the one from yesterday.


We are in a transitioning landscape — understand a business world that is, and like it or not, it’s the cards you’ve been dealt. While you’ll still make money spinning cylinders and generating clicks, the rate and pace of change, particularly in how you get business, has accelerated.


Your current and future clients — identify the key opportunities in your markets, what is an “essential business and what does your “new” new business development strategy look like. Make sure to place an emphasis on the steps, metrics and accountability to use for customer growth, retention and reaching out to inactive clients.


Your team — is everyone in the right roles today? Do they have the ability to learn and adapt to the challenges of today, and are you breaking down the internal silos and external obstacles that might hold you back? The strength of your team will have a direct correlation to your ability to maneuver through the changing landscape of your opportunities.


From plan to process — leading, managing, coaching and keeping score using smart goals and setting expectations has never been more important. Set the bar too low and you might reach it, not high enough and you fail to reach your true potential. Don’t just compare yourself to others, compare yourself to yesterday’s performance and set the bar relative to the commitment you’ve made to making your business the best it can be. If you have any comments or thoughts as to how you’ve approached these issues, please send me a note or include them below.


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 advice, 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


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