Johannesburg - Even during tough economic times, there are opportunities for entrepreneurs to gain a foothold and the printing industry is no exception, said Steve Thobela, chief executive officer (CEO) of Printing SA.
He said one such gap is digital printing which is opening doors to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME’s).
“To fill these gaps, Printing SA provides entrepreneurship training and has also recently introduced a Digital Commercial Printing Training Programme. It can also provide a wide range of assistance to start-up businesses when it comes to compliance and labour issues.
This has led to the decline in the number of smaller lithographic commercial printers with many smaller companies being bought up by or merging with larger printing companies.
Thobela said there has been an increased demand for digital printing which can supply much smaller orders.
“This is evident in both the number of digital printing businesses and in the volumes that are passing through these businesses. This growth is largely due to their flexibility and the advantages that digital printing has when it comes to short print runs. It can accommodate both narrow and wide format printing requirements and meets many of today’s print demands.”
“When it comes to starting a small digital print business, the barriers to entry are pretty low. Anyone starting a business needs to have basic business skills and understand the legislation applicable to the areas in which they operate and, of course, they also need technical knowledge,”he said.
Gerhard Snyman,Printing SA member, and owner of Minuteman Press Hatfield, said: “With the help of today’s digital communication systems and social media, a small printing business can start relatively easy. It does not need a litho capacity but can get along with a decent digital printer and basic bindery equipment.”
Snyman said apart from having entrepreneurial flair and the courage to start up a business in the first place, a small business owner in the printing sector needs to have strong financial skills for managing cash flow on a day-to-day basis and developing profitable but competitive pricing structures, marketing skills and management skills that enable one to select the right staff, manage output and regulate quality.
“Attend member forums to learn about the latest industry developments and network with other members and suppliers,”he said.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE