Tech Tools And Your Shop

Business Lessons

Our smartphones are getting smarter, our computers are getting faster, and we live in a world of applications. This was not exactly the case back when we turned the corner into the new millennium. We all knew that “technology” would take over our day-to-day lives, but did we really expect for it to be this intense? We are all constantly wondering what the next “Uber” will be that wipes out an industry in a very short period of time, almost overnight

Being young and learning the very old trade of printing, I quickly realized that the screen printing business is more or less “old fashioned”. Does that mean that the way we run our shops should also remain old fashioned? Being in business with two individuals that have been printing their entire lives, I often ask them, what would happen if Amazon came out with two-day screen printing? What if they then opened a shop right next door to us? They never seem to have an answer, but it makes me believe that our industry is moving into a survival mode. When I took over my shop, we barely used any technology, and in the last two years we have made tremendous strides to automate, update, modernize and “get with it”. We have seen tremendous growth because of these updates.  A lot of other shops are also in this same boat.

Shops might be skeptical to try out new apps or software, in fear that it is going to be too hard to learn or a waste of money. In the last two years, I have changed a lot of the technology we use on a day to day basis. I am constantly looking for the latest and greatest tools to use in our business. I wouldn’t have been able to figure this all out, if I wasn’t willing to collaborate with others, bounce ideas off of other shops, and be open to learning. I feel like we are all slightly protective over our shops and we are careful not to spew out too much information, but it is up to our community to advance the industry before someone else sweeps in.

Meetups are awesome! This year I will be attending the PrintovationConf 2017 in Chicago to meet with leaders in the industry and other shop owners. I had a great experience at ISS Long Beach, where I met a lot of printers that are in similar situations I also met shops that were far larger than I could ever imagine and What I realized is that in person, everyone is extremely friendly and helpful, no matter how many autos you run.

I’ll highlight some of the tech moves I’ve experimented with in the last few years to give you an idea of where we are at.

  • We made the move over to Printavo first, to get our shop organized. Then we installed tablets, touch screen PC’s, and monitors all over our shop to make sure everyone could be on the same page.
  • Our entire company migrated over to Google GSuite for email, where we all started using digital calendars (what a leap).
  • We use an intercompany messaging tool called Slack to keep communication organized through channels.
  • We integrated with Square Reader and Stripe to make payment processing seamless.
  • We launched an e-commerce solution for our customers through platforms such as Shopify, Etsy, and Tilt.
  • We re-designed our website on a small budget using WordPress.
  • We launched a social media campaign and gathered over 4,000 followers on Facebook & Instagram using targeted ads.
  • We used Hootsuite to manage all our social media accounts.
  • We worked on SEO to get our google search up and launched Google AdWords campaigns.
  • We moved over to a company called Bench for our accounting (must try!)
  • We use an iPhone with DropBox to take photos of our jobs right after they finish so they can get uploaded to every invoice.
  • We use, ShipStation, and EasyPost for our shipping needs

By no means are we done yet, and by no means are we necessarily perfect at using any of these tools. I have a list of ten more that I still need to figure out! Every day I learn something new about one of these tools, and how to better integrate it into our business. Don’t get me wrong, we still have A LOT of old fashion practices, and every shop will have their unique quirks that make them different.  I absolutely love meeting new shop owners everyday, and hearing their stories. As always feel free to reach out to any of us to learn more.

This article was graciously provided by Steven Farag of Campus Sportswear 

Next Post: Thank You! #PrintovationConf2017

About Printavo

Printavo is simple shop management software. Whether your shop works with screen printing, embroidery, signage, digital printing, or awards & engraving–we make your complex workflow simpler to manage and understand. Printavo keeps your shop organized by handling scheduling, estimates, quote approvals, workflow, payments, accounting and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.

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