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For Success in Print Procurement, Focus on Leverage Points

When 1930s bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he supposedly answered, “Because that’s where the money is.” (He later denied making the statement that became known as Sutton’s Law.) Nonetheless, that’s where you want to go in business, too, writes author and marketing expert Allan Dib: Focus your efforts where the money is—or on the activities with the greatest impact on your bottom line or net profit. Print procurement follows a similar concept.

The activities that generate exponential improvement are your leverage points. In his book The 1-Page Marketing Plan, Dib cites the often-quoted 80/20 rule that 20% of your efforts generate 80% of your results. So, you should focus on the 20%. But he takes it further, arguing for a 64/4 rule, which comes from applying the 80/20 rule to itself, taking 20% of the 20% and 80% of the 80%. By this, he means drilling down to the vital 4% of your activities that generate 64% of your results.

Cutting out the marginal activities and focusing on the impactful 20% or, better yet, the 4%, will put you on the “fastest track to success,” Dib says, because these activities equate to more money for less work.

Leverage points in your business might include: 

  • Money—being able to borrow in order to invest
  • Time—being both efficient and effective
  • Technology—using it to make more sales faster
  • Your systems—giving your business the ability to scale up
  • Marketing—having a strategic plan to increase your sales

You might also succeed by embracing and leveraging change—for instance, serving a new need created by the pandemic. But Dib contends that small and mid-sized businesses get the most success from leveraging marketing and technology.

For example, improving a few key marketing numbers—leads, conversion rate and average transaction value—just a little has a huge impact on your bottom line. And leveraging technology helps you improve your numbers.

Technology in print procurement

If your business is print procurement, or if print procurement is a critical component of what you do, technology is likely a leverage point. Dib argues that technology’s purpose is to eliminate friction, especially friction between you and your customers (technology should pave the way to sales).

Yet technology often ends up creating friction. Print procurement vendors and brokers often use traditional methods for managing projects that, in today’s world, have become the most cumbersome systems conceivable. 

Dib recommends rethinking each piece of technology you use and ensuring that it meets a specific, measurable goal.  If you’re not using purpose-built print management software, you’re ignoring a key leverage point or opportunity to go “where the money is.”

What are your business’s key leverage points?