Andrew Field

35 posts
Business growth is great, but bigger challenges go with it - Andrew Field, CEO of PrintingForLess.com, provides tips and advice to help you chart a course for your business.
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Small Business in a Rough Economy

A crumbling stock market. The credit crunch. Gasoline approaching $4/gallon. Plummeting house prices. How are these impacting small businesses? At PFL, we talk to thousands of business people every week, most of them in companies with 20 or fewer employees. Small businesses are in touch with their customers, and can sense economic trends long before...
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Web 2.0 Stuff

Yesterday we interviewed a candidate for a software developer position. When we got to the part of the interview where we ask if he has any questions for us, he asked me “why haven't you updated your blog in a while?” I dug it a little bit and found out that part of his due...
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Startup Story

Maybe it's the soft spot in my heart for anyone brave or foolhardy enough to try a startup in the Rocky Mountain West, an area not known for its abundance of resources for entrepreneurs. Or maybe it's my admiration for someone who goes out and does what others say can't be done. Either way, I...
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Senior Managers: Build or Buy?

At PFL, we focus hard on developing leaders from within. A number of our senior people were originally hired into entry-level positions, and worked their way into positions with progressively greater responsibility. Nonetheless, I think a company needs to bring in some amount of outside talent in order to get fresh approaches and diverse experiences....
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Why Are You in Business?

A long vacation provides a much-needed break, but still affords opportunities to get interesting perspectives on how entrepreneurs view their businesses. We just spent a week with extended family on a beautiful island off the coast of British Columbia. A couple of lessons popped up, despite my desire to just take a break. First: the couple...
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More on Making Hay While the Sun Shines

Joel's post on working hard while customers are clamoring for your product or services struck a chord with me. A few of us at PFL were reminiscing yesterday about the "good old days" when we had to come in on Saturdays to process the overflow of orders that had come in during the week. At the...
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Learning From Others

One of the challenges faced by anyone running a start-up or small business is learning what you need to know, before your lack of knowledge trips you up big time. Reading business books and accessing online info like StartupNation are two important ways to learn. (Have you checked out 10 Steps to Grow Your Business lately?)...
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Reunions

I got a notice last week for my 30th high school reunion. (Please keep the age jokes to yourself...) I'm not sure if I'm going to go. I live 5 hours worth of air travel away, and have important meetings already scheduled on the same day. Beyond that, I'm not sure how I really feel about it....
achieving potential
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The Free Rider Problem

Thought leader Dave Bayless has a fascinating post on what he calls the Free Rider Problem. He posts that in a small company, everyone's contribution is visible and makes a big difference, but as a company grows, an increasing number of slackers sneak in, eventually driving out the high performers and leading to the death of the...
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First Impressions II

Thanks for the responses. The point of my post about the sign on the front desk of the Mill Creek Inn in Lake Geneva Wisconsin was not to opine about whether they have the right to set some parameters around the use of their facilities. They of course have the right to set policies that...
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Loneliness on Fathers’ Day

Seth Godin and his readers have some great observations on loneliness. Happy Fathers Day to all! http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/06/everyone_is_lon.html Please feel free to post comments here or to Seth directly. He has one of the most highly-visited blogs on the web. Andrew Field is President of PrintingForLess.com, known by its thousands of happy customers as "America's Print Shop."...
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Getting in Bed with Venture Capitalists

Marc Andreessen, famous co-founder of Netscape, finally comes clean with his opinions about entering a relationship with VC's. Bottom line: it ain't a free lunch. As a really smart entrepreneur I know says: "Partners are for dancing." http://blog.pmarca.com/2007/06/the_truth_about.html  There are a variety of circumstances where partnering with VC's is the best move. But before you...
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Are You Boring People to Death?

It slays me when a presenter in a meeting or at a conference throws up PowerPoint slides full of words, then proceeds to read them to the audience. I mean, if words alone are enough to communicate your ideas, send an email. If you use PowerPoint for sales presentations or internal communications, you've got to...
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Customer Intimacy

I've mentioned that PFL's business model is built on "customer intimacy," or knowing a lot about our customers and how each of them defines success for their small business. One obstacle we encounter is when growth and career moves force us to "churn" a team. So when we add a new team member, we proactively...
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Risky Business

We're in Miles City, Montana this weekend at the world famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale. What a blast! People come here from all over for a 3-day party in the streets, intermingled with auctions of bucking horses, a horse and tractor parade, craft shows and street dances. The bucking horses get ridden (few of...
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Dell to Model Customer Service after PFL

OK, maybe I'm extrapolating a little with that headline. But it is nice to see that Dell is looking at going to a team system for improved customer service. We made that move five years ago, and our customers love it. Check out this article from Service Untitled, which is a great site for all...
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PR: Working the Media

One of the best ways to grow your business without breaking the bank is to get free exposure for your company in the news media. Sounds great, but how do you actually get someone to publish the fawning puff piece you always wanted? A number of our managers attended a presentation last week by Cameron...
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Change of Scenery

I spent last week in Boston, Annapolis, and Washington, DC. While I dreaded spending an entire week out of the office -- and not on vacation -- it turns out it was time very well spent. Among other activities, I went to OnDemand, a major industry trade show. It was fascinating, and I met many...
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More on Computer Storage

A funny thing about being a new blogger is that I never know what is going to get people talking. My post on an easy-to-use Raid Array, which is designed to prevent loss of your important data, got lots of responses. A number of people pointed out that a RAID is no substitute for backing...
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Computer Stuff

One of the challenges faced by high-growth businesses is Information Technology, or IT. This broad category includes laptop and desktop computers, servers, file storage, internet service, phone systems, network gear, etc. Large corporations have massive IT departments to support their systems. Solo operations can usually get by with a consumer-grade setup. Those in between need...