PRINTING United Alliance celebrated Earth Day 2021 by recognizing the recipients of its annual Sustainable Business Recognition Awards Program.
 
Member companies submit details about their sustainable business practices, operations instituted in reducing the company’s environmental footprint, improvements to employee safety and well-being, all while optimizing the company’s bottom line. All applications are reviewed and recommended for award designation by PRINTING United Alliance’s high-profile Sustainability, Safety, Health and Personnel Advisory Council.

PRINTING United Alliance today announced the recipients of its annual Safety Recognition Program Award for safety efforts put into place throughout 2020. This annual program recognizes member companies that achieved excellence in safety through the implementation of significant safety initiatives. Participants must complete certain actions to earn points and are recognized with this special award for year-round safety efforts which include: the creation or modification of a dedicated safety training program for new employees, extensive employee safety training, new safety policy implementation, and more.

The PRINTING United Alliance Safety Recognition Program Award recipients for 2020 initiatives are as follows:

First place: Image Options
Second place: Signcraft Screenprint
Third place: BindTech

  • Acchroma a VGU Industries Company
  • ADI Displays
  • Albert Basse Associates Inc.
  • Ampco Manufacturers Inc.
  • Auto Trim Design Inc.
  • Beacon Promotions A Hub Pen Company
  • Federal Health
  • Gillespie Graphics
  • Global Products Inc.
  • Graphic Ad Ltd.
  • Graphics Output
  • Horizons Inc.
  • LEM Products Inc.
  • Signature Graphix & Signs
  • Stahls’ Transfer Express
  • Tapecon Inc.
  • TouchMark a division of Delphon Industries

“Today we are pleased to honor those PRINTING United Alliance member companies that took their safety programs to the next level,” said Marci Kinter, Vice President, Government & Regulatory Affairs, PRINTING United Alliance. “Health and safety are of critical importance in business operations every day, but even more so amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We celebrate these companies that are making a difference and keeping their employees and their operations as safe as possible. We look forward to seeing how these companies continue to raise the bar in 2021.”

To learn more about this program, or other exclusive member programs and initiatives for your business, visit: sgia.org/programs/safety-recognition.

About PRINTING United Alliance  

PRINTING United Alliance is the most comprehensive member-based printing and graphic arts association in the United States, comprised of the vast communities which it represents. The Alliance serves industry professionals across market segments with preeminent education, training, workshops, events, research, government and legislative representation, safety, and environmental sustainability guidance, as well as resources from the leading media company in the industry – NAPCO Media.

PRINTING United Alliance produces the PRINTING United Expo, the most influential days in printing. The expansive display of technology and supplies, education, programming, and services are showcased to the industry at large, and represents all market segments in one easily accessed place. For more information, visit PRINTINGUnited.com.

Any slowdown in the pace of M&As among printing and packaging firms is only temporary. The industry is recovering, buyers are flexible, and the fundamental forces that drive M&A activity are still in play.

We haven’t arrived yet, but at least we know that there’s a “there” there — and that we’re closing the distance between ourselves and it. With a return to normal business conditions in sight, we are already seeing a pickup in activity for mergers and acquisitions in printing and packaging in 2021.

2020 put a serious damper on industry sales, although packaging firms generally fared better than commercial printing businesses. The latest NAPCO Research/PRINTING United Alliance COVID-19 Print Business Indicators Survey tells us that, toward the end of the year, more companies were starting to report upward trends in business activity than those reporting declines. Encouragingly, PRINTING United Alliance economists are holding to their projection of sales growth between 2.5% and 4% this year.

This doesn’t add up to a complete rebound for M&A activity, at least not right away. Many companies continue to struggle, and many potential sellers, focused on restoring their businesses to full health, have back-
burnered their selling plans for now. In any case, it will be difficult to determine valuations until the market settles down and nervousness about the future subsides.

Buyers Haven’t Gone Anywhere

That said, owners whose print and packaging businesses came through the pandemic’s first year in reasonably good shape are still well positioned to sell on acceptable terms. This is because the buyers haven’t gone anywhere, even though they may have shifted into a lower gear for the same reasons sellers have. They still have cash, and as they scan the print and packaging segments for opportunities, their motivation remains high.

There are two kinds of buyers: strategic and financial. Those in the first group mostly are print and packaging firms looking to acquire other print and packaging firms for strategic reasons. These could include bringing in new volumes of business, in the form of acquired accounts, when organic growth has stalled; expanding into new geographical territories; and adding technologies, products, and services that the acquiring firm does not have.

Financial buyers are investors — financiers seeking a return on their investments in sectors where they see that prospects for growth are good. Using both borrowed money and private capital, they seek out solidly-performing acquisition targets they believe they can make even more profitable; or that they can add to a platform of similar companies previously acquired. The high flyers in this group are the private equity (PE) firms: boutique investors with access to capital from high-net-worth individuals and other well-funded sources.

Since COVID, we’ve been seeing some hesitancy on the part of strategic buyers, who are concentrating on getting their own houses in order as they try to determine what the recovery will look like and how the lending environment might change. But, many of these buyers have excess capacity to fill, and they know that they can’t postpone acquiring new accounts indefinitely.

The financial buyers, meanwhile, have a lot of money that they don’t want to keep sitting on the sidelines. We think that these trends will converge at some point this year in a renewed surge of M&A activity.

Sellers Still Want to Sell

It’s important to remember that many firms have not been negatively impacted by COVID. In fact, many packaging, label, and niche commercial printers have seen their sales and profits grow in the past year. These COVID winners are busy, and they’re enjoying great valuations right now.

Many of the COVID wounded were bolstered by forgivable loans from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which received a second round of funding in January. These firms are planning on returning to the market after the current qualification period ends.

Meanwhile, the availability of cheap and plentiful money for financing acquisitions is supporting solid multiples — some of the best we’ve in the last 10 years. Proposed increases in capital gain rates are driving many sellers to close their deals before year-end. As strategic buyers who were reluctant to perform due diligence during COVID get back into action, we foresee a return to robust activity.

Another positive sign is the flexibility that some buyers are showing in the way they structure deals with COVID-impacted sellers. In cases where the seller has recovered quickly, the buyer may be willing to remove the two or three months of poor results and plug in the same number of months from the pre-COVID year, so that there’s no penalty to the calculation of selling price. (We call this EBITDAC: Earnings Before Interest, Taxation, Depreciation, Amortization, and Coronavirus.)

In the same spirit of accommodation, some buyers will acquire on the basis of 2020 numbers and then wait to see if performance in 2021 rebounds to what it was in 2019. If this happens, the seller gets an earnout — in effect, a second paycheck — to make up the difference between the initial selling price and the adjusted one.

Hope in Distress

We wish we could say that every printing business is looking at good options like these, but the sad fact is that for some of them, the damage done by the pandemic has been too severe. These firms have been staying open mostly by virtue of their PPP loans. Once that resource is exhausted, however, they will have some tough choices to make.

Liquidating press equipment and other assets probably won’t be advisable, given that liquidation values currently are low. We think this will lead to an uptick in opportunities for tuck-ins and cashless mergers once troubled owners realize there are alternatives to locking the doors and selling everything off. When done correctly, these transactions create value for buyer and seller alike, even if the seller is struggling financially.

The Watchword Is Optimism

A year ago, in a forecast published in these pages during some of the worst moments of the pandemic, we acknowledged that, in the short-term, we didn’t know what would happen — the upheaval to the economy had been too sudden, and it was too soon to measure the extent of the loss. We also said that as the threat of the virus started to fade, and the economy began to rebound, M&A activity would rebound along with it.

We’re sticking by that prediction. Today we have vaccines, hope, and a powerful pent-up desire to get back into the normal rhythms of business. The printing and packaging industries remain among the most highly fragmented industries in the U.S., and fragmented industries inevitably consolidate through M&As. Owners of printing and packaging companies who are ready to move onto the next stages of their lives continue to search for profitable exit strategies.

We still don’t know exactly what will happen, but we’re confident that any slowdown in the pace of deal closings is only temporary. As always, those thinking about deals of their own on either the buying or the selling side are invited to discuss their aspirations with us. We’re in the listening business.

ou can wow your audience with a great webinar. It takes a strategy and planning. Webinars are now an essential tool to engage your customers and prospects and support your sales team.

In my last post, I covered the strategy for planning your webinar content and logistics. The five strategies include:

  1. Plan relevant content
  2. Shorter is better
  3. Bring in the Pros
  4. Leverage multi-channel promotion
  5. Have a back-up plan

Now it’s time to get to work and develop your tactics to deliver your content and engage your audience throughout your event.

1. Deploy Your Communications Plan

With your planned email invites and social media posts, test all your communications and proof your copy so it is clear and concise.

Related story: Webinars that Wow Part 1: 5 Strategies to Engage Your Audience

Never underestimate the power of a personal invite for your event. If there are select people you want to attend, call them, and let them know why the webinar is going to be relevant for them. We are all experiencing information, and email overload. Personal invitations drive attendance. And your personal invite will make your customer feel special.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Yes, it’s still true. Great events don’t just happen. The speakers practice. They test the technology, audio, lighting, and screen sharing. They know the content. Schedule and plan a dry run using all the tools for the live event. If there are three or more speakers, consider dry-run rehearsals to button up the transitions between speakers.

3. Your Voice is Your Tool

Even great content is unappealing if delivered in a monotone, boring way. Practice your delivery to vary your pitch, volume, and tone. Practice modulating your voice. Variety in delivery keeps the audience tuned in. Two voices are better than one. Whether you use a facilitator or co-presenter. Having two speakers makes a more lively and engaging presentation. Be your authentic self. Don’t try to imitate how someone else speaks or presents. If you use humor, you as the speaker need to be the butt of the joke.

4. Smile for the Camera

Many of us have adjusted to being more comfortable in video meetings. In the last year I have coached many presenters for their first webinars. Smile and learn to love your webcam. Look at your camera, not the video feed. Place a small, printed picture of the face of someone you love next to your camera to remind yourself to look at the camera. If you use multiple monitors, position your camera so you can focus on it and not the other monitors while presenting.  Use a light that shines on your face.

5.  Can You Hear Me Now?

Sound is the most important element to engaging the audience. If the sound is not crisp and clear you’ll lose the audience, quickly. If your built-in microphone does not sound great invest in a wired microphone.

6. Pictures Say More than Words

Great slides support your message providing visual reference and memory hooks for the audience. Good design practices use more images, less text. Have only one or two ideas on any slide. Readable fonts on small screens are 20-point size or larger. Great design effectively uses color and graphics to engage.

7. Engage Your Audience

How to deliver the Wow? Start on time. Not two or three minutes late. Be punctual and respect your audience with a prompt start.

Engage the audience with polls, chat, and questions at the start and throughout.

Having a facilitator to support technology and audience participation makes audience engagement much easier for the presenter. 

For the question-and-answer segment, prepare three questions to ask in case the audience is initially quiet. Without questions, it seems like your content was not of interest or informative. The facilitator or a colleague can ask the questions. As the presenter jump in and pose a question from the ones you have prepared. Typically, the audience will engage after the first question is asked.

8. Follow-Up with Relevant Information

After the event, send one message to those that attended including the recording replay link and additional links to relevant content. Use the registration data to send a slightly different message to those who registered but were unable to attend. And consider sending the recording link and other relevant content to some contacts who did not register for your webinar but fit your profile for highly desirable contacts. Those who could benefit from the content. Send them a personalized email with the link and additional resources.

Great online events take thoughtful planning to execute and deliver. Great webinars inform, persuade and educate participants. Wow your audience to take action. Consider how you can host impactful webinars to support your sales, marketing and customer communications. Would you like further ideas to run a successful webinar or online event? Please email me to arrange a phone call.

You hire a web designing company, first chalk out your estem marketing goals and understand how you plan to make use of your website to the maximum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet abitir est nullam.

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