There is a gap in our industry that must be addressed. We could argue there’s a gap across the globe in any industry. And that gap is created between doing what is right and ambition
The process of building America’s Print Show offers us a wonderful analogy to any entrepreneurial endeavor. Much too often, we let go of our dreams when they don’t pay dividends right off the bat. The beauty of this new show is that the stakeholders are committed to its future. They have no interest in setting an immediate financial goal that determines the show’s success. There is no predetermined figure that would force them to cut bait.
We all have heard the number of businesses that fail within the first year is extraordinarily high. But according to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy, roughly 80% of them survived the first year. And while that number might surprise you, only half survived the five-year mark.
There are a variety of reasons small businesses fail, but a few stick out among the rest. First, your offering must fit an explicit need. If no one wants what you’re selling, there’s not much you can do. The second is the lack of capital needed to operate the business.
In addition to the major reasons for falling short, other reasons for a lack of success include having the wrong team in place, staunch competition and having the wrong pricing strategy. So, while it’s encouraging to know that most ventures survive the first year, it may take the wind out of your sails to know that half of small businesses fail within the first five.
At APS, we discussed the reasons for business failure and are positioning our program for a greater likelihood of success. We have a bigger reason—a purpose if you will—that exists around this show that is fueling our efforts. The industry is craving something more intimate and sustainable, which is why America’s Print Show is built to serve. The process we’re going through to build this show includes a constant stream of communication and a multiple year commitment to be successful.
We could not be more excited about the first year, where we are laying the foundation and creating the structure to support the industry for years to come. In addition, we are building the kind of content that will resonate every day, underscoring the idea that we’re not simply putting together a trade show—we are building a community of engagement.
While we greatly appreciate the support of our first-year exhibitors, we don’t expect everyone to jump on board from the beginning, but we are establishing a platform that will be difficult to ignore. We believe that once people realize we’re doing our thing in an authentic and sincere manner, controlling demand will be a challenge.But that is not why we have done this.
There is a gap in our industry that must be addressed. We could argue there’s a gap across the globe in any industry. And that gap is created between doing what is right and ambition. The idea of doing everything for the almighty buck is not sustainable. People want to be inspired, motivated, and educated. Most importantly, they have a need to engage with others at this critical time.
To be clear, fulfilling a need and making a profit along the way is not a bad thing. But we cannot put the cart before the horse. To be successful, we must do it the right way. First and foremost, we are aiming to earn the respect of the industry. And that takes a level of willpower and accountability.
We realize that building community over the course of time is the new way to lead. The leaders of the past knew how to tell us what to do, but the leaders of the future, like you, will know how to ask. We want to create an environment where people feel open enough to ask for help, collaborate with others and learn from one another.
Our enthusiasm for the show in August has never been higher. We’re delighted with the response we’ve received, and the exhibitors seem eager for a more down-to-earth show. The attendees are looking for a casual, inspirational, and thoughtful environment. So, if we measure what we’ve done thus far, we know we’re on the right track. But the message is clear—this isn’t about our 2022 show. This is about our 2023 show and our 2024 show and beyond. It is about doing the kinds of things that can touch you every day—about giving our community, our industry a voice. This is about doing what is right, the right way. That’s what our success is predicated on.