The end of any calendar year is often a flurry of activity. As a company, we are trying to close out the year strong, plan around holidays, get a team back and forth from our big convention, and develop plans for the new year. In all this activity it can be hard to take a few moments and reflect on what all we accomplished this year. Below are a few highlights that we experienced as a company in 2019.
- +20% Revenue Growth – To survive you must be growing and improving. I take this growth as affirmation that we are doing lots of things right and we have a great product. Luckily, we have a tremendous team, customers, and partners close to us that enable this growth. 13 years ago, I would have never pictured a company with this kind of revenue and growth. We earned a spot on the Inc 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in the US for the second straight year and expect to make it three in a row with such a strong 2019. The best part is that we are nowhere near our limits.
- Weddings, babies, houses, and cars – The reason Team Fitz Graphics exists is not only to provide a great looking product that recognizes athletes and makes schools proud. It is also to help grow, support, and sustain the individuals of our staff and their families. One of our goals is to reduce the stresses that typically come from employment that might delay big life changes such as these. We had multiple causes of celebration internally this year. It is wonderful to be able to share in that joy.
- 10 years attending the National AD Convention – Our first National AD Convention we showed up with a hodge-podge booth, little understanding of what we were getting into, and a lot of enthusiasm. Luckily, we had a successful first year. Since then we have gained a lot of experience, grown our team, and invested in our display. These changes have made it a tremendous event each year. Every year we recognize more faces while still meeting new ones. This was the first year I did not make the travel squad, and I am incredibly proud of our team that did attend to continue the tradition.
- Thousands of new customers and even more returning customers – I remember when we used to count customers in the dozens and then the hundreds. We have always had a good split of new versus existing customers and while new customers can be exciting, it is always awesome to see how many customers come back to us year after year. A sincere thank you to every new customer, existing customer, and all potential customers.
- Overall improvement as a company – The theme for 2019 was to get better as a company. While growth was always part of the plan, we wanted to lean in and get better at our craft. We targeted reducing design time, reduction in production time, and reducing waste. Some of those initiatives seemed ambitious and daunting, but when our big rush came during the summer, we had redefined many of our processes and got a lot more efficient internally than we thought possible. These improvements translated throughout the company and hopefully our customers encountered a better experience, quicker response and turn times, and even greater quality. For 2020, the theme will be building on what we have created and getting stronger. To me, getting stronger means reinvestment in our customers, our people, our products, and our processes. Improvement is a constant process and one that occurs in small steps over time. In 2020, our focus will be on the following:
- Continued growth – Since inception, Team Fitz has grown 20% to 40% in revenue every year. Even with this growth, we are nowhere near hitting our limits. We see tremendous opportunity to better serve our existing customers as well as seeking new and related customers. Schools and athletic programs have always been our niche and it will continue to be our core focus for 2020.
- Reduction of waste – Waste presents itself in several ways within our company. The most visible source of waste is when reprints or reproductions must occur. We want to maintain the responsibility for our product and will go out of our way to take care of customers, but catching errors or defects earlier in the process is essential. In addition to the physical waste, we will analyze waste within processes that lead to longer lead times, response times, or product delivery times. We want to be known as the experts in our industry and strive to make working with us as easy as possible. Through refinement of our processes we will keep our edge on the competition and execute the best product possible.
- Product development – Whether it is improving existing product offerings or introducing new products, we will be investing the time and resources to bring innovation to our product lines. The world of printing is moving fast and we want to be on the edge of those trends. In 2019 we introduced fabric wall graphics, we re-engineered and improved our slide-in record board products, we expanded our custom cut capabilities, and we invested to maintain ourselves as design leaders in the industry. For 2020, we have similar initiatives in place, so be on the lookout for new and improved product offerings.
- Grow customer relationships – Gaining new customers will help us grow, but only if we do a great job with current customers. Over the years, the best leads we get are through referrals. Athletic directors, coaches, school administration, and facility directors are a tight group. We know they talk to each other. We must do a great job with the customers we have if we are ever going to expect to get new customers. Doing a great job with current customers means being responsive, following up after the sale, offering to be a point of contact for questions, and having a genuine interest in the individual. Luckily, I think we have a great team who truly cares about our customers and what our products represents. It is our job to never lose that focus.
A sincere thank you to all our customers, our employees, our employees’ families, our suppliers, our vendors, and anyone else we got to work with in 2019. We had a tremendous year and the plan is to continue the momentum into 2020.
Director of Operations / Owner