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Interview With

Scott Conway

Jo Golding speaks to Scott Conway, managing director of Venture Banners, about its investments

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Scott Conway, managing director of Venture Banners, says his marketing background helps to guide printers in how to diversify

Major investments set to pay off

What is your role within Venture Banners and your background in the industry?

My role within Venture Banners continues to evolve as the company grows. I have done pretty much everything up to and including running our first Vutek, having always said I would not spend several hundred thousand pounds on anything and not know how to use it. That was a good few years ago and nowadays my role is becoming more and more strategic.

Myself and my business partner in Venture, Wayne Bodimeade, come from a motor trade marketing background,- so neither of us can claim to be ‘third generation’ printers and that, I am convinced, has been part of our success. We do not look at what we do as a printer would, rather than of facilitators helping other printers to diversify.

What is the history of the company and its original purpose?

In the motor trade, our department handled the marketing for 25 dealerships including brands such as Ford and Mercedes-Benz. We were buying lots of different types of print and we noticed the supply chain for large-format print, especially in small volumes, was problematic with service and pricing inconsistent. Our initial idea was to act as a broker compiling small orders from the print trade into large volumes and outsourcing that work to a print partner who understood our business model.

You can upload artwork to trade supplier Venture Banners’ website, where there is a guide taking you through the process

The business took off and very soon we were able to leave our day jobs to pursue Venture Banners on a full time basis from my garage, which we fitted out as our office. That was 2008 and we have gone through offices and industrial facilities to our new home for 2017, which is a 20,000 square foot, three floor purpose developed facility.

What are the benefits of sign-makers using a trade company such as Venture Banners over setting up their own production in-house?

Something we often hear from our customers is that it is cheaper for them to buy from us than it is to print it themselves and that is what we offer—an outsource partner that offers economies scale on the bread and butter work, so that you as a printer can concentrate your own resources on the more profitable areas of the market. For example, contra-vision or reverse printed window cling—high margin low volume work that we do not get involved in.

What are your future plans for Venture Banners in terms of expansion?

We have been busy planning a combined equipment and premises expansion all year and it is now just starting to come to fruition. We have bought another Vutek GS 3.2m to make sure we are able to handle an increase in the number and volumes of materials we offer. We have also bought an Mtex 3.2m dye-sublimation printer to further streamline and expand our textile offering and we have bought another Zund with additional tooling to make sure our finishing capabilities match our production capabilities. However, our biggest purchase is a new home for all of this new kit, a purpose developed 20,000sq ft facility, which we are hoping to move into over Christmas this year.

Our biggest purchase is a new home for all of this new kit, a purpose developed 20,000 square foot facility

With these new resources in place we will be in a superb position next year to offer our customers additional routes to market and further avenues to create new revenue streams. Exciting stuff indeed.

What has growth been like for Venture Banners over the last year?

We have always been very conscious of managing a sustained growth, it would be very easy to go hell for leather and then probably fall over somewhere down the line but that will not help anyone, particularly our customers who have come to rely on us. That said, over that last three years we have seen a 20 percent growth year-on-year and this year we have been planning a concerted expansion, which will take place over the next few months.

You recently wrote about the dangers of con-artists ripping off wide-format printers. Has this got any better and what can we do to overcome it?

I wrote that article because I was annoyed at how easily these scumbags were defrauding businesses out of their hard earned revenue. We managed to prevent at least fifteen of our customers getting fleeced but I cannot begin to imagine how many other printers got caught by the ‘overpayment’ scam where a substantial order is overpaid by £1,000 and the victim is asked to ‘return the money’. The problem arises when the money for the original order bounces and the victim is left a grand out of pocket having transferred the overpayment back.

The only way to prevent getting caught by these scams is to stop and think before transferring any money. Check and double check, who are they, is it a new customer, have they transferred cleared funds?

Key Stats

  • 20,000sq ft new facility bought
  • 20 percent growth year-on-year for last 3 years
  • Move into new facility end of 2016
  • Bought a new Vutek GS 3.2m

For the full interview go to www.signlink.co.uk and search ‘Conway’.

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