On November 22nd, a group of 17 YP members got the chance to visit with Dave Nelson of Image Printing. Image Printing started 23 years ago when Dave Nelson and his partner Todd Clausnitzer decided to become small business owners. They now have 40 employees and are conducting business in 22 states. They also put the 1st 6-color press in the state of ND.
Dave began by speaking on the four ways you can accumulate wealth:
- You can earn it
- You can get it (by inheritance, lottery, etc.)
- You can build it – This was Dave’s philosophy and continues to be.
- You can buy it
A huge concern for many businesses in the Bismarck/Mandan area is keeping their employees and attracting new ones. Their turnover over their 23 year span has been extremely low. Unbelievably, Image Printing has only lost 4 production workers during the last 20 years. This is definitely not by accident. One of the ways they differentiate themselves from others is that the original 13 employees were all given opportunities to buy stock in the company. It created a value proposition for those employees because they were now owners of the company.
Another key to success and longevity would include the fact that they have always paid a dividend to their shareholder. Dave stressed the importance of listening to his employees. The same applies to their customers. If you listen closely, the customer will tell you what they want. You must always communicate value and deliver that value proposition. Image Printing has a unique culture in the respect that there are no titles. Your name badge says, “Dave Nelson” or “Jessica Clausnitzer”. Anyone at any time has a voice and can make a suggestion that they feel is beneficial to the company.
Dave had and continues to have the “build it” mentality. He continues to model the company’s growth, evaluate risks, and make smart decisions for his business. He isn’t afraid to lean on successful people and pick their brains when he has the opportunity. He has helped grow Image Printing into the large, dynamic, full-service facility that it is today. He hopes to one day get into the consulting side of business when he decides to take on a smaller role at Image Printing.
Dave encouraged the YP members present to continue to build their professional network and get out of their comfort zone if they want to be successful. He wants to know who the future business/community leaders are and how they are going about their paths to success. It was clear from his presentation that having a solid network is key. There are professionals out there who can offer insight on partnerships, financing, legal structure, etc. Having a vision and big ideas are just the beginning.
Thanks Dave Nelson for a very fun, educating, and thought-provoking Entrepreneurs Among Us event.