When printing business gets tough the tough printers get going.

In a printing world where survival has become as tricky as catching a greased-up “obokun” fish, we have now seemingly found ourselves in the midst of a post-apocalyptic cityscape. Systems are crumbling, and nature has decided to reclaim its unkept territory, turning the printing streets into a chaotic jungle. Survival is no longer a walk in the park; it’s more like a marathon through a racing hurdle designed by a mischievous, drunken goat (as stubborn as it could get).

As we cautiously navigate the streets of printing, we encounter a band of survivors who have transformed into fashion-forward warriors, plenty thanks to the Nigerian resiliency which will always kick in. Forget traditional armory and weaponry; they no longer work; brave souls have embraced their inner creativity. They are like a group of humans dressed head to toe in neon-colored spandex, complete with flowing white garment church styled capes billowing in the wind. Signifying todays weapons of choice? They are definitely an assortment of absurd gadgets that defy all known logic. For instance, we see young innovative printers engaging the fashion value chain, setting up lounges for pop ups and they themselves creating clothing brands to showcase what the fashion industry should be printing, or even traditional offset printers beginning to create more intermarriages with the packaging clan, offset printing are being abandoned for flexographic printing process. Or those using prints to recreate personal experiences and lasting souvenir like memories on gift items or giveaways. Pockets of survivors are reinventing to agree with the popular saying that “necessity indeed being the mother of invention”

In this peculiar world, resource gathering has suddenly become a competitive sport. Picture survivors embarking on epic quests to scavenge for supplies. But instead of quietly rummaging through abandoned garbage like our popular “iron condemn” does, they engage in full-blown pillow fights over the last bottle of inks and consumables. We have suddenly arrived at a world where everyone is tactically avoiding importation, yet we are still far from becoming a producing economy.

Even selling prints becomes an absurd challenge. Picture a once-gracious printing hub now a battleground for gastronomic glory. Survivors must navigate a labyrinth of trap-laden dusty and unused printing equipment, dodging cascades of realms of unused paper, already showing signs of discolouration, and dried inks everywhere. The goal? To remind us of the past glorious printing days and how we probably haven’t managed resource adequately. We have messed up!

Amidst the chaos of increased cost of living endeared by government’s “abrupt” removal of subsidy coupled with prolonged years of mediocrity and terrible leadership, competitors giggle and laugh at each other for foolishly engaging in unholy price war and acute lack of collaboration, they now play draught, take a long bite of days old “palmie” to end up getting their faces buried under a mountain of shame and disgust anytime conversations of the past printing boom springs up. Raising up a flag of “had I know”, full of sweat as thick as blood. What a shame!!

But it’s not all doom and gloom in this survival comedy…

Imagine a group of friends sitting around a makeshift campfire, regaling each other with tales of their most outrageous encounters. Each story becomes a hilarious exaggeration, where Laughter echoes through the wasteland, reminding everyone that even in the face of hardship, a good dose of humour can be the best survival tool. So, when survival has become an uproarious circus act, remember to find the laughter in the chaos. The comedy is not about to end but a full dose of laughing at ourselves can trigger doses of fresh emotions, new insights to collaborative ideas that has always helped businesses with similar problems thrive and a renewed hope glazed with new positive energy and good vibes only to ensure we can collectively deal with the following;

  1. Diversification that comes with new trends and lifestyles
  2. Embracing new print technologies and creativity in fund raising to make new things happen
  3. Increasingly focus on value addition and sustainable practices
  4. Developing strategic partnerships driven by real-time customer-centric approach
  5. Reinventing unconventional marketing approach and activating active online presence
  6. Putting in place a mechanism for continuous improvement
  7. Adding an effective financial management system
  8. Positioning for adaptability and business resilience

Believe me, a different mindset and the ability to pivot will enable us overcome this present and future obstacles and help us thrive in difficult times. Our prayer is that as the printing industry evolves and position itself to succeed even in the face of global hardships may we the practitioners also succeed in leaps and bounds.

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