By Patricia Bardin, manager, global small business (SMB) content strategy, former SMB founder and consultant
March 3, 2023
From reducing marketing costs to providing personalized customer materials, here are 12 answers from small business owners themselves to the questions, "Why has it been essential to have a printer for your small business? How does it elevate your small business to professional status?"
Learn more about how 12 thriving business owners:
"Acquiring a printer helps our business in two major ways. It helps us create marketing materials from our own offices and keeps important business documents and records secure.
Having a printer allows us to print promotional materials such as flyers, business cards, and brochures for a fraction of the cost of commercial printing. While there are several new channels available for marketing, such as social media platforms, printed marketing materials still prove to be very effective, especially on local markets and in-person marketing at conferences. We can also print important business records and documents on-demand for mailing and keeping a physical copy.
Again, other digitalized ways of doing this are available through cloud storage for files and emailing documents. However, keeping a physical copy of documents such as receipts, contracts, and financial statements is extremely important, especially when being audited."
"When I create a new resume for clients from a blank page, it involves writing and formatting on my laptop while looking at multiple additional sources — the client's worksheet, my notes on our phone conversation, their old resume, etc.
It's far easier for me to do that with printed documents rather than using four computer monitors at once. It's easier to take 10 pages to the coffee shop, library, or beach to work rather than trying to pack up four screens. Plus, whether I'm writing resumes or working on my next job search book, nothing really replaces proofreading a printed document."
"I have been in business for 15 years, and there hasn't been a day that we haven't used our printer. Anyone who ships a lot of packages needs to create a master scan form to give to the pickup driver, so they don't have to manually scan every package.
We print these forms at the end of the day, so the USPS or FedEx driver doesn't have to sit in our office scanning hundreds of packages every day.
If we didn't have a printer to print this form, our pickup drivers wouldn't enjoy coming to our office. We don't need to have a color printer, but a quality laser printer that will start to print the first page quickly."
I have been in business for 15 years, and there hasn't been a day that we haven't used our printer."
"For us, having a printer has allowed us to back up critical company documents, including company policies, accounting and payroll records, project documentation, as well as annual team budgets. This way, even if our digital assets are compromised or our tech systems fail, resulting in data loss, we have physical copies available that will enable us to continue operating.
With cybersecurity threats expected to increase nearly five-fold within the next three years or so, it's important for small businesses to incorporate printed hard copies into their disaster mitigation and recovery plans."
"We'd be lost without our printer at my medical practice. One of the biggest ways we use it is to print before-and-after photos of my hair restoration patients' results. Sure, you can view them on a screen, but it just doesn't pack as big of a punch as holding the photos in your hand. We also use it to make signage as needed around the office rather than putting up handwritten notes. I really think a printer plays a big role in differentiating between amateur and pro status for businesses."
I really think a printer plays a big role in differentiating between amateur and pro status for businesses."
"In our business, a printer is still and will always be essential even though we have gone digital or paperless.
The reason is, although we do not really need it for communication within the organization, it is still essential to have a paper version of a document to conduct business with our partners and customers who prefer to have some type of printed document. We can use the printer to print invoices for clients or customers, and scan and make copies of documents that we receive on paper to convert them to a digital version.
It makes our business more professional too because we are not entirely dependent on the digital version when communicating with clients, customers and our business partners."
In our business, a printer is still and will always be essential even though we have gone digital or paperless."
"Having a quality printer in our main office space has been a great addition for us, it allows us to improve the quality of our work for clients. We run an e-commerce marketing agency and spend a lot of time writing web content for various retail brands — this content needs to catch a reader's attention and be engaging.
We've found that printing the content we create for the editing process is so much more effective than trying to edit and improve it digitally on a computer screen. It's actually much easier to read something on a piece of paper and put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer to see how they'd respond to it.
Printing out our work for the editing stage means the online content we end up creating for various e-commerce stores is just much higher quality overall."
We've found that printing the content we create for the editing process is so much more effective than trying to edit and improve it digitally on a computer screen."
"There is no substitute for a printed-on-paper document. These could be legal documents or other paperwork containing critical information, in that case we do not want to rely on digital media to provide foolproof preservation.
Using prints for these documents promotes trust among our customers. We have many clients who are not technically savvy and prefer dealing with printed documents over digital media. Additionally, our company has internal documents which we use in printed formats, such as employee handbooks, training materials and procedure manuals.
A good printer is always handy to print out marketing materials such as flyers, brochures, and business cards in-house, saving time and money, giving us a great deal of flexibility for our employees and their work.
Having a good printer in our small business improves our efficiency, streamlines operations and imparts professionalism in our work."
We have many clients who are not technically savvy and prefer dealing with printed documents over digital media."
"My company specializes in medical emergency certifications online, such as basic life support (BLS). As part of our service, having several printers at our office in Utah is critical for printing hard copy certifications for our customers. I used to have a partnership with a local printing company to handle this for us, but as we grew, this became costly, so I invested in several printers for our office. Although a significant investment was required, we became more efficient and saved a lot of money over time.
Our printers have helped lower our operating costs and provide a critical service to our customer base. Early on, as we were doing our customer research, we discovered that even in a digital world, online medical certifications inspired some hesitancy.
Having the ability to print hard copy certifications for our customers in addition to their digital copies has allowed us to achieve a high level of professionalism."
"How do you sell a mattress in a brochure when you can't touch it or feel it? That's the challenge that my small family business has when trying to connect with potential buyers who simply can't walk into a mattress store to experience it.
Since we were one of the first "mattress in a box" wholesalers, we had to get creative in the printing and design of the brochures to sell the benefits of quality, family business craftsmanship, and of course, supernatural comfort.
The paper and crisp color printer has to be perfect to convey the premium luxury brand price point to help us grow over these last twenty-plus years."
"I still use a printer as I work from home and run a small business. Some people ask me why I need it, and sometimes I wonder if I'm "odd" for still using one, but I see the benefits.
I run a few different companies, so having things printed and sorted in their respective places helps keep me organized. I can print two things for separate companies and keep them separate physically, which also helps keep me organized and on track.
I like seeing things in a fresh setting — off the screen. When I edit long-form content, go over client proposals, and review documents, I sometimes need to see it in physical form. With a pen and printed copy, I'm able to review it in a different light, which often helps me produce better content.
Just like reading an actual book compared to reading on a tablet or Kindle, I like the perspective it provides when I can print something. It's something I've been doing for a while and will continue to do."
I like seeing things in a fresh setting — off the screen."
"Working in the fitness industry, having hard copies and prints for your clients to take home is one way to improve their adherence to programming. It's one thing to work with them in the gym and provide at-home workouts and diet tips; it's another thing to provide them with a printed workout schedule, shopping list, and other resources they can use between sessions to maximize their efforts and help them reach their goals. It's not always possible for trainers to rely on print shops to create these materials.
Having an in-house printer makes it easy to print these guides before a last-minute appointment so that your clients know exactly what they need to do between sessions to get the results they expect. In the industry, results drive referrals, so having a printer is essential to ensuring success."
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