50 fastest-growing start-ups
StartupSmart Awards 2011
15. Alba Print Management
Founder: Mark Mulgrew
Revenue: $2 million
Head Office: New South Wales
Industry: Customer service
Alba Print Management is very much a family affair. Started by Mark Mulgrew, the business now has the support of his brothers Michael and UK-based Gary.
Mark identified the opportunity to start the business after noting the changing requirements of print clients. Work was becoming more complex, spanning items such as brochures, caps and mugs.
“There was a service gap in the market that needed a one-stop shop to manage and take responsibility for print jobs,” explains Michael. “The business widened it from print top promotions and events and looked to manage it better than some of the smaller players.”
“This allows for a logo and brand to be more consistent across different media. Clients are looking for more now. The market has become segmented in terms of what they want.”
An early challenge was securing the capital to start the business. “We ended up doing it privately through the family as the banks weren’t interested,” says Michael. “We wanted initial capital of about $60,000 but it seems banks aren’t set up for that now. It was very frustrating.”
Having overcome this hurdle, the business quickly expanded and is now set to grow from its NSW base into Queensland. Plans have also been drawn up to give employees a share in the business, which is expected to double in size within the next three years.
Michael says the secret of growth is a hands-on focus on customers. “A lot of people use email and phone but you need to get in front of customers,” he says. “You need to listen to them, advise them and get that trust. It’s almost an educational process.”
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