After 10 years of running FlyPrint and learning lessons along the way, Mark John Stewart is one of those people in the Hamilton community, if not Southern Ontario, that people just know. Give him enough time and I am sure he will change that to be Canada and the world.
With an expansive breadth of professional, public service and community experiences under his belt, Mark has carved out a profile for himself as someone who is progressive, insightful, and dependable. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, he teaches strategic management at McMaster University and is the Chair of the Advisory Council of a Canadian-based international charity focused on youth development called Empowerment Squared.
At CoMotion, we’re thrilled to say that Mark is one of our community’s longest standing members; he and his full-service strategy and marketing firm, FlyPrint, were based in our CoMotion 302 space before it was even CoMotion 302!
In fact, FlyPrint is now officially a decade old and we in the CoMotion Community want to extend heartfelt congratulations to Mark and everyone who has been a part of this awesome Hamilton-based business. To be in business for two years, as CoMotion has, feels like a feat, but to be in business for a decade, as FlyPrint has, feels like a monumental accomplishment worthy of celebration.
This is exactly what Mark did at our CoMotion on King space on the evening of November 22, 2017. That evening, Mark gave an address thanking the community for its support, and outlining FlyPrint’s top lessons after a decade in business. With special thanks to Mark, he’s allowed us to share these with you in this post.
Thank you Mark for being a great member of our CoMotion Community, congratulations on ten years in business, and cheers to the future of FlyPrint.
Top Three Lessons After a Decade in Business
By Mark John Stewart
1. Do Great Work
Do great work, with integrity, and people will want to work with you. We are a marketing company celebrating our 10th year in business, and we still don’t have a proper website! We’ll actually be launching a new website in a couple of weeks, but I make this point to highlight that all of our business has been via referral and word of mouth. We have moved into the digital era, but the importance of delivering great products or services hasn’t changed. The first we tend to do when thinking of doing anything, whether joining a company or buying a product, is to look it up on Google, or Amazon, and check out the reviews. There are no shortcuts to building your reputation.
2. Truly Understand the Value You Bring
Regardless of whether or you’re in a job or running your own business, it is critical to understand what value you bring to a situation. At FlyPrint, we do make signs, logos, business plans, and websites, but simple production isn’t the value that we’re bringing to our clients. You can go online to buy a generic, low quality business card in a few minutes – but that’s not what we are offering. It’s important to realize that every element of your branding, communications, and the way you run your business are all direct reflections of who you are as a person and as an organization.
Ultimately, we are helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, testing marketing strategies so that organizations feel confident about their investments, advising charities on attracting support to tackle some of the most urgent needs in our society, and helping companies to look professional so that their staff feel a sense of pride in the workplace. No matter what you do, truly understand the value you bring. We always keep in mind this great quote from Martin Luther King: “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
3. Sincerely Support Your Community
If you want to have a community support you, then you have to support your community. As an example, we’ve been active members of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce for years. I sometimes see people come to events, hand out their flyers, and never come back. When asked why, they say “I came to an event, handed out my flyer, and nobody called me. So it’s not worth it to be part of these things.”
However, people don’t do business with you because you gave them your flyer. They do business with you because they trust you and because of your reputation, which you have to earn from putting in work. You have to attend events, serve on committees, and make connections for others. That’s when a network will see you as someone who is credible, sincere, and committed to the success of the community. We’ve taken that same approach and always made sure that FlyPrint has supplied resources and expertise to charities in our community. We attend as many local events as we can because we know that the support and encouragement matters. We put aside time to like your photos on Instagram and Facebook because we know the more likes you get, the more your post will be viewed!
It’s been a privilege to have the opportunity to spend a decade doing business in Hamilton. Over this time, we’ve realized that a sincere commitment to doing great work for our clients, understanding that we have the ability to make a transformative impact on the organizations we work with, and engaging extensively with our community, have underpinned our success. We look forward to working with you for many years ahead.