September '20

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1 2 G R A P H I C S P R O S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S oftware is a crucial tool for shops in the graphics market. These platforms can help producers stay on top of everything from order volume to job quotes, print produc- tion, and color output. When it comes to selecting software, though, it's not neces- sarily a one-size-fits-all scenario. Business- es must consider a handful of factors to make sure they buy the right tools to help their operation run efficiently and profit- ably. This includes streamlining the front and backend of the business and making things easier for customers. To get a better idea of what to look for in software platforms for graphics businesses, we chatted with a few experts on best prac- tices and things to consider before making a purchase. VERY NECESSARY For newcomers to the graphics business, the early stages of the company usually find a spare bedroom, garage, or basement as the production area for churning out small-vol- ume orders. But that doesn't make the need for software any less critical. "A lot of owners start out as a part-time business," explains Bryant Gillespie, shop- VOX, stressing that many entrepreneurs begin printing shirts, signs, sublimated products, or producing other goods with- out having any prior business experience. Having a reliable system in place this early in the game, he points out, can help set the business on course for steady growth. If they don't have some reliable tools, a shop will experience severe growing pains when they start graduating from, for example, $250,000 in sales to $1 million. Mietek Woloszyn, DecoNetwork, pres- ents a separate example, specifically for business management software. "You can run your business without business man- agement software the same as you can run it without accounting, but is this wise to do so?" he poses. One of the most significant drawbacks Shops should ensure that their graphics software allows them to save image files in multiple formats. (Image courtesy CorelDRAW) Plugged In & Switched On CHOOSING THE RIGHT SOFTWARE PLATFORMS FOR YOUR GRAPHICS BUSINESS B Y M I K E C L A R K

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