B2B ID: Robert Engman, sole-proprietor of Graphic Design, Easthampton
NAME: Robert Engman
JOB TITLE, COMPANY: Sole proprietor, Robert Engman Graphic Design, Easthampton
WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: 1980
WHAT YOU DO: Graphic design of all types. Logos, branding, packaging, advertisements, business cards, brochures and fliers, and I also sell a line of year-round Halloween shirts at www.VonEngmans-ShirtVault.com.
EXPERIENCE: I was the art director for the Syda Foundation, and I worked with many major schools in the area, including designing the school mascot for Western New England University. Learned desktop publishing at Cleare Communications and bought my first computer in 1990. I have been working from my home office since then. I have worked with literally hundreds of different businesses over the years. I’m an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau.
THE MARKET: Business people. The importance and emphasis that design in general has taken in our lives over the last 25 years has made all of us more sophisticated viewers of design. When putting its marketing foot forward these days, it is as important for a new start-up to look its best.
HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: Most of my business comes from referrals. I have been a member of Business Network International a total of eight years.
WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? There is a nearly constant pressure to acquire and learn new and/or updated software while at the same time keeping up with the hardware to run it. Every update brings opportunity, change and challenges. I do a lot deal searching online. I work with Macs, and their prices are pretty much uniform, which is great because I shop at the local level and know I’m getting the same deal as from a national chain but with the added benefit of the local vendor for support. I try to keep a rainy day fund just for technology and software.
KEY TO SUCCESS: I love what I do, simple as that. I’ve been involved in design for over 30 years, and I still get a surge of excitement when faced with a new project. My philosophy is that every design has a job to do and my emotional payoff — which is what keeps me excited and going strong — comes from seeing and knowing that I’ve delivered just what my client needs.
CHALLENGES: The love/hate relationship with software upgrades. I’m not a big fan of change just for the sake of change.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: Never send anything to a printer without a written OK from the client. I had a repeating job once that my client and I had done the same way for five years running. When it was ready to go — or so I thought — I sent it to the printer. After it was printed it turned out the client had been thinking about changing the paper stock. A lesson learned.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: Whatever the size job that comes into my studio, I assume that, to the client, it is a big deal, and I treat it that way.
WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY: My most important mentors have been the clients I have had the opportunity to work with for long periods of time. Their trust, faith, confidence and patience when I was learning something new have meant more than I can ever describe.
TOP GOALS FOR 2013: Start some new long-term business relationships, earn $10,000 more than I did last year, get a new computer and continue to make time for the passions I have outside of work.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: If you love something think long and hard about doing it for your work. It can be the greatest decision you ever make, but it can change the relationship you have with whatever it is you love.
PARTING THOUGHT: When people come to you with their business, accept it with gratitude and thanks. Don’t do things just for the money. You can’t buy back a second of the time you spend. Do it with passion and no matter what the paycheck your time will have been well used.
B2B ID is compiled by Janice Beetle, owner of Beetle Press in Easthampton. Beetle Press offers writing, editing and graphic design services. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for B2B ID, email Beetle at email@example.com.