Sun Graphic Technologies of Manatee County
Living in a generation where digital technology seems to be moving faster than the eye can see, Bill Blechta and Rob Harris have always had a passion for the printing industry. Blechta and Harris first met about 15 years ago through the Florida Screen Printing Association and soon teamed up thereafter.
Sun Graphic Technologies Inc. has been in business since 1978, producing a variety of products from indoor to outdoor signage, helping to build brands for retail and manufacturing companies through quality printing.
“I decided to join this industry almost 38 to 39 years ago because I felt the need that there was a void in Sarasota for other printers who could do the type of work that we were planning on doing at that point,” Blechta, president and founder of Sun Graphic Technologies, said.
“We had a relationship with another printer who had a need to send their work out to someone so they came to us and said if we could purchase the equipment and set up an operation they could help us get in business,” Blechta added.
Being involved in an interesting and ever-changing industry it was important for them to get an outside opinion of the business as a whole.
“You have to offer more to existing customers and we turned to the SBDC to help coach us in order to do that,” Rob Harris, chief operating and marketing officer, said.
“We were looking for help in sales growth and just getting an outside opinion on the way we run the business and we learned about the SBDC through some colleagues. We contacted them and were in touch with Pat Gordon and it’s been great ever since,” Harris added.
With both Blechta and Harris having more than 25 years of experience under their belts, their biggest challenge as a business is always finding good, profitable work and markets to keep expanding and growing the company. After receiving the Growth Acceleration report from the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, they were able to receive the guidance they needed to move forward.
“It was suggested as far as which industries we should be pursuing and we have been doing that for the last few years and there were some suggestions in there as far as other industries to pursue, and we plan on doing that,” Harris said. “And then in addition we had the website analysis done for our informational website along with our e-commerce sites and the insights we received from that has been great and we have made many changes in order to improve our SEO through Google, Yahoo, etc. ,so it’s been fantastic so far.”
The duo is also taking advantage of some additional no-cost services the Florida SBDC at USF offers, like financial analysis.
“For those businesses that use finances as an excuse not to hire somebody to get an outside perspective, that is where the SBDC has been great for Sun,” Harris said. “The fact that the cost is nil and we get some expert advice with people that run businesses outside of our industry and can give us addition insight has been excellent.”
Since the company first started, it has now added a wide format digital printer to its corporation and is continuing its journey to grow the company further.
“Being with the program with the SBDC, the things that we have learned have helped us look at running our business in a different direction and making Sun Graphic Technologies grow and become more successful,” Blechta said.
“I think one very important thing for all small businesses to realize about the SBDC is that there’s help out there because a lot of people come in and run their business the same way they’ve done year after year, not really knowing that there might be a better way to do it or a more efficient way,” he added.