One of the most important challenges facing any new business is determining exactly who the customers are for their products. A company can have great products, but if the target audience isn’t the right one, that new business faces difficulties right out of the gate.
For Levi Scott, founder and president of Scott Printing Ink, LLC, a Holmes, PA-based specialist in offset, flexographic and specialty inks that came into existence in 2010, finding the right market took a little time, but everything is now moving ahead well.
“As a small business, the hardest part is identifying who wants what you are selling,” said Mr. Scott. “During my first six months, I was shooting at elephants and not hitting any. I realized that my target market is the regional printers who are being victimized by the larger ink companies. I recognized that there is an opportunity for small ink companies in the Mid-Atlantic region that can support the local printers, so I decided to go ahead.
“The real value is understanding who your customer is and what they need,” Mr. Scott added. “I can provide the technical support, keep a certain amount in inventory for my customers, and get the ink to my customers when they need it. Because of this, there is an opportunity for Scott Printing Ink in the industry.”
The only veteran-owned, certified-MBE in the ink industry, Scott Printing Ink, LLC manufactures and sells its inks from its 7,000 sq.ft. manufacturing facility in Delaware County, PA. In addition to offering process colors, the company also offers Pantone shades. The company’s mission is to find solutions to difficult printing problems.
Scott Printing Ink focuses on new product development and finding these solutions to challenging problems on press. This makes plenty of sense, as Mr. Scott’s background is on the additive side of the ink business, having worked in the lab as well as sales for IGM Resins, Cognis and ARCO Chemical prior to starting his ink company.
“I spent most of my career in the lab, and I know how companies struggle to make sure their existing products run right, not to mention running new products,” Mr. Scott said.
Typically, new ink manufacturers have a broad understanding of color but less knowledge of ink chemistry, but with his years of work on resins, additives and UV chemistry, Mr. Scott is well prepared for the chemistry side of the business.
“I have a broad background in ink chemistry and understand additives science, but what I found most difficult was color science,” Mr. Scott said. “With some effort, I fortunately have been able to accomplish that, and I have to thank God for that. Most ink makers don’t understand the resin side, and I’ve been able to put everything together.”
Because of his experience on the additives side, Mr. Scott and his team enjoy developing customized inks for their customers. Their experience allows them to create inks for virtually every market, from offset to packaging, and water-based to energy curing. As a result, Scott Printing Ink is reaching new customers and finding new opportunities.
“We are diversified. Our core markets are sheetfed and heatset inks, and we have opportunities in water-based and UV screen,” Mr. Scott added. “Packaging is also a good market for us. We are getting our first orders, and we are hoping to grow our company. I see 2013 as being a really exciting year for us.”