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2020 Reflections and Visions for 2021

We started the year with a day-long team strategic planning retreat.  Though we had no idea what was in store for 2020, the values and focus areas we identified in January still resonate today – a testament to their lasting power in our company.  Our core values, helping guide how and why we do what we do, are: Provide Ease of Mind, Respect, Engage with Community, and Foster Creativity.  

To help us bring our day-to-day work at Webster Ink in greater alignment with our core values, we created five high level calls to action, or “Focus Areas.”  These focus areas encompassed all of the strategic work our team embarked on this year.  At Webster Ink we strive to 1) Have proud and fulfilled employees, 2) Improve customer experiences, 3) Earn sufficient revenue to support our vision, 4) Practice socially and environmentally-friendly operations, and 5) Be a respected community member. 

Within the environmental realm, we developed a new way of disposing of tape (used in the printing process) leading to a reduction of disposal and trash bag consumption by 2/3.  Company-wide composing led to the diversion of 1.5 lbs of compost from the waste stream each week.  A process change resulted in a 50% reduction in paper and ink toner consumption.  We are excited to engage with B-Corp tools in 2021 to guide our next steps in the realm of socially and environmentally-friendly operations.

The nature of our efforts to earn sufficient revenue to support our vision shifted due to COVID.  Our understanding of our costs improved.  Staff was reduced due to decreased workload.  We focused on our margins – reducing the low margin work and seeking out higher-margin jobs.  Decreased work load allowed our focus to shift to internal training and skill-building with current employees. This fall we launched an Online Merch Store option to customers.  Merch Stores offer financial advantages to our customers and create an efficient new revenue stream for Webster Ink.  In 2021, we will work to grow Merch Stores, personally reach out to check in with existing clients, and create revenue goals based on our new work landscape.  

Our Strategic Objective within the “respected community member” realm was to increase foot-traffic. This shifted dramatically!  Keeping our space safe, in light of COVID, has become a top priority.  One of our most valuable assets is our press and we are exploring ways to share this more directly with community.  We are also exploring video to better virtually capture the Webster Ink experience.  In August we ran a fundraiser in which proceeds were split between our non-owner employees and The Family Room.

After reducing staff as a result of COVID, we were even more motivated to focus on nurturing proud and fulfilled employees as we slowly ramped production back up.  We now have an official wage increase schedule and guarantee pay for our hourly employees in the case that we do not have sufficient work for them. Sharing our professional software with employees and providing opportunities for employees to expand their skills and responsibilities takes better advantage of our resources and provides our team opportunities to learn and grow as professionals.

We’re looking forward to 2021 at Webster Ink.  We are ready to jump into January with greater clarity, resilience, and dedication to our core values – values that have remained resonant despite an unpredictable journey through 2020.   We look forward to working with you in the new year.