How Michael Nova Quit as Vice President to Start a Dream Business and How You Can To

Michael Nova Nova Custom Printing

Michael Nova of Nova Custom Printing tells us how they offer the fastest printing services in the world. 

Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Nova Custom Printing.

Michael Nova: I started the business in 1995 because I was tired of working for someone else and wanted to own my own business. I was working as vice president of an event planning firm and naturally had the skill of organization. I have also been a lifelong musician, so I envisioned a company that could help musicians with the business side of their careers so they could focus on their music. I began creating a network of businesses that could help musicians succeed as I envisioned. That meant everything from rehearsal and recording studios to manufacturing facilities, print facilities, promotion and marketing organizations, and even photographers and other creative people. It was not easy. It took years to get off the ground but eventually, I found myself being interviewed by the New York Times on ” the new music industry,” and I was off and running! After a few years, I was being referred to more and more businesses. I slowly became more and more focused on business-to-business work rather than supposedly in the music industry. Today as branding and marketing solutions specialists, our clients are mainly corporations and startups all across the nation, while only 10% of our businesses are in the music industry!

Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?

Michael Nova: I would say the most impact on my life and business has focused on making sure that each and every client is 100% satisfied. Under promise and overdeliver. The lifeblood of my business has been referrals, and we want them to keep coming, so we make sure that everyone is satisfied to the best of our ability. Treat everyone as you would like to be treated yourself, and everything else will fall into place.

How does Nova Custom Printing market its product/services online?

Michael Nova: Our main business comes from referrals, but we have our website online. During the pandemic, we made use of the downtime to revamp our website so that it is more user-friendly.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?

Michael Nova: Other than social media posting, and blog writing, we don’t do any other online marketing.

What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?

Michael Nova: On retaining employees, we haven’t had any problem with that because, again, our company focus is to treat everyone as you would like to be treated yourself. Being honest with your employees and caring about them as you would members of your own family really makes a difference.

How are you funding your growth?

Michael Nova: Putting money into your business is a necessity. You have to risk in order to reap future gains. When we started with this business, it was on a shoestring budget, which meant focusing on low-cost guerrilla marketing techniques such as asking for referrals and maintaining clients long-term. Some of the clients we originally started with are still clients today. So the experience I gained in working on a shoestring budget even today is to find ways to save money and still grow the business. Creativity is very important, and you need to experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. I never really saw a great benefit when I invested in advertising, so I focused more on building good business relationships with my clients. That has helped more than anything.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Michael Nova: There are plenty of competitors in the printing business, but as long as we keep doing what we do, there will always be a need. We specialize in rush orders, and the market is strong for that because people always need things at the last minute! So although I make a note of my competitors and keep an eye on what they are doing, I really focus on continuing to do what we do and being the best at what we do rather than chasing what other people are doing.

Tell us a customer success story of yours.

Michael Nova: Well, there is an ongoing one happening right now with a company called Tick-tock naturals. It is a natural-based product that repels ticks and other insects. Starting from nothing, we have been there from day one with this business, and now they are about to take off and be picked up by major retailers all across the nation. Here’s a story we wrote on the company. We’ve had many such stories where we have helped businesses from their inception, and now those businesses are becoming great successes!

Your final thoughts?

Michael Nova: I would advise anyone starting a new business to expect adversity and setbacks. It is part of the business. I wrote an article on overcoming adversity in business, and I hope you find it helpful.

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Kokou Adzo


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