Founder Stories: Michael Nova On Building Nova Custom Label Printing
In today’s Founder Story, we feature Michael Nova, the Founder and CEO of Nova Custom Label Printing!
Read on for lessons he’s learned from launching and marketing his business.
1. Please introduce your business and share your role.
My name is Michael Nova. I am the Founder and CEO of Nova Custom Label Printing, providing branding and marketing solutions to corporations and startups both nationally and internationally since 1995.
Our company slogan is “Always done RIGHT on time”. We emphasize that we are expediters for getting custom print work completed the same or next day. Based in New York, we also have satellite facilities across the USA.
2. What’s your backstory, what kind of challenges did you face, and how did you come up with your business idea?
I was working as VP of an event planning firm and was naturally skilled at organization. At the same time, I was a lifelong musician, so I wanted to combine those two skills to reach musicians who needed help with their careers.
So I created the business and began doing work for friends and friends of friends who referred me to others. It was not easy building a client base, but after a few years, the business took off.
3. How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?
At the time, the Internet was just starting off so I did a lot of networking and partnering with other organizations. I received a lot of referrals and grew the business by word-of-mouth. At the same time, I took out advertising in local New York newspapers and music trade magazines.
4. Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?
I have tried everything from trade advertising in trade journals to PPC advertising online, but still have found that word-of-mouth is the best way to attract and retain clients. We follow up with each customer after the job is completed to make sure they are completely satisfied. If not, we do everything we can to satisfy our clients.
5. What have been the most influential brands for your business? Whose branding and marketing do you aspire to and why?
I don’t follow other brands and do not imitate or duplicate anything that anyone else is doing. From the beginning, I wanted to create a company that would be different from all others. That would focus on providing personalized customer service where we treat each client as we want to be treated ourselves.
6. What are your favorite marketing platforms/tools?
We use Yoast SEO plug-ins on our site which helps with our SEO.
7. Who or what inspires and motivates you?
As an entrepreneur, you need to motivate yourself. Of course, you can turn to people to inspire you but in the end, it’s up to you to push yourself every day to do the work required to become successful.
My personal motto is “Never look at adversity as the enemy, look at it as your ally.” I always say this because with each setback you gain experience; it strengthens you to conquer the next one that is yet to come. Without having any setbacks, you cannot grow, and growth is essential for success.
8. What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with entrepreneurs hoping to launch or who have just launched?
It’s important to understand that you will experience setbacks as an entrepreneur because it is part of the job description. You have to prepare yourself ahead of time so that you are not blindsided by challenges when they occur.
There will undoubtedly be many setbacks and many disappointments as an entrepreneur, but they come with the territory. If you understand this, then when they occur, you can attack them in the proper way.
I have also learned that having a mentor is invaluable. Having someone to turn to who has experienced overcoming challenges in your line of work can really help relieve stress and save time and money. Therefore, it’s actually worth paying someone to become a mentor to you. That investment will pay itself off quickly, and allow you to grow even stronger.
Another important lesson I have learned is that it is always preferable to offer more than one service or to have more than one location for clients so that you can offer more choices. For instance, we provide custom sticker printing in New York, but because we have satellite facilities across the USA, we can provide this service locally on the East and West coasts as well as the Midwest and South.
9. What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? And what makes a team successful?
The most important quality of a good entrepreneur is developing resilience, for the same reason that I gave above. If you can learn to become resilient, each setback will not knock you off course but rather strengthen you. Additionally, you need to be a good leader. You need to be able to lead other people and to enroll them into your vision.
What makes a team successful is having each member of the team specialize in something different so that they can take charge of that role within the company. Each member of the team needs to bring another piece of the puzzle to the table so that all the pieces can fit together.
If you have two people that have the same piece, it won’t fit together. They will clash, and disagree on how to handle certain parts of the business. If instead, you have each person concentrating on their specific role, then everything will fit together, as long as you all align strategically to achieve the same goal.