My guest on this episode is Eric Friend. I reached out to Eric after seeing him talking on Twitter about his family’s printing business Friend Paper, which was founded in 1908 in Zion, Illinois, by Eric’s great grandfather. As a print publisher through our quarterly publication called the Operator’s Handbook, I was curious to hear what ideas he had on using print as a content medium. It turns out he’s an even bigger print publishing nerd than I am, and we hit it off immediately. I forgot to hit the record button during our first phone call, but Eric agreed to be on the podcast to share more about his family business and print as an under-loved medium.
Eric shares his journey from investment banking to his fourth-generation family printing business, challenges inherent in family businesses, the rebranding effort, and how companies today can use print to stand out from their competitors with customers and create unique experiences. We also spend quite some time nerding out about print publishing and the business cards from the movie American Psycho. Enjoy.
H.A. Friend & Co., Inc (Eric’s Company)
(4:02) – The Catholic Church Story
(10:14) – The timelessness of print media
(13:36) – Eric’s background, his career in Investment Banking, and moving into the family business
(31:36) – What are some ways you want to see other companies use high quality print products?
(39:14) – What are some ways to communicate luxury through print?
(42:49) – Challenges in the business across generations
(49:31) – What are you most excited for over the next 12 months in the business?
(52:27) – What college class would you teach if it could be anything?
(54:20) – What’s a strongly held belief you’ve changed your mind on?
(55:31) – What’s the best business you’ve ever seen?
(59:27) – Wrap up
Think Like an Owner Sponsors:
Live Oak Bank — Live Oak Bank is a seasoned SMB lender providing SBA and conventional financing for search funds, independent sponsors, private equity firms, and individuals looking to acquire lower middle-market companies. Live Oak has closed billions of dollars in SBA financing and is actively looking to help more small company investors across the country. If you are in the process of acquiring a company or thinking about starting a search, contact Lisa Forrest or Heather Endresen directly to start a conversation or go to www.liveoakbank.com/think.
Hood & Strong, LLP — Hood & Strong is a CPA firm with a long history of working with search funds and private equity firms on diligence, assurance, tax services, and more. Hood & Strong is highly skilled in working with search funds, providing quality of earnings and due diligence services during the search, along with assurance and tax services post-acquisition. They offer a unique way to approach acquisition diligence and manage costs effectively. To learn more about how Hood & Strong can help your search, acquisition, and beyond, please email one of their partners Jerry Zhou at [email protected]
Oberle Risk Strategies– Oberle is the leading specialty insurance brokerage catering to search funds and the broader ETA community, providing complimentary due diligence assessments of the target company’s commercial insurance and employee benefits programs. Over the past decade, August Felker and his team have engaged with hundreds of searchers to provide due diligence and ultimately place the most competitive insurance program at closing. Given August’s experience as a searcher himself, he and his team understand all that goes into buying a business and pride themselves on making the insurance portion of closing seamless and hassle-free.