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Gina Danner; MailPrint | KC Roundtable

Gina Danner; MailPrint

The tim­ing couldn’t have been more per­fect for KC Round­table to hear from , Owner and CEO of Mail­Print . In cel­e­bra­tion of MailPrint’s 25th anniver­sary this year, Gina pre­pared 25 unique lessons about entre­pre­neur­ship. And, con­sid­er­ing the lessons’ author — whose hard work has resulted in tens of mil­lions in rev­enue per year, and who is on track to hire the 70th employee this year — peo­ple took notes.

The 25 Biggest Things I Have Learned as a CEO for 25 Years

  1. “Per­se­ver­ance doesn’t run on air but on desire. You can han­dle any hell only if you have a burn­ing, bigger-than-life heaven in your chest, which must express itself, no mat­ter what — even if it costs you your smaller, so-called life.” –Charles Bukowski
  2. It’s your job to cre­ate that point in the dis­tance and lead your team there. The biggest chal­lenge for entre­pre­neurs is to real­ize it is not about them — it is about the achieve­ment of that vision.
  3. Hire to fit YOUR cul­ture. As a leader, you must cre­ate it, nur­ture it, know it, and pro­tect it. Be able to state it with con­vic­tion in a sin­gle sentence.
  4. Don’t cre­ate a lifestyle that out­paces your check­book. Hold on to your cash. Doing so will allow you to make big moves later, when every­one else is doggy-paddling.
  5. Don’t ever bet the com­pany. With every big step Mail­Print took, start­ing with a $300,000+ invest­ment for one piece of inno­v­a­tive equip­ment, Gina and her team ensured it wouldn’t kill the com­pany if it didn’t prove a return in 12 months. Don’t be afraid to make aggres­sive moves, but not at the cost of the whole business.
  6. The great­est cost that very few peo­ple con­sider is the oppor­tu­nity cost. If you’re spend­ing a lot of time on stuff that doesn’t make money, you’re killing rev­enue oppor­tu­ni­ties. Hire an assistant.
  7. Say hello to every­one. Honor the time they are giv­ing you. Care about them.
  8. Know the finan­cial met­rics for your busi­ness, for your indus­try, and for your cus­tomers. Know them, even if you hate them.
  9. Pre­pare for the six-figure mistake.
  10. Make aggres­sive moves in a down economy.
  11. The CEO must be the best sales per­son in the com­pany. Become a stu­dent of sell­ing. No one can sell your vision bet­ter than you.
  12. Become a sub­ject mat­ter expert.
  13. Sell to the pain. Peo­ple will move away faster from pain before they move to gain.
  14. Fail­ing to grow is like fail­ing to breathe. You must grow the com­pany so your employ­ees can move up. You are either going for­ward or you are going back­wards. Gina fol­lows this les­son by say­ing, “I don’t care about Main Street. I care about Growth Street.”
  15. Suc­cess­ful del­e­ga­tion is the key to big things. Pin­point it. Get feed­back. Mea­sure it. Rec­og­nize it. And cel­e­brate it, when it’s done right.
  16. Self-Actualize. Look in the mir­ror. See your warts. Own all of your mis­takes and fail­ings. Never blame any­one else.
  17. Know your weak­nesses and hire those skills out. Merely try­ing harder won’t fix it. Just be hon­est with yourself.
  18. Your job is to make every­one suc­cess­ful; oth­er­wise, you have failed.
  19. Give your employ­ees wings and the free­dom to fly.
  20. Don’t make your employ­ees read your mind.
  21. All fail­ings point back to process.
  22. Unless you have a HUGE idea with mas­sive poten­tial, stay pri­vate and cash flow your growth. It is bet­ter to have bank debt than to have a partner.
  23. You keep fight­ing the same fights you did when you were 12-years-old. Don’t let a teenage need for approval hold you back from achiev­ing great­ness. Every­one has his or her own bat­tles; just keep focused on the point in the distance.
  24. Find a niche and get rich.
  25. No mat­ter what, the ani­mals must be fed. Mail­Print was built from agri­cul­tural roots; Gina admits MailPrint’s cul­ture is made up of “a bunch of hard-working coun­try kids.” Coun­try kids know that every day, farm­ers wake up early to feed the ani­mals. In busi­ness, you have to feed the busi­ness every day, through con­stant plot­ting, plan­ning, and work­ing. Don’t stop nur­tur­ing the business.

Gina Danner Bonus: Give freely of your heart, your tal­ents, and your money. The hard­est check Gina ever wrote was at 26-years-old. She had a bro­ken air con­di­tioner and rent to pay, but she still gave 10% of her income to char­ity. And, oddly enough, her finan­cial pic­ture turned around. She learned an impor­tant les­son: When you give first, you have a bet­ter sense of your­self. To this day, Gina sup­ports the fol­low­ing non­profit orga­ni­za­tions: Amer­i­can Heart Asso­ci­a­tion ; Oper­a­tion Break­through ; Bishop Sul­li­van Cen­ter ; Har­vesters Com­mu­nity Food Net­work ; Christ­mas in Octo­ber ; and Big Broth­ers, Big Sis­ters .

is president of Tether New Media , which helps B2B companies raise website traffic by 10 to 30 percent. Follow her .

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2 comments on “ Gina Danner; MailPrint
  1. Gina Danner says:

    Thank you so much for the oppor­tu­nity to share my expe­ri­ence with your group. Stay on track and keep feed­ing your passion.

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