by Brett Johnson
originally published October 10, 2016, NJ Biz
For Kaplansky, starting her own business was about changing her life.
It wasn’t a snap decision made after a spark of inspiration on a peculiar night.
It was a morning stark in its normalcy that stirred Holly Kaplansky to decide to launch her own small business, quitting her cozy yet dull corporate job.
“At one point, I really had what I call Velcro bed, and I just couldn’t get up in the morning and get going,” she said.
“That’s when I realized I had to make a change because I clearly wasn’t happy.”
“I had a comfortable job that had grown to be something I hated. And it very slowly went from being a hard decision to a very easy one.”
Kaplansky, owner of Newark’s Minuteman Press, launched her printing business in 2005 after a 30-year stay in corporate America, a career during which she held prominent positions such as brand manager for Kraft Foods and global marketing director for Ovid Technologies.
“But I left the corporate world as many people did – and people continue to leave all the time – because that world gets harder and harder to work in with downsizing, harder work, longer hours,” she said. “I thought, if I’m going to have to put everything into a business, I might as well do it myself.”
There was a small problem Kaplansky had – she didn’t even know what line of business she was going to enter.
After doing some research, she settled on the printing industry which would allow her to apply her marketing background. She worked with a larger franchiser to establish a location in Newark, but she’s quick to dispel the notion that this arrangement has made it any easier.
“You really have to run your own shop; they’re not doing it,” she said. “You’re doing the marketing and running all aspects of the business. They give you some of the basic tools and systems, but you have to run it yourself.”
The transition from the corporate world to running her own business has come with a learning curve; she noted profit and loss analysis and finding an appropriate market
segment as key challenges.
But she has also been able to bring some prior knowledge to her new enterprise.
“It’s helped that I’ve been on the other side of the desk, seeking services of printing companies, so I really understand not only what the customer wants but how they want
the product presented,” she said. “You can have the best product in the world, but if it’s not presented properly or in a way someone can hear it, it’s not going to really help you.”
“It has been a lot of fun to have these interactions on a one-on-one basis with customers instead of with thousands or even millions of clients as part of a large corporation.”
One thing she’s glad hasn’t been carried over to her growing printing business is the discontent that made even getting up in the morning difficult.
That doesn’t mean the work itself is less difficult.
“Small business is very hard,” she said. “There is no finance department, HR department, or facilities management, purchasing, PR – I’m all of those things. But the work is so
fulfilling. I leave work every day proud of what I do.”