Just a small place for my small thoughts.

Small steps travel great distances.

Recently I had a customer ask me how long I had been in business for and it left me wondering.

If someone was to ask me how I felt about the last nine years of being in business I would say this;

Imagine a white line extending far into the distance. The left side is the business and the right side of the line is everything else. For me, the left side is success, achievement and satisfaction and the right side is more time, more freedom and less stress. The beginning of the line is when I started the business and the end of the line is my death to put it morbidly. Hopefully the line extends for some while into the distance…

Anyway, so here I am standing over the line, it’s almost the end of 2008 and I’ve about to take a great leap. I start off both feet on either side of the line and take my first step…

Fast forward to 2018 and as I turn around and look back at my footsteps I can see I’ve spent most of my time hopping on my left foot, with occasional footsteps into the left to keep my balance and stop myself from falling over.

Some of the hops are tightly spaced, others have much space between them. Some footsteps are neat and tidy, some footsteps appear like I’ve been dragging my feet, or I’ve tripped up or tripped over… You get the idea.

So here I stand in 2018, with both feet on either side of the line. This year I want things to be different, to be better. So, I’m no longer taking steps on the right-hand side of the line. I’m going to just walk entirely on the left-hand side this year. This business of just me competes against much larger businesses with an even larger number of employees so I must keep investing more time just to keep up and remain relevant.

Maybe I can find all those things on the right side in the left side? If I don’t have to hop anymore maybe I can pay more attention to what is happening around me and make better decisions?

2018 will start off as a slow walk but it will be a steady one until I am more surefooted.


Outlook for 2018

Today I start a new year with expectations for the business with continue to achieve year on year mail volume growth that the business has maintain since its inception in 2008.

There is much to do with the new website; with continued improvements in providing information, sharing knowledge and making the mail out process much easier for new and existing clients.

The website is intended to become a one-stop resource for all things direct mail, print and database processing with the intention that will help further grow my mail volumes into the future.

Web to Print component of the website needs to be implemented so that clients can create and design their own products online. This in itself will be a large project to complete as there is much to learn in this area of website development and for me it can be difficult to grasp sometimes.

With a new faster inserter with capabilities of DL, C5 and C4 inserting, I should be prepared for any kind of work that comes in the door. And with inserting rates up to 9,000 per hour, tighter turnaround times can be achieved.

This year will see the business purchasing a new cut full colour sheet printer and an envelope overprinter to help turn meet client deadline expectations.

It won’t all be plain sailing, just like every year prior there will be quiet months (which create a lot of stress) but these are the times where I will be focusing on the website to construct more content and products and organise the online shop better.

This will be an important year for the business and for myself personally as I will be pushing myself harder to have all these projects to completion by the end of the year.

Thank you and I wish you all the best for 2018.

Bad days in the office…

posted in: Business Learning | 0


Maybe now isn’t the right time to be writing a blog, especially since I’m very new to blog writing and don’t feel 100% comfortable doing it. But one thing I can take comfort in is the fact that not many (if any) people will be reading them. I’ve seen the google site statistics.

All jobs have bad days and not all bad days are bad. Having a difficult day is an opportunity or an invitation to learn something new, change something about yourself or do something differently. Today was all three.

With the rebranding, the new website, online shop and various other projects I have going not only for the business but also around the home with many unfinished renovations still in progress, I can find myself time poor, and that’s even when I am working more than twelve-hour days and weekends are an opportunity to catch up on and hopefully finish old projects.

I believe a strong commitment to custom satisfaction can also be a detriment. I can’t help but help a potential client with their small mail out, especially if it might mean more work further down the track. Other businesses in my industry could easily draw the line here because they are going after the biggest of the biggest mail outs.

Overall, I have no issue with taking on small mail outs, I enjoy them and the large mail out’s equally because the outcome is always the same; another happy customer. However, there are times when I get a string of small mail out’s and they carry on for months and don’t appear to be going anywhere. Conversations are forgotten, emails are lost and there is a break down in information. Sometimes you must start over from the beginning when a mail out has stagnated.

This is a great investment of my time and energy and for the most part a lot of those smaller mail outs just don’t eventuate. This is in part my fault as I rarely follow them up especially when I am busy with other work; these small mail outs just simply get forgotten about.

A lot of the time I’m not making any profit from these mail outs, in fact if I cared to crunch the numbers I am certain that they would be costing me time and money to undertake. But I’m not concerned about that at this point. What is important here is an opportunity to build a relationship with a new customer. And that’s the investment that you must be willing to make.

Now economies of scale say that if I inundated with small mail outs, the opportunity for me to undertake all the work, given the time they take, would be limited simply based by not having infinite time by wish to complete them. But until then I am more than happy to help any customer with any amount of mail, especially so if we can forge a long-term relationship and grow our businesses together.





How dodgy trades people become an inspiration for my business success.

How dodgy trades people become an inspiration for my business success.

posted in: Business Learning | 0

When my wife and I purchased our first 1960’s era house in 2006 we embarked on some very small-scale renovations such as installing robes, repainting interior and exterior, updating the bathroom and remodelling the kitchen. While we attempted to do everything ourselves, there were some parts we could not, obviously plumbing and electrical.

In the beginning when we purchased the property and being inexperienced we didn’t know what we needed and relied heavily on tradesperson to help us. And while a lot of them were very good and we still use to this day, however there were a number that after fast forwarding five years you come to discover that their work now requires repairs, very expensive repairs.

Case in point, our plumber who installed new pipe work in the bathroom did everything for us. We just told him where we wanted the outlets and within a day it was all completed. Fantastic we thought. It was only in the last 12 months that I noticed a small hammer in the bathroom pipes that been getting progressively worst. Now when you turn off any tap sharply in the house the pipes hammer.

At first, I didn’t know it was coming from the bathroom, but after a bit of investigation I discovered it was the source. Luckily for me, I realised the importance of taking photos throughout the renovating process might come in handy and so when I went back through the photo’s I discovered that the pipes snaking their way through the stud walls were not anchored to anything and that there was no silicone around the pipe where it passed through a stud.

The plumber we engaged was not cheap, in fact his quote was the highest of the three we obtained. He seemed very experience and gave us confidence going with him was the best option. Maybe after the job was completed and I discovered the hot and cold in the shower was around the wrong way should have been a warning. But he dutifully returned the next day and made amends, so we thought nothing more of it until the water hammering began.

So now I am dealing with the prospect of ripping out half the bathroom to access the water pipe paths. Of course, before I get to that I’ll be experimenting with anti-hammer devices. It’s a very disappointing outcome really and I expected more from a trades person who specialises in plumbing.

The positive I can take from this experience is that when you do a job, do it correctly the first time. Never do a job for the money, always do a job like it is for yourself. Take your time, review your options, investigate, do your research and provide the best possible outcome for your customer. I’ve been in business for 9 years now and I doubt I’d be around today without this understanding.

You made it to this point? Thank you for your time reading this! I really appreciate it. If you have any comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Had a similar experience? Why not leave a comment below?

Why I left Social Media

posted in: Social Media | 0
World map made of icons
I didn’t join Facebook until around 2011. Everyone was talking about it and I felt like I was missing out on something so I signed up.

Within a few months I was making contact with old friends, family – distant and close and having a great time and really enjoying myself. I became very adept at the site and had success with creating a page that had tens of thousands of subscribers, on the back of a worldwide meme phenomenon that I am a bit embarrassed about now but it had something to do with people laying prone and rigid.

I even created a page for my business, had many people like and follow my business page and even paid for advertising which didn’t give me the return I had hoped for given the amount I had invested. It was an experiment in a new platform and I was happy to spend the money to find out if it was worthwhile method for seeking new business.

Within months, Facebook slowly become a large part of my life. I posted funny images, I created original funny quips and loved the likes and reading the responses. I joined many different and a wide array of groups and watched my feed slowly taken over by group messages and ads. Then something interesting happened. No longer was I seeing new stories from friends and family, instead I started seeing world events and commentary on world events, in particular negative and quite shocking stories became more prominent in my feed.

I slowly drifted away from the world of friends and family into a feed filled with negative stories about the world. People asked me if I saw there post, or why didn’t I respond to their message. Eventually I figured out if I wanted to see friends or family messages, I had to actually click on their name and scroll through their feed to catch up and comment.

In the meantime, my world view became quite negative and I was starting to feel a bit depressed about the world and the state it was in. It affected my mood so much I decided to quit Facebook for a minimum of three months to see how I felt.

Of course, after the initial shock of feeling out of the social loop I gradually became used to the idea of not being so reliant on social media. At that point, I thought it was time to return and I did. Friends said they knew it was temporary and said I would be back but welcomed me back to the platform anyway. And for a while things were fine, just like normal, like it was when I first joined the platform.

And then I game across an article; Everything We Know About Facebook’s Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment

I read the article and was shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and it became obvious to me that I may have been an unknowing participant. I was horrified that this could happen; that an organisation could secretly set out to see if they could modify your mood without telling you, without your permission.

After quitting once, it was easy to quit again. I will never return to Facebook and even closed my business page. If indeed I was a part of Facebook’s mood manipulation experiment or not, it became obvious to me that social media’s benefits far outweigh to potential for hazard it could potentially create. They own you, the data you share and your feelings and thoughts are for them to do whatever they want to do with them because they can get away with it.

When you sign up to Facebook you must accept their terms and conditions. You may not read them but if you want to use their platform you must accept their right to do whatever they want to you and your data. And these terms and conditions are not fixed, they are fluid and change regularly.

It may be completely legal for a company to do this but is it ethical or moral?

Shock Crisp on Creek Liquidation

posted in: Local News | 2

Tonight I came across this ABC Article on one of my favourite Fruit Shop’s in Mt Gravatt, just 15 minutes down the road. I knew they had closed down, and unexpectedly more than a few weeks back but only learned about Doris’ and Tony predicament from the ABC news article.

Doris and Tony wouldn’t know me but I remember every time I popped in Doris was there working. She was always busy and never complaining, happy to make sure long customer queues were cleared by jumping on the till herself until all the customers were served, then going about other business. Tony and Doris didn’t just run a Fruit Shop, they ran and managed much more than that. A strong work ethic, passion and commitment to providing excellent produce and unparalleled customer service.

After reading through the article I was absolutely flabbergasted, and even more flabbergasted by the comments. Especially the comments blaming Tony & Doris for seeking help with their business, in particular their ATO tax obligations in this example. Hindsight is a lovely thing, but when you are a business owner working 12 to 16 hour days and giving up most if not all weekends, I can understand how an individual, particularly one adept at selling a solution that would make your life easier. You would listen. Anyone would listen.

As a business owner I can truly appreciate the unfortunate position Tony & Doris now find themselves in. After putting their lives into their business, serving the community around them, providing good quality food for families all around south east Brisbane and now facing the prospect of loosing everything they once worked so hard for. It’s not the retirement plan anyone has in mind.

They face the prospect of losing everything and that is a very bitter pill to swallow. They put their trust in an individual that no doubt promised and went to great trouble to convince them both he could help solve their tax obligations.

It’s absolutely frightening to me that I might find myself in the same position. There have been instances where scammers have come so close that my guard is up all the time. Emails, phone calls and people calling in offering one service or another. In this day and age it’s very easy to become cynical and suspicious of everyone. Every email, every phone call, and especially after the constant stream of stories like this, the hacking stories and the constant loss of personal data. It’s a game of cat and mouse and the game is constantly changing which can make it hard to spot.

Even the most savvy of business owners can be undone by a clever and creative new scam. It happens all the time.

My wife and I enjoyed our weekly trips to Crisp on Creek and it’s going to be hard to find a suitable substitute. I wish Tony & Doris all the best and hope there is a speedy resolution to this problem so they can focus on the retirement that they whole heatedly deserve. Thank you for all your dedication to our community.

ProPrint Magazine Feature

posted in: ProPrint | 0

I was very lucky to have the Merge Print Mail re-branding to markis featured in the online version of the ProPrint Magazine recently. For the past nine years I’ve been working quietly and diligently away not asking for anything. But there is a slow growing realisation that there is a massive opportunity here to not only to grow myself but also grow the business. After this article was published I came to the conclusion that media training could be very helpful. I haven’t taken it further than a thought at this point because of all the work the online shop will require uploading products.

Regards, Mark.

Online Shop Update

posted in: Online Shop | 0

Hello! Not sure if anyone will be reading this but while the online shop is being loaded with products, if you have a print or direct mail enquiry please use the online form or via email or phone.

I’ve managed to get a few products loaded but honestly I am fumbling around at this point and it’s a big learning curve for me. Once I get a greater understanding of what I am doing I’ll be able to refine my processes and create new products much quicker.

Thanks for reading this and stay tuned.

Scam ATO Automated Phone Calls

posted in: Scam watch | 0

Just moments ago I received an automated call from (03) 4309 4130 playing a pre-recorded voice message. Unfortunately, from the accent of the voice in the recording I immediately suspected a scam call and thought about hanging up. But out of interest I listened on and laughed when the voice threatened me if I didn’t contact a number urgently. That laugh immediately subsided into a realisation that these calls are targeted at the most vulnerable people in our society. After googling the number online, the phone number has been reported as a scam since September 10th 2017.

These kind of scams really concern me so I decided to reported the number to the ATO scam watch, but after a 10 minute call to the official ATO number I unfortunately felt it was a waste of time. The person on the other line, while very helpful was limited to pre-written questions and answers from a computer screen. While I was happy to complete their phone ‘form’, all I really wanted to know is that they were aware of the number and they are taking steps to stop it as soon as possible.

I typically receive a spam call once a month and my inbox receives a scam email on a daily basis. It appears to peak around tax return time. Eventually we’ll need to solve the problem of scammers or fix the way we do Tax Returns.

If you receive a phone call;

1. Get as much information as you can; names, company, phone numbers, etc.
2. Write down what they are requesting and reason – take your time, as them to repeat information. It gives you time to think and if they become angry just hang up.
4. Because scams change frequently try and keep informed.

If you want to you can report the call from your written information go right ahead.

Merge Print Mail is re-branding to Markis!

posted in: Uncategorized | 0


Merge Print Mail began in 2008 and has seen year on year growth in Direct Mail letter volumes since its inception. While this positive result will carry that over into the new business, by removing ‘print’ and ‘mail’ from our original name it will allow the business to find growth in new areas outside the original scope.

Markis will continue to be a Bulk Mail Partner with Australia Post and letter volumes are expected to grow with our new inserter capable of inserting up to 9,000 letters per hour.

While the website is still in early development, I expect the online print shop with web2print capabilities will come online very soon. The real excitement will be when clients can log into their account, create new orders, update artwork online and reorder as required. This will take time to implement and hopefully this investment will see an increase in productivity and the benefit of easier online ordering for customers.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me as I would be happy to assist.

Kind regards,


0419 728 758 mark@markis.com.au

The Speed Of One Man

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Running a small business for the last nine years has been rewarding and fraught with fear at the same time. Being the sole owner and operator I’ve found that I can’t just be a good mail house operator, I have to be good at marketing and writing blog posts as well. I will certainly keep trying to improve my skills in that area, particular blog post writing. It takes me a long time to write anything and what I do write I feel is especially cringe worthy but I’ve decided not to worry or focus on that too much.

With so much work to do and juggling other aspects of the business the ‘speed of one man’ has been definitely something I have been reflecting on a lot lately.


Website In Development!

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Yes, I’m launching as is at the moment as the website will require thousands of hours to implement in it’s final vision. A full shop with online ordering and customer account log in. Plus the ability to make edits on artwork means it’s going to be an exciting time ahead for past, current and future customers! Many thanks for your patience while I work through this.

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