This day 27 years ago, we opened the doors of a small print business known simply as The Printed Image.

Today, that small company has grown into a multidisciplinary Marketing Communications specialist, known as The TPI Group. That seemed unlikely in 1990. Almost impossible to imagine then!

I remember turning on the lights of The Printed Image on November 1st 1990. At 25, I believed that once we showed the world how good we were, our small Finglas based HQ would be overrun. Needless to say, that wasn’t the case.

As with any small start-up, we were quiet for the first few months, leaving our tight knit team slightly concerned, but determined nonetheless. We pulled together, we worked hard and things seemed to improve. The saying ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’ really started to resonate.

The first year was long and by no means a runaway success, but we were on the right path and growing. Being the new kid on the block is never easy, we knew that from the outset. We had to outperform existing suppliers and I can honestly say we fought for each and every client.

Growth and success rarely happen the way in which you’ve planned. Our early years in The Printed Image proved just that. We had some luck, we learned that persistence and a drive to succeed can ultimately pay off. If you continuously strive for better, growth becomes a constant.

It is thanks to this, that we have grown from a six-member team to a six-company group, one which employs over 140 hardworking staff across three locations.

With this growth comes new challenges and opportunities. We’ve learned to deal with both the setbacks and the wins without letting either define our worth. As a team, we’ve learned to adapt and have weathered numerous storms.

We know well that nothing in our future is ever guaranteed. Being good is not always enough, but collectively we strive to be the best at what we do in terms of service, value and innovation.

For me, every day is a school day in business. Even when things don’t go our way, we keep learning. If I was to choose the lessons that have taught me the most over the years, they would be as follows:

  • Delighting your customer is crucial. It’s a great goal to instil in your team and the feeling of ‘nailed it’ is unrivalled!
  • Teams rely on a combination of different skillsets, variety is essential
  • Even when strange things happen, the boss must try and at least look calm!
  • In the end, the results you see are all about your people and how engaged they are with the company and its goals
  • Praise is vital and can be so positive, to give and receive. Regardless, make sure it is well earned
  • You will get stuff wrong (everyone does) and the faster you see it and act the less damaging it will be to your business
  • Draw a line under each day, good or bad. Tomorrow is a new challenge that requires your focus
  • Never give up. It is vital to longevity and as an attitude, it can be very infectious in a tight team

I am very fortunate to have a role which I love, one that I have done for nearly three decades that still keeps me on my toes. I owe a lot to our hard-working teams, our loyal customers and to reliable suppliers. Collectively, you all play a huge part in any TPI Group success. So sincere thanks to the great people involved.

Lastly, but certainly not least, a huge thanks to my lovely family for putting up with me. Two of my three kids were born with TPI dockets in the Delivery Room, so from early on, they are as involved as I am.

We started with hope and we continue with it.

I am excited for the coming years and impatient to see what the future holds for The TPI Group.

Colin Culliton