Blessings in Disguise

July 19, 2019

About 10 years into starting TREP$,  I woke up one morning to find the long-time printer of our TREP$ Student Workbooks was going out of business.  With no prior warning, they were closing their doors, effective that very day.  To say I got nervous is an understatement.  My stomach dropped.  I literally felt sick.  This company had done good work for us for a fair price for a long time.  Who would print our books?  How much would they cost?  As a small business with this one product accounting for over 60% of our overall sales, having to find a new supplier felt like the worst thing that could possibly happen.

What I could not have anticipated at that moment, was that this was completely a blessing in disguise.  Not only did I quickly find Horizon Printing Solutions, but they surpassed (and continue to surpass) expectations in so many ways.  They matched our price, which was the first big win.  But beyond that, the turnaround time is faster, they deliver, and the quality of the work is substantially better!  Another unexpected bonus is that they mark each box with the quantity of books, taking the guesswork out of it.  This is a big deal when packing orders for shipment!

As an entrepreneur, I learned so much from this experience.  First, pay attention to your suppliers’ state of affairs.  When I would go to pick up orders at the first printer, I sensed the business was not doing as well as they used to do.  This was a red flag that should not have been ignored.  Next, always have a back-up plan.  Had we been evaluating our printing options on a regular basis, we would have been much better prepared to handle the situation.  Most importantly, remember that entrepreneurship requires resilience.  You have to be equipped to deal with anything that is thrown at you. The out-of-the-blue closing of the printer felt like a dire situation, but it was handled in such a way that it ultimately resulted in both product and process improvements for TREP$.

So a word for kids launching businesses through TREP$ … Expect the unexpected.  And when it happens, don’t panic.  Instead, stay calm and start working toward a solution right away.  It’s just part of doing business.


TREP$, short for entrepreneurs, is the award-winning entrepreneurship education program for kids in grades 5-8.  Visit to learn more.



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