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Jul 1, 2013 12:00 AM

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By Scott Cappel

Most of the attendees had gotten to know each other years ago from the PrintOwners Listserv, a private email list only available to owners or principals of printing companies (most of them small). That Listserv is arguably an early example of the power of social media.


This list facilitates daily candid communication on all issues specific to owning and managing a smaller printing company. Over the years, this virtual community has grown and developed to the point that regular subscribers are like old friends.

Owning a small business can be a lonely experience. You’re surrounded by employees and customers, but few of those people understand the stress or the seemingly endless series of challenges that can lead to sleepless nights.

Imagine that all of these relationships and bonds and trust that have formed over the years could transcend the virtual world and enter the real world. That was what happened at the NPOA conference. It was like attending a class reunion—of classmates you were meeting in person for the first time.


In a small business, you are the company: travel expenses and conference fees come directly out of your pocket. The hotel was affordable, as were the attendance fees. The event sold out quickly because as a new entity holding its first meeting it was impossible for the organizers to predict the turnout—they erred on the side of caution. Next year, we’ll scout out a larger venue!

Owners helping owners is the key value of NPOA membership. The organization is still evolving, but it is already making an impact. I look forward to helping it grow.

Scott Cappel is the owner of Sorrento Mesa Printing and an NPOA co-founder

Speak to Scott at