SMALL-BUSINESS OWNERS, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd? Each week, we focus on an entrepreneur who has lessons to share that we think will resonate with other small-business owners. Mitch Goldstone, co-founder of ScanMyPhotos.com, answers our questions:
What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
We started out as a traditional retail photo center almost two decades ago. Then came the advent of digital photography and the Internet and traditional photography as we knew it was dead. While most photo labs shut down, we did what we could to survive. We embraced new technology and reinvented ourselves. We now scan and digitize up to one million analog photographs a day for consumers around the globe.
Name: Mitch Goldstone
Business: ScanMyPhotos.com, a digital photo-scanning service.
Location: Irvine, Calif.
Year founded: 1990
Number of employees: 11
Web site: ScanMyPhotos.com
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
We make people cry — literally. When customers see their snapshots redone in a digital format, they get emotional. It’s rewarding to know that the work we do allows people to revisit memories that were previously shoved away in shoeboxes.
What’s the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
Keeping up with lightning-fast technological shifts remains a challenge. We read everything, including articles on topics way beyond our scope of expertise. We also attend nearly 20 tradeshows and conferences each year just to keep on top of things.
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
After the traditional photo industry died, having to completely reinvent the business for life after film was singularly our biggest hurdle. It was either reinvent ourselves or shut down. We chose the former.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
Several years ago, we strayed away from our prime vendor, Kodak. I had redirected our focus and broadened our selection of vendors. That was a big mistake. It led us into a realm of using inferior technology, which slowed our processes and diminished our product’s quality. Today, we only use Kodak products. Their technology is largely the reason for our success.
What’s the best business advice you can offer?
Read everything. Attend trade shows and conferences in many diverse fields.