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Mentors help printers get down to business

Wednesday, 05 March 2008
By Print 21 Online Article
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Victor Gonzalez has over twenty years’ experience in printing, but running his own printing business was another experience all together.

After a stint as a contractor, Victor (pictured) made the decision to purchase Melbourne company, Duoprints in June 2006, after the previous owner passed away. "It was a big change for me," he admits. "Suddenly, I had to start worrying about things like cashflow."

These concerns were noticed by Victor’s wife, Linda, who, when flicking through a metropolitan newspaper, happened to see an advertisement for the Victorian Business Line, which referred her to the Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS).

From here, Victor was introduced to Suresh Sutrave, a man who would become more than just a mentor, but a mate. "I was going through a real rough patch at the time," Victor says. "But whenever Suresh came in to talk, he would make me feel better automatically by reminding me that I was not alone."

More than anything else, it was the reassurance of having someone to talk to that helped Victor stay on track. "Suresh told me that everyone in business is in the same boat, and gave me tips on how to deal with cashflow problems and increase sales," he says.

"He was very honest and would tell me if I was doing something wrong. He told me to keep advertising, and keep looking for new work for the business, which I have done and it’s paid off."

The practical components of this mentorship meant that Victor was able to put the key business principles into practice. "I have completed small business courses in the past, but I got more out of those four sessions with Suresh than I did in a six-month course," he says.

"Having a mentor is better than listening to a lecturer in a college because it’s hands-on. They can relate to you."

Victor has learnt so much about running a business that he is in the process of merging with another one, Go to Print. To be complete by April, the merger will also see Duoprints’ name change to Go to Print, a marketing plan that he and his new business partner reckon will impress their customers.

For more information about the Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS)or
other resources to help small business, check out the Business Victoria
website ( or call the Victorian Business Line (Tel:
13 22 15).

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