The one constant in business (and in life), is change.
Like most platitudes, this one also is true.
You might not think things as already established and mundane as breakfast cereal or everyday signage need to change. But they do. Companies that are able to adapt to change, even if they’ve been around a long time - or start ups that can come up with a better way to deliver an old favorite - are the businesses that survive and thrive.
Let's kick off the conversation by talking about something as ubiquitous and seemingly plebeian as signage, with Steve Perrett.
Steve is President of Letterman’s, a longtime locally owned company that started out in the 1940s as a print shop specializing in blueprints for architects and contractors - back when you actually had to walk into the store to pick up your prints. Today, Letterman's has become the state’s largest, privately owned full-service reprographics company, offering signage and graphics printing, technical document printing, and professional document management.
Letterman’s still does blueprints, but it also does those large-format prints you see wrapping buses and the exteriors of public buildings, as well as wayfinding signage, including ADA-compliant Way Finding signs.
Steve’s dad, Charles Perret, bought the company in the 1980s from its original founders, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Letterman. Today, Steve and his brother Chuck help their dad run the business and have expanded its footprint beyond Baton Rouge, to New Orleans, and Lake Charles.
Steve (technically, "Dr. Steve" actually) has been with the company since the 1990s. Among his several degrees from LSU are and MBA and a doctorate in human resource management.
From Signs to Cereal
Moving on to something seemingly even more unremarkable than signs: breakfast cereal! Does the world really need a new cereal? Because the one constant is changes, yes we do.
Rich Simmerman is CEO and co-founder of Ceres Plant Protein Cereal, a startup that has created a breakfast cereal for people who subscribe to plant-based lifestyles. The cereal has 20 grams of plant-based protein and no sugar! It's made from naturally grown ingredients free of herbicides and chemicals. Its low-carb, diabetic friendly, keto friendly, vegan, plant based and - get this - it tastes good.
Rich grew up like a lot of American kids – eating a lot of highly processed breakfast cereal loaded with sugar. He was overweight and unmotivated and wanted better for the next generations of kids, so he teamed up with his friend Branson Morgan and in the first 12 months since launching, won local pitch competitions and are scaling up manufacturing and distribution.
Rich is a recent graduate of Loyola University and is currently working on a MBA at Tulane.