Mark Bertrand of Structured Prints, LLC
23-year-old Mark Bertrand knew that he would be an entrepreneur at an early age. After majoring in Entrepreneurship and Finance at DePaul University, Mark opened up a company that allows architects and engineers to print construction projects on demand. When he’s not busy working, Mark enjoys the great outdoors with a little cycling, fishing and sailing. With the intellect to take advantage of a niche market, Mark will see a surge of business at his venture, Structured Prints, LLC.
Structured Prints, LLC
Location: Chicago, IL
Principal – Mark Bertrand
Start Date of Company - April 2009
How did you come up with the name of your company?
To be honest, I really did not put much thought into it. I knew I did not want to use my own name in the company name and I wanted to come up with something that could easily be associated with the industry. Structured Prints was probably only my second idea but I thought it fit well so I ran with it.
It has been shown that one's entrepreneurial ability is determined by these four attributes: initiative, decision-making, innovation and risk-taking. In which attribute are you the strongest and why?
Innovation. My strongest skill would be my ability think outside the box. I learned early in my college career that thinking outside of the box is the key to a successful entrepreneur, so I have made it a common practice in my personal and professional life to make an effort to always approach challenges after examining them from all angles. It is vital that you grasp an understanding of the importance of the other three abilities, because without the combination of all of these abilities, it is difficult to succeed in any venture.
Why did you decide to open your business?
There is an increased need to cut costs as well as to increase efficiency based on current economic climate in the housing market and across all other markets. By recognizing this need, I was able to determine that the construction industry had an opportunity to improve processes in ordering and printing of architectural renderings.
Once the need and solution was determined I was able to launch Structured Prints, LLC and subsequently our first web-based printing solution ChicagoBlueprints.com.
What have you achieved with your company thus far?
With the help of a very gifted designer, I was able complete a great site providing my customers with an easy to use online interface to place orders and manage their products. Through the implementation of ChicagoBlueprints.com we have been able to serve several clients and have been able to offer a low-cost, “hands-free” alternative to the more traditional printing solutions.
What has been difficult about running a business? What disappointments have you experienced since becoming a business owner?
Timelines are never what you hope them to be. Everything is always behind schedule and no matter how much preparation you put in you will rarely reach the lofty goals you have set for yourself.
Call it ego or greed, but running a business solo has been a dream of mine for a long time. I have since learned that this path can be lonely and you can feel lost more often than not. While not answering to anyone else is a goal of many entrepreneurs, having a partner to bounce ideas off of should not be discounted.
What advice do you have for aspiring young entrepreneurs?
In the words of Nike's infamous slogan, “Just Do It”. There is always going to be a million reasons to not do something, focus on the one reason to do it. Many people realize this too late, if ever. Remember you’re young, you don’t have much too lose.