Al Layton has always had what he calls “an entrepreneurial mind-set.” Layton, who holds a degree in computer engineering and spent several years at Lockheed Martin, knew his goal was ultimately to be in business for himself. After graduating from college in 2001, he gave himself ten years to start his own business, not knowing what it would be. He has since achieved that goal with the creation last year of Presher Ink--a business that incorporates his love for art and drawing.
As a “one-stop shop for graphic design,” Presher Ink’s services range from custom apparel, uniforms, and athletic wear to banners, signs, logos, flyers, and business cards. Conceptualizing the idea for his business was the easy part; putting his ideas on paper proved to be more challenging. In mid-2010, Layton joined an Entrepreneur Works business skills course. At the outset, he didn’t have a business plan. “I did everything that I thought I should be doing,” says Layton, “but the class gave me structure.”
Along with structure, knowing how to talk to different customers is also part of the business. Layton counts several schools in the city of Chester as his main clients, with orders for football, baseball, band, and class t-shirts. Taking business development courses at Entrepreneur Works helped him in learning how to solicit business: he learned how and what to ask, as well as what not to ask. As an entrepreneur, Layton also learned the importance of individual references and word-of-mouth marketing in growing a client base.
In the upcoming year, Layton plans to hire two employees and acquire additional equipment to grow his graphic design business. Being a business owner is at times harder than working for someone else, says Layton, but “at the end of the day, it’s not that hard because it’s all for you.” Presher Ink--the culmination of Layton’s ten-year goal--has given him the opportunity to combine his entrepreneurial spirit with his passion for art. He counts himself lucky to be doing something he enjoys: “We tell people’s stories through graphic design,” he says.