Some time ago, I asked Will to share his story aka the story of Laser Line and the Laser Line Way.
I’ve heard many times over the past fifteen years of how Laser Line was started and the spark of an idea that set Will on the path to where Laser Line is today. But what I realized was that many entrepreneurs have a story to tell but rarely get around to doing it. The typical entrepreneur worries about taking care of business, right down to the finest details and rarely do they have time to sit down and tell the story of how they got started and what motivated them in the first place. Will McFarland is no exception.
A while back, I finally managed to get Will to tell a little of the story and put down in words where he came from, what inspired him to make the leap from employee to employer and how day in and day out, he’s managed to build something not only he is proud of but his employees are proud of as well.
When I originally shared the story, it was shared in the context of how we compete on the daily with big box stores and the all mighty Amazon. While working from home, I’ve been spending time going back through a lot of the messaging we’ve put out to our existing clients as well as our potential ones and I realized the core of the story may have been getting lost. In that, I decided to try and share more about the company and the President, Will McFarland. After all, we wouldn’t be here if not for him.
Yes, competition is out there but through it all we’ve maintained that VALUE always trumps price. The truth is, although our value is unmatched, our pricing is competitive as well. We can often offer the same or lower pricing than big box stores. I will pridefully tell you, our customers often tell us that even if they can save a few pennies elsewhere, they’d rather do business with Laser Line because they know we’ll stand behind our products and service until we get it right.
That my friends is the LASER LINE WAY.
Now, on to the story but this isn’t the whole story by a long shot.
Many years ago, I worked in Baltimore County for a National Computer Company out of Texas. As a technician in the field I handled customer equipment issues and repairs. One thing I saw over and over again was neglected Laser Printers that worked hard for the customer but didn’t get proper cleaning and care.
So, I started a part time business (Laser Line Inc. in my 3- bedroom home in the Chesterfield community of Pasadena. After a couple of years of serving folks the business grew and I left my employer of 13 years and had to hire people to help me serve my customers. We continued to grow and have more than 40 employees with about half on the street everyday as technicians serving our clients.
Sure, there’s a whole lot more to this story that encompasses building vendor and customer relationships, convincing new clients that no, this concept (print management) isn’t a trick and yes, it truly is like having your own printer technician on staff but not on your payroll. Will especially loves the question, “But how do you make any money doing this?”
Through the years we’ve found many catch phrases to try and simplify the Laser Line Way for our clients.
Most of these are Will’s:
- It’s easy. It’s print management. Just let go.
- It’s a no brainer.
- Put paper in. Take paper out.
- More than just the printer people.
- Easy to use. Hard to believe.
- Your perfect solution for printing smarter.
- Printers are meant to help you do your job-not be your job.
All of these examples are true. The simplicity of what we do can make our service seem transparent, which isn’t always a blessing. However, Will’s concept and execution of his idea to significantly reduce the burden of printer problems on IT staff, end users and anyone else who needs to print, copy, scan or fax has revolutionized print management in Maryland and far beyond.
Laser Line employs over 40 people who live locally in Maryland. Will has managed to grow the company and build a team of people who understand his philosophy and objectives for keeping the customers equipment up and running. By using white glove service, experience, expertise and dedication, doing business the Laser Line Way has allowed us to build both vendor and client relationships that have lasted decades.
By leading through example, Will has been a teacher, a counselor, a friend and a father figure to many of us at Laser Line. He is proof that being a boss and running a company means being responsible for more than just numbers and profits; it’s about the relationships we build with people and making sure everyone is working from the same play book, even if we have to occasionally go back and review in order to keep everyone on the same page.
As I said, Will is the quintessential entrepreneur. He worries about everything at Laser Line from advertising to copier sales and leasing, and from fixing printers and training to hiring. We are a team and we all wear many hats but none of us has a bigger hat rack than Will.
And yet, he still finds time to change the motor oil in the service vans.
Thank you Will. On behalf of all of us, thank you for showing us the Laser Line Way. We all look forward to the many years ahead and making Laser Line the best it can be!
There’s a lot more of this story yet to be written.