If you were to Google "female entrepreneur who epitomizes what it means to pay-it-forward" a photo of Nikki Smith may just be your first search result. From humble beginnings sixteen years ago running her business, ASAP Prints, out of her home with a part-time assistant, to now having clients such as Chick-fil-A and Google, Nikki's business journey has exceeded her wildest expectations.
When ASAP began, they primarily did graphic design and brokering of print services. As the business has grown, they have expanded their services, and their facility. Currently located in a 7,000 square foot facility on Havendale Blvd in Winter Haven, they now create wide format wall murals, art, custom floor tiles, wall paper murals and numerous other types of printed media. ASAP generates multi-million dollar sales annually and is tracking for a record year. Nikki believes that credit is due to their services, quality customer care and their relationships with new and existing clients. “Simply stated, ASAP is a one-stop shop for all printing needs,” Nikki said.
ASAP’s reach doesn’t stop at Winter Haven City limits. “We have nationwide clients and drop ship to Canada and all 50 states every quarter,” Nikki shared with excitement. They work with over 120+ Chick-fil-A stores and countless other well-known businesses, such as Google. ASAP designed and printed for Google’s Computer Science Study Institute Program. Nikki was also invited to participate in their Digital Excellence Program and was one of the first of 100 students to complete it. She gives much credit to Winter Haven saying, “Because we’ve created solid roots here in Winter Haven, it has served as a great foundation for us to reach out to other areas.”
Nikki not only puts her heart and soul into her business, she also puts strong efforts into her community. She has lived in Winter Haven since she was 5 years old and admits that she is a Winter Havenite through and through. She attended Grace Lutheran School, Denison Jr High and graduated from Winter Haven High School. As a business owner, she serves on the Girls Inc. Board, sponsors the Boys and Girls Club events, helps with Main Street Winter Haven’s City Works (X)po and also is heavily involved with Polk State College. “There is such a strong sense of community here in Winter Haven and we just want to give back,” she shared. ASAP was also awarded the Chamber's 2014 Small Business of the Year.
ASAP became what it is today because of Nikki’s hard work, comprehensive knowledge of the print industry inside and surrounding herself with a team of quality people. Nikki stresses that, “Whatever industry you are in, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to understand your industry top to bottom.” She has spent countless hours looking closely at the print industry and exercising her skills daily. Because of her life-long learner mentality, she has accumulated the knowledge and expertise to push business forward.
Amidst the hard work and successes, struggles are bound to come along in any business journey. Nikki shared that one of their biggest obstacles was staying ahead of technology. “Some of our equipment costs half a million dollars. Having the knowledge of what technology is needed to stay ahead is a real challenge.” Nikki does her best to be well-informed so she can make wise decisions when adapting and staying on the cutting edge of technology and print media.
Owning a business is truly a miracle for Nikki. “I wasn’t born in the US, so having the opportunity to own a business, much less here in America, is a miracle.” She feels extremely privileged to be in the position she’s in and loves sharing her story with younger women. She says, “If I can do it, then they can do it.” She believes, everyone has the chance to persevere when times are tough, prove themselves generous at all times and display kindness regardless of circumstances.
ASAP provides excellent services and innovative ideas to their clients and community. Their company mission statement is, “Print and serve with innovation and excellence and strive to improve on that daily.” This business is not lacking excellence or innovation and we are proud to have them as a part of our growing community.
Some might say that ASAP is lucky to work with companies like Google, but we think Google is lucky to work with a company like ASAP.