Since reading the entire Franchise Disclosure Document is a daunting task for even the most intelligent professionals ready to cash out of the daily grind to buy a printing franchise, part of your due diligence is to isolate the difference between your expectations and the ones of your potential franchisor.
Frank discussions about the roles each party will play are critical if you wish to maximize your investment and make a better life. Above all, your personal responsibility to your future should never be forfeited. By all means, find and sign an agreement with the best, most favored franchisor in the industry, but do so realizing the brand is shared, but the business is yours…and this is good news.
During the due diligence phase, ask your franchisor who is responsible to make the phone ring and the lobby fill with eager customers. If your expectations are clear from the beginning, it can only stand to improve the performance of your venture in an industry that continues to evolve thanks to digital printing and expanding marketing services.
Kevin Wittal is Regional Vice President covering Ontario for Minuteman Press International. He shares, “The printing industry has evolved a great deal since I started in 1988. Back then, computer technology wasn’t a part of our business, virtually everything we produced in our franchises was done on offset presses and the products we offered were really limited to what was produced on the press and that served our clients well. Today, so much of that has changed. For the most part, the presses are gone, the run lengths have shortened, the requirement for colour has dramatically increased and we have shortened turnaround times to accommodate where we are at in a print-on-demand world.”
If you have sorted through the countless franchise opportunities and through the many industries that host them and found your way to printing today, you have eliminated work on the weekends and in the evenings. The B2B industry has its perks but not without putting in the work. With that said, you can also have the benefit of ongoing corporate and local franchise training and support if you are selective. Any venture that is bound to be elite will have times of struggle and the hard work you will dedicate to it is best justified by owning the entire process while accepting the support of your franchisor.
Once you’ve had your honest discussion about accountability and are certain about the burden of responsibility upon the franchisor and yourself, when the normal course of business generates some pressure, you will remember who is responsible and in most cases, that is you.
Still, you are not on an island if you sign a franchise agreement because the heart of what you have is mutual responsibility to one another, the brand and each party to their own defined share of the arrangement. Expectations are more easily met when they are clearly defined and blame has no place in the relationship at that point, but dialogue should be uninterrupted.
Neal Sugarman, owner of International Minute Press in Cary, North Carolina, defines partnerships on terms that prove mutually beneficial, an attitude that may have started with the agreement he signed, but continues to benefit his his client base. He says, “Partnerships are a big part of my marketing efforts. I have formed partnerships with other marketing firms such as direct mail houses, web and social media companies, sign companies and promotional products companies. I have also formed partnerships with ad agencies as we are natural referral partners for each other. Lastly, I have joined several networking groups and have built partnerships with a variety of small business owners to create significant referral business for each other.”
While there are many examples of owners handling the development of business in a proactive way while respecting the Minuteman Press brand, not all new franchisees make the same choices. Franchisors find that new or even potential owners remark, “I might be able do this myself” or there are silent partners to the operator don’t remain silent when perhaps they should and say such things as, “We’ll use only the parts of the system we want.”
Jack Panzer, Minuteman Press Regional Vice President for the Colorado/Arizona region, can attest to the rewards of weighing the pros and cons of independent vs. franchise ownership and going with the latter. Negotiations on your behalf make a strong franchise family a superior choice. He says, “A prime example of negotiations done well is apparent in the many arrangements Minuteman Press International has made to the great benefit of all of our many franchise owners. These suppliers want to be associated with our advancing success and that is a major advantage to the thousands of entrepreneurs building their businesses under our brand. Our relationships with suppliers only grow stronger with each successful agreement and we will continue to use our great experience, knowledge and expertise at the negotiation table to help ensure that we remain number-one in the industry.”
If you feel uncertain or unclear about the value of franchise ownership before buying, you are likely to be distrusting and have difficulty communicating in productive ways with your franchisor during the entire relationship. This is why you need to know the proven system has defined expectations and your role in it is critical. You serve your investment best by understanding this before singing a single thing.
Minuteman Press franchise owners continue to enjoy the benefits of an industry that is limitless. Their franchisor is always looking out for the best interests of franchisees and their clients in the name of this universally respected brand with its familiar green and orange colors.
As Jack Panzer concludes, “The printing industry has changed so much in the almost half century since Minuteman Press has been franchising. Gone are the days of manually stripping up files and relying solely on offset printing for one-color and two-color work, making life a lot easier for everyone. The ever-changing world of technology has brought digital to the forefront in many industries and printing is no exception. Our store owners are able to produce a wider variety of products with more speed and with higher quality. They experience shorter turn-around times, lower labor costs and more attractive bottom lines than ever before. A lot of the finishing capabilities have also been integrated into the digital presses that we utilize, further enhancing our capabilities while continuing to reduce labor costs, which translates to stronger results for our owners and their clients.”
To learn more about joining the #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise family, call us at 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.