George Ayoub always tends to the finest details as a digital print, design and marketing services provider.
Taking risks has never been intimidating to George Ayoub, but he was meticulous about finding ways to take intelligent ones and helps others do the same. “I was a mortgage banker from 2006 until 2011 and I loved working with numbers, but it wasn’t my business and I wanted to change that.” He conceded that any new investment is risky and he didn’t know anything about the printing industry, but when he met representatives from Minuteman Press International the spring of 2011, he says, “I didn’t have to think about it for years, or even months. We bought a brand new Minuteman Press franchise in Houston and opened it in September of the same year.”
He took his ordered way of examining high-stakes options that had previously done justice to clients making their biggest investments and he used it to analyze franchise options.
When George decided to move from Nebraska, a friend of 15 years directed him to look at Texas as a new home state. The same friend attended a business expo with him that would introduce franchise opportunities through Minuteman Press International. “This gentleman, Joseph E. Kean, has been like a second father to me and he looked out for me even when I was looking at a buying a business. He is in real estate and travels a lot so he joined me in the process of reviewing options,” George recalls. Regional Vice President, Pete Scaglione, assisted him with full disclosure about the rewards and the work connected to launching a brand new Minuteman Press franchise. George’s business-savvy friend agreed it was most superior of all his choices, which encouraged him to investigate further. “I toured all the centers in Houston and I went to New York to meet CEO Bob Titus and his personnel there. At that point, I knew I was dealing with good people who knew what they were doing. I came back home to Houston and signed my franchise agreement.”
His wife, Lara, has her own career as an attorney, so George returned to Minuteman Press International corporate headquarters on his own, totally “green” in the field he was entering, but excited, too. “I knew absolutely nothing about printing. Every single thing was new and I know that some people may have some idea about the basic lingo from other careers because they may have ordered printing before, but such was not the case for me. I had zero experience, but after training, I felt empowered and it was exciting. I had very high hopes and wrote down goals for the months and years ahead and looking back, those goals may have been a bit too aggressive.” The first year of any new business can be humbling and his experience proved that to true, but he was not on his own and he was ambitious.
“Even with all of my desire to take on new risks, going through the first year of business ownership was very challenging, but it was interesting and fun at the same time. I can say that it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” He reflects on theory vs. reality, adding, “At the beginning, it’s all new and you are pulled in every direction and have to deal with it. We went out and knocked on doors. There was a lot of walking as we went all over the place, but I knew the more people I contacted, the higher the probability of gaining new accounts. I would not be human if I didn’t admit it crossed my mind to quit during that year, but I adapted and rolled with the punches and never gave up. I bought a brand new business and I know that starting with zero customers and interviewing staff while sitting on boxes during setup that it wasn’t going to come easily. Now that I’ve grown and hired staff with experience, it has gotten easier to have some weight taken off my shoulders.”
He had local support then and now, as current Area Manager, Rich Panowitz, is always there, as needed. “My field representative never left my side and I could tell our success was something Minuteman Press International wanted to help ensure. We went after big accounts, some of which we could not land at the time, but came back later and did get some of those jobs. Two of them are the Visitors Bureau of Houston and our local public library, plus several others we could not do at first, but got again later. In time, the business got stronger and I was covering expenses and the vendors I work with were nice enough to work with me as I grew.”
“With our latest and greatest printing equipment capabilities, we pride ourselves on our quick turnaround times, producing the perfect print jobs every time.” – George Ayoub
A decade ago, as a respected name in mortgage banking, he never could have envisioned his career as it is today. Though his first year in business was the toughest, he found it “quickly thereafter became rewarding in every way.” George elaborates, “Some of the most difficult skills I developed along the way were drive, perseverance, and grit. When the tough got going, we never gave up. We built it from the ground up, adjusting to daily challenges, managing the finances and staff, and generating increased sales from door to door marketing efforts. The Minuteman Press name, brand, expertise, and support helped as well; and being in the good State of Texas with its attractive business environment and good people has made a difference in the overall success.”
When put to the test, all of the training and support given to George has allowed him to become a strong manager and a respected marketing services provider in downtown Houston.
Canadian-based company, Deloitte is among the clients to put Minuteman Press to the test and they passed with vibrant colors… literally!
Steven Wilfred is George’s print specialist/customer service representative and he personally directed a complicated and time sensitive series of projects for Deloitte. “They couldn’t find a company to take care of all of their needs until they came to us. Deloitte is based in Canada, but needed our services here and the main project included sixty 6 x 4 foam board signs and two-hundred and fifty booklets. They needed to change things at the last minute, were not able to supply the final files until forty-eight hours before their event and each sign takes 15 minutes to produce. We coordinated with our central facilities and got it done. They were really happy and gave us a literal round of applause when it was delivered.”
It was a delight to be there for Deloitte and I commend my staff for showing up on the weekend to finish last minute production and deliver the entire job,” says George.
Dan Penton, Manager/Pursuit Design Deloitte, has high praise for his partnership with Minuteman Press during an intense project. He shares, “Steve (a customer service associate at Houston Minuteman Press, Downtown location), went above and beyond ‘the ask’ for my team to deliver our presentation materials with excellence. There was a high volume of printing required under a very tight timeline (during the weekend as well) which would make any print shop a little nervous. Steve was patient, polite and flexible with our request and delivered the finished product on time with a high-level of customer service. Minuteman Press showed the utmost care and attention to our needs, and my team genuinely appreciated their help.”
Being reasonable with pricing is important, as George reaches back to his banking roots, but personalized service is something he says, “weighs much more heavily in the minds of our customers.” And now well beyond his intimidating days as a brand new design, print and marketing center owner, he has strength from growth. “My team has more than 30 years of experience in the printing and marketing industry and our knowledgeable, efficient, competent care creates the perfect recipe for a personalized service experience. Also, our 5 star ratings on Google and Yelp are testaments to our personalized customer service.”
As he and his wife raise three young boys, he reflects on his position: “Obviously for a business owner, being profitable and earning a living is gratifying. Still, nothing is more gratifying than our satisfied, growing, repeat customer base, combined with happy employees who enjoy their work environment. Every day, we serve our customers and earn a living for ourselves and our families.”