Michael Brown, along with his wife Lorna, owned an AlphaGraphics Business Center in Cincinnati for 15 years, nurturing that location into a thriving operation before selling it and taking a couple of years off. With a master’s in business administration as well as his “real world experience” in business, plus his love for teaching others, he taught courses in business management, human resources, strategic planning and marketing at a couple of local universities in Cincinnati.
He missed the camaraderie of the AlphaGraphics Network, and rejoined the company in 2007 as a Regional Development Director.
Today, Brown works with candidates across the country to identify acquisition and conversion opportunities, secure funding for their businesses, and help find the right real estate locations in the markets where they will be operating their AlphaGraphics Business Centers.
Recently, he earned the Certified Franchise Executive designation through the International Franchise Association, an intensive process that took him more than two years to complete. The series of courses and exams, collaborative events and projects ensures that a CFE professional is a subject matter expert on all things related to franchising.
“I am always working to continue my education, and it was an incredible experience. Not only did I learn a lot, but I established relationships across the entire Franchise industry that would not have been possible otherwise. Plus, now I am able to put this knowledge and expertise to work for all my clients,” Brown says.
As a Development Director, Brown works with candidates who are interested in becoming AlphaGraphics Franchisees through programs such as direct conversion, acquire and convert, or by acquiring an existing AlphaGraphics Business through the resale program. Each pathway has its advantages, and could appeal to different types of entrepreneurs.
“Stepping into an existing business that has a book of accounts available to grow is obviously significantly easier than starting from scratch,” he says. “This would appeal to those looking to join AlphaGraphics through either a resale or via the acquire and convert scenario.
“For the direct conversion pathway, a lot of the independent companies we talk with about converting to AlphaGraphics realize they have to make changes in order to stay relevant. They recognize that the industry has evolved and see AlphaGraphics as the means to implement important change and grow their business through the power of a national brand.”
Brown serves as a resource within AlphaGraphics for funding, both with new candidates and with existing Franchisees. With his background in finance and experience as a Franchisee, he’s well equipped to understand the nuances of how best to fund and grow an AlphaGraphics Business Center.
“We work with SBA loans quite often, but not everything fits there,” he says. “It depends on a lot of factors, and only about half of our funding business is through SBA lenders. We work with a few smaller lenders who specialize in conventional Franchise lending as well.”
On the real estate side, Brown is the person new franchise candidates work with to locate and vet prospective locations based on a criteria document he developed.
“I know what a successful operation has to look like from the owner’s perspective,” he says. “I work directly with the Franchisee and our network of real estate brokers across the nation to find the right match.”
It’s people like Michael Brown who make the difference at AlphaGraphics, bringing the right expertise and experience to ensuring our Franchisees are successful.