Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

January 23rd, 2017

AlphaGraphics Perspectives: Hear What Our Franchisees Have To Say

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At our recent Annual Conference in New Orleans, we captured some thoughts from eight Franchisees from around the nation. Each comes from a different background, personally and professionally, but found AlphaGraphics to be the right fit.

“I always wanted to own my own business… The timing was never right until I just did it.”

“Everybody I’ve met at AlphaGraphics was willing to help. They bring things to light that you don’t think about.”

“The training I’ve gone through has been phenomenal.”

Click here for more!

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December 15th, 2016

Strategy 2017: Q&A with AlphaGraphics Chief Development Officer Dave Buzza

As we approach the New Year, hear from AlphaGraphics CDO Dave Buzza on the wins of 2016 and the focus for the coming months.

What did you see as the signature accomplishments of 2016?Dave Buzza headshot
It was a year of innovation, and building out foundational needs within the brand. We now have the pieces in place to hit the ground running very aggressively in 2017.

I’ll also point out that we reached our highest center count in over 15 years, the only brand in our industry to have seen consistent unit growth in recent history. Sales were ahead of last year across our Network as well.

Tell us more about the core elements that are now in place to facilitate continued growth and development.
Strategically, we’ve worked hard to lead a rapidly advancing industry, and we’re constantly evolving the brand from a technology standpoint. This year we invested heavily in new technologies, because we understand that all of our systems and processes have to be built around a positive customer experience — ease of use, speed, instant gratification. We’re a one or two-click society, and while the work we do is custom, that doesn’t mean it has to be slow and clunky. Everything we’ve installed this year is designed to make that process better, faster, more efficient. That includes a new MIS system across the Network for managing workflow, a new ecommerce platform (AgOnline) for online ordering, and a new AlphaGraphics.com website that is launching now.

Technology is essential, but so are the people. What did 2016 include for the AlphaGraphics Network of Franchisees, and the staff who support them?
Excellent point, because our people are our competitive edge. On that front, we updated all of our training systems, implemented a fantastic new business development program, added a new vice president of marketing and really positioned the brand for growth in 2017. We needed to create efficiencies to manage the growth that will come, and we had to ensure they were installed and running on all cylinders in order to hit the ground running in 2017. We’re there, and we’re excited.

It’s an impressive list of accomplishments. What about the long-term strategy?
As a 47-year-old brand, AlphaGraphics continues to evolve and stay highly relevant in today’s marketplace. We are very competitive against all the other channels available today. Technology is really driving the processes, and we’ve obviously embraced that, but it still comes down to the relationship. That’s where it all comes together to create the customer experience.

From a Network development standpoint, we remain focused on growth through existing business opportunities. Whereas traditionally we’ve focused on finding businesses that could work for candidates, now we’ve got a bunch of pre-qualified businesses looking to sell who have opted-in to our program and are in our inventory. Independent print shop owners are attracted to the program, because we can deliver a well-qualified candidate and they walk away from closing with a check, rather than a promise. From a Franchise candidate’s perspective, we have a stable of fully vetted businesses that are available to choose from, across the country. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, including our customers.

There are tremendous opportunities in independent shops that could use a boost, but aren’t there several thriving AlphaGraphics Business Centers for sale as well?
There certainly are. In a brand of this age and demographics, there will always be waves of retirement-age owners. Many have built a generational business to hand down; others want to see their operation and team continue to thrive but are ready to throttle back. In fact, many of our Franchisees who sell stay on as a part of the production or sales or customer service team long-term!

Most people aren’t interested in starting a business from scratch these days, and why would you go through that ramp-up to break-even process when you have a great business available to acquire? You burn a lot less capital, and therefore can focus on growth instead of debt service. Having those opportunities really lowers the risk, on multiple levels.

What else would you want people considering AlphaGraphics to know?
Just that the value proposition is very compelling in 2017; there’s no question that it is stronger than ever. We have a 54-point valuation process that can be individualized to compare metrics on acquisitions and conversions, from purchasing power to payroll to technology and other efficiencies. We also look at the strategic proposition: what would the business be worth today, and what might it be worth branded as AlphaGraphics down the road? Then you consider the intangibles, such as access to a Network of 260 other owners and their experience, expertise and resources. I would encourage anyone with an interest to allow us to perform this value analysis.

We are actively and aggressively looking for candidates who would be a great fit for the AlphaGraphics brand. This year was about being poised for growth, and all of those initiatives now are stress-tested and have traction going into the new year.

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November 19th, 2016

Meet the Team That Helps AlphaGraphics Lead the Industry

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Every day, the AlphaGraphics corporate team is working to support the Network, in implementing new technology, training, sales and marketing support, vendor relations and more.

It’s about ensuring that both new and veteran Franchisees have the best possible tools to be a world-class provider in the print and marketing communications space.

Hear from our senior leaders what they can bring to the table for you!

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October 22nd, 2016

Selcho Family Continues to Win with AlphaGraphics as Second Generation Takes the Reins

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For Steve, Karen, Andy, and Stephanie Selcho in Sandy, Utah, AlphaGraphics is a family affair. Steve first joined the Network back in 1996, and several years ago the main Center moved into a new custom-built, two-story building in a prime location.

In February, Steve handed the reins to Andy, naming him president and turning over the operation of the business that includes two AlphaGraphics Business Centers to him.

Over the course of 13 years working with his family, Andy had already developed a strong background in digital and print marketing. This year, both Centers were included in the Printing News Top 100 list.

As Andy says, “AlphaGraphics is where cutting-edge technology and expert professionals come together to help our clients grow.” Congratulations to the Selchos!

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October 18th, 2016

New Franchisee Insights: Former 3M Exec Buys Two AlphaGraphics

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Steve Webb in Apple Valley, Minnesota was a marketing executive with 3M for 14 years, then led U.S. operations for the global information services company AudaExplore before acquiring two AlphaGraphics in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

The timing was never right until I just did it,” Steve says. “The more I investigated AlphaGraphics, the more I realized it was the right fit for me. Every entrepreneur in this system has his or her own way of solving customers’ problems, and I can see the path I’m on very clearly.

“I’m really excited looking ahead at the opportunity to combine marketing and technology … this is more than just a printer.”

Click here for more insights from Steve’s first years as an AlphaGraphics Franchisee!

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September 30th, 2016

Longtime HR Exec Sees Family Legacy in AlphaGraphics

Beth Pence had directed human resources for 30 years when she learned the commercial printing plant where she worked was closing its doors in 2015. Living in suburban Savannah, Ga., Pence was offered a number of executive positions, but another idea intrigued her.

Pence and her husband, Chris, had lifelong friends in Knoxville who had become AlphaGraphics Franchisees, and were having great success. When the Pences noticed that the AlphaGraphics in their hometown of Martinez was for sale, the wheels started turning.

beth-pence“The Lohers (in Knoxville) have been entrepreneurs their whole careers, and Chris and I have always worked for large companies,” Pence says. “Some could say I was crazy for passing on some lucrative job offers to do this, but if I was going to start over with a new company, why not do it for myself?”

The Pences’ son, Phillip, was graduating from college with a marketing degree, and was exploring sales positions.

“We sat him down and told him we had a deal for him – in 10 or 12 years, the business could be his, and we would retire. We had a lot of conversation about how we would work together, and I can honestly say we’ve not had one day where we were concerned that we had made the wrong decision.

The Pences took over operations at AlphaGraphics Martinez on April 1, absorbing a talented staff and establishing a bonus program that includes sales goals to incentivize the team. Each month since April, they’ve hit the goal, and they beat the previous year’s sales by six percent within the first three months.

Pence says her HR experience has been instrumental in building the culture she was looking for, and the opportunity to help other small businesses has been deeply rewarding. They’ve produced everything from business cards for Realtors to large-format signage for retail locations, along with brochures, vehicle graphics and more. This fall, they will launch a new website that facilitates online ordering for their customers.

“Our production manager, Lisa Davis, is phenomenal, and we recently hired another designer. We’ve made some mistakes, but we learn from them,” Pence says. “I think we’re all a little surprised with how much fun we’re having – meeting people, attending networking events, selling ourselves. I would have never known that without this experience, and it’s completely different than doing it for someone else.

“Our plan is to work hard for the next 10 or 12 years, set aggressive goals and every couple of years sell a little more of the business to our son Phillip,” she says. “Ultimately we’ll hand it over to him and his family, which creates a legacy opportunity that just isn’t possible with a big corporation.”

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September 21st, 2016

Existing Nashville Franchisee Acquires Established Business, Converts It to AlphaGraphics

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Bob Rehley
in Nashville didn’t have a background in printing, but he knew he wanted to own his own business. The AlphaGraphics focus on providing comprehensive marketing services to small business intrigued him, and he went through the process of exploring available acquisitions in the Nashville area.

They knew the right questions to ask, and we evaluated a lot of opportunities. I ultimately had two to choose from on my short list,” Rehley says. “I had instant access to businesses processes that allowed me to start selling immediately, along with a full network of support.

“Every time I tap in to the AlphaGraphics Network, I realize that I’m still underutilizing it. There is literally an endless supply of support, both from the corporate side and from all of the other AlphaGraphics Franchisees across the country.”

Click here for more in this short video from Rehley on why he chose AlphaGraphics.

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September 10th, 2016

Just the Facts: The AlphaGraphics Opportunity

redbag-collageWho is AlphaGraphics? With approximately 260 locations in our global network and average gross sales of $1 million per Center, AlphaGraphics continues to experience ourstrongest growth in more than a decade, with Business Centers that provide a full line of marketing, printing, signage and design services. To learn more about the growth strategy unveiled at our recent national Cconference, click here for more from Printing Impressions magazine.

Did you know that we offer acquisition opportunities all across the country? Whether you’re interested in acquiring a successful and established AlphaGraphics Business Center, buying an independent business that would make a great AlphaGraphics location, or opening a new location in your area, oportunities abound. See our Resale Guide below, and keep an eye out for regularOpportunity Alerts in your inbox!

What does an AlphaGraphics Franchise Candidate look like? You might be wondering… who is the right candidate? The truth is we’re pretty selective, because we want to ensure a great fit for both parties on the front end. That’s why our Franchisee satisfaction ratings are some of the best in the industry. Click here to visit our YouTube channel, and explore a “Day in the Life” of an AlphaGraphics Franchisee.

Here are some qualities we look for in new Franchise candidates:

Business experience: Whether you’ve been in a corporate role or part of small business ownership and operations, that experience managing sales processes, leading a team, marketing, finance and operations will be very useful.

• $400K net worth required, $150K liquid, and a FICO of 700 or better.

A focus on cultivating consultative B2B relationships – we build long-term client partnerships through our expertise and execution, not a hard sale.

A dedication to following proven systems and processes, but also an entrepreneurial spirit for carrying out your unique vision for the business.

A consistent focus on sales and business development. We have the systems and support in place, and a platform for you to build a sales culture around what’s best for the customer.

Have you seen our robust Item 19? We believe in transparency, and dedicating the effort and commitment on the front end to establishing partnerships of mutual benefit. The Item 19 is the document that details our business metrics and results, and it is far more comprehensive than many in the Franchise industry. Click here to explore the Item 19.

Get in touch with us to start the conversation!

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August 24th, 2016

Longstanding Family Business Joins the AlphaGraphics Network

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Tyson Peissig
in Missoula, Montana – home of the University of Montana – grew up in the industry. His parents owned Gateway Printing, and Tyson learned every aspect of the business from the ground up.

He says the family thought long and hard about converting to AlphaGraphics, but since joining the Network in 2011, they’ve seen the benefits time and again. Tyson now serves as general manager, overseeing a thriving operation that has expanded its horizons

It was the right decision on a number of different levels,” he says. “It energized our business and allowed us to explore new product segments we didn’t think possible. We went from a very closely-held family business to talking with other owners on a very intimate level about details that help us be successful. That’s been a tremendous value.

Click here for more perspective from Tyson on what joining the AlphaGraphics Network has meant for his family business.

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August 16th, 2016

AlphaGraphics Kansas City Team Brings Major Aquarium Exhibit to Life

Haley and Matt Haar in Kansas City were recently tapped to produce and install graphics supporting a major new exhibit at Sea Life Aquarium. It wasn’t the first time the Kansas City team has partnered with the Aquarium – the Center had done a small wall graphic for the customer back in January. When the Aquarium staff was ready to install the new exhibit, they called on the Haars knowing the job would be done right.

Altogether, the project involved more than 1,300 square feet of bright, colorful graphics printed on wall vinyl and laminated before being installed over the course of two days.sea-life-aquarium

The Haars’ Production Manager, Ross Sanders, is 3M certified, which allowed him to install the graphics without having to engage outside vendors. The end result was a quick turnaround and an expert installation, all adding up to one happy client.

Click here to see more great work from AlphaGraphics Kansas City.

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