Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

February 8th, 2016

New Twin Cities Franchisee Acquires Two Successful AlphaGraphics Business Centers with Statewide Growth Potential

Steve Webb knew he wanted to own his own business. He just didn’t think it would be a franchise. But when he dove into the AlphaGraphics model and saw the flexibility to carve a niche as a marketing and communications consultant while benefitting from the support of an entire Network, the decision became clear. Now, Webb has acquired two well-established AlphaGraphics Business Centers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

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“Honestly I had some pre-conceptions about franchises, but I attended AlphaGraphics Discovery Day and realized that this is a unique model that has proven to be very successful. It’s not a cookie-cutter system, where every product is exactly the same,” Webb explains. “There are good, strong guidelines and support systems, but the way in which you execute is very individual.

After a 30-career that started in accounting, led him through product development and consumer packaged goods marketing with the 3M Corporation, and most recently saw him leading a national data services company as its president, he was ready to apply that experience to his own organization. Working with a Franchise consultant, Webb found AlphaGraphics and discovered an acquisition opportunity in his hometown.

“The more I considered it, the more sense it made. We have a strong team, great brand presence and a large market with statewide growth potential,” he says. “I loved the B2B focus of AlphaGraphics, and then I saw myself in a lot of the other Franchisees. Everyone I talked with reinforced not only the potential of the marketing communications space, but also the integrity and professionalism of AlphaGraphics as a company.”

He’s been a witness to the rapidly evolving communications industry, and was intrigued with the prospect of helping other small businesses grow as their marketing partner. But starting from scratch didn’t seem viable.

“If you’re going to be in this industry, I believe it would be pretty tough to keep up with the technology as an independent. The AlphaGraphics leadership comes from the industry and has their fingers on the pulse of what’s coming down the pike – you don’t have to do it by yourself,” Webb says. “In fact, many of the pioneers are part of our Network. I have confidence in where I am, and that’s a lot of the value of a franchise like AlphaGraphics.

Webb says the former owner’s willingness to stay on as director of sales offers continuity that will allow him to grow the business. His staff of 12 brings both relationships, market intelligence and operations experience to the table.

“We will focus on fanatical customer service as we strive to become the ‘go to’ marketing partner in the Twin Cities, and on making this a great place to work,” he says. “We’ll leverage our unique skills and capabilities to carve out a niche and develop competitive advantage, and we believe that will drive significant growth into the future.”

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January 10th, 2016

“A Different Kind of Conversation”: Shifting the Sales Dynamic

Grant Richey had seen all sides of the printing business. As an account rep with the Xerox Corporation, he sold commercial equipment to customers ranging from educational institutions to independent print shops, and had become an expert in the latest technology and capabilities. Prior to that, he had managed three AlphaGraphics Business Centers in Salt Lake City, where he gained experience on the consumer side, from design to fulfillment.

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An entrepreneur at heart, he didn’t see a future in a career selling commoditized products for someone else. So when an opportunity came up to buy into a leading company in the rapidly growing large-format graphics space, he started making plans – until a conversation with a customer directed his path back to AlphaGraphics.

“I was ready to mortgage my house to purchase a minority stake and take on an executive role in this company, and over lunch one day I asked one of my customers what he thought of my decision,” Richey says. “He owned the AlphaGraphics in Bountiful, Utah, and we had developed a great relationship. We talked about how quickly the industry was evolving, and that there was an opportunity to build a different kind of business. He was ready to sell and it all fell into place. That was 12 years ago.”

Looking back, he remembers the moment when he recognized that print is simply one byproduct of an effective marketing plan. It’s not about printing per se, but about the content. It’s about communicating a message – which leads a client to a different kind of conversation.

“There’s a 6 to 1 multiple on marketing dollars over print as a component of the total spend, on average. When we started thinking about how we could help our clients differentiate themselves, it really changed our entire sales process,” he says. “Logos, websites, social media and video pieces done right can connect with people on an emotional level. When we were able to articulate that and our ability to drive those creative processes, we started really expanding our client relationships around message development and how best to engage their customers.”

Richey says the last 12 months have brought home the point. His AlphaGraphics team has landed several large new contracts and felt the change in the way they are perceived by their clients.

“I’ve heard several of our clients reference their experience with us as more like working with an agency. When you’re having a conversation on that level, you’ve shifted from a sales pitch to a discussion on how you can help lead the entire process.”

They’ve tapped into every media available – think short video highlights, Ecommerce focused landing pages and in-store dimensional LED displays that showcase a handful of featured products – and the AlphaGraphics Bountiful team is involved from concept, identity and message development all the way through the sale. They even handle the order fulfillment.

He’s mentored his staff on how to create that different kind of discussion, and as a result they’ve landed projects that build expertise and demonstrate capabilities.

“I talk to new Franchisees who are worried that they don’t have the background to execute on the kinds of things that we do, but the truth is there’s an entire network of support that’s here to help, and we’ve been the beneficiary of that from the beginning,” Richey says. “That’s what AlphaGraphics is all about. The people are the resource, and without that camaraderie and teamwork with the corporate staff and our network of Franchisees, we wouldn’t have the brand strength we do today.”

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January 8th, 2016

Discovery Day Insights: Real Impressions from Prospective AlphaGraphics Franchisees

AlphaGraphics Discovery Day has developed a reputation – those who have attended will tell you there’s no better way to explore the company in a candid, unvarnished way than here.

The difference? We believe success is a byproduct of solid relationships, and that prospective Franchisees deserve an honest look at both the benefits and the challenges, the risks and the rewards. We’re evaluating each other, and looking for the right fit.

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Here’s what attendees from the January session had to say:

“It was an outstanding event. It is definitely way better than (others I’ve attended)… very well organized, the information provided to candidates is neat and relevant, and the participation of the AGI Leadership Team was kind and enthusiastic. On a scale from 1 to 10, I give it a 10.

“A great synergized, energized and passionate group of people with impressive backgrounds and a lot of excitement… I was pleased with the genuineness of the AlphaGraphics corporate team.”

“The staff at corporate was amazing to interact with. I was prepared to be talked down to in some ways … but everyone from the front desk clerk to the President were nothing but hospitable and extremely engaging. I probably asked more questions than anyone else in our particular Discovery Day section but never once was I replied to with anything less than a genuine attempt to help me better understand what I was asking about. When a President or Director takes the time to do that to for someone who has not been in the professional field before, it really leaves an impression.”

“Well organized. Very efficient time usage! Good content delivered.

“My impression of the Discovery Day was outstanding, and meeting with the various teams in charge of training gave me a tremendous boost in confidence.

Upcoming AlphaGraphics Discovery Day sessions are scheduled for:

March 2-4 2016
April 13-15, 2016
May 11-13, 2016
June 15-17, 2016
July 13-15, 2016

Contact us to start the conversation. We would be delighted to have you as our guest.

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December 15th, 2015

Music, Technology Background Helps New AlphaGraphics Win in Downtown Los Angeles

A meeting planner from New York calledSherry and Tony Perry in Dallas with a crisis: it was Friday, and they needed materials to be delivered in Austin, Texas the following Tuesday. The 200 full-color pocket brochures had to be die cut and constructed before being stuffed with 600 inserts. No die maker could be found in New York City to create the tool within 24 hours, but the AlphaGraphics Network is accustomed to making miracles happen.

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By that afternoon, the Perrys’ team had the job in production, and the pieces were printed over the weekend, constructed on Monday and delivered to UPS by end of day. Another brochure file came in Monday morning, was printed overnight and delivered on Wednesday morning in time for the conference.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Escalante and his team at AlphaGraphics in Sunnyvale, California got the call with an emergency order for Google, when another printer was unable to meet the deadline on a large-format print job aimed at one of Google’s top clients. Alejandro and his team worked over the weekend to complete the project, and the Google marketing team was so impressed that they’re already talking about other needs.

How did they find AlphaGraphics Sunnyvale? You guessed it – a first-position Google ad!

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December 15th, 2015

Music, Technology Background Helps New AlphaGraphics Win in Downtown Los Angeles

Careers are built on a diversity of experiences – and successful people find a way to leverage complementary skill-sets doing something they love. Such is the case with Lynn Malsby in Los Angeles, who became a professional musician as a teen, toured the world in the ‘80s as the keyboardist in a popular band, and learned computer technology by syncing tracks in the early days of digital studio recording. When she decided to leave the music industry, desktop publishing and digital photography were emerging, and she worked as a consultant on print automation software development.

For the past 18 years, Lynn was a marketing manager for the LA-based Capital Group, where she developed programs that provided mutual fund managers with the ability to remotely print detailed customized financial reports and resources for individual clients. In March, she brought Graphics & Beyond in downtown Los Angeles and converted the business to an AlphaGraphics Business Center.

“I’ve spent the last 25 years in all things digital publishing, from print to web and everything in between. But I was ready to do something for myself, to own a business of my own,” Malsby says. “I found AlphaGraphics and saw a lot of opportunity based on my experience, and they made it possible for me to purchase an existing business in my hometown.”

Lynn spent several months researching the market dynamics, evaluating the client list, the staff and the equipment she was acquiring. She says the former owner was serious about making sure his customers and staff were taken care of, and the team was full of talent. With the addition of updated equipment and a network of other AlphaGraphics owners, she’s been able to not only make the business run more efficiently, but to grow customer relationships through expanded services.

“We’re very close to the Music Center here, as well as a school and a couple of museums, and we’ve been able to offer additional resources to them,” she says. “One of our clients is a growing restaurant chain that is expanding rapidly, and we already have them up and running on our online ordering system for over 200 items. The previous business was essentially all printing, but now we have personalized items and a wealth of tools in place for them. As they build a national presence, we’ve established a comprehensive program to accommodate all of those needs.”

Veteran AlphaGraphics Franchisees in southern California have welcomed Lynn with open arms, sharing both their experience and capabilities to help her broaden the scope of the business. She says the new AlphaGraphics Business Center looks and feels more like a marketing services center than a copy shop now, and the staff has seen the new horizon.

Alex Del Rio, Lynn’s production manager, has been part of the team for 10 years. He says AlphaGraphics has brought efficiencies and quality gains he never thought possible.

“I’ve started to think more strategically, beyond the one job to really help clients understand the different opportunities to carry their message,” he says. “Lynn has brought that mindset to the table.”

Lynn says it’s about providing the kind of quality that cultivates long-term relationships.

“We’ve invested in the equipment and technology to do it better, faster and less expensively than they could before, and from day one Alex and the team have embraced it,” she says.

“AlphaGraphics has put us in a position to be successful, and positioned us for significant growth in 2016 and beyond.”

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November 25th, 2015

Established Businesses for Entrepreneurs

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We’ve heard it loud and clear: Prospective candidates want to purchase a successful B2B business, and sellers are looking for an exit strategy that ensures the operation they’ve built will continue to thrive under new ownership.

We have developed a network of existing AlphaGraphics locations and independent print shops that have cultivated a great book of business, built a talented team, and invested in the right equipment and processes. Meanwhile, we are continually vetting qualified candidates all over the country who are looking to buy.

Kelley Rieves manages the AlphaGraphicsBusiness Builder program, and works with independent print shop owners who are interested in selling or planning exit strategies. She understands that both buyers and sellers know exactly what they want, and are looking for someone to make the right introductions.

“As a 45-year-old brand, we have a resale program that can be appealing to candidates seeking an established business, and we’ve extended that program to offer opportunities even in areas where there might not be an AlphaGraphics resale on the market,” Rieves says. “Many successful independents have built strong teams and customer bases, are SBA bankable and make good sense to convert to AlphaGraphics.”

If you’re looking for an opportunity in a specific market, our team will go out and find an established business suitable for conversion. Chances are, we’re already working with one! Contact Kelley Rieves at (832) 798-2646.
 
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August 27th, 2015

Ohio Franchise Hits a Home Run for MLB All-Star Game

Steve and Cinda Morse in Mason, Ohio have cultivated a long-standing relationship with Major League Baseball (MLB)’s Cincinnati Reds, which led to an opportunity to produce several print projects for the MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati last month.

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One of the largest projects was decorating the riverboats that cruise the Ohio River next to the stadium, producing and installing mesh banners as large as 45 feet long on the boats, which attracted huge media coverage during the game.

The team also decorated vehicles for the All-Star Parade with “car-topper” graphics featuring player names. Steve and Cinda rubbed elbows with players and celebrities and made new connections that will likely lead to new business opportunities. After the event, MLB praised their work, saying this was one of the best All-Star Games in over 15 years.

 

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July 22nd, 2015

Growth Through Acquisition: How Mark Lee Doubled His Business

Mark Lee purchased an AlphaGraphics Business Center in Arlington, Texas in August of 2013, having retired from a successful career as Director of Sales and Customer Management with PepsiCo.

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The first year’s sales results were about $1.5 million. But acquisition was at the center of his growth strategy – Swifty Solutions was the market leader, with 25+ years of brand presence and sales of nearly $2 million annually.

AlphaGraphics Business Builder program had identified Swifty as a prospect for conversion in early 2014, but the owner wasn’t yet ready to sell. Thirteen months later, in February of 2015, Lee purchased Swifty Solutions and began the process of converting it to AlphaGraphics.

“The business wasn’t for sale when we first reached out, but the owner, Jerry Mechell, had been thinking about a transition plan. He’s passionate about the people – both his staff and his customers – and he wanted to make sure the company he’d built would continue to be successful,” Lee says. “The unique thing is that he had been watching AlphaGraphics from afar and had implemented a lot of our best practices into Swifty.”

With the new operation came a seasoned staff, an impressive book of business and complementary equipment and capabilities. Through the acquisition, Lee added 10 new employees (including a director of production with 24 years of service), more than 9,000 square feet of space and five offset printers. The new location is set to debut as AlphaGraphics in two months.

“A lot of the offset work that we had been subbing out can now be done in-house,” Lee says.“Swifty Solutions didn’t have in-house mailing, and we do. Now that we have additional space, we will be adding wide format.”

Lee worked with Mechell on a transition plan and met face to face with the top 50 customers, and together they were able to communicate the positive change. The transition plan included a letter campaign to all customers overviewing the transition and benefits. Now Lee’s AlphaGraphicsbusiness is primed to grow even more rapidly.

Looking back on his career, Lee says he’s thrilled with his decision to become an entrepreneur by joining the AlphaGraphics Network.

“I don’t miss corporate America at all. I tell anyone who will listen that everything I did in my career prepared me for what I’m doing now,” he says. “My degrees in advertising, background in sales and marketing, managing a sales force, being held accountable to growth goals – all of that is applicable to what I’m doing today. I’m just doing it for myself.”

If you’re working with candidates who are looking at opportunities to apply their experience and skill set to a business of their own, we’d love to talk with you about AlphaGraphics.

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June 23rd, 2015

Napa Area Finance VP Becomes Latest AlphaGraphics Franchisee

Having spent 20+ years in corporate America, Alejandro Escalante had traveled the world, earned an MBA and developed the experience, the skillset and the resources to do something new and different. The former vice president of financial planning and analysis for the Americas division of Napa-based Treasury Wine Estates – and finance director for the Clorox Company before that – simply wanted to do something for himself.

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“I just didn’t want to be an employee anymore,” Escalante says. “All of the work I’d done in brand building and business development and financial management was very rewarding, but I still wanted to do new things. Owning my own business was always in the back of my mind.

Escalante says the first step was identifying the right opportunity, and he engaged a business consultant and determined that owning a franchise would best leverage his interests.

“I was looking for something creative, B2B, helping businesses grow,” he says. “I met with at least 15 different companies and attended a ton of Discovery Days and continued to narrow the scope.When I found AlphaGraphics, I could see myself in that role. I knew it was the right decision.”

He felt an immediate connection to the AlphaGraphics culture and values – a strong Network of support, built on relationships, with a vision for the future.

Escalante found an AlphaGraphics owner in nearby Sunnyvale, Calif. who was ready to retire, and bought the business in May.

“I see a world of potential for growth over the next decade, maybe even doubling in size,” he says. “I’m pleased to be a part of AlphaGraphics and excited about the future.”

If you have a candidate who might be a good fit, let’s talk​! There’s no better way to explore theAlphaGraphics opportunity than at our Discovery Day, held each month at our headquarters in Salt Lake City.

We would be delighted to have you and your candidate as our guests – upcoming dates includeJuly 15-17, August 19-21, September 23-25, October 21-23, November 18-20 and December 16-18.

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June 16th, 2015

Competition is tough in the franchise industry. Hear how AlphaGraphics comes out on top in this video!

Common themes emerge among our Franchisees who were formerly corporate leaders: less travel, a six-figure income, tired of working for someone else and ready to apply their expertise and talent to their own business. Here are a few of them speaking about their experience and why they settled on AlphaGraphics.

 

AlphaGraphics is growing, and we’re selectively recruiting successful executives who are interested in owning their own businesses. As we talk to business brokers and coaches about the benefits associated with joining our network of over 250 independently owned AlphaGraphics Business Centers, some common questions have emerged.

In this short video, our Franchisees address these questions directly. Take a minute to listen to what they have to say about their experiences, and the results they’ve seen as members of theAlphaGraphics Network. It could be the perfect fit for one of your clients.

We invite you to visit our website, blog and Facebook page for more information, including more real-life examples from Franchisees, other business brokers, our leadership and staff, small business funding partners and others.

If you’d like to talk in more detail, please reply to this message or call us at (801) 595-7259. Thanks very much for your consideration.

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