Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

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

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

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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July 23rd, 2016

Franchising Today Magazine Includes Profile on AlphaGraphics Winning Franchisee Model

Franchising Today — the must-read trade publication for franchise professionals who want to stay informed of the latest trends and challenges in this dynamic marketplace — features in-depth profiles on Franchisees, multi-unit businesses and the executives who run them.

The most recent issue includes a piece with perspective from AlphaGraphics President Aaron Grohs and Chief Development Officer Dave Buzza, detailing the local focus, ongoing support and other elements that have helped us lead the industry and support a growing base of Franchisees.

franchising-today-logoFrom the article:

This makes AlphaGraphics highly interesting to prospective Franchisees, whether or not they have experience with the print and marketing communications industry. For a small independent printing business, it can be difficult to keep up with technological advancements, but AlphaGraphics can provide support such as purchasing power and world-class technology.

“We offer franchisees and customers the latest technology innovations and solutions that are impacting the industry,” Grohs says.

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July 18th, 2016

AlphaGraphics Commands 26 Percent of Quick Printing Magazine’s 2016 Top 100 List

screen-shot-2016-06-17-at-3-47-32-pmQuick Printing Magazine‘s 2016 Top 100 list of best-performing small print/marketing communications businesses is out, and AlphaGraphics made quite an impression — more than 25 percent of the list is AlphaGraphics locations across the nation!

Chuck Stempler in Seattle came in at #3 on the list with nearly $16 million in sales, and 25 other AlphaGraphics locations were ranked in the Top 100. The annual rankings offer not only information on the industry’s most successful operators, but also a glimpse into a sector that continues to grow and thrive.

Click here to see the list and read the story capturing the state of the print and marketing services industry.

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July 12th, 2016

Florida Franchisee Opens New AlphaGraphics Business Center, Finds Profitability in First Months

jim-kenneyJim Kenney in Daytona Beach, Fla. spent 23 years in executive management with a senior living company, retiring young to enjoy life. But like most entrepreneurs, he didn’t sit around for long. He wanted to own a business, and jumped at an opportunity to start an AlphaGraphics Business Center in a new market.

Despite starting from scratch, with no book of business and little local name recognition, Kenney found profitability within the first year, and has been growing ever since.

The great thing about AlphaGraphics is the proven systems and track record are in place,” he says. “It’s up to the individual to use those tools and be successful, but the prescription is there.”

Click here for more from Jim Kenney on his experience as a new AlphaGraphics Franchisee.

If you’d like to explore what AlphaGraphics offers to entrepreneurs — from new markets in your client’s area to established businesses for sale — visit our website and contact us here.

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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.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 3.56.54 PM

“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.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 2.06.49 PM

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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