In order to succeed in the business-to-business (B2B) world, one of your key attributes must be the ability to build relationships. Those relationships are a cornerstone of SpeedPro Imaging’s success as the premier choice of businesses for wide-format graphics.
Since Larry Oberly became CEO of SpeedPro in late 2017, the franchise company has grown in large part because Larry lives to form connections – with clients, businesses and franchisees. It’s this quality that propelled him from owning ice cream shops to leading the growing wide-format printing franchise in a competitive industry.
Appreciating Cast Members
It was 1992 when Larry owned Baskin-Robbins ice cream shops in St. Louis, Missouri, when his leadership style of nurturing relationships in franchising began. It was born out of competition, realizing he had to do something to keep his employees from leaving to earn 10 cents an hour more at the fast-food hamburger chain down the street. Instead of paying more, he built an irresistible culture.
Larry cultivated an environment where comradery was part of the ice cream shop culture. By doing this, his best employees referred their friends to the business. This included referring to employees as “cast members,” which was a more humanized title and it encouraged his mostly teenage workforce to “perform” for customers.
Larry’s leadership style is also collaborative and consultative, which he has put to good use nurturing his professional relationships. This was evident at the work parties he hosted at his home, where Baskin-Robbins cast members created their own games to play.
Ultimately, Larry’s main store ranked No. 2 in terms of sales in a region consisting of 240 stores.
Team Spirit Achieves Results
Larry brought his leadership style to RE/MAX as a franchise development consultant in 1998 and was promoted three times in seven years at the real estate company. He served as Regional Vice President, Vice President of U.S. Regional Development and Vice President of Global Development.
Like at Larry’s Baskin-Robbins stores, he fostered a culture of comradery and celebrated accomplishments with his teams. For example, when new global master franchises visited Denver for training, Larry would host a welcome reception at his home with his team. He found these social gatherings to be an effective way to build relationships. The numbers speak for themselves.
As VP of the Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico Region between 2000 and 2005, Larry’s team added 120 franchises. In 2017, the global master franchises completed more than 800 franchise sales. This is just a smattering of the expansion that Larry and his teams achieved.
By the end of his tenure at RE/MAX, Larry was ready to lead a business in a more creative industry.
Focus on Growth and Franchisee Success
Since coming to SpeedPro at the end of 2017, Larry has made a point of visiting with most of the franchisees that make up the brand’s 130 locations at their studios and build relationships with them. While expanding the number of studios and increasing SpeedPro’s market share is important, Larry also wants to make sure existing franchisees are profitable.
“My goal is to grow our brand well beyond 130 studios, of course,” he said. “But, we also have to make sure we never lose sight of helping our current franchisees by expanding and enhancing our infrastructure and support services. That, in itself, is a tremendous draw for entrepreneurs interested in owning a SpeedPro studio. By collaborating, the SpeedPro home office and our studio owners will do this together.”
To make sure all franchisees feel involved, Larry either films a video or does a live webinar every three weeks or less for studio owners, so they are informed, share ideas, provide education and ask questions to reach common understandings between the home office and the team on the frontlines. Larry will begin hosting town hall meetings in major markets in May.
SpeedPro is a franchise concept that requires studio owners to get out in their communities, network with other business owners and build relationships with them. It’s fitting then that relationship building is what drives SpeedPro’s CEO.
“I love that the SpeedPro model requires studio owners to engage with their customers to acquire more and retain who they serve,” Larry said. “It’s all about the collaborative and consultative spirit, and using creativity and innovation to help other businesses solve their marketing needs.”
To learn more about what sets SpeedPro Imaging apart from other franchise opportunities, visit our website.