Leveraging Professional Network Results In Strong Start For This Speedpro Franchisee

July 17, 2018

By maintaining a strong, professional  network of people he developed through his previous employers, Mark Simmons quickly grew his SpeedPro Imaging franchise in Apex, North Carolina. He hit the break-even point in the fourth month of ownership and started earning a salary by the eighth month.

The Jump from Retail to Large-Format Printing

Mark spent more than 30 years in retail, beginning as a store manager at a lumber retailer and ending as Regional Vice President for Advance Auto Parts. In between, he held other high-level management positions with Target, Linens N Things and Wegmans Food Markets. In 2015, his position was eliminated and Mark had to decide whether he wanted to stay in retail, which often requires you to move to where the jobs are, or pursue a new career path. With roots established in the Raleigh area and a daughter in high school, Mark chose the latter. He decided to become a business owner.

Intrigued by wide-format printing – car wraps, large wall murals, window graphics and more – and the cool and fun factors involved, Mark pursued the franchise opportunity with SpeedPro Imaging. Plus, being a hands-on operations guy, the owner-operator model appealed to Mark, as did the strong gross margins in the large-format printing industry. Mark opened his SpeedPro in Apex, a suburb of Raleigh, in 2016.

“SpeedPro made the short list,” he said. “The business model was attractive to me. I enjoy the B2B interaction, which I experienced in some of my previous positions. Plus, I felt like SpeedPro offered more work-life balance as opposed to retail, which includes a lot of hours and traveling that caused me to miss a lot of holidays and other important events.”

Tapping Extensive Network for Lucrative Jobs

Mark wanted to start his new career as a SpeedPro Imaging franchise owner strong, so he reached out to people in his professional network that he spent more than 30 years developing. Doing so gave him a significant head start.

“I jumped in with some large companies that I had connections with very early on that has paid dividends for me,” he said. “We started doing work for American Airlines in our first six months of business. That’s been very fruitful for us – we’ve done signage for them in Charlotte and Raleigh, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Miami and Tulsa.”

Mark was also able to leverage the relationships he maintained with people at Advance Auto Parts, the national retail company where he had previously worked. SpeedPro of Apex has taken on large projects for that company all over the United States.

Landing repetitive business accounts has helped maintain the momentum. For example, SpeedPro of Apex works with home builders, which require a lot of large-format printing work. At the beginning of July, the printer had 12 projects for 10 neighborhoods with a single builder. With six to eight clients like that, franchisees should do well, Mark said.

“Once you show them how great you are at project management, hitting deadlines and quality of work – there’s really no conversation on price,” he said. “They trust you’re going to do the work, charge a fair price and they don’t worry about it.”

The Right Team Contributes to Strong Growth

When he started, Mark was not up to speed on large-format printing. There was a lot to learn. But, he did have an eye for detail and a vision for the way things are supposed to look. To fill in the gaps, he hired a team of four people with printing experience, including a production manager with a graphic design degree.

In the two years since opening, Mark has also assembled a network of subcontractors for installations. He has purchased a lot of equipment, which has allowed him to bring most of his printing jobs in-house instead of sourcing it out to other SpeedPro locations.

“We can now do 95 percent of our jobs in-house with our own equipment – that’s a good feeling in the first two years,” he said. “SpeedPro is a unique model. You can scale the business without multiple locations. You can scale it with just one.”

To learn more about what sets SpeedPro Imaging apart from other franchise opportunities, visit our website.

Looking For A Creative Outlet? Speedpro Imaging Could Be The Perfect Business For You

June 26, 2018

Seventy percent of Americans are disengaged or unsatisfied at their jobs. Evolving employee attitudes and expectations are to blame for this, according to research by the same Gallup poll.

Most workers, many of whom are millennials, approach a role and company with a highly-defined set of expectations. They want their work to have meaning and purpose, and they want to use their talents and strengths every day. For many creative types seeking a fulfilling career, corporate America just doesn’t cut it.

Here’s why SpeedPro Imaging could be the perfect franchise opportunity and creative outlet for you:

Create Your Own Culture

undefinedCreating your own work environment and company culture is one of the most rewarding parts of being a business owner. Within a franchise system, some entrepreneurs worry they’ll miss out on the opportunity to build a culture they love. But with the right brand, you’ll have all the backing and support you need, without sacrificing your autonomy.

While some franchise brands are more restrictive, SpeedPro allows you to run your business the way you want. There are many common threads among SpeedPro franchisees – they love variety in their day and the fast-paced, collaborative studio environment. But, no two franchisees, markets or studios are exactly alike. So, even though we all share the SpeedPro name, our corporate team won’t encroach on your day-to-day operations.

We provide you all the tools, support and resources you need to take your success to the next level. But, we won’t do so at the cost of your autonomy and flexibility. You can create the environment you want, and run your business exactly how you like.

Use Your Creative Skills Every Day

undefinedWith SpeedPro, your creativity doesn’t begin and end with designing your studio and creating your culture. You get to flex your creative muscles every day with your design and graphic work.

As a SpeedPro franchisee, you’re not just a printer – you’re a solutions provider. In that way, you’re an extension of every client’s marketing department. You have to work with them to understand their long-term objectives, while finding custom design solutions to help them accomplish those goals. Not only do you have to use your creative vision to make graphics, you also need to find creative solutions to help clients.

Experiment with Experiential Graphics

Each client is different, and each of their objectives and projects are unique. With the growing popularity of experiential graphics, SpeedPro franchisees have been able to get even more creative with their designs. The possibilities for large-scale graphics in experiential design are endless.

SpeedPro Imaging Chicago owner Shira Kollins recently re-created Moe’s Tavern from The Simpsons for a pop-up bar. She even used her business and creativity to custom-build removable wallpaper and dance floor for her own wedding.

undefinedAnother testament to the power of experiential graphics was SpeedPro franchisee Steve Moran-Cassese’s work rebranding Hewlett Packard’s headquarters. Or, SpeedPro’s Mark Simmons showcasing his talents by transforming a plain-looking car dealership showroom into a Polynesian beach-themed landscape.

It’s no surprise that business owners report higher job satisfaction than employees stuck in a corporate machine. Not only do entrepreneurs enjoy the freedom to create whatever work environment they want, they can also center their product or services on their own strengths. And, with the SpeedPro Imaging business opportunity, they get to use their creativity every day.

To learn more about the SpeedPro franchise opportunity, check out what our franchisees have to say.

How Speedpro Imaging Franchise Ownership Provides Entrepreneurs A Healthy Work-life Balance

June 20, 2018

Work-life balance is a top priority for today’s workers. It not only means extra time for family, friends and hobbies, but it actually affects your health. When we get stressed and overwhelmed by work priorities, our immune system suffers—meaning you’re susceptible to getting sick more easily.

Many people turn to business ownership to reap the benefits of work-life balance. Franchise opportunities are a proven way for entrepreneurs to become independent business owners while still receiving support for buying, training, marketing and operations from the franchisor.

SpeedPro Imaging has more than 135 locations already up and running, providing entrepreneurs with confidence that the brand is based on a proven model. New franchisees appreciate the large and growing base of peers and unmatched corporate support. These resources help franchisees, such as David and Cherie Ostermann, grow their business and achieve a healthy work-life balance. They’ve been part of the SpeedPro family for 12 years.

Partners in Life and Business

David and Cherie OstermannCherie worked as a personal trainer and as a sales rep for a magazine. David worked most of his professional life in IT sales and telecommunications. But, in 2001 the IT industry took a hit. After being laid off four times, he knew it was time for a career change, but wasn’t sure where to turn. Although the couple wasn’t looking into franchise ownership, they heard about an opportunity through a friend, who owned a SpeedPro Imaging studio.

David and Cherie became partners with that friend in 2005 and took full ownership in 2010.

“Both Cherie and I had years of sales experience, so it seemed like a good fit,” David said. “We did a 90-day trial and then signed on and became full owners eight years ago.”

They got married shortly before their career change, and their tag-team effort has helped them run the business smoothly and achieve their work-life balance.

“I think since there are two of us and we act as partners in the business, it makes it easier to take time away,” Cherie said. “For example, I’ll work from home to watch our grandkids. Family is so important to us, so that’s a huge plus.”

But it wasn’t always this way. David and Cherie worked hard to build up a great team to support their business.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

When they first took ownership, David and Cherie spent the same amount of time doing SpeedPro work as they did doing work at their past jobs. However, since then, they have been able to scale back their time at work and spend more time with family, but not without strategic planning.

“It’s so important to have a great team on your side,” David said. “We made sure to take time hiring the right people who we could trust with our business. We have great general managers and staff. We’re very confident in our staff to keep everything moving smoothly.”

This attention to detail with hiring has allowed the pair to take time off and feed their travel bug.

“By the time we got married, both our children were adults, so we’re empty nesters now,” Cherie said. “We want to take advantage of this time to travel. We’re seeing the world and visiting our kids and grandkids along the way, making memories we’ll never forget.”

David’s son is studying abroad in Florence, Italy, and David and Cherie plan to visit him this summer. While it took hard work in their business, the SpeedPro model has allowed the couple opportunities to enjoy entrepreneurship and their family in harmony.

To learn more about SpeedPro’s model and more about franchisee work-life balance, read about some of the perks of being a SpeedPro studio owner.

Your Path To 65 Percent Gross Profit As A Speedpro Franchisee

June 13, 2018

Few metrics matter more to business owners than gross profit. In spite of strong sales, franchisees that have to absorb steep operational costs are less likely to see the return on their initial investment they expected.

So, understandably, entrepreneurs seeking out new opportunities want to have an idea of their bottom line before investing in a franchise concept. Most small businesses operate within a gross margin of around 25 to 35 percent.

Double those figures, and you’ll arrive at the gross profit margin of the top-performing quartile of SpeedPro franchisees. Yes, you read that correctly. In 2017, the top 25 percent of SpeedPro studios had gross profit margins of 64.2 percent.* Here’s how they’re able to do that:

Industry Leading-Brand in a Growing Industry

The U.S. wide-format printing market is predicted to grow by 4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2017 to 2021, according to a recent study. In other words, the wide-format industry is projected to see impressive returns in the coming years. The market has always had a healthy customer base derived from smaller businesses looking for effective marketing collateral that generates strong ROI, and the market is only expected to grow. Along with the expanding market, the industry is also growing at a rapid pace, and we’re excited to be leading the charge.

Cost-Effective Inventory and Supplies

Through SpeedPro’s partnership with 3M, as well as our vendor relationships, we’re able to offer our franchisees all the necessary materials for their business at a hefty discount. With more than 150 studios in our system, we have substantial buying power. By purchasing materials in bulk, we’re able to provide lower costs for supplies, inventory and any other goods our franchisees will need. With these significantly-reduced rates, franchisees can slash operating costs and, ultimately, enjoy higher profitability.

Strong Sales

SpeedPro franchisees have benefitted from strong sales for years, even before recent industry growth and innovation. With a B2B focus, our franchisees are able to turn a much higher profit than consumer-facing and retail printers. With most companies dedicating anywhere from 8 to 24 percent of their budget on marketing, including graphics and large-scale visuals, this translates into a significant market for our franchisees.

Not only do we produce work on a larger scale, we also get years of loyal customers and repeat business driving sales. Why? Because we’re not just a printing business – we’re a solutions provider. SpeedPro franchisees provide customers with eye-catching, premium graphics, but even more importantly, they tailor each solution to the individual customer’s needs. SpeedPro owners are an extension of each client business’ marketing team.

For more than 20 years, we have been partnering with relationship-oriented, creative and business-minded individuals to bring SpeedPro to markets across the country. When our individual franchisees succeed, our whole brand succeeds – so the impressive profit margins the top-performing SpeedPro franchisees see are just as good for them as they are for us. By driving down inventory costs and positioning franchisees in a profitable, growing segment, we’ve been able to nurture a strong, healthy franchise system – while propelling our brand to become an industry leader.

To learn more about the SpeedPro franchise opportunity, check out what our franchisees have to say.

*These figures are included in the 2018 SpeedPro Franchise Disclosure Document (the “FDD”) and involve the average sales information for the twenty-six SpeedPro Studios that comprise the top 25% (based on their 2017 fiscal year financial performance) of the 107 SpeedPro Studios that have been in operation for at least two years and that satisfied the other reporting criteria set forth in the FDD. Within the top 25%, 14 Studios met or exceeded the average Gross Profit Margin figure. The Gross Margin figurs is based on each franchisee’s actual 2017 fiscal year unaudited financial statements submitted to SP Franchising LLC. Your financial results are likely to differ from the figures presented.

Tired Of The Corporate Ladder? Check Out The Benefits Of Franchise Ownership

June 7, 2018

Let’s face it: Few people aspire to middle management. On the other hand, more than half of Americans want to own their own business. From following your passion to being your own boss, the benefits of business ownership are endless. Still, starting up a business can be a formidable prospect, especially for people new to the industry or entrepreneurship in general.

That’s why many people opt for a franchise model when they’re ready to open their first business. This model gives them all the benefits and autonomy of owning their own business, along with a proven framework for success.

Here are just three reasons why franchise ownership is the way to go for aspiring entrepreneurs tired of the corporate ladder:

Brand Recognition

A business is nothing without the power of a good brand and trusted name backing it up. Business owners can spend months conceptualizing every detail of their brand – from their logo to branding colors and themes. But that’s the easy part. Once they’ve figured out their brand, it takes years to become a trusted, respected and recognizable name.

With a franchise model, business owners don’t have to start from ground zero in building their brand – it’s already been done for them. With many years in business and multiple locations, established franchise brands like ours hand over our trusted name and brand to all our franchise partners. Having this brand recognition and trust in place at the onset provides business owners a significant competitive advantage, and allows them to focus on other things – like running a profitable studio.

Training and Support

The training and support available to business owners within a franchise model present another great advantage over competitors. After years of experience, franchisors have established methods to help you get up and running quickly – and stay successful for years to come. Still, every opportunity is different, so it’s important to research franchise opportunities extensively and understand exactly how the franchisor will train and support you.

Framework for Success in Business Ownership

With a franchise business, owners will have a proven system and framework already in place for them. This minimizes the chances of making costly errors, significantly reducing overall risk.

Not only does a proven business model minimize obstacles, it speeds up initial startup time. Since you’re provided a comprehensive manual for success, franchise owners do not have to spend months – or years – planning every aspect of their business. From marketing and operations to supplier relationships, every system has been planned, replicated and perfected.

Franchising is a path to business ownership that gives franchisees immediate, established brand recognition, proven systems and supportive networks. Of course, the business is only as good as the franchise brand behind it, so it’s important to do your due diligence before investing in any concept. Make sure the brand you’re aligning yourself with has a track record of success, along with the support you need to get up and running quickly.

To learn more about the SpeedPro franchise opportunity, check out what our franchisees have to say.

How Speedpro’s Rampup Program Benefits New Franchisees

June 5, 2018

Aspiring entrepreneurs often opt for a franchise model over an independent business because they instantly benefit from the franchisor’s proven framework—avoiding many of the pitfalls that new business owners encounter. Franchise brands offer varying degrees of support to help new franchisees hit the ground running.

SpeedPro franchisees have access to a robust, full-scale system that allows them to put their best foot forward when opening their wide-format printing business. We help franchisees start generating revenue and building their business before even opening their doors.

Here’s how our RampUp Program kick-starts sales for franchisees:

Get a Head Start on Generating Revenue

The SpeedPro RampUp Program is one of our many unique differentiators. This program allows you to get a head start with hands-on experience before opening, and it’s designed to assist franchisees with generating revenue almost immediately.

During the RampUp Program, new owners use a “buddy studio” while they aren’t open to begin generating revenue. The buddy studio helps the new owner produce materials for new clients, allowing them to grow their customer base and create revenue. The studios then continue a buddy relationship to help the new owner balance books and reach profitability as soon as possible.

While some franchise brands leave their franchisees to fend for themselves during their first year, the RampUp program helps SpeedPro franchisees start bringing in revenue right away. This helps them break even faster, and ensures they complete everything needed to launch successfully.

Network and Build Your Client Base Right Away

New business owners are eager to start building up their client base, even during the initial startup process. That’s why we have sales and marketing support in place to build brand awareness for our new franchisees in the months leading up to their grand opening. The SpeedPro Imaging name carries weight on a national level, but kick-starting local marketing and brand awareness initiatives only further elevates your business. We help you join networking groups and become involved in your local business community to get your name out right away.

We’ll also show you how to engage businesses and develop relationships that will translate into revenue early on. Many of these partnerships – especially with small-format printers – will provide you your first clients. Because of SpeedPro’s off-retail studio locations, B2B focus and unique product line, we aren’t a threat to these small-format printers. In fact, we actually enhance their business by partnering with them and offering additional products and services to their existing clients.

Small-format printers can take care of the business cards and mailers, and we’ll handle the wide-format printing and graphics – from banners and flags to vehicle wraps and point-of-purchase displays. Not only is this a great avenue to build a client base, but by partnering with a nearby small-format print studio, you can start fulfilling orders even before your own grand opening. By earning revenue before even opening your doors, you’re able to start turning a profit more quickly.

We make sure our franchisees are set up to succeed, the SpeedPro Way. Our RampUp program is second-to-none, and it’s just one of the ways we’re able to foster success for our franchisees.

To learn more about SpeedPro Imaging’s launch programs and other advantages, contact us here.

Why Start Out With An Owner-operator Model

May 24, 2018

Among the things entrepreneurs think about when they consider investing in a franchise is what kind of business owner they want to be – absentee, semi-absentee or owner-operator.

Absentee owners, just as the name implies, are rarely present at their franchise business. They often view ownership primarily as an investment. Because they’re not present, they hire a manager to handle day-to-day operations, including hiring employees. Absentee owners run the risk of employing people who may not be as passionately invested in the success of the business as he or she is.

Semi-absentee owners are a bit more involved in the business than absentee owners, but still typically rely on a manager to run day-to-day operations. Like the absentee owner, the semi-absentee owner usually has other investments that divide their time as they seek to diversify their income.

Owner-operator 1At SpeedPro Imaging, we prefer the owner-operator model. Being an owner-operator of a franchise provides in-depth education on the business concept. You are present onsite most of the time and responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business. You take a hands-on approach and work alongside your store manager and employees. Owner-operators have the most power over their business’s growth because they are deeply involved.

Greater Familiarity

Because owner-operators work at their franchises, they become experts at running a business and are familiar with precisely how their own business operates. That in-depth knowledge will help a franchisee scale their business because they:

  • Can ascertain first-hand the quality of customer service provided
  • Observe whether employees are following the playbook for operating the business
  • Maintain quality control of products and services delivered to customers

undefinedThe SpeedPro Imaging business model was made for owner-operators. It’s focused on growing a single unit at a time, helping franchisees grow with additional equipment and personnel instead of opening multiple locations in a short amount of time. SpeedPro Imaging franchise owner-operators start with two employees, so oversight is relatively easy compared to many other franchise concepts. The average SpeedPro studio has two to four employees.

More Control

Being an owner-operator gives you total control over who is hired. Absentee and semi-absentee owners typically hire a manager, who is then in charge of hiring and overseeing employees. Assuming absentee and semi-absentee owners hire managers with as much passion for the business and a drive to succeed, the owner is still one step removed from bringing on the right people.

But, because owner-operators do the hiring, they can bring on board exactly who they want working for them. As the business owner, you are most invested and can select the candidates you deem to be good for business, which will help lead to growth. SpeedPro Imaging franchisees possess an incredible work ethic and a high degree of integrity, and therefore have the power to hire like-minded individuals who also emphasize customer service and quality workmanship.

Owner-Operator 2Overseeing day-to-day operations as an owner-operator also allows you to have more control over costs. You can observe exactly how much is being spent in what areas, and come up with cost-cutting measures, if necessary. You can implement efficiencies when you witness time-wasting practices first hand. This will increase workflow and elevate your bottom line. As an absentee or semi-absentee owner, you might not be aware of inefficiencies or bad work habits. You will struggle with figuring out the source of the loss of revenue or not growing how you would like.

Strong Support

As a SpeedPro Imaging owner-operator, you will have the support of other owner-operators in the network. Because every SpeedPro Imaging franchisee is deeply invested in their business, the camaraderie and owner bonds are strong. Franchisees are happy to share best practices, anecdotes and tips to guide you toward growing your own SpeedPro Imaging.

To learn more about what sets SpeedPro Imaging apart from other franchise opportunities, visit our website.

The Benefits Of A Collaborative Franchisee Network

May 16, 2018

In some franchise systems, individual owners operate completely independently, or even competitively.

This setup leads to many missed opportunities for collaboration, troubleshooting and client-sharing. In the printing and graphics industry particularly, studio owners benefit immensely from openly sharing ideas and best practices.

That’s why SpeedPro Imaging fosters a community of franchise owners that support and work with one another. We’ve created concrete initiatives that put our franchisees in touch and lets them easily share feedback with each other and SpeedPro corporate.

John Barber, co-owner of the SpeedPro Imaging studio in Norcross, Georgia, exemplifies the collaborative nature of our franchisee network. John and his partner Don Neder spearheaded a joint model of studio ownership that other franchisees have since taken up – and for good reason. John and Don doubled their studio’s revenue and tripled its customer count in less than two years after forming the partnership.

After finding huge success by working collaboratively, John has some advice for aspiring business owners looking to leverage a friendly, knowledgeable franchisee network.

“As a SpeedPro studio owner, we collaborate and know that tenured owners can share and mentor new owners, which makes the brand and system stronger – one question, one studio, and one client interaction at a time,” he said.

Achieve More Together

undefinedAfter more than a decade in the franchising industry as an executive vice president of franchise development, chief customer officer, senior vice president of franchise sales and chief development officer for large systems like Orion Food Systems, Focus Brands and Global Franchise Group, John decided to semi-retire.

Well, kind of. For him, “retirement” meant transitioning from the franchisor side of the industry to the franchisee side, and he started working with a franchise broker to find a concept that met his qualifications.

After a few twists and turns, John approached SpeedPro with an idea: He would buy into an existing studio and take the business to the next level. His expertise would help the current owner grow the business, while the co-ownership would give John some much-needed time off.

“I had many choices of brands and industries when I decided to be a franchisee instead of a franchisor, and I am very glad that my first franchise venture was under the SpeedPro Imaging brand,” he said.

John’s idea ended up being a huge boon for Don Neder and his already-successful studio. Together, the two employed a “divide and conquer” approach to the business. John handles finance, accounting, risk management, human resources and business development, while Don takes care of operations, project management and client relations.

This ownership model is a good fit for any duo with complimentary core competencies, John said. Shared values are also a must. Both John and Don are firm believers that the needs of customers and employees must come before that of the owners.

John and Don’s partnership is a perfect illustration of the power of collaboration. By combining their skills and expertise, they broke through a sales plateau and achieved a new level of success. Other SpeedPro owners have since reached out to them to glean insight, and John and Don are quick to share lessons learned and mistakes to avoid.

“No individual in a system is as smart as all of us,” John said. “I spent over a decade of my career as the franchisor for 11 franchised brands in the hospitality industry. In that time, I never saw such a collaborative spirit among franchisees to help one another grow and succeed as a system, that I’ve witnessed and am now a part of with SpeedPro. There is no competition among owners here.”

Find a Franchisor that Supports Collaboration

Franchisors play a huge role in developing mutually beneficial franchisee networks. Since the franchise is the tissue that connects all owners in the system, it’s up to that central team to create platforms for networking and information-sharing.

SpeedPro Imaging goes above and beyond to help our franchisees benefit from our network’s collective knowledge. Here are some initiatives currently in place:

  • Monthly open-topic conference calls between owners and SpeedPro regional developers
  • Franchise Advisory Council works with corporate to develop strategic initiatives
  • Regional networking groups tailored to specific business topics
  • Buddy Studio program connects new studios with established studio owners to ease their launches
  • “Ask the Owners” email system, which owners across the continent use daily to consult on various projects
  • Monthly training webinars
  • Procurement support with suppliers and distribution partners

To learn more about SpeedPro’s model and what sets us apart in the franchising industry, read about some of the perks of being a SpeedPro studio owner.

Become The Ceo Of Your Future With Speedpro Imaging

May 8, 2018

Every day, 51 percent of American workers wake up and go to jobs they don’t like.

There are multiple reasons for this workplace malaise – difficult bosses, undervalued employees and a lack of work-life balance, to name a few. Whatever the cause, 50 million members of the workforce report feeling resentful and disengaged at their jobs.

With all that negativity surrounding the workplace, it’s no wonder more than half of Americans want to start their own businesses. Beyond its position at the core of the American Dream, business ownership alleviates many of the frustrations that drive workplace dissatisfaction.

Business owners decide when and where they work. They dive into industries they’re passionate about and make time for family, hobbies and travel. And their own drive and determination are the biggest determinants of their success.

SpeedPro Imaging is proud of the many franchisees that have used our concept to achieve their dreams of business ownership. Our strong support, systems and brand provide a clear path to entrepreneurship that lets our owners take charge of their careers.

Here’s how SpeedPro Imaging can help you become the CEO of your future:

Lifestyle

Unlike retail or food service franchises, SpeedPro Imaging owners don’t spend their nights and weekends at the store. Our clients are businesses, so owners keep standard business hours.

During the workday, owners enjoy a fast-paced environment with a huge variety of projects. Our focus on wide-format printing and graphics means not only do our products yield the highest margins in the industry, they keep owners thinking creatively and strategically all day long.

Profitable, Professional and Scalable

Because SpeedPro Imaging is a business-to-business company providing top-quality marketing graphics, our clients view us as consultants and business partners. These long-term relationships foster repeat business and larger sales. They also make for a professional work environment that hinges on promptness, quality and communication.

Due to the high demand for wide-format printing and graphics, SpeedPro Imaging owners have limitless potential to grow their businesses in their target markets. To scale up, they simply add employees and equipment to their existing spaces.

Support

SpeedPro Imaging owners call the shots at their businesses, but they never have to go it alone. SpeedPro Imaging provides a best-in-class support system to guide franchisees through each phase of business ownership, from startup to grand opening to ongoing growth.

From the moment owners signs on, we work to set them up for success. Our initial field training is designed to help franchisees ease into their business, completing larger and more complex projects until they are ready to take on a full workload. Going forward, our field consultants offer hands-on help to owners whenever they need it – or simply assist them with setting business goals and creating strategies to get there.

Our franchisees themselves are also a source of support. We foster a collaborative owner network that confers frequently about projects, marketing tactics and more. Some even share and refer clients.

If you’re one of the 50 million Americans who feels unfulfilled at work, it’s time to make a change and build a career that excites you. SpeedPro Imaging can help you get there.

To learn more about what sets SpeedPro Imaging apart from other franchise opportunities, visit our website.

Speedpro Imaging Studio Owner Profile: Q&a With Mike Retherford, Orlando

April 25, 2018

Life consists of taking risks. Some of us tend to avoid them at all costs while others will dive into a new situation without a second thought. Mike Retherford is the owner of one of the top performing studios at SpeedPro Imaging, the nation’s leading wide-format graphics franchise. Retherford will celebrate eight years as the SpeedPro Imaging Orlando studio owner this May. Part of the success in Retherford’s life can be defined by calculated risks. Retherford is certainly not risk-averse, but as a former insurance company executive, he seeks to minimize any foreseeable obstacles. This strategy has proved successful and profitable for Mike and his team.

Retherford spoke to us about his experiences as a SpeedPro Imaging studio owner, how the native Iowan ended up in Orlando, the perils that come with being 6’6” and why he finds wide-format printing… Sexy.

Success 1Can you tell us a little about yourself, Mike?

I’m 59 years old and have been happily married to my wife, Denise, for the last 35 years. We have three wonderful sons and three adorable grandchildren. Denise, along with my middle son, Taylor, and I work at our SpeedPro Imaging studio here in Orlando.

I’m deeply involved at my church. For me, it’s family, work and church, with a little travel and sight-seeing mixed in as well.

What was your professional experience before joining SpeedPro Imaging?

I have a financial background. I have a master’s degree in business after double majoring in accounting and financing with a minor in computer science. I always considered myself a very process-oriented person. That worked to my favor as I rose quickly through the ranks at the insurance company where I spent the first 18 years of my career. By the time I turned 30, I was both the chief financial officer and chief operating officer. I was running the company my final eight years.

After a two-year stint running an IT company, I made the decision to go into business for my own. My first foray involved coaching 30 CEOs across Iowa.

How were you introduced to the SpeedPro Imaging franchise opportunity?

I first noticed SpeedPro Imaging in 2008. When my oldest son graduated from college, I tossed out the idea to him of opening a business together. Coaching CEOs had introduced me to the franchise model and I found the prospects of running a SpeedPro Imaging studio interesting. We were in Des Moines, Iowa. The studio opportunity was in Omaha, Nebraska. My son’s wife got a great job in Des Moines, so he was unavailable. Time passed, but I was still interested. Up to that point in my career, I had only dealt with intangible products — insurance, IT and coaching. In SpeedPro, I saw a business manufacturing wide-format graphics, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

How did you wind up owning a SpeedPro Imaging studio in Orlando?

In September of 2009, I went to Omaha to look at sites for the studio. I stepped out of the car and was promptly greeted with a bone-chilling wind. The second the wind hit me, so did a moment of clarity. I thought, I can open a SpeedPro Imaging studio anywhere. I looked at the open territories and discovered Orlando was open. I discussed it with my wife and once she signed off, we moved to the Sunshine state.

How did your previous experience translate to being a studio owner?success 2

I was a decisive decision maker in the corporate world, and I bring that same instinct to our SpeedPro Imaging business. Luckily, I’m able to determine the outcome of potential issues quickly. I’ve learned it’s human nature to make mistakes. I try to determine what happened, how can we prevent it from happening again, and constantly refine situations to make them bulletproof.

In the insurance industry, the main goal is to reduce and eliminate risk. Risk hurts your bottom line and harms your customers’ confidence in your abilities. At our studio, we make sure we are G7 color accurate on all our wide-format printers. Very few people do color profiling to the extent of our studio. Then, we leave the cutting to the machines. That eliminates human error. I want the size to be perfect. I want the color to be perfect. All we do is print and the rest should take care of itself.

How is SpeedPro Imaging’s franchise model effective?

I’m 6’6” and 220 pounds, so I can be a little imposing to some people. I’m not much of a networker and I consider myself to be a slight introvert. But SpeedPro Imaging’s model is set up to put an owner in the best position for success. If you follow the model, go in and pitch to potential clients, how our product can boost their brand and help their growth potential, you don’t have to be America’s top salesman. The confidence comes with the products SpeedPro Imaging offers.

Why do you feel you have been so successful in Orlando?

We focus on producing quality products, faster than anyone else in Orlando (usually within 24 to 48 hours). We quote every job, and try to deliver that quote in hours, or at the latest, same day. BySuccess 3 quoting all jobs quickly, you can win the job by sheer default, plus we never have issues with our customers, when the invoices are sent for final payment. We want our customers to know that we appreciate them, and we are always paying attention when they need our services, plus we rarely charge rush fees, even if it’s same day production. From a strategic perspective, we teach our customers that they can deliver artwork to us at the very last possible minute, and we will still execute to deliver quality products for them and their customer on-time. Our focus on quality and speed, allows us to deliver a premium solution, at premium prices, and our customers find it difficult to move away from us, to one of our competitors. Our 3-legged stool strategy (Quality, Speed & Premium Price) works in the Orlando, and we’ve been extremely successful executing it. Thankfully, our amazing clients have no issues referring us to others.

Why should someone transitioning into franchise ownership consider SpeedPro Imaging?

This is a super sexy business and I love the process part of it. When I walk into Orange County Convention Center, look up and see the graphics hanging from the rafters and on the wall and on the window, it brings me joy to be able to say “We did that!” We’ve also decorated Daytona International Speedway. If you make good money out of it and enjoy some of the quirks that come with it, there’s nothing better.success 4

I’ve also enjoyed spending time with my wife. I went into this business with my wife as my partner, and our partnership in and out of the office is stronger than ever. It’s been so amazing watching her growth in this business. We’ve always loved building things, including in and around the house, and we’ve built something amazing with this studio.

What does the future have in store for you, Mike?

I’m looking to achieve $5 million in gross revenue by 2020. I think this business can go even further. I’m trying to figure out what the business can look like at that milestone. I’m also looking to retire soon. I’m putting a Board of Directors in place that can operate the business once I make that decision.

As I said earlier, I like to travel. One of my frequent destinations is Iowa to visit my three grandchildren. The great thing about owning a SpeedPro Imaging studio is that I can run it from anywhere in the world. I don’t have to sit here for it to be successful. I’m able to enjoy the best of both worlds: being a successful business owner while getting the chance to spoil my grandchildren every other month.

If you’re tired of working for someone else and want to lead an independent lifestyle, just like Mike Retherford, consider joining the SpeedPro Imaging owner team. For more information on the SpeedPro Imaging franchise opportunity and what it takes to be a successful franchise owner like Mike, visit speedprofranchising.com.