Larry Oberly, President of SpeedPro, is no stranger to the franchising industry. In fact, since the early 90s, Larry says the franchising model has had a piece of his heart and he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and franchising is especially tailored to entrepreneurs; people who want to get in there and work at it, but who want that safety net as well. Some are attracted to managerial models, but entrepreneurial models – like SpeedPro – really appeal to me,” said Oberly.
When you combine its entrepreneurial focus and the opportunity to become a problem-solver for your clients, SpeedPro presents a unique business model. No two projects are the same, keeping it interesting, shares Oberly.
“We are in the business of creating Great. Big. Graphics. for our customers. Whether they need permanent signage, floor graphics, wall murals, vehicle graphics, or a tradeshow banner or display, we’re equipped to take their vision to the next level. Consulting with them and understanding their desired end result is how we excel with every client interaction.”
How did COVID impact the brand?
Despite the challenges presented by COVID in 2020, SpeedPro continued to seek self-improvement and additional efficiencies. At the Home Office, the Denver-based team spent hours in training personally, as well as executing deep-dive training with franchisees across the country. No stone was left unturned – from marketing to equipment to business development – every resource was examined as a collaborative effort that impacts the entire network.
“Prior to COVID, our sales grew 18 percent to over $74 million (2018-2019). Then, when COVID hit, we quickly adapted to provide services and technologies that supported a greater than anticipated fourth quarter for us,” said Oberly.
Nearly every consumer-based business needed signage to comply with local, state and federal guidelines and recommendations for reopening and continued health and safety measures.
“We helped hundreds of businesses with signage related to masks, barriers, hand-washing and social distancing. I’m really proud of the way our owners stepped up and helped other small businesses, large and small, many of whom were new clients, obtain the signage they needed. We architected an online ordering system to make it simple to order from the local studio.”
“Then, we created InfoLnkX, our branded smart signage, around the need for touchless environments that can help our clients improve their marketing to their individual customers while keeping them as safe as possible,” said Oberly. “So many of owners found many ways to serve in 2020 and, as result, also had their best sales year to date. It was really a great example of ‘making lemonade out of lemons,’” Oberly shared.
What’s on the horizon for 2021?
“As an organization, we’re more nimble, more driven, and I believe SpeedPro is truly set-up to grow aggressively as we come out of the pandemic. Further we have committed ourselves to being more inclusive and diverse. At the Home Office, we’ve made important strides in this area. SpeedPro is committed to making our franchise offer more attractive to more people.”
For people considering investing in a B2B franchise this year, SpeedPro franchise ownership should be at the top of the list.
“SpeedPro balances entrepreneurship and independence with a proven model and network of benefits and services that would cost so much more if one was to do this independently.”
Work/life balance is super important as is peer network support, two areas incredibly important to SpeedPro.
“Our owners want quality of life while making a great living and enjoying their businesses. The bond they have formed with one another – whether that is through social or professional opportunities – creates such a healthy, non-competitive, incredibly fulfilling family.”
Multi-unit ownership, while certainly available, is not a pre-requisite to being successful. In fact, SpeedPro is highly-targeted to actually maximize profits in the same space footprint by adding equipment and services without adding additional overhead.
“We’re launching several exciting growth initiatives like fabric applications, packaging and labels, and we see nothing but upside in these areas. I can’t wait to see where 2021 takes us!”