Success as a business owner is far from a slam dunk. Being successful takes hard-work, discipline, tenacity and strategy, all traits that lie within Bob Kelleher, the owner of SpeedPro Imaging Central New York. The location is what affords Kelleher to thrive. He is strategically situated within driving distance of several key universities in Central New York, including Cazenovia College, Ithaca College, St. John Fisher College, SUNY Oswego,SUNY Cortland, Cornell University, Syracuse University and Binghamton University.
The college and university systems in Central New York are vital to the area. “Binghamton University is one of the largest employers in Binghamton, and the same can be said for Syracuse,” says Kelleher. “The good news for me is I have had the opportunity to work with most of them.”
This April will mark Kelleher’s eighth year as a SpeedPro Imaging studio owner. He became an entrepreneur following a productive career in electrical engineering and sales management. “I was managing sales people across North America,” says Kelleher. “I was at an executive level and I felt like my own boss, even though I wasn’t. When I left, I decided I actually wanted to be my own boss.”
That sales experience helped Kelleher make the transition into the world of entrepreneurship. “For 30 years, the job market was extremely cyclical; there would be some ups and downs,” Kelleher says. “I escaped unscathed during two down cycles. When the last one hit in 2009, I wasn’t in the mood to ride it out. I looked at it as an opportunity to move on.” Kelleher consulted with some old co-workers who were experimenting with business ownership, and one put him in touch with a franchise broker.
“I was considering home health care franchises and a few painting firms, as well as flooring businesses,” Kelleher said. “None of them seemed like fun, except for SpeedPro Imaging.”
Now, Kelleher is enjoying the opportunity to work with clients of many shapes and sizes, including his deep roster of colleges and universities. “What makes college campuses great is that there isn’t simply one point-person you deal with. Each department is responsible for its own purchasing. That provides ample opportunities to make an impression. All it takes is one great job, and I’ll get referrals from all over the campus.”
Kelleher has helped the famed Carrier Dome on Syracuse University transition from football to basketball and now lacrosse seasons with big, vivid action banners that hang in the locker room.
Binghamton University is one campus where you’ll find Kelleher’s fingerprints in both academic and athletic facilities. That includes a timeline of the school’s history that spans the length of two walls in a main campus building.
Kelleher was also instrumental when Binghamton made the decision to overhaul the arena’s men’s basketball locker room. “It’s one of the things that we’re most proud of on campus,” says Kelleher. “The university wanted to up its game as it looks to recruit players. Part of the recruiting involved dressing up the locker room. The athletic department called me in, told me, ‘here’s what we need.’ I gave them some ideas, then they signed off and told me I had two weeks to complete it.”
As teams vying to be crowned champion continue their march, Kelleher says he can draw a lesson from the unpredictability of the tournament. “You don’t know how things are going to turn out, whether it’s on the basketball court, or in a boardroom,” he says. “There is a lot of luck involved. However, it seems like the harder you work, the luckier you get. As I first started this business, I had nothing else to do than sales. I made it a point to stop at every likely target and sell my new business to potential customers. Now some of those business remain some of my best customers.”
Including the colleges and universities. “A lot of people who work at colleges tend to move to other campuses,” Kelleher says. “The good news is that they often remember my work, give me a call and introduce me to new clientele.”
If you’re tired of the madness and want to take better control of your life, just like Bob Kelleher, consider joining the SpeedPro Imaging team. For more information on the SpeedPro Imaging franchise opportunity and what it takes to be a successful franchise owner like Bob, visit speedprofranchising.com.