Minuteman Press Franchisee Case Study FeedLast updated: 01-July-2022
Interview with Minuteman Press Southampton franchisee -
- Name: Duncan Parker
- Location: Hedge End, Southampton
- Franchise: Minuteman Press International
- Date launched the franchise: August 2021
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Minuteman Press franchise business? I am an ex-helicopter engineer who served in the British Army for ten years. In 2007, I set up my own equipment supplies business. Then, in 2018 and 2019, we bought two stationery businesses and a wholesale paper supplies business. We were actually supplying goods to the Minuteman Press franchise in Hedge End, and when they went up for sale, we decided this was a great opportunity to tie everything together and help meet our customers’ needs in every area.
Can you also tell us about Minuteman Press? Minuteman Press provides printing opportunities to promote your business. I tell clients all of the time that we are able to print all of their information in any kind of format. We are uniquely able to print on letterheads, flyers, promotional products, outside their buildings, on their vehicle wraps, and help them tell their stories while promoting their businesses.
Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the printing industry? And why choose a Minuteman Press franchise? I had very positive experiences with Minuteman Press as a customer and as a supplier. Since we used the business ourselves, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity for us to buy this location. Also, I love the physical location of our business as I can now walk to work every day since I live so close to our centre.
How did you raise the finance? We self-financed the purchase of our business.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing? The training helped me learn the mantra of what Minuteman Press is all about and I learned all about the direct promotion and marketing side of the business. I found the training to be worthwhile and enjoyed the atmosphere and people.
The ongoing local support I’ve received has been a great resource. I also appreciate the Minuteman Press FLEX software – we use it all day, every day. It’s a very strong, powerful piece of software that helps us manage the business and keeps us focused. I have given ownership of FLEX to my senior staff and it helps them manage the day-to-day aspects.
How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee? I spend my day running the business. I enjoy working with my staff and supporting them as well as our customers. I really love what I do and Minuteman Press has rejuvenated my excitement of being a business owner.
Provide information on challenges overcome as well as your key successes to date. Please also detail the steps you have taken to manage the business during the Covid-19 pandemic. The business remained open during the pandemic and today we are seeing more and more people coming back to work in the UK, which means our products and services are in really high demand. Our staff has become busier and busier every day.
How do you achieve a work-life balance? By enjoying work and if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it. Being able to walk to my centre from home is something that is really gratifying. When I come to work, I might be early and yet I am still coming in later than was expected at my other jobs. I am a lot more excited about work because I enjoy the business and the people.
If you have staff, how do you retain your best staff and keep morale high and productive; how do you incentivise your staff and recognise success? It is important for our staff to have a vested interest in our success. Two of our senior staff have been awarded a shareholding percentage and have become well-versed in all aspects of the business. I feel this is a win-win and shows we are in this together.
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? I would say it’s important to speak with a lot of professionals and try to spend some time in the franchise you are looking at. Ask questions and find out what it’s like both at 8 am and at 5 pm, and everything in between.
What are your plans for the future? We are excited about the changes we just made to our space. We have a two-story building and so one floor is now the production area and the next floor is our new showroom. We feel like we’ve created a positive and productive environment for everyone involved to best serve our customers.
Experienced franchising expert finding success as a Minuteman Press franchisee -
- Name: Philip Milburn
- Location: Norwich
- Franchise: Minuteman Press International
- Date launched the franchise: May 2018
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Minuteman Press franchise business?
I have a diverse background. I’ve started multiple companies from scratch, have worked as a Lloyd’s underwriter, and do have experience in both printing and franchising. One company I started from scratch was Highway Emergency Services, which did emergency repairs for insurance companies. We became the biggest in the UK and ran a 24/7 service. Our sales grew from zero to 77 million pounds. That business was sold to HomeServe.
I also previously ran a print shop a long time ago as well as a Canon dealership. We became the fastest dealership in Europe and were bought out by Canon’s World HQ in Japan.
Can you also tell us about Minuteman Press?
I tell people all the time that with Minuteman Press, the clues are in the name. Most of our work is needed very quickly, and that is what we do. We are not just a print and copy shop, but a full-service marketing provider.
Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the printindustry? And why a Minuteman Press franchise?
I previously built up 58 franchises for Highway Emergency Services so I knew what franchising was all about. I also had experience with another franchise and helped HomeServe expand their gas franchise business.
After traveling all over the UK and also Texas for my businesses, I simply didn’t want to travel anymore. I knew about printing and marketing, so I bought the Minuteman Press franchise in Norwich as I thought it was a great fit.
The more I looked into it, I thought it would be great to be able to stay in Norwich and sleep in my own bed at night. I visited ten Minuteman Press franchises all over the country. I thought that just maybe this would work, and what really sold me was their cap on royalties. I’ve collected royalties on the other side of franchising, and the fact that there is a cap was a huge selling point for me to go with Minuteman Press.
How did you raise the finance?
I raised finance through Franchise Finance in the UK, as recommended by Minuteman Press.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
I liked the training, particularly the people and the atmosphere. When I launched, I had a team of field reps here for three weeks and I was able to get started and pick up the business. Today, if I have an immediate query to Mark Heath, he is able to help. At one point, I needed an extra Xerox machine, and I was able to get it at a great deal.
I also like the Minuteman Press FLEX software. I’ve seen other franchises where the software is lacking but FLEX works really well and helps manage many aspects of the business.
How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee?
“Right now, we have really been busy especially since the pandemic restrictions have been lifted. I have been spending my days managing my team as we process work and handle orders. I have a fantastic team and am hands on as we have so much work to do. We see the appreciation from clients with their reviews and they have also been showing their gratitude with really kind words and even some nice thank you gifts.”
Provide information on challenges overcome as well as your key successes to date. Please also detail the steps you have taken to manage the business during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We stayed busy as an essential business. We managed to keep the doors open and earned a lot of loyalty with some of the work we did. We produced floor decals, signs, banners, hand sanitizer dispensers, face shields, gloves, and many more items for businesses.
For example, in March 2020, we had a few NHS customers. I reached out to doctor surgeries and simply asked them what kind of signage they wanted or needed. One of them needed roller banners and floor signs and so I worked that out with him. Then, I came to find that there were 93 surgeries that needed these items. I personally visited all 93 of them, measured up what signs and banners the needed, and then delivered them personally. Other NHS departments came on to us and we were able to help them and at the very least stay busy and keep operating.”
Since Sept. 1st, when all restrictions were lifted, it’s as if someone’s turned a tap on and we’re just getting so much work. It’s great to see.
How do you achieve a work-life balance?
I honesty like to work and enjoy the work that I do, though it’s great not to travel anymore and sleep in my own bed.
If you have staff, how do you retain your best staff and keep morale high and productive; how do you incentivise your staff and recognise success?
I’ve previously ran big companies that have had formal reviews and everything like that. With this business, I simply like to run on gut feeling, which is something you can do when you have a small business. There are four of us and we all work together while having fun. Yes, we are very busy, but it’s that banter during the day that makes it all work so well. In a small business, everyone has an important role to play, and I appreciate my fantastic team. We celebrate each other and they are rewarded for their great work.
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
I think you have to set yourself apart and provide something unique in your area or sector. For example, we are able to do what our clients need and fast. I also have learned that our clients want to talk to us, which is something they can’t do online. Instead, we provide an experience where they can come to us, talk to me or my team, and we can help them understand what they actually need. Most of our clients might not know what they need at first, and we help educate them and show them what we can do that makes sense for their design, printing, and marketing needs.
I also think it’s important to understand key aspects of marketing including SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, and websites. Learn these things and it can help any business.
What are your plans for the future?
If we continue to be busy like we are now, we’ll be having the machines running for longer hours with a night-time staff. It’s great to see more businesses coming back, and we are glad to help.
Minuteman Press Franchise Manchester Grows Through Product Expansion and Customer Service -
Working as a graphic designer and photographer with a commercial photography studio, Russ Cowper reached a crossroads and was ready to become his own boss. He has taken over the established Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise in Manchester City Centre and has a simple yet effective message for his numerous B2B clients: “We print anything. If you can print it, we can do it.”
Russ further explains why now was the time to transition to business ownership as well as why the Minuteman Press franchise system was right for him. He says, “The commercial photography industry was becoming more competitive and slowing down. With social media and everyone having camera phones, there wasn’t enough trade. I’ve always loved printing and design and I came across the Minuteman Press franchise for sale in Manchester City Centre. It was obvious to me that joining an established and reputable franchise was better than opening a fresh business on my own.”
One of the biggest benefits of franchising especially with Minuteman Press is the ongoing local support that is provided to franchisees. Russ says, “The support from Minuteman Press International here in the United Kingdom has been great. My Area Manager Mark Heath and the local support team help us out quite a lot with recruiting, marketing, and overall printing knowledge and capabilities.”
Russ continues by outlining two additional key reasons why he specifically chose to buy his Minuteman Press franchise. “First, Minuteman Press offers their own comprehensive FLEX software for quoting and marketing. Software is essential for any small business and FLEX keeps me up to date with the workflow and financial accounts. Second, Minuteman Press provided a ‘ready-made’ business model with over 40 years of industry experience backing me up. That’s an incredible asset to have.”
Since taking over the business, Russ has found to experience several rewards as well as sales growth. He says, “There is never a dull moment, and customer satisfaction is paramount to everything we do at Minuteman Press Manchester City Centre. We keep our clients happy and our philosophy is to never let a job sit. You just never know what is going to come next and so we are always ready. That philosophy has helped us grow our business.”
In addition to personalised customer service, Russ and his team have really made it a point to market the business and expand their product lines. “It’s all about production and customer service. We do all kinds of printing and finishing, posters, signage, banners, and promotional items. We are so busy with printing and most of our customers expect fast turnaround and we deliver. Same-day, next-day, we can do that for them. We are right in the centre of Manchester and our marketing efforts are working. We also do Minuteman Press International’s internet marketing program and we keep getting leads from that as well.”
Mark Heath adds, “Russ is doing a fantastic job since joining the Minuteman Press franchise family. I am excited to see him expand and grow and look forward to continuing to support him with his printing business.”
When asked what he loves most about his business, Russ answers, “I enjoy running my own business and that every client and every job is different. I have developed different skills that enable me to take a customer’s brief and requirements and then actually produce the finished product. I take great satisfaction in completing those jobs and exceeding expectations.”
As for his future plans, Russ exclaims, “Once my plans for this centre are near complete, I will be looking to open another branch locally and continue to build my business.”
Minuteman Press Ayr is a true family business -
Name: Jeff & Lise Whittle
Franchise: Minuteman Press
Date launched the franchise: October 2009
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying a Minuteman Press franchise?
“I am a graduate mechanical engineer (University of Bristol) and have an MBA from Kingston Business School. My previous career was as a Quality Engineer becoming a Quality Director, before I moved into Programme Management as a Project Director.”
“My wife, Lise, has an artistic background, having studied Silversmithing and Jewellery to degree level, she became a Designer Jeweller until our family came along. When she returned to work, she became a part-time Teaching Assistant.”
Can you also tell us about Minuteman Press franchise?
“We are a marketing and printing centre that helps our clients with anything they need in regards to their printing, logo, and branding. We help other businesses grow and that is a great feeling. A client can consult with us to discuss an idea with one of our graphic designers. We can then turn it into a finished design and product that we are all proud of.”
Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the printing industry? And why did you choose a Minuteman Press franchise?
“One of my electives for my MBA was small business management and I thought it was time to be my own boss. I went along to a franchise fair in Glasgow and met the Minuteman Press International team. I was definitely interested and Vice President George Holzmacher met me on several occasions to visit some of the Minuteman centres in Scotland.”
“Coming from a manufacturing engineering background, one of the key factors choosing Minuteman Press was the proprietary software that was part of their proven system of operations. Minuteman Press has made a major investment in this software, called Flex, and that is a huge help in managing all aspects of our business. Another key factor, of course, was that the company had family values and really wanted the owners to succeed, offering superb support at all times.”
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
“After identifying a site for our store, Lise and I went to the two week training in the US. Again, I was impressed with Minuteman Press facilities and the high standard of training. Personally, it was important to really succeed as we were investing our life savings in this new venture and I made sure I did the homework each night, so we were prepared for the next day’s training!”
“When we arrived back in Ayr, our new equipment was installed and tested. We interviewed and selected a full-time Graphic Designer who we employed, and we were ready to open on 19 October 2009 when the country was still in recession. We were very ably supported by our Area Manager Dave Watson, who worked with us for 3 weeks with our store set up and initial marketing to our local business community.”
“We still enjoy the support of the franchisor and enjoy the annual meeting with the rest of the franchise network. We also have the opportunity to attend an Expo in the US every two years where further training is available on everything from motivation and understanding customers to the latest innovations in marketing and printing.”
“I’ve often been often asked why I don’t go it alone with a business, but from the outset I was looking for an established franchisor. I enjoy the support of Minuteman Press; they are always there at the end of the phone and from the off I’ve benefited from their superb system and ongoing training.”
How would you describe your day-to-day role as a Minuteman Press franchisee?
“After nearly ten years in business we are a firm part of the local business community with many long-term repeat customers. I still work full time on the business and Lise works part time. Our three children have also all worked here!”
“My two sons would work here in their university holidays while my daughter, the youngest, actually continued to work here part-time after completing her college education. Two years ago, at her own request, she became a full-time member of the team and is pursuing her career as a graphic designer. It’s been very satisfying building a business that has served our family so well in many different ways. We’ll be continuing to run the business for many years to come and it’s brilliant that the next generation of our family are part of that.”
What challenges have you faced?
“Lise worked part-time in the store and I worked full time. It was tough at the beginning, however, I received terrific support from Dave Watson, my local BNI group, friends and relatives and I redoubled my marketing efforts to get it on track.”
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
“Our business has steadily grown. Our two sons and daughter worked part-time during their university and college holidays. Our youngest son continues to work part-time within the bindery department, and our daughter, Lara (the youngest), has joined us as a full-time graphic designer, since leaving college with her HND. It is marvellous that the next generation has joined us and we enjoy working well together. We also employ two other full-time graphic designers (who are also both excellent), so we have doubled our staff complement since we have opened.”
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
“It is important to keep marketing to new and existing customers and we aim to serve our customers with care and efficiency. We are also proud when new customers come to us on the basis of referrals.”
What are your plans for the future?
“It’s been very satisfying building a business that has served our family so well in many different ways. We’ll be continuing to run the business for many years to come and it’s brilliant that the next generation of our family are part of that.”
Interview: From employee to franchisee with Minuteman Press! -
Award-winning Minuteman Press franchisee Keith Cohen gives us a review of his franchise, which is located in Falkirk, Scotland. Specializing in design, print and marketing, his franchise is a hub in the local community!
Originally from Leeds, England, Keith is a massive Leeds United fan. Travelling back to Leeds every weekend for matches at Elland Road and on occasions to mid-week ties. Keith has had many careers in varying industries over the years. From apprentice lithographic printing to window cleaner and from taxi driver to sales, Keith has a wide range of experience! He says, “I have always worked hard for other people and had always envisaged having my own business one day where I could reap the benefits of my hard work.”
After relocating to Stirlingshire in Scotland after meeting his partner Lyn, Keith started work in the local Minuteman Press franchise in Falkirk for several years. Keith recalls, “The owner there was looking to retire and having always wanted to own my own business, I saw the potential in Minuteman Press franchise opportunities from my time working there.”
Keith on becoming a business owner and being active in the community
Keith took over from the retiring franchisee at the Minuteman Press Falkirk location in 2013. The shop is based directly across from the local train station at Grahamston and close to the central Falkirk Post Office is an ideal location in the town. Over the years Keith has received several awards and recognitions for quality, appearance and sales achievements.
Tapping into the local networking group (called the ‘Forth Association of Business’) Keith has managed to actively engage with the local business community. “I enjoy networking and I have recently incorporated my passion for golf into my networking,” says Keith. He continues, “I recently became a corporate member of a local golf club. This allows me to meet new people who might need services my business provides and also helps me network with current and potential clients on the golf course.”
On-going local support and Minuteman Press World Expo
Keith and Lyn appreciate the ongoing local support provided by Minuteman Press International. They also attended the Minuteman Press World Expo in Las Vegas in 2015, which brought together Minuteman Press franchisees, guest speakers and vendors, and also included their Gala Awards Dinner Celebration. Keith says, “This was our first time at the World Expo and we thoroughly enjoyed the convention, the seminars, and the awards dinner, so much so that we have already registered to go to the next World Expo in Orlando in July of 2017.”
“Keith Cohen is a model business owner for the Minuteman Press franchise system-wide,” says David Watson, Minuteman Press International Area Manager for the United Kingdom North region. David adds, “He cares deeply about his customers and his business and is very deserving of the awards and accolades he has received for his efforts.”
Interview: "I left my corporate job and took back control of my work-life balance!" - 31-May-2019
With a growing family and hectic corporate sales career, Jeff Whittle felt it was time to take back control of his work-life balance. Now the owner of the Minuteman Press franchise in Ayr, Scotland, Jeff is looking foward to an exciting year ahead with Minuteman Press!
In 2010, while trying to juggle his family-life with the travel requirements of his corporate sales job, Jeff Whittle decided that enough was enough and made the decision to find a path that would allow him to spend more time with his wife Lise and their three children.
The opportunity that ticked all these boxes for Jeff was the franchise offering from Minuteman Press. This would allow him to be his own boss in a rewarding work enviroment while allowing him more time to spend with his family. The award-winning training program which takes place in New York, along side local on-going support provided in Scotland meant that Jeff's start in this new career was a smooth transition.
Being based in his local community in the Scottish town of Ayr, Jeff works with several local businesses and shops. Using Minuteman Press' reputation along with their renowned products and services, Jeff is able to build strong working relationships with his clients.
Jeff and his whole family attended the Minuteman Press World Expo in Las Vegas in July 2015. Since returning from the Expo, he has implemented valuable ideas and lessons he learned there into his business. This has seen Jeff take his business to the next level.
Minuteman Press in Ayr’s reputation for quality, service and on-time delivery has recently seen Jeff form an alliance with a retiring owner of another local print company. The outgoing owner had built a relationship with his customers over many years and was keen to ensure they would be looked after with that same care and consideration he gave them now that his company was no longer going to be there. Jeff’s reputation means that Minuteman Press in Ayr now serves the customers of Copyprint of Ayr since the owner has retired.
As well as serving the existing customers, Jeff acquired some of the outgoing company’s equipment to help serve their needs and increase his capabilities he can now provide to his already large and expanding customer base. Among these was a large plan printer which allows Jeff to better serve the architectural and building companies in the local area.
Jeff is excited as to what the alliance and acquisitions will bring to the next phase of Jeff’s business for the years to come!