Before Axxess, Karim Kaderali, the company’s founder and CEO, was a college student at UC Santa Barbara. He started Axxess with partner, Nate, after being fired from a part-time bartending job at a local restaurant. Years later, that restaurant became one of their clients.
Franchise Chatter (FC): For those unfamiliar, please describe how the Axxess business model works.
Karim Kaderali (KK): Axxess provides promotional advertising services to local businesses — mostly restaurants, retailers, and service providers looking to attract new customers. We print an annual publication that contains offers from our merchants along with a membership card. Members then present that membership card at participating merchants to receive the offers.
Memberships are sold throughout the community via targeted sales channels — including school fundraisers. We have raised over $750,000 for schools in our flagship cities.
FC: Please describe each of the revenue streams for your franchise.
KK: There are two main revenue streams for Axxess — ad sale revenues and book sale revenues.
FC: What is your company’s track record and experience in this industry?
KK: Axxess has been in business for almost 15 years. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of companies try to run similar types of businesses, but they all come and go within a few years. We know why the others have failed and what it takes to succeed in this industry. Any Axxess franchise owner will benefit from our experience — and our mistakes — so their success will be more accelerated than even ours was.
FC: What’s so special about the website and smartphone application that your franchisees have access to?
KK: We have a website, mobile directory, and an iPhone application that all make it easier for our members to find Axxess merchants and use their cards. Increased card usage translates into a higher ROI, adding to their bottom line. The best part is that they are all tied to the same backend management system, so it’s really streamlined and easy to use.
FC: Your website talks about your proprietary bookkeeping software, CRM software, and design portal. How will each of these tools help your franchisees run their business better?
KK: All three of those — bookkeeping, CRM, and design — are components of our custom Axxess Operating System (AOS). The AOS is an on-demand platform that helps our franchise owners manage their businesses easily and effectively from anywhere. It provides centralized access to and transparency of information for both the franchise owners and the home office support team. The goal in building the system was so that franchise owners could spend more time building their business and less time managing it.
FC: What kind of marketing support do you offer your franchisees?
KK: Within our AOS, we have a library of documents, including marketing and sales support materials, that are available to our franchisees. We also have a marketing toolkit that contains templates for all sorts of advertising materials.
KK: We have an initial 4-day training for owners, an in-depth sales training course 4-6 months after the initial training, an on-site training following the in-depth sales training, an advertiser retention training in their second year, and optional additional sales training for owners and their staff. I host ongoing weekly teleconferences, and we have an on-demand video library, and recommended reading and listening lists, which are available to our franchisees 24/7.
FC: How many franchise territories have you sold so far? What is your growth target for 2012 and how are you planning to reach this number?
KK: So far, we have franchises in Ventura and Conejo Valley (Thousand Oaks), California. Both of those franchisees have purchased the rights to develop adjacent territories within the next 15 months. Our goal this year is to sell three more. To do this, we have an aggressive advertising campaign — online and in print — as well as an SEO strategy for our franchise website. We are listed with several franchise portals and receive leads from them on a daily basis, as well as organic leads from our website. We are also working with Scott Simcik at Franchise Growth Partners, who has been instrumental in helping us formulate and execute our growth strategy.
FC: Can you name a few franchises (inside or outside your category) that you admire, and why?
KK: We admire McDonald’s in a sense that they have created such efficient systems for an owner to be profitable and potentially hands-off. But in general, we admire franchise concepts that are efficient and fair with an equal opportunity to succeed. We strive to have good working relationships with our franchisees based on shared core values and mutual understanding.
Axxess is a lifestyle business. We want to improve the lives of our franchise owners and also make a contribution to the communities in which we operate. We want our franchise owners to have fun while running a successful business.
FC: Is there anything else you wish to share about Axxess?
KK: My staff and I love what we do and are excited to create the same opportunities for others nationwide.
To learn more about Axxess, please visit their website.