This post is the second of two parts. To read Part 1, please click here.
Training Transfers to Existing Business
Booth said the comprehensive training and knowledge she attained has even helped her with the printing end of her business. In technical areas, she’s much more confident in speaking with her clients and she picked up helpful tips, such as using an oversize board in her facility to post production schedules that are easier for her staff to follow than very small ones she had been using for her print jobs. It has helped keep things organized, she said.
When she accepted her first sign job, creating a marquee for a church, a FASTSIGNS representative did a conference call with the client and Booth that helped her to understand processes such as gathering information and specifications.
“When I bought the printing business five years ago, I didn’t have this support,” she said. “I was basically left to figure out how to run the business on my own and it was extremely stressful in addition to the recession.”
In the midst of co-branding her business, Booth is also changing addresses from a retail center to an industrial park about a mile away from her current location. She will be able to own the building rather than pay rent and she believes the size and location of the building will distinguish her business for potential clients who thought Prestige Printing was just a small copy shop.
The new, 7,000-square-foot facility will have an entrance and signage equally devoted to Prestige Printing and FASTSIGNS and the production area will serve both sides of the business, she said. Although the new space is atypical for FASTSIGNS, which prefers more of a retail space, the company approved the site, she said.
Cost of Expansion
Booth estimates that she spent $50,000 on equipment to make the transition to offering signage and large-scale printing as part of her business menu and about $30,000 to cover special construction of a counter area, wall graphics, signage, and a point of sales system for FASTSIGNS. Her payroll will remain the same with eight employees. She believes she would have incurred a similar amount expanding her business even without the co-banding agreement, so she counts the $17,000 franchise fee as her only additional expense.
When she moves, she will benefit from a dual marketing campaign. Direct mail and other collateral pieces will announce the move of Prestige Printing, followed quickly by another campaign announcing the opening of FASTSIGNS.
FASTSIGNS has prepared an entire marketing plan for the new side of the business and has printed and scheduled drop dates for a direct mail campaign announcing the grand opening. The company will also supply a “brand ambassador” who will come to Columbus and make door-to-door cold calls at area businesses that might need Booth’s new services.
“I was tickled about that,” she said.