Nick Beane purchased Allegra of Arden Hills, Minnesota, from his father in August 2018. It was a succession plan 30 years in the making.

“I don’t remember when exactly, maybe I was four-years-old, but I was always underfoot. My first marketing and print recollection is loading paper bins after school,” said Nick. “Once I became more responsible I started in the digital copy department and moved from managing the bindery area into managing the copy department. From there I got into running the bindery and letterpress equipment, and became the go-to person for all our mailing work.”

Nick studied sales, marketing, and management at Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. He got married and started a family. Though he was comfortable working in the family business, it didn’t give him the confidence to run the business.

“In 2008, my wife and I bought a doggy daycare franchise. It was a pet ‘resort’ so when everybody else wanted to travel, Jen and I were slammed busy—seven days a week and holidays,” said Nick. “We owned the business for nine years. It was fun; it was great. We had an awesome ride, but we decided to put on the brakes when we had to wake up our daughter at 5:00 a.m. to open presents so we could be out the door by 6:00 a.m. to take care of dogs on Christmas Day.

“At about that same time (2017), we knew it was coming, but my father started talking about retiring. Jen and I looked at selling the dog kennel and buying the printing business. With the help of Alliance Franchise Brands and the Allegra development department, we put together a succession plan.”

According to the Family Business Consulting Group “succession is the most painful and critical time for family businesses. Less than one-third survive into the second generation, and only about 13 percent make it into the third generation,”

Those numbers are staggeringly low when you consider that the Harvard Business School estimates that “at least half of the companies in the U.S—even those listed publicly—are family businesses.”

The Alternative Board, a Denver-based firm that counsels small businesses, “points to the lack of planning in family business transfers. Less than a third of family business owners have a succession plan.”

The lack of succession planning is a liability within the printing industry as well. “It isn’t that printing company owners are poorer at succession planning than owners of other kinds of small- and medium-sized businesses,” says Patrick Henry in a Printing Impressions article. “It’s just that the nature of their jobs tends to get in the way.”
In a research study conducted by Idealliance, a global non-profit think tank in the graphics communications industry, 35.3% of the participants identified “succession planning as one of their biggest human resources challenges. However, as a concern, it ranks behind the difficulty of recruiting and retaining sales personnel (64.7%); recruiting and retaining production personnel (42.1%); recruiting and retaining capable young employees (37.6%), and eliminating underperforming employees (36.8%).”

Do you own your own printing business? Then you know firsthand that meeting deadlines and in-the-moment concerns can get in the way of succession planning. But, you don’t have to be a Ford (cars), Perdue (chickens), or a Johnson (Pledge, Ziploc, and Windex) to step back from the day to day and devote time to protecting your legacy and securing your family’s financial future.

At Allegra, we regularly counsel our Alliance Franchise Brands network members on the importance of developing an exit strategy and following a step-by-step succession plan—particularly when transferring the business to a next generation.

“From the beginning the process was seamless. Financially it was a good move for us, too, and we were able to keep Allegra in the family,” said Nick. “My dad’s still here helping out, doing some customer service and just helping us make the transition. We collaborate on how things should flow through the Center, and we’re getting things reorganized.”

If you’re scheduled to attend the National Print Owners Association Annual Spring Conference February 28-March 2, 2019, at the San Diego Hilton Resort & Spa, please visit Allegra Marketing Print Mail, and we’ll demonstrate how to value your business and how to heighten success in your SUCCESSion planning.