For Allegra Network LLC members, reeling in a new business-to-business client is exhilarating, fulfilling and further validation that their marketing and visual communications services are in demand.

But with an established Acquisition Program developed by our Home-Office, franchise owners in both the Marketing & Print and Sign & Graphics Divisions have long found that by casting a wider net they can land the big strike—independent print, sign, promotion and mail businesses that sell snaring hundreds of loyal clients and recurring revenues.

In 2018 Alone Franchise Owners Added $10.1 Million in New System-Wide Sales from 19 Acquisitions

Since the Acquisition Program launched some 30 years ago, we have completed more than 350 acquisitions that generated $134 million in incremental sales across the network. “Through acquisitions, our franchise members can accelerate their growth in a way that is unmatched organically, though that’s important, too,” said Kevin Cushing, president of the Marketing & Print Division. “For independent business owners, it provides an exit strategy that ensures their legacy is put into good hands.”

Business Development Manager, Julie Ledford, administers the Alliance Franchise Brands Acquisition Program for the Marketing & Print and Sign & Graphics Divisions. “There are many reasons why our members take advantage of the Acquisition Program,” says Ledford. “Number one it is by far the quickest way to grow sales. Members are acquiring an existing customer base that will continue to need services. In many cases, when the purchase is structured properly, it uses its existing cash flow to pay for the majority of the purchase. Additional benefits are the elimination of a competitor, picking up experienced employees, adding equipment, and potentially folding in a sales mix that allows for diversification.”

Curtis Hoessly, owner of Allegra Marketing Print Mail and Image360 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, has completed nine acquisitions over the last 10 years. “Our acquisition strategy has changed as we’ve grown,” said Hoessly. “Each one has been for a specific reason from certain equipment and customer lists to a bigger building.”

It All Starts with a Buttoned-Up Acquisition Program

It’s a proven process and a team effort that includes Ledford from franchise development, regional directors and our franchise members. The first step is the APPROACH, a series of communications to a continually updated list of independent printing, mailing and marketing companies across the U.S. and Canada. Regional directors and franchise members set about QUALIFYING prospects and their interest. AGREEMENTS and DATA COLLECTION FORMS are gathered. In the ANALYSIS phase, the information is reviewed, a financial forecast is prepared, and price and terms options are discussed. An OFFER is made to the seller. Once it is agreed to and signed, the next step is further DUE DILIGENCE. Finally, the PURCHASE is completed with a signed Purchase Sale Agreement. It typically takes anywhere from two-to-four months from the initial inquiry to the signed agreement.

The Franchise Development and Operations Teams have developed a program to support members to Identify and Approach Acquisition Prospects. There’s even a 36-page “Guide for Alliance Franchise Brands Members to Complete an Acquisition” which covers everything from developing an action plan, financing options to real success stories from the network.

An Acquisition Strategy with Lines of Communication as Essential Fishing Gear

At the Marketing & Print Division and Sign and Graphic Division joint annual convention, Ledford will chair a session devoted entirely to the Acquisition Program. “We’ll be reminding and reinforcing the many benefits of acquisitions and presenting an overview of the process to our members. The highlight will be our expert panel made up of franchise members who will share their experiences on acquisitions that they have successfully completed.