Having worked in sales and management roles in consumer electronics for over 25 years, Jim Barton was ready for a change in 2018.
“I’m someone who tries to always do the right thing, but not one who simply wants to do what I’m told by others,” said Barton. “So, when my partner in life, Cindy left her corporate job and I had enough of mine, it was time to acquire a business of our own.”
While open-minded in terms of industries to investigate, Jim had definite criteria when considering a purchase.
He wanted a business-to-business operation because much of the satisfaction he gained from previous positions involved helping small companies solve their problems. The new opportunity would require an existing book of business plus good cash flow, or at least the potential for it. What’s more, any acquisition would have to be near his home southwest of Boston.
Acquiring an Allegra Marketing Print Mail Center
Through a local business brokerage website, Jim learned of a nearby Allegra Center in Franklin, Massachusetts whose owner was retiring. It was an opportunity that checked all the right boxes and they completed the purchase in June 2018. Jim would concentrate on general management and outside sales while Cindy optimized the center production and operations.
Jim cites Allegra’s technology support and marketing initiatives as two measures that helped him get up to speed with his new business. Of course, ownership also enabled him to follow his own instincts.
“I realized early on that we’d have trouble competing with large trade printers on pricing,” said Barton. “Instead, our focus would have to be on quality, expertise and, above all, responsiveness.”
Differentiating the Center’s printing operations
Through his experience with small businesses, he recognized that many managers did not realize their needs for printing until shortly beforehand. In order to capitalize on last-minute orders as well as to position the business for growth, Jim and Cindy updated their computers, printers and other equipment — all with an eye on compressing production times and building capacity.
“Our willingness and ability to fulfill rush orders without sacrificing quality helped differentiate our us from others,” said Barton. “The projects earn good margins. They also help us gain future orders.”
Implementing more ideas to gain more business
Jim thought he could put his Center’s records room to better use by converting it to a conference room. Drawing on his experience in consumer electronics, he outfitted it with the latest audio and video equipment.
“We utilize it ourselves, of course,” said Barton. “But we also invite civic groups and clients to enjoy it when it’s not in use. Many small businesses need such facilities. Of course, its availability draws more printing, marketing and mailing prospects to our Center.”
Achieving highly enviable YOY sales results
The initiatives of Jim and Cindy along with the contributions of several Center employees who stayed on after the transition have borne fruit. Allegra Franklin reports that year-over-year sales growth through July 2019 is a remarkable 21%!
What does the future hold? Web-to-print will certainly play a role. The Center has implemented two Allegra Workstream eCommerce solutions. Clients gain their own exclusive websites on which to order frequently used printed materials. Two more such online “storefronts” are scheduled to go live later in 2019.
Offering a chance to “hit the ground running”
While no responsible franchising organization can promise growth as strong as that realized by this couple, acquiring an Allegra Center offers you the opportunity to fulfill your dream of business ownership and the potential to chart your own course toward profitability.
You can start out in a situation similar to Jim and Cindy via the Allegra Resale Program. It helps you acquire an Allegra business from a current owner who’s retiring or otherwise seeking to sell. You’ll enjoy the benefits of owning an Allegra-branded location while gaining the chance to operate it on your own. Of course, you also enjoy the many support programs offered to you through our proven franchise business model.