Minuteman Press

Does a business-to-business opportunity that allows you to target every other business in your territory as a potential customer sound like a good investment? It did for Norwich franchisee Colin Barnes, who spoke to Adam Browning

This January, Minuteman Press International was once again rated the number one printing franchise by US publication Entrepreneur magazine and the company is now looking to further this success by recruiting ambitious and dedicated franchisees in the UK.

Franchising since 1975 in the US and 1996 in the UK, Minuteman Press is an established and proven franchise that provides a vital service to its customers. In fact, as a printer, Minuteman has the enviable position of having every other business as a potential customer. Combining the quality of a commercial printer with the ease and speed of an instant printer, Minuteman can serve virtually all the requirements of businesses large and small, giving them an edge in the market.

It was this edge that caught the attention of Minuteman franchisee Colin Barnes. After being made redundant, Colin decided he wanted to work for himself and looked into the possibility of franchising. With no solid idea of what he was looking for, he went to a franchise exhibition and came across Minuteman Press.

'I could see that the Minuteman team is very pro-active and enthusiastic,' reflects Colin. 'It's an interesting industry, people always need printing services so it struck me as a good investment with great possibilities.'

Colin has run his franchise in the heart of Norwich since 1998 and reports consistently reaching, if not exceeding, his targets. Having developed a strong regular customer base he also receives a lot of walk-in trade and one of the keys to this success was the choice of location for his premises. Minuteman's support team researches the site selection to ensure the franchisee is placed in an area that will maximise business and profitability, and the team even advises on the design and layout of the centre to take advantage of the space and maintain efficient workflow.

This level of support and guidance continues through Minuteman's exceptional and comprehensive training programme: Colin was whisked off for three weeks to Minuteman's modern training facility at its world headquarters in New York. There, Colin was provided with the knowledge of how to run every aspect of his franchise.

Although there is a technical aspect of printing, Colin states that having no prior experience is not a problem at all. 'The training gave me an understanding of the more technical side of the business but for this you can employ a printer on your site,' states Colin. 'My role is much more about management and creating business.'

Minuteman's training is by no means limited to a few weeks, continuing onsite with visits from representatives from the company's regional UK offices. This ongoing level of support helps the continued growth and development of each franchisee by offering advice and guidance when needed. 'The technical representatives come in and help train press operators, and Minuteman's marketing team helps with all aspects in the skills of sales and how to attract new business,' explains Colin. 'However, I still get the chance to run the business very independently, just with the addition of a helping hand.'

As for the future of his business, Colin reflects: 'There is definitely the opportunity for growth by employing more staff and investing in newer digital technologies. The business has given me a big lifestyle change and I enjoy the freedom to make my own decisions.'