Prontaprint, the leading business-to-business network for rapid digital, design, print and copy services in the UK and Ireland reveals how they are on an aggressive recruitment drive to attract a new breed of ambitious franchisees to head the next generation of their cutting-edge Prontaprint centres

Prontaprint's clients include some of the biggest names in UK business - such as Moat House Hotels, Oxfam, Hush Puppies, DaimlerChrysler and the NHS - but with small and medium-sized companies making up the majority of 'UK plc', the marketplace for Prontaprint services is huge.

Prontaprint plans to open more than 20 new-generation digital business print centres over the next three years as the £50 million Business Superbrand grows its digitally-connected network to over 200 centres in major towns and cities across the UK and Ireland. Target locations for new franchises currently include Oxford, Liverpool, Ipswich and Cambridge and all will utilise the latest print technology to maximise the business potential for in-coming franchisees.

Prontaprint opened the first of its new generation business print centres in Norwich in March - a city chosen due to its high demand for a competitive business print supplier. The centre is owned and operated by new franchisee Joe Douglas who has brought with him a wealth of professional business experience having enjoyed high profile marketing roles for Blue Chip companies including the RAC, Npower, Royal Mail and Budget Rent-a-Car.

'I firmly believe that my experience will bring added value to Prontaprint's business clients because these days businesses want more than just off-the-shelf standard services,' explains Joe. 'Part of my role here is to get under the skin of clients to provide the kind of all-round communication solutions that save them money and help them make additional sales quickly and cost-effectively.

'Prontaprint is in the business of making other businesses look good - whether through producing high quality design marketing materials, easy-to-use training and presentation manuals or simply ensuring that all-important documents look good and arrive on time.'

Joe is characteristic of the new franchisees that Prontaprint is currently searching for - young business professionals who have the commercial acumen, marketing and sales expertise to ensure intuitive understanding of clients' objectives alongside excellent people skills. A growing number of Prontaprint businesses now enjoy annual turnovers of well in excess of £1 million and Prontaprint is keen to attract new franchisees with the talent and ambition to grow to a similar stature.

Potential applicants should have a track record in sales, marketing and management. 'New franchisees shouldn't feel they have to do it all, which can easily happen in a small business,' explains Prontaprint's Managing Director Laird MacKay. 'People coming from a previous print company background have a great deal of technical knowledge, which is great. However, there is a large marketplace out there and you have to focus on your sales, your brand position and your internal processes and operations in order to become successful.'

Prontaprint works alongside new franchisees every step of the way, offering the kind of high quality professional assistance and advice which is usually well beyond the financial reach of independent business start-ups as a free integral part of the franchise package. A dedicated and experienced central team of sales, marketing, finance, technical, IT, training and development staff provide Prontaprint franchisees with the business support, advice tools and guidance they need to drive their individual centres forward.

In addition, a specialist research and development department ensures new and emerging print technologies and print equipment are assessed, tested and evaluated on behalf of franchisees while professional and experienced commercial analysts provide new franchisees with an inside track on profitable development of the Prontaprint business model.

'Franchisees who choose Prontaprint are choosing the best,' says MacKay. 'Our support must be completely robust to guarantee the confidence of our franchisees and leave them free to do what they do best - building and developing profitable relationships with clients.