Insights gained from those working on the front lines of the business fueled Barton’s decision to invest in the brand at multiple points throughout the discovery process.
After a successful three-decade career as a Certified Public Accountant, Ken Barton retired in late 2015 with big plans. Armed with a strong understanding of business best practices gained from his work with numerous small business owners across the greater Dublin and Columbus, Ohio area, Barton was ready to go into business for himself. As he began exploring his options, it became clear that the franchising route was best suited for him.
Not long after making the determination to go into business for himself but not by himself, Barton came across Minuteman Press. By his own admission, Barton’s knowledge of the printing industry was limited. His client experience and business acumen, however, were not, so he continued exploring Minuteman Press based on the B2B aspect of the business opportunity. As he continued his due diligence, Barton contacted Minuteman Press’ regional Vice President, Gary Nowak, to introduce himself and express interest in the opportunity.
“One of my big concerns was that I had no background in printing,” Barton said. “When I expressed this concern to Gary, he told me that some of the more successful Minuteman Press franchisees don’t have a print background. He explained that a better role for the owner is to be out in the community, meeting with clients and developing new ones.”
After that conversation with Nowak, Barton not only felt reassured in how his own ability would apply to as a Minuteman Press franchisee, he felt even more compelled to continue in the discovery process with the brand. Barton visited five local Minuteman Press centers in Ohio during his due diligence, then another three on Long Island when he visited Minuteman Press World Headquarters for Discovery Day.
“Two things really stood out to me: First, the willingness of each owner to talk with me about their philosophy and what made their location successful; and second, how each location was unique,” Barton said. “Although each owner is a Minuteman franchisee and followed the brand’s system, each had different product mixes, marketing strategies and business philosophies that worked for them.”
While Barton said he had essentially made the decision to become a Minuteman Press franchisee after the quality conversations he’d had with Nowak during their Ohio site visits, the additional face time with franchisees during Discovery Day provided further validation that the Minuteman Press business opportunity matched his interests and aspirations.
“I met franchisees with all different styles—some worked inside the business for hours each day, while others were most often out in the community growing the business,” Barton said. “What I came away with is that the owner could create whatever sort of culture and lifestyle that he or she chose to.”
As for what his favorite part of the discovery day experience with Minuteman Press was, Barton again harkened back to the people—specifically, how collaborative and insightful the franchise owners he met with were.
“What I liked the most was the way the various owners were willing to help me understand their businesses and share their ideas and the attributes that they felt made them successful,” he said. “I have seen a lot more of that since becoming an owner, most recently at the owners’ meeting I attended a couple of weeks ago. The most valuable part of these meetings was sitting with other owners at breakfast or lunch chatting about the way we do things and how we spend our time. I always walk away learning a new way to do something, a new product idea or just a different way of thinking about something we do every day."