New Franchise Owner In Lombard Shares Decision Process

Monday, June 27, 2011

If starting your own business seems the best way out of a no-job hole, you have choices to make: • You can, for example, shoestring a consulting business with little more than a phone, laptop and good connections.

Advertisement Advertisement • Or you can write a check for a franchise fee which, says David Gay, manager of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at College of DuPage, Lisle, should bring the benefits of "brand recognition, solid training in the business" underlying operations and good marketing support." One-time corporate executive Jim Delaney chose franchising, opening a Speedpro Imaging franchise in November in Lombard. Speedpro does large format graphics: trade show displays, murals and vehicle wraps are examples.

Delaney isn"t, and likely never will be, a printer. His job is to manage his business. "I spend 60-80 percent of my time developing the business," Delaney says. A production manager and marketing manager create the product.

Delaney's so-far successful journey from corporate management to franchise owner involved decisions that many unemployed people face. He is willing to share his experiences.

"I had 30 years of corporate existence," Delaney begins. "Large company sales. Sales management. I ran a $1 billion business unit." When Delaney's job was eliminated in April 2009, he knew that "I wanted to run a business vs. having a corporate staff role. There were a lot of people like me looking for a job. I didn"t think I was as marketable" as some others seeking a corporate position.

Delaney was about to become an entrepreneur. "Initially I thought about everything. But I wanted business-to-business, and I wanted something tangible. I like producing a tangible product." It was Chicago-based FranNet consultant John McLellan who connected Delaney with Speedpro Imaging.

"I had spent three or four months doing a traditional job search when I came across FranNet," Delaney says. "And I decided to give six weeks to an all-out play on franchises." Speedpro was the fit.

"I know how to run a business," Delaney says. "I needed help learning a new industry. What was appealing about Speedpro is that the other 15 or 16 owners are people like me. They were all from outside the (printing) business. They were similar enough to me that I knew if they can do it, I can do it." Speedpro has a buddy system to help guide new owners and "two or three owners I call whenever I have a question," Delaney says. That helps Delaney, but he knows other potential startups, whether franchises or independent businesses, have decisions to make.

"Be sure you want to have your own business," Delaney advises. "There's no corporate support system. You have to make certain the invoicing gets gone. You have to manage cash flow. You have to be able to manage your time." Read more:

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