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Minuteman Press FEATURE
One of the foremost and most prestigious printing franchise organisations in the world, Minuteman Press fulfils the graphic needs of almost every type of business. By Ian Armitage
inuteman Press is the largest and most prestigious printing franchise in the world. It has been rated the top printing franchise in the printing industry over 20 times by Entrepreneur Magazine and was founded in 1974. Today, it occupies a unique position in the printing industry. “The business was established in the USA in 1974 and has been franchising since 1975 and today has thousands of units worldwide, including South Africa, where the first Minuteman Press outlet opened in 1996,” says the man who heads up Minuteman Press in South Africa, regional vice president Frik van Niekerk. Van Niekerk started his career in the printing industry with AM International, who supplied Minuteman Press International. “That’s where my involvement started,” he explains. “In 1998 I was employed by Minuteman Press International to provide back-up and support to its South African operation and it was in 2009 that I assumed responsibility for the South African region when Adele Schalit, who introduced the Minuteman Press concept to the South African market, retired. “I’m very much enjoying the challenge,” van Niekerk adds. “There is a lot of growth still to come in South Africa and we have ambitious plans to grow the business. My goal is
The business was established in the USA in 1974 and has been franchising since 1975 and today has thousands of units worldwide Frik van Niekerk
strengthen and grow our existing outlets, while adding between three and four new ones a year. The business is currently focused on the Western Cape, Free State Province and KwaZulu-Natal.” Minuteman Press is a franchise organisation that specialises in printing services, copying and document reproduction and graphic design services. By combining the quality of a commercial printer with the ease and speed of an instant printer, it has carved a unique niche within the printing industry. Its outlets offer an extensive range of products and services, van Niekerk says. “We do everything including digital printing, binding, colour copying, design, embossing, foil
stamping, full colour printing, logo design and saddle stitching. The product range includes envelopes, flyers, invitations, labels, manuals, menus, price lists and presentation folders – we do it all. “Now, we are not the cheapest in the market place, but we offer an unrivalled quality. All businesses use print and our franchises are capable of fulfilling the total graphic needs of almost every type of business.” The formula works, van Niekerk says. “This year has been good for us, just like the years before were good for us. Since Minuteman Press started in the South African market it has grown every single year. In 2009 we enjoyed over five percent growth and in 2010 we had close to seven percent growth. We eclipsed that in 2011 with over 12 percent growth. “We, as a franchise, are always growing in terms of numbers and it has, especially in the recessionary times, a lot to do with our ability to develop innovative strategies to be a step ahead of the recession and competition. In a tough time, you can either strategise, and come up with means and ways of adding value for clients, or you can cut back, go for that cheapest price. We opted to add value. It is just a case of in the difficult times, being sharper, and working smarter. What we have found over the years is that the minute the economy goes tight, print is the quickest and easiest means of advertising to get your business boosted.
Minuteman Press FEATURE
That is what we do. We are a business-to-business marketing organisation. “At the end of the day there are some business people for whom everything is about price,” he adds. “Then there are those for whom the focus is on a quality product, delivered on time and at a reasonable price. We strive for that. “Every business needs printing on a daily basis no matter which way the economy turns.” The ideal franchisee, van Niekerk says, is one that is “hard-working and ambitious”. Experience in the industry is not necessary. “In terms of the franchisee, we offer a lot of support. For instance, we will assess the suitability of potential locations; those assessments take into account the population, surrounding businesses and business centres. We also help to ensure the optimisation of shop space, and layouts are designed based on the unique floor plan of each store.” In a typical Minuteman Press outlet a press operator, a counter and graphics employee will support the franchisee. “Like I said, we offer a lot of support. The regional Minuteman Press head office provides preopening, as well as post-opening assistance and support. This includes technical and marketing support as well as assistance with the interviewing, testing, hiring and training of personnel. “The franchisees also attend a two-week training course in the USA, at the corporate headquarters training facility in Farmingdale. There they are taught the technical
and business skills necessary to effectively manage a Minuteman Press franchise. If deemed necessary, Minuteman Press will conduct on-site training for franchise employees. “The ideal Minuteman Press franchisee should be outgoing, hardworking and highly motivated with a high regard for service excellence and the ability to follow systems. It is important they strict to the winning Minuteman Press formula.” When asked what the plans were going forward, van Niekerk simply said Minuteman Press wanted to remain a leading brand in South Africa within the industry. “We want to constantly work on the relationships that we have taken the time to build up,” he says. “But, yes, we are looking to expand. We are currently looking at KZN and the Western Cape. I’m in negotiations now with three new potential franchisees for the Western Cape.” Minuteman Press International has created a “blueprint for success”, he concludes. eND To learn more visit www.minutemanpress.co.za.
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