Description: Instant Imprints: Signage and Banners, Embroidery, Custom T-shirts and Promo Products. 4 Businesses in 1. Business to Business, High Average Transaction Value, High Repeat Sales Opportunities: Franchises available throughout the US and worldwide. Master license opportunities available internationally in several countries. Business Type: Franchise. Minimum Cash Required: $100,000. Financing Assistance: Yes, through a third party. Training Provided: Yes. SBA-Approved: Yes.
Instant Imprints Franchise Opportunity Video
$10,000 off Franchise Fee + $0 Charge for Training
AREA franchises are Financed up to 40%. Terms are 5 yrs Interest only or 7 years Principal and Interest. $10,000 from each Franchise Awarded in the territory is applied to the Note on the AREA
Interview with Christian Collucci: EVP and Director of Instant Imprints
When organizations want to be more visible to their customers, users, or members, they turn to Instant Imprints to create that customizable visibility. Instant Imprints transformed the apparel, sign and promotional products industries by combining multiple businesses into one efficient business model. The company began franchising in 2002, and the business has since ranked as one of Entrepreneur Magazine's Top 500 Franchises in the U.S.
In this Success Story Interview, Instant Imprints Executive Vice President Christian Collucci gives an in-depth look at the finer points of the Instant Imprints franchise. Learn about Instant Imprints' unique stock ownership program, franchisee training and more and get excited to own an Instant Imprints franchise!
Can you tell us a little about the history of Instant Imprints and the part you play in the franchise?
The business started as a family business in 2001. Our group started off as Master Licensees for Canada in 2008, and our main shareholder was also the Master Licensees for another B2B retail franchise concept in Canada with over 300 locations. We acquired the US parent and the Global franchise rights in 2011 and we bought the founders out.
I play a few different roles in the organization, I am one of the owners of the brand, I am a director of the company. But I spend most of my time on franchise development and recruitment of new owners, and developing new markets. My favorite part of the business is working with potential franchise owners.
Why should prospective franchisees be excited about starting an Instant Imprints franchise?
There is so much to be excited about here. I would say since I invested over 7 years ago, I still get really excited about our brand. I don't think there is a whole lot out there that is even close to our business. But the 3 things to me that make us special are as follows:
- Mentally rewarding business: We have a business that makes lots of custom stuff for businesses. So it is never a boring day at the shop. There are lots problems to solve and ideas to generate to help customers grow and promote.
- Emotionally rewarding business: Our business is fun. Promotions are fun. Our franchisees always talk about how they love the relationships with client and how they love it and feel great when they can really nail a promotion for a customer. Whether we help a charitable organization raise lots of money in the community or a help a new business owner set up shop and get lots of customers. We can feel really good about the value we bring to our communities.
- Financially rewarding business: Our business has multiple revenue streams, high client repeat rates, high average transaction values and strong gross margins. We have over 700,000 items available that we can put a logo on, so our franchisees always have something to sell. We are in a business where customers buy stuff with the express purposes of giving it away to order more of it. What's not to like!
When you can have a business that is mentally rewarding, emotionally satisfying and financially rewarding that all adds up to a really enjoyable workday and provides the building blocks of a great lifestyle. Franchisees should not be slaves to their businesses. Their business investment should be the vehicle to the lifestyle and dreams they want to build.
Tell us about the Instant Imprints franchisee stock ownership program.
This is a one-of-a-kind program that is really unique to franchising and I am really proud of our ownership group for being able to bring this together. We actually set aside 10% of the company to be able to give it to our franchisees. We are the FIRST and ONLY Franchisee/Franchisor owned franchise system. So when a franchisee is awarded an Instant Imprints franchise, they are also awarded FREE stock in the global parent company. We don't give the franchisees a special class of shares or anything, they get the same common voting stock that we own. This really does create a true partnership.
Why it is important to me is because it totally changes our relationship with our franchise partners and the dialogue that we have with them. You treat partners different than contracts, and making the franchisees partners has brought about more transparency in the organization, it brings more two way dialogue, it helps us solve problems faster and fosters clearer communications and more alignment on the overall strategy of the company.
What does the training look like for an Instant Imprints franchisee? Are there any special skills a potential franchisee would need to have?
Training is extensive and one of the most crucial parts of the process. Our initial training spans over 21 weeks. Broken up into a few sections:
6 weeks of intensive training: this happen for 4 weeks in the field (operations) and 2 weeks at Instant Imprints University (IIU). The IIU is focused mainly on business management, financials, marketing and business development. Yes, folks, we teach you HOW to build a strong and sustainable business. What that means is we teach you how you get NEW customers and how to grow and retain customers by continuing the dialogue after the sale. We also teach you way more than just what happens when a customer shows up on your door, we teach you how to get them there in the first place and how to make them give you money! The Operations component is where we teach you how to make the stuff and how to use our system and equipment.
All this takes place before you open. 2 weeks after you open we put you on a 15 week mentoring program to make sure that you are actually spending your time working on your business, not just in it! It is delivered via a weekly meeting either in person or by phone to focus on your business issues at ramp up and to make sure you are implementing the Marketing Action Plan (MAP) from training.
How long does the start-up process typically take?
We believe that when a franchise partner follows the system properly and drives implementation and execution they can be at break even or better in less than 9 months. That is incredible for a brick and mortar location. It can take longer depending on the skills and passion of the owner, but it is very achievable.
What's the biggest mistake you see from your incoming franchisees? How can it be avoided?
Franchisees in any system are responsible for 2 main things:
- Local operations: The franchisee has to run their business. We can't run it for you from San Diego or Toronto. You have to be accountable for how you run your center. Meaning there are systems in place, get good at working the systems and trust in them to deliver results. Don't spend your time trying to re-work stuff, get good at implementation and execution.
- Client attraction and retention: All too often I see franchisees spending time sitting in the center waiting for business to happen rather than being active in their business community and focusing their efforts on building the business. At start-up it is really critical to get to break even as fast possible, and that comes from new client acquisition, not hanging out in the center
Believe me, the business is way more fun when you are cashing checks than when you are writing them!
What advice would you give first time franchisees?
My personal pieces of advice:
Firstly, I tell people all the time, yes we sell lots of products. Our business is not about products. Our business really is about helping people. We sell the problems that we solve for our clients. The products are just the various ways we deliver the message.
Secondly, take the words NO, CAN'T and WON'T out of your vocabulary and see how that changes your dialogue with customers. Look for ways to say YES, and make things happen for the customer. When you approach the client with a positive attitude and a solution oriented mindset, good things come from it.
Thirdly, Timeliness is next to godliness. Don't miss deadlines for customers, have a sense of urgency, and provide clear concise timely feedback to customer questions. Create a great customer experience and treat them properly with respect and dignity. This is a business, like all business, it is about people!
What are some of Instant Imprints' greatest achievements?
To me our greatest achievements have yet to be made, but from what we have so far, I think our Partnership Program is truly a unique differentiator for us. That will only continue to improve our system as we grow. There is so much upside there that I am really excited about what the future holds.
The model is delivering what we want it to deliver. Our unit economics continue to get better each year as our franchisees continue to grow and new centers continue to ramp up quickly.
Our validation has improved dramatically from when we acquired the business a few years ago. Our franchisees are engaged, happy and really love where the business is going, and they get as much opportunity to be involved in helping build and set strategy as they want.
What's next for Instant Imprints in terms of expansion?
We have lots of room for domestic growth throughout North America. We are raising $4M in capital now for large expansion push as we want to grow the business under our 5-5-5 plan to grow to over 500 units globally, with an average unit volume of $500k in 5 years.
Ideally we would like to take the company public and allow our franchise partners that are so instrumental to our growth to be able to come along for the ride and be a part of something this exciting
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Let's go Blue Jays!
No on a more serious note, don't pre-judge what the business is. Many people think because we have the word PRINT in our name we are all about paper. Yes, it is a category we offer. It is our smallest category; we mainly do customized apparel (embroidery and t-shirts), Promotional products and Signage. It is all stuff every business needs in its day to day operations. Let me ask you how often have you ever shopped in a store without any signs? Seriously come and see a center and we can arrange a tour because the business is really cool, fun, and rewarding. I look forward to speaking with you or seeing you at a discovery day!
GREAT! WHAT'S MY NEXT STEP?
Find out more about Instant Imprints by submitting the form below.