is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As president of a small real-estate company in Sacramento, Calif., Akash Lal was a frequent visitor of PostNet. The printing and shipping franchise was key to the marketing of his business, as he printed all of his flyers and brochures at the chain. When the former owners of his go-to PostNet decided to move, with plans to close up shop, Lal sprang into action and purchased the location. Here's what he's learned one year into franchising the business center behind his business.
Name: Akash Lal
Franchise owned (location): PostNet in Sacramento, Calif.
How long have you owned the franchise?
I was looking for a proven system with stable income.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Real estate and development.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I had been a PostNet customer for over seven years and found myself depending on the company’s services for marketing. I also created a personal relationship with the staff and built trust with them to manage the back end marketing for my company.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
I bought this an established business. This store was open 10 years prior to me taking over.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Most of my advice and research came from myself as a customer. Any secondary research came from PostNet Corporation in training.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
The biggest challenge I face is continuing to learn the details of the business in regards to printing and consistently looking for B2B clients willing to step outside of their comfort level to try out of the box marketing tactics. We offer much more than printing. For many of our clients we are their time marketing consultant and graphic designer without having to be on payroll.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Do spend a lot of time doing your homework on the franchise, continued growth and sustainability. Look at the strength of their support staff and most importantly your franchise agreement as they can have a lot of strings attached.
What’s next for you and your business?
We are currently creating a relationship with some of the Sacramento Kings players and helping to manage their fan clubs and market several of their private events. Our primary goal is to continue to seek larger corporate clients and establish monthly printing contracts. We also plan to start managing social media advertising for our clients via Facebook, Twitter and Yelp in an order to ensure the marketing is all consistent with print.