SpeedPro Imaging's July 2017 Franchisee in Focus: Eric Lazar, Chicago, Illinois
Nation’s Leading Printing and Graphics Franchise Monthly Franchisee Series Focuses on Studio Owner Eric Lazar and his Bold Approach to Business
What’s next for Eric Lazar? Well, we don’t have a crystal ball. But if Lazar’s past is any indication, his future with SpeedPro Imaging, the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise, will be full of continued success. Lazar is the owner of the SpeedPro Imaging - Chicago Loop, a store he has owned for the last two years. He prides himself in thinking outside of the box and has been rewarded along the way for applying new perspectives on stale concepts. It’s been a long and eventful road for Lazar, a service-disabled U.S. Marine veteran (Sergeant 1986-1994) marked with challenges, revelations and achievements.
Earlier this year during SpeedPro Imaging’s Franchisee Convention, Lazar was named “Rookie of the Year.” It came as no surprise, since he and his business partner Rebecca Considine, obliterated the previous sales record. In the first 12 months as a SpeedPro Imaging franchisee, Lazar and Considine cleared $300,000 worth of business during their KickStart Program. The previous record for 12 month revenue before studio doors were opened was $93,000.
Lazar credits networking for their success as high-performing owners with the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise. He says 100 percent of their business is built on connections and referrals. “We never talk about printing,” says Lazar. “We don’t drop in on businesses, we don’t do cold calls, or anything else that isn’t tied to a deeper personal relationship. Our business is connecting people.” Lazar says since they launched the business, he personally meets no less than 50 senior business executives and conducts at least 20 one-to-one meetings every week. Their combined goal, is to make at least 100 introductions amongst CEO’s, COO’s, Presidents, Partners and other senior leaders in his city-wide network each week; and in return for this pay-it-forward philosophy, the good karma is repaid in-kind with introductions and business. The Lazar-Considine duo are considered by many to be among Chicago’s most well-connected and generous networkers- certainly an atypical status for a local printing franchise owner to hold and one they covet deeply.
Eric’s particularly tenacious approach to business was partly forged during his eight years as a Marine. Sergeant Lazar was trained as an Arabic translator and worked in intelligence. During his tenure in the military, he had a desire to wind up working with the CIA, DIA or NSA. That plan changed when – after transitioning out of the service—he pursued a college education. It only took him three years to obtain a degree. But it was during that time that he caught the entrepreneurial bug.
“Leaving the military was harder than I thought it was going to be,” Lazar said. “I had evolved from taking orders, but I was still wired in the military mindset. I was used to being told what to do, no questions asked. It took an adjustment period to assimilate to the private sector culture.”
His first business involved preparing resumes and conducting job searches for clients. That lasted for three years until he started working at a local television station in Washington, D.C. After a successful 13-year tenure in the broadcasting industry, Lazar decided to go back into business for himself, launching a mobile marketing solutions firm.
The investment in himself paid off. In a short period of time, his concept was absorbed by a small mobile tech company, and subsequently, that firm was purchased by a technology agency followed by a private equity firm. With the end of his tenure immanent following the last acquisition, after a year-long deliberation on what his next step would be, Lazar determined SpeedPro Imaging, the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise, would be his next conquest.
Thanks to some welcoming and encouraging SpeedPro Imaging franchise owners, Lazar spent several weeks on the road learning the company’s business model. Several days in San Francisco, a week in Florida, another couple of days each in Omaha, Kansas City, Cleveland and Madison. He picked the brains of the owners and laid out his own strategy. One that would include the bold step to forgo gunning for the wholesale market. Lazar’s foundation would be built on networking.
Now that strategy, and the relationships he has established, is paying serious dividends. One notable gig was an event to welcome in 2016 called “Chi-Town Rising.” It was Chicago’s first ever outdoor New Year’s Eve bash, and Lazar – in his first year as a SpeedPro Imaging studio owner—was tasked with being responsible for the entirety of the on-site signage package. Lazar remained on as the graphics solution partner last year as well, where the event has taken prominence as the second largest New Year’s Eve event in the U.S.
Business is in his blood, but his heart still belongs to the military. He’s heavily involved in a program called “Marine for Life.” The national organization provides assistance to Marines who are returning to civilian life. He helps Marines and Corpsmen mingle with business professionals for an opportunity to get job tips, coaching and establish new contacts with companies in Chicago. Lazar was also recently appointed to the Board of Directors for Chicago Marines Foundation as well as having multiple board, committee and mentor seats across several other prominent organizations in the Chicago marketplace.
It’s his way to “pay it forward.” He’s doing the same within SpeedPro Imaging, as he is now the president of the company’s Franchise Advisory Council with just two years in the organization. There he provides insight and guidance to help improve the system.
Lazar’s future with SpeedPro Imaging remains bright and he’s laying the groundwork to ensure his fellow franchisees can prosper. All of us at SpeedPro Imaging are excited to see what Lazar and his team do next!
For more information on the SpeedPro Imaging franchise opportunity and what it takes to be a successful franchise owner with the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise, like Eric Lazar, please visit www.speedprofranchising.com.