SpeedPro Imaging's April 2017 Franchisee in Focus: Bruce Benson, Des Moines Iowa
Nation’s Leading Printing and Graphics Franchise Launches Monthly Franchisee Series with Bruce Benson’s Powerfully Inspirational Success Story Built by Patience and Perseverance
To know Bruce Benson is to know a man who is full of success. The Des Moines, Iowa businessman successfully raised two children with his loving wife and excelled in the corporate world in mechanical engineering and sales. Today, Bruce is thriving with SpeedPro Imaging, the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise, as a wildly successful franchise owner. However, it hasn’t always been easy as his road to success was lined with a couple of pitfalls – both professional and personal.
The Iowa native’s quest for a better work-life balance introduced him to SpeedPro Imaging in 2006. Bruce spent 16 exhaustive years working as a mechanical engineer, tackling sales for an industrial distribution company. Days on the road conducting business consistently outnumbered the days he spent at home with his wife, Dru, son Mitch, and daughter Naomi. That’s when he made the decision to control his own future growth.
“A year before I left, I was reaching my breaking point,” says Bruce. “I knew I had to do something to keep my sanity. I developed a relationship with the owner of a small business brokerage, who helped convince me to check out SpeedPro Imaging. I haven’t looked back.”
But Bruce didn’t know what was waiting for him further along that path.
Consistent with the experience of first-time entrepreneurs, Bruce encountered a few hiccups when he opened his Des Moines-based SpeedPro Imaging franchise. Bruce recalls an important learning curve/teaching moment in his first few months with the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise. “We were jumping through hoops, allowing ourselves to be on customers schedules. I would rush to help customers walking in the door, doing and finishing work myself and putting in 80 to 90 hours a week.”
Thankfully, that insane schedule leveled off when Bruce hired a business coach, teaching him that it’s OK to turn down some opportunities to retain focus on controlled growth. Bruce and his team have retained the aggression and relentlessness that immediately earned them a phenomenal reputation with clients, but they’re more judicious with the projects they take on as a group. “I never agree to due dates or projects that put myself or my team in jeopardy. We have always gone the extra mile for our clients because we understand the value of relationships, but the difference today is that we set expectations up front and educate clients on the type of projects that make sense for both parties. That’s why we focus on much larger projects, like vehicle wraps, point of purchase graphics, wall murals and project work, because it’s a win-win for SpeedPro and our clients.”
The innovative approach from the business coach has certainly paid dividends for Bruce. When he first hit $20,000 a month of sales, he remembers thinking he couldn’t imagine reaching the $40,000 or even $60,000 a month. Bruce now has the capacity to generate up to $750,000 in sales per month, with six employees. In fact, in 2016, he became the first owner to generate more than $700,000 in a single month as a franchise owner with the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise.
As he shared in his quote, like many SpeedPro Imaging franchise owners, Bruce has relied on specific verticals to help fuel rapid growth. Bruce also quickly discovered print brokers – a relationship with all different kind of print vendors – brings his crew several profitable projects.
It’s Bruce’s past experiences with upper management that helped mold how he treats his employees. He makes it a point to walk around and interact with his team every morning. Bruce feeds his staff every Friday. And once a quarter, he treats his crew to after-hours appetizers and drinks. Bruce says putting his people first has been the key to becoming one of the most successful franchisees with SpeedPro Imaging, the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise.
“There are three primary reasons why I’ve been successful. First, I have hired very talented, high end people. Second, we produce a very high quality product at SpeedPro Imaging, customers are amazed because our product has a serious attention to detail and stands the test of time. And lastly, I love to entertain. From clients to staff, I love to reach out and treat people as a member of my family.”
Generosity, along with a health scare for wife Dru, rocked his world in 2008. Dru was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ever resilient, Dru told her oncologist, “it’s a win-win. If cancer wins, God takes care of me. If cancer loses, Bruce takes care of me.” And that’s exactly what Bruce did. He was by her side, caring for his wife, night and day.
However, taking care of Dru meant less time to handle other matters at hand, most notably, managing his rental properties. At one point, he lost $26,000 as renters took advantage of his diverted attention. On top of that, his SpeedPro Imaging business was going great, making cash flow a challenge during the early ramp up of the SpeedPro business. “As a brand-new owner, I was paying bills before I was getting paid,” said Bruce. “The mental anguish on top of the healthcare expenses, it was overwhelming.”
Bruce recalls his “rock bottom” moment. It was a Sunday, when he was in his office. The landlord of the building noticed Bruce’s truck parked outside and came in. The landlord asked what was wrong, noticing Bruce wasn’t his normal self. Bruce laid it all on the table. Dru’s breast cancer treatment. The struggles with renters taking him to the cleaners. The landlord, just as generous as Bruce, told him to delay rent payments indefinitely. “Thankfully, I didn’t have to take him up on the offer,” said Bruce. “I never missed a payment. But the gesture, the fact that the landlord even made the offer, has stuck with me to this day.”
In a matter of time, with newfound optimism, Bruce was back on track with the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise. Business is booming. And his wife, cancer free, is by his side, now working alongside Bruce at SpeedPro Imaging. Dru is also engaged in activities across their community designed to help and boost the morale of cancer patients and survivors. Dru taught her husband to live for tomorrow, but enjoy every day.
Dru also designed and commissioned a local jeweler to produce a unique ring as a reminder of everything she’s endured with Bruce by her side. The 4 pink stones on top represent her 4 chemotherapy treatments. The bigger pink trilliant cut with 3 points represents: diagnosis, treatment and healing. The stone is also bevel set meaning cancer is now contained and will not return. Lastly, all the other diamonds represent strength.
It's her way of remembering all she and Bruce have endured, and Bruce is doing his part to spread the seeds of success for any current or future cancer fighter/survivor. “If any organization wants banners or point of purchase displays, and your cause is to fight cancer, consider it a donation.”
Bruce’s fantastic story is just one of many we’ll be sharing with you as the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise. For more information on the SpeedPro Imaging franchise opportunity and what it takes to be a successful franchise owner, please visit http://www.speedprofranchising.com/.