SpeedPro Imaging's October 2017 Franchisee in Focus: Barry and Amy Word, Centreville, Virginia
Nation’s Leading Printing and Graphics Franchise Monthly Franchisee Series Focuses on Studio Owners Barry and Amy Word’s Winning Game Plan
Owning a business is as much of an American right of passage as football. And for one studio co-owner of SpeedPro Imaging, the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise, you’ll find entrepreneur and NFL player on his resume. Barry Word is the CEO and President of SpeedPro Imaging of Centreville, VA, just outside of Washington, DC. His teammate in ownership, as has been for most of his adult life, is his wife, Amy Word.
The Words met while Barry was wrapping up a successful career in the National Football League. Barry invested in a fine dining restaurant in the Richmond, VA area. A chance meeting at a different establishment where Amy worked turned into a networking opportunity, and soon after, Amy was the operations manager at Barry’s restaurant.
Barry and Amy have been together ever since. Amazingly, their alliance began first as business partners, and a few months later, as husband and wife. The couple’s first venture together was a landscape construction company. “It began as the two of us working out of an office in our home and a couple of men with a wheelbarrow,” says Amy. Twenty-one years later, the pair oversaw a major operation that employed 80 people and utilized 20 trucks.
Barry, with Amy by his side, had made the transition from football to a businessman. It’s not a transition that some athletes navigate successfully. Barry is quick to credit Amy and the mental toughness he forged growing up on the gridiron. “Anything you do in life, whether it’s on the practice field or in the boardroom, you get out of it what you put into it,” says Barry.
As well as things were going, the Words knew their landscaping business wouldn’t carry them to the finish line. That especially became apparent when the economy took a turn for the worse nearly a decade ago. “When the (‘Great’) recession hit, we were forced to pare down the business; we made it smaller,” says Barry. “Amy and I took some time and discussed how we wanted to spend the rest of our lives professionally and personally, and determined the landscaping business wasn’t in our plans.”
They stuck with the business as bills still needed to be paid. However, they were meticulously searching for new opportunities. Barry leaned on his past to help decide his future. As a former professional football player, he was afforded the opportunity to use the NFL Players Association’s resources. One program put Barry in touch with a company that aids players seeking business opportunities.
“They set me up with interviews with different franchises, including franchises that I would have never considered,” says Barry. “I had never heard of SpeedPro Imaging.”
As they conducted their due diligence, Barry and Amy determined SpeedPro Imaging whet both of their appetites.
“SpeedPro really does embody teamwork – everyone is friendly and helpful to one another,” says Barry. “We’re really excited about SpeedPro Imaging. The more we learn, the more we grow to love it. It was really important for me to find a company that I respected, and they reciprocated that respect. SpeedPro Imaging was the perfect match.”
“I’m a creative and visual person,” says Amy. “Being in the office, I wasn’t able to use that skill set in the landscaping business. Coming out to the SpeedPro Home Office and seeing the graphics roll off the printers while we were meeting with the SpeedPro Imaging leadership was like watching magic happen every few minutes. That, coupled with the ability to meet face to face with clients and make their vision a reality, was fascinating.”
The Words are now in the process of preparing to open their SpeedPro Imaging of Centreville studio by the end of the year. An athlete in her own right (she is a personal trainer), Amy loves the rigors that come with being an entrepreneur. The planning process is keeping her focused. “When I train a group of people, I must maximize their hour,” says Amy. “I now apply that same mindset toward every hour of my day, to use my time wisely as I network and meet with potential clients.”
The pair’s current goal is to build partnerships with businesses who will be reliable customers for the long haul, rather than one-off clients. In the meantime, Barry will also get to work helping SpeedPro Imaging connect with more athletes.
Later this month, Barry will attend a session sponsored by Ascending Athletes, a program that partners with retired athletes to assist in their transition to civilian life. He tells athletes to find a passion, and to stay involved with it. He adds that athletes should enjoy retirement, but not for an extended amount of time. Barry says professional athletes should determine how they want to spend the rest of their lives while they’re still playing. “That can be difficult for some,” says Barry. “The conference will introduce retired players to several franchises that want to partner with ex-athletes. I’m ready to promote the wonderful attributes SpeedPro Imaging offers. It’s a company that I feel comfortable with and a great fit for ex-professional athletes because of the comradery, starting with the Home Office as well as from fellow franchisees. I don’t hesitate to endorse it.”
When their SpeedPro Imaging studio doors open, the Words want to hit the ground running. The game plan developed in conjunction with the Home Office has them believing they’ll hit their sales targets within the designated timeframe. However, they’re investing not just for now, but for the future.
“I would really love to pass this business on to our kids,” says Barry. “I’m hoping that in 10 years, Amy and I are able to travel a little bit and visit places we haven’t seen. To do so, we need to work diligently now to make the business stable so it supports our family.”
Barry has worked hard his entire life and champions teamwork. Desire and determination fueled success on the football field. A strong work ethic and willingness to learn has transformed him into a powerful businessman. As a running back, he learned to praise his offensive line. And as an entrepreneur, he praises the lady in his life.
“Over the years, my wife and I have made a commitment to pull in the same direction,” says Barry. “When there’s a struggle, we fight through it. I’ve never failed with that attitude.”
“It was Barry and Amy before all of this started,” says Amy. “We have to remember that we are husband and wife first, not business partners. We spend a lot of time together; it’s not for the lighthearted, that’s for sure. But it’s important to designate times to turn business off and enjoy our marriage.”
For more information on the SpeedPro Imaging franchise opportunity and joining the team that Barry and Amy are proud to be a part of, please visit speedprofranchising.com.