SpeedPro Imaging's September 2017 Franchisee in Focus: Don Neder and John Barber, Norcross, Georgia
Nation’s Leading Printing and Graphics Franchise Monthly Franchisee Series Focuses on Studio Owners Don Neder and John Barber’s Successful Networking Philosophy
Networking remains an essential activity to cultivate key relationships in business and beyond. For John Barber and Don Neder, networking was a key ingredient in what is now a $1.1 million enterprise at SpeedPro Imaging of Norcross (Georgia).
The pair now represent one of the best franchise ownership success stories that SpeedPro Imaging, the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise, has to offer. But that wasn’t always the case. For several years, Don Neder wasn’t thriving with his SpeedPro Imaging studio the way he is today. He had never hesitated to innovate since launching his studio (in fact, Don’s studio was the first to test and use the HP Latex printer and the first SpeedPro Imaging studio to implement CoreBridge, the cloud-based management system), but sales had plateaued. While he was very proud of the $600,000 per year business he had built, he knew it was capable of much more.
The tides in the Atlanta suburbs began to turn in April of 2015, when Don linked up with John. After a few conversations, John agreed to team up with Don. This critical partnership has been a match made in paradise. “As business partners, we complement one another,” says John Barber. “We work with a ‘divide and conquer’ attitude. We have very specific and different roles, accountabilities and measures of success.” Don manages business development, purchasing, production and more. John’s duties include handling finance, business development, risk management and marketing.
John knew his new partner Don had a good thing going, but there existed room for improvement. For John, the main change involved implementing a new sales strategy. “We attribute a lot of our success and growth to joining and being members of the right networking groups in Atlanta,” says John.
John’s main networking group is called Business Networking International (BNI). BNI is the world’s largest business networking and business referral organization. John says he joined on a whim but it is paying dividends. BNI has helped their SpeedPro Imaging studio net $196,000 of business in the last 12 months.
Reaching the one million-dollar benchmark didn’t happen overnight. Don and John put in the work. “You can’t just wait for business to walk in the door,” says Don. “We call it a return on effort, instead of return on investment. We know exactly what industry verticals we want to target.”
Their effort and belief in networking began to blossom in February in 2017. Word was getting around town about SpeedPro Imaging of Norcross’ professionalism and high-quality work product. It was a referral based off a BNI relationship that landed Don and John a project with event company Legendary Events. All it took was one event before Legendary Events recognized it had been paired with a special local business. Legendary Events fired all four (4!!) graphic firms in their rolodex and made SpeedPro Imaging of Norcross the exclusive large-format printing solution provider for all projects.
The next month, Don and John had multiple projects on hand, including two from the cloud computing company Salesforce, thanks to a referral from Legendary Events. However, they were faced with a dilemma – the Salesforce projects were spread out across the country, one in their home in Atlanta, one in Chicago, one in Dallas, and one in Boston. This is where the SpeedPro Imaging difference comes in – effective collaboration between SpeedPro owners located from coast to coast. Don and John made a call to their colleagues, Eric Lazar and Rebecca Considine in Chicago and Mike Taylor and Matt Polster in the Dallas metro, for assistance to pull off the monstrous undertaking.
Salesforce is now a client signed on through the end of 2018 for the small business conferences around the country. Executives at the company credit Don and John for making them look like heroes. Don and John are quick to throw the praise to their friends and colleagues in Chicago and Dallas for making it happen.
How do you go from zero to $1.1 million? For John and Don, their success is not a secret. It’s putting in hard-work, coupled with dedication, a great team of studio associates, and a whole lot of networking.
For more information on the SpeedPro Imaging franchise opportunity and what it takes to be a successful franchise owner like John and Don, please visit http://www.speedprofranchising.com.