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Carl Gerhardt

Business Sense & Sensibility

By Carl Gerhardt

About Carl

Carl Gerhardt is the chairman of Alliance Franchise Brands LLC, the parent company of Allegra Network LLC and Sign & Graphics Operations LCC, and a world leader in marketing, visual and graphics communications, linking more than 600 locations in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. The company’s Marketing & Print Division, headquartered in Plymouth, MI, is comprised of Allegra, American Speedy Printing, Insty-Prints, Speedy Printing and Zippy Print brands of marketing, printing, mailing and Web services providers. Its Sign & Graphics Division, headquartered in Columbia, MD, is comprised of Image360, Signs By Tomorrow and Signs Now brands of sign and graphics communications providers.

Carl and his wife, Judy, owned and operated their own successful Allegra franchise for nearly 20 years before selling the $2.3 million operation in 2003. He is a PrintImage International/NAQP Honorary Lifetime Member and was inducted into NAPL’s prestigious Soderstrom Society in 2010 in recognition of his contribution to the industry.

 

Getting ‘All Fired Up’ About Your Business

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Conventions and trade shows have a way of rekindling the fire that can flicker during the year. The annual Allegra Network Convention we sponsor for our franchise members serves that purpose.

The theme of this year’s event was “Fired Up!” We created a special video welcome our attendees, and the theme music we used was a song by Pat Benatar called, “All Fired Up.” It is a great song, both in terms of the music and the lyrics. We thought the lyrics were especially appropriate for this convention, given what we have all been through in recent years.

Here is the chorus:

Now I believe there comes a time
When everything just falls in line.
We live an' learn from our mistakes.
The deepest cuts are healed by faith.
All fired up, fired up, fired up.”


I do believe that there has come a time when everything can fall in line. We have continued to live and learn from our mistakes. We have had some deep cuts in recent years, but they are being healed by changing our business focus and keeping the faith in our ability to succeed.

I have written in the past about the need to “fall in love with our business.” Said another way, it’s time that we get all fired up about this business and the great opportunities ahead.

If you agree that we sometimes need to find a way to reignite the flame within us that can get a little low or burn out, it may be time to attend an industry event. GRAPH EXPO 2012 is just around the corner, and it is full of events that might just rekindle your flame.

If you are a small commercial/quick printer, the NAQP Owners Conference runs the two days prior to GRAPH EXPO. I have attended this event many times and always find it uplifting to network with my peers, get motivated by the speakers and then spend a day at GRAPH EXPO.

If you haven’t taken some time away from your business recently, I suggest you do so this fall at these events. You might even want to download the “All Fired Up” video. Keep repeating those lyrics to yourself and decide what they mean to you. Show the video to your staff, and share in your own words how the lyrics in the chorus apply to your business.

It’s time to get all fired up about the future. Start by getting all fired up yourself.
 

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