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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.

 

Seven Words You Can’t Say

 
No, I am not talking about George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television.” If you actually can repeat those seven words, you’ve been around as long as I have! I am talking about these words that I’ve heard a time or two when visiting our franchise members: “We have never done it that way.” It’s human nature to continue doing the things we believe will work rather than something that requires taking a risk...or something suggested by a staff member, a fellow shop owner or business advisor.

Why Should You Care?

The recession that began in 2008 changed everything. Business did not bounce back like it did in previous recessions. Combine this with the ever increasing impact of new technologies, and those companies that resist trying new things to increase sales and operating efficiencies face a very difficult future.

Seven Words You Can Say 
Instead of ignoring constructive suggestions, why not take the attitude: Why don’t we give it a try? Whether it’s a new technology, brokering a new service, a new operations procedure, new software or sales training, why not try a lot of things. Something may surprise you and stick. We have numerous franchise members who are experiencing their best years ever, and they are of all sizes and with all types of capabilities. Many are having great success with brokering services they never thought of offering before. Others have invested in major technology to produce it themselves, or combinations of both make and buy.

So, how about joining me in removing the seven words you can’t say from your lexicon and putting in place the seven words you can say? Let’s be willing to try a lot of things. Not necessarily taking big risks but simply being open to moving in directions that will open new doors. Not only will it afford opportunities of new successes, it might just make you enjoy the business more...and perhaps lead you to fall in love all over again with the great business you started.

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