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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.

 

Overcome the ‘Deadly Law’ of Inflation with Decimals

A few decimals over time can equate to big money when applied to all of a company’s business. You should do it by extending changes for budgeted hourly rates to 2.xxx percent or 3.xxx percent. If you are dealing with click charges for digital output, again, extend it to x.xxx.  Read More >>

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It’s OK to Give It Away

I am getting a tired of hearing apologies for “giving away” what we used to call prepress or typesetting and, now with the advent of becoming marketing service providers, using marketing plans as a sales tool falls into the same category.  Read More >>

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Marketing Services: Myth, Truth and Reality – Part 2

One of my recent posts talked about the myth, reality and truth of becoming a marketing services/cross-media provider. My intent is not to discourage anyone from considering this transition, but rather to emphasize that it does take a certain commitment in time and resources.  Read More >>

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Show Me the Money

Is your banker becoming “unfriendly?” Has he placed new restrictive covenants on your loans or credit line? If you have not shopped your account recently, you may want to do so. Small, locally owned banks can be much friendlier to small businesses, rather than large regional or national institutions.  Read More >>

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Marketing Services - the Myth, the Reality and the Truth

What gave me the most trouble writing this piece was deciding what title to give each scenario. Which is myth, which is reality and which is truth? We all must decide this for our own companies irrespective of what we see happening in the industry.  Read More >>

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Top 10 List for Harmonious Buyer-Seller Match

I recently asked one of our mergers and acquisitions managers to name the top 10 needs to ensure a successful printing business purchase/sale and transition. This list could be longer, but it does a pretty good job of identifying critical items
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Are You Better Off Dead?

Sorry if that title sounds somewhat harsh. But the truth is, when serious injury occurs, many small business families are not financially prepared. Fact: On average, you have a one-in-five chance of becoming disabled between the ages of 35 and 65.  Read More >>

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Recessions are Great?

I wrote the headline as a question because I assume most of you will heartily disagree. Let’s see if I can make a case for you to reconsider your position. Maybe I can move you to “good” if not “great.”  Read More >>

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How to Grow Your Business When Demand Slows

There are forces beyond a slow, uneven economy that continue to reshape the printing industry. Printing businesses need to evolve into graphic communications centers and become professional marketing service providers that also print. As a full-spectrum marketing service provider, a printing business can grow and prosper even as printing demand slows in the digital age.  Read More >>

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Small Business Aid Package: Buyers’ Bill, Sellers’ Bill or Both?

There is no doubt that the small business aid package passed in September, creating a $30 billion small business lending fund and providing $12 billion in tax breaks, should impact the printing industry—both buyers and sellers. The question is, Will it? When? And, how?  Read More >>

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