What is it like to be a business owner and part of the world's largest design, marketing and printing franchise? Here is what 11-year Minuteman Press owners Ed and Fiona McDonnell have to say about how they got started, why they chose Minuteman Press, and what it's like to be a part of a business and a community they truly enjoy.
FOOTSCRAY, Victoria, Australia - Minuteman Press franchise owners Ed and Fiona McDonnell have hit a new milestone, achieving 11 years in business. Like many Minuteman Press franchisees, before taking the reins of their design, marketing and printing center located at 44 Buckley Street, Ed and Fiona came from very different backgrounds.
"I had a wide history in fast moving consumer goods in the USA working with household names such as Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi Cola and Huffy Bicycles," recalls Ed. He adds, "As a sales representative and later on as sales manager, I worked all across the USA and Canada. A move to Russell Stover Candies brought me to Australia as General Manager for Australia and New Zealand. I was supposed to stay for two years in Melbourne, but then I met Fiona."
Fiona McDonnell came from a very diverse background including promotional modeling, acting and sales. "I worked with household names including GE (Information Services), Lend Lease and Witchery Fashions. When I met Ed, I was co-owner of a sales and training business with clients including Jurlique, Full Life Pharmacies and BHP (the big Australian mining company)."
Why Minuteman Press?
Ed and Fiona came to a crossroads in their careers where they knew they wanted to venture out and become business owners. They examined many different franchise opportunities including food franchises, but the food industry wasn't right for them. Fiona says, "We had just moved back from Sydney to Melbourne and were looking for an opportunity. We attended the franchise show and met the team from Minuteman Press International – Ed recognized the company from the USA." Ed continues, "Both of us wanted a business that was business to business as our son was only five years old and we didn’t want to miss time with him on weekends and evenings."
What really made a difference for Ed and Fiona was the Minuteman Press business model as well as meeting with local franchise owners and speaking with them directly about their own experiences with Minuteman. Ed says, "We loved that no experience in printing was necessary and met with established owners in Melbourne with backgrounds as diverse as banking, chemical companies and supermarket/retail managers."
Fiona reflects, "The Minuteman Press team we met at the franchise show and every step after were professional, competent, friendly, and seemed like people we could work with. The business model made sense – the figures stacked up and we loved the margins available with print!"
Life as a Minuteman Press Franchise Owner
For Ed and Fiona McDonnell, Minuteman Press was the right decision. Asked what life was like before and after deciding to become business owners, there were several things that stood out to them:
- "We love the sense of control over our own destiny – the chance to build something all our own."
- "There is a sense of community which was an unexpected bonus – Fiona was founding secretary of the local Footscray Traders Association, Ed is heavily involved with the Western Bulldogs AFL team."
- "We have surrounded ourselves with a team we trust and enjoy working with."
- "We love the sense of never a dull day – every day something new comes to challenge us and keep it fresh."
- "It is exciting to set and meet our monthly sales goals as a team."
- "We could never have found a job that let us bring our beloved Westie cross dog Ace to work!"
Ongoing Support from Day 1 to Year 11 and Beyond
The ongoing local support provided by Minuteman Press International to its franchise owners worldwide is something Ed and Fiona have truly valued over the past 11 years. Ed says, "Minuteman personnel have been with us all along, from practically living with us for the first month to now being available whenever we call on them to answer questions on potential equipment purchases or growth strategies, bench marking, etc." Fiona comments, "The other owners are a fabulous source of information and support too; everyone is generous in sharing experiences and good suppliers. You can save a lot of time by learning from other people’s experiences in the franchise system."
What is a typical day like for Ed and Fiona as Minuteman Press franchise owners?
- Ed opens the center at 8 am. He checks for any orders via email or the phone answering machine and fires up the all-important coffee machine.
- Ed looks over the Work in Progress report with our designer Adrian at 8:30 am.
- Fiona arrives between 8:30 and 9:30, often dropping into clients' businesses on the way.
- From here, there really is no "typical day" since it is really diverse – we could be quoting a very large magnet order or helping a startup with business cards.
- We have printed on rulers, stress balls, T-shirts, jackets, aprons and even doggie bandanas. Pull up banners, feather banners, foam core mounting, canvas printing, pens, cooler bags – it all happens!"
One huge benefit of franchising and business ownership in general is the ability to become active members of the community. While Ed is passionate about supporting the Western Bulldogs AFL team (along with the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies and 76ers from his days in the USA), Fiona is an active advocate for improved health and education. Fiona elaborates, "I am passionate about improving life for people with hemophilia and I sit on the committee for the Hemophilia Foundation Victoria. I also volunteer as a business mentor at the Asylum Seeker and Refuge Resource Centre and for the Christina Nobel Children’s Foundation, which raises funds to help shelter and educate homeless children in Vietnam and Cambodia."