Here, Minuteman Press franchise manager Saqib Tariq shares his insights on running a family-owned design, marketing and printing franchise in Calgary, Alberta, with his brother and father. Their franchise is a member of the Minuteman Press International Million-Dollar Circle for top performers.
The family-owned and operated Minuteman Press franchise located in the Beltline region of central Calgary, is celebrating 13 years in business this year. Saqib Tariq runs the day-to-day operations of the family business with his brother Faisal, while their father Choudhary also helps them with financial planning, expansion and consulting. Together, they’ve successfully built their B2B franchise and because of their hard work, they’re part of the Minuteman Press International Million Dollar Circle for top performers across its entire franchise system. “We’re a design, printing and marketing company that helps other businesses make an impression, get noticed, engage with their target audience, and ultimately grow,” said Saqib. “For 13 years now, we’ve provided everything from business stationery and essential printing, to print marketing campaigns, signage and promotional products. We pride ourselves in helping our fellow local businesses succeed.”
Prior to franchising with Minuteman Press in 2004, Saqib’s father worked as a general manager for an automobile firm in Dubai, while Faisal was a chemical engineer. “I was 18 years old at the time but, I had been doing graphic design since I was 16 and was skilled in Photoshop, Corel and flash animation,” Saqib added. As for why his family chose to franchise with Minuteman Press International, Saqib said that it came down to several key factors. These included business clientele (running a B2B operation), the ownership and freedom to market the business the way the family wanted, growth potential, a host of vendors and suppliers and the freedom to choose who to work with, minimal intervention by the franchisor, and Minuteman Press’ capped royalty incentive program. “The training and local support is essentially helpful in the beginning as well as today with new systems, buying equipment, and negotiating the best national prices with vendors. These benefits provided by Minuteman Press take away a lot of hassle and save us time that we can use to focus on growing our business.”
“Saqib Tariq and his entire family are to be commended for their efforts in building their Minuteman Press business in Calgary into a top-performing franchise,” said Neil MacLeod, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for Western Canada. “Saqib, Faisal and their entire team are highly dedicated to their clients and you can see that in the high quality of products and high level of customer service they continue to provide after 13 years in business.”
For the entire family, getting involved and giving back to the community are ways of life. “We feel it’s so important to build real relationships with our clients and the community. I tell this to other business owners all the time: Give back to non-profits in meaningful ways. Stay informed about your community, business and politics. Be part of the in-crowd for your city,” Saqib insisted. For their part, Minuteman Press in Beltline supports SOS Children’s Villages (the largest orphan-focused charity in the world), as well as the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Calgary. “We also give back to local charities by offering 15% discounts off orders, which is something we’ve always done,” he said. “Business owners need to understand the philosophy of ‘givers gain’ – give and you shall get more back. Buy from your customers, champion them, give deals, meet their deadlines, and apologize honestly when you make a mistake. It’s all about relationships – and not transactions.”
A typical day
According to Saqib, a typical day at his shop starts with organizing emails, followed by a production meeting. “We then follow-up with staff and we all strive to streamline workflow to eliminate any possible bottlenecks. We feel it’s important to champion our staff, and to train them and support them. We also do work orders, quotes and follow-ups throughout the day – marketing and following-up are keys to growth. We also try to add both team and administration activities to grow or improve our business. And of course, the day is also about solving challenges for our clients.” When not working on the business, Saqib enjoys the outdoors. “Hiking or camping are great ways to relax. Nature heals. Also, working out and playing sports plays a big role to alleviate stress and feel energized the next day. It’s important to avoid ‘boxed thinking’ and burnout.”
Business goals and advice for others
What’s next for Minuteman Press in the Beltline? “We want to grow the business by 20%. In addition, we want to continue to improve our engagement with our clients, cross-market our products and services, and further automate production by creating more templates, styles and workflows.” His advice to other aspiring business or franchise owners? “Focus on your clients and your business growth. Don’t get caught up in the operations, and don’t always be reactionary or do unnecessary extra work that doesn’t grow your business. Always ask, does this grow my business? What did I do today to further the growth of the business? Have I worked on, or in, the business? Think in pillars – profitability, liquidity, solvency, efficiency and growth.”
Minuteman Press in the Beltline is located at 1136 10th Avenue SW in Calgary, Alberta. For more information please visit www.beltline.minutemanpress.com.