What is it like to be a business owner and part of the world’s largest design, marketing and printing franchise? Here is what 13-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:
Minuteman Press Franchise Review: 10 Questions with Ed and Fiona McDonnell
1. What was your background before franchising with Minuteman Press?
Ed McDonnell: “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. 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.
- As the GM for Russell Stover, I was instrumental in taking 25% of the boxed chocolate market from the incumbent market leader Cadbury
- This led to media coverage and speaking as a guest at Melbourne University marketing lectures
- I was supposed to stay for two years in Melbourne, but then I met Fiona…”
Fiona McDonnell: “I 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 & training business with clients including Jurlique, Full Life Pharmacies and BHP (the big Australian mining company).”
2. Why did you choose to franchise with Minuteman Press?
“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.
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. Ed’s grownup children were in the USA and we wanted to visit them at least every two years – we knew this kind of lifestyle was important to us.
We loved that no experience in printing was necessary and met with established Minuteman Press franchise owners in Melbourne with backgrounds as diverse as banking, chemical companies and supermarket/retail managers.
As for other franchises, we had looked at food franchises as well – Subway, Quiznos, and Gloria Jean’s (the coffeehouse chain here) – but we didn’t feel comfortable putting our future in the hands of as Ed said “spotty faced juniors.” The Minuteman Press team we met at the franchise trade 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!”
3. How would you compare you experience as a Minuteman Press franchise owner to your previous career/industry/life?
“This is what really stands out to us:
- 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!”
4. How has the ongoing local support you’ve received from Minuteman Press helped you along the way?
“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.
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.”
5. What is a typical day like for you as a Minuteman Press owner?
- 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!”
6. What is your ideal day off or vacation?
“We have had a few – last year in Bali was sensational, or the year we sailed the Bay of Islands in New Zealand on a 46-foot catamaran – catching fish to cook on the onboard BBQ = BLISS!
Attending our youngest daughter’s wedding in Vail, Colorado two years ago and watching a Fourth of July fireworks display with the mountain background was pretty special too. Still on our bucket list is Machu Pichu and the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, as well as Europe for Ed.”
7. What are some of your passionate causes, hobbies, or outside interests?
Ed: “I am passionate about the Western Bulldogs, the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies and the 76ers!”
Fiona: “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.”
8. What are your next business goals?
“Our goal is to continue to grow the business by 10% this year. We have just had our best ever month in terms of sales and we are excited to stretch ourselves.”
9. What is one inspirational quote that has helped you along the way either in life or in business?
“In our initial training in the USA, Stan Swanson told us, “If you don’t market, you won’t make it!” We have taken that to heart in our business and stay active in our communities and BNI Chapters.”
10. What are one or two pieces of advice you would give to potential franchise owners?
“People are your greatest asset – hire well and reward them for their contributions. Go with the system that has worked for so many people – and it will work for you if you work with it!”
Ed and Fiona McDonnell’s Minuteman Press franchise is located at 44 Buckley St, Footscray VIC 3011. For more information, call Ed and Fiona at (03) 9687 3026 or visit their website: www.minutemanpressfootscray.com.au