Independent sign maker transitions his business to the Image360 brand
Enterprising, accomplished and straightforward, Robert Blackwell is one of our newest Image360 franchise owners.
Once again he is doing what he does best — acquiring and growing a new business. Only this time he has aligned his dreams with a tried-and-true franchise system.
We asked him for the low-down on the purchase and about his high hopes for his Image360 center in Beaumont, Texas. It’s one that meets the needs of local businesses and organizations for graphics, signage and displays.
What’s your business background?
I have a civil engineering degree and grew up in the industrial construction business. In the late 1990s, I purchased a small independent business.
Since 2000, I’ve bought several small businesses in need of help, brought in capital, provided expertise, resurrected them and created value. Then, I’d either hire somebody to run the business or sell it.
Why did you purchase an independent sign business?
I sold one of my businesses and thought I was going to retire. And I was until my wife ran out of patience with me being at home!
I had to find another small business to invest in. In 2015, I found and acquired Hightech Signs in Beaumont. Since then, I’ve been trying to build it into something more profitable.
Why did you rebrand it to an Image360 center?
I found that being an independent operation in the sign industry is pretty tough given the rate of change in technology and marketing. It’s evolving so fast; it’s very hard to keep up.
I was spending all of my time solving problems rather than out promoting and growing the business. So, in 2018 I made the transition. Now I’m counting on Image360 with its home-office support to help me address any issues. The assistance of the franchise network allows me to get out of the building, meet with prospects and customers, and focus on growth.
Tell us about transitioning through the Image360 Advantage™ Program.
The program enables independent printers to participate in a proven and successful franchise network. I made the change with the intent of improving operating efficiencies and increasing earnings.
Converting to Image360 through the Advantage Program was a good fit for what I want to do. The people are more than willing to answer any questions and provide support.
The franchise network is a great resource to have. Image360 people have extensive experience in the industry. They’re interested in your success and have the ability to help solve your problems.
What did you learn from the other Image360 franchise owners during your due diligence?
I spoke with several owners. One of them said the biggest advantage of the network was the phone number! He said that before joining Image360, his employees came to him with their problems.
Now he tells them to call the number whenever appropriate. They can often get their answers from home-office experts and he can concentrate on growing the business.
What will your role be in the new Image360 business?
Growing it all day, every day!
Switching gears, tell us more about you. Do you have a family?
My wife and I have been married 34 years, which is no small accomplishment in this day and age. She’s a retired physician’s assistant. We have two children in college. Our daughter is engaged and in graduate school. Our son is an Aggie at Texas A&M University where he is studying nuclear engineering.
How do you spend your free time?
I’m a big saltwater fisherman along the Gulf Coast of Texas. I’m a past president and have served on the board of Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas for 26 years. In addition, I’m very involved in my church.
Like to learn more about the advantages of franchising with Image360?
An Image360 business is a sales-driven, solutions provider in the area of visual communications. We are uniquely equipped to provide our franchise members with an unmatched level of support in the industry.
Drawing from more than 25 years of leadership and innovation in the industry, Image360 is now one of the top business-to-business (B2B) franchises, serving the multi-billion-dollar market for graphic communication services.
Image360 franchise members offer professional graphic communications services to national, regional and local businesses and organizations, including environmental graphics, mobile graphics, way-finding solutions and promotional displays.
One way to enjoy the services, support and other advantages of our franchise network is through our Advantage Program. It helps you convert your independent signage operation to an Image360 center.
To learn more about the Image360 franchise opportunity, contact us today.