William Buckley can tell you first hand that the seeds to entrepreneurship are often found during more difficult times. Almost 20 years ago, Buckley lost his job with one of Maine’s largest savings banks due to a merger. After several interim jobs, he discovered Coffee News, a small publication given out in coffee houses and other eateries. The advertising opportunities intrigued him enough to buy his own Coffee News local territory.
To say he took to this business opportunity would be a bit of an understatement. Buckley and Coffee News went together like, well, coffee and the morning paper.
It took only a year for the Canadian based company to see something special in Buckley, and offered him the rights to franchise all of the U.S. Eventually, Buckley would go on to purchase the company and gain control of the world wide publishing and distribution rights. Coffee News now has 1075 franchisees in over 22 countries.
Coffee News is a weekly restaurant publication delivered free of charge to restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, doctors offices, walk in medical clinics, employer break rooms or anywhere people sit, and wait or eat. Coffee News only has good news and no bad news and is filled with fun interesting stories, jokes and trivia. Small and medium sized advertisers purchase space in the publication in exclusive ad spaces. Only one business per industry category and restaurants are not allowed to advertise unless in tourist areas.
Like most home based businesses, franchisees can choose to run their territory on a full or part time basis, but he states that they “prefer full time publishers. Some stay at home Moms can publish one or two franchises if the children are in school. On the other hand we have some publishers who own 22 franchises and employ several people.”
With over 1000 territories being run, including home offices in Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Canada, and New Zealand, franchisees come in all shapes and sizes. “We look for people who like people, have good sales and networking skills and are self starters,” says Buckley. “If they have a desire to work for themselves and be independent and make in excess of 100k per year, we would like to talk to them. We have had some excellent military retirees, and other early retirees who have done extremely well. They must enjoy going out on the streets to meet the business owners in their stores.”
Business is thriving, up nearly 25% this year alone. “Coffee News is a very affordable advertising medium for small to medium sized businesses that do not have large advertising budgets. People love to read Coffee News. It is universally attractive so advertisers get great results.”
All this points to a great work from home business opportunity.
According to the Coffee News website, surveys show that the Coffee News publication is read five to seven times. “It has been proven that people absorb more advertising messages before or during eating, as there is a need for mental input – food for thought – during this time period. Coffee News is designed to take full advantage of this fact.”
In 2008 Coffee News purchased a large printing company in Houlton, Maine. This facility is responsible for printing over 11 million copies of Coffee News a year. Not outsourcing the printing is one of the many ways the franchisor keeps costs down, making it one of the more affordable franchises to buy into. To buy into this home based business, a franchisee needs only $8000 for their first territory. Additional territories are then discounted to $5500. Financing is also available after the purchase of the first franchise. The average publisher owns 3 franchises.
To help franchisees reach their potential, free 2 1/2 day training sessions are offered led by corporate staff and veteran publishers. Some topics that may be covered are sales, ad design, billing, collections, distribution, marketing, and startup. This program is optional to take, however, 95% of existing Coffee News publishers have attended. Additional support includes mentor programs, personal calls, free Quickbooks software with a built in Merchants services program for charge cards, conferences, newsletters, regional meetings, and online chat groups.
Advertising experience is not a necessity to be a successful Coffee News franchisee. The operations manual not only teaches how to design ads, but also how ads work, giving the franchisee a better understanding of the business as a whole. The tools provided will allow franchisees to help small businesses even in trying times, making this a home based business opportunity that can thrive during recessions.
“Why be limited to a paycheck when you can make as much as you want” offers Buckley.
There are thousands of franchises available, and Buckley is proud to point out that only 2% of them have over 1000 franchisees, a true sign that his quick growth was no fluke. Will this type of success continue? Its safe to say that as long as coffee and the morning paper continue to form a powerful partnership, we can expect to see Coffee News take advantage and thrive.