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FRANCHISE OF THE MONTH – NOVEMBER

Sharon_McWilliams_FOTM_November

BlueGrace Fair Oaks, led by franchise owner Sharon McWilliams is November 2014 Franchise of the Month. Sharon has been a part of the BlueGrace franchise network since 2011. In the last 3 months since returning from our Double Up Conference Sharon has strongly focused on increasing her sales numbers. Her success has brought her to be able to relocate to an office location where she has hired 2 new sales representatives and a part time admin. BlueGrace Fair Oaks is focusing on the process of what customers are helping her business by eliminating less transactional business. With the new office location and more employees Fair Oaks is looking to close out 2014 with a bang.

“Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re taking the right steps toward success. I second guess myself all of the time, but it gives me some peace of mind that the corporate office feels positively about the decisions I’ve made. I just hope my franchise’s performance in the next few months can live up to the honor.” – Sharon McWilliams, BlueGrace Fair Oaks

How To Start a Transportation Business

How To Start a Transportation Industry

Starting any business involves a lot of time, money, and planning…

The first stages of starting a company should be comprised of research and planning.

Once the details are in order, the second stage is primarily about money. The start-up capital of a business particular to transportation can run at approximately $300,000.  Got a large trust fund? Most of us don’t and it’s up to the bank in determining the credit line. If you don’t want to go into a business alone, then the possibility of investors or partners are also an option.

The third stage, assuming the company made it past stage two, is operations. Having the necessary office supplies and software are essential in operating smoothly, so set yourself up for success!

Now that the company is officially ready, the most important stage of all is stage four, CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS! If there are no clients there is no business… period! Treat the relationships already obtained with care, and constantly build new clients. It’s in stage four that most companies fail. Business owners will break their backs to get off the ground and assume the clients will come, or think they have done enough in stages 1-3. Stage four is never achieved, it has to be constant and that’s why hiring a marketing professional is essential.

Interested in the transportation business but don’t have all the time to research or think you can’t afford it? Consider starting a BlueGrace Logistics Franchise. It costs a fraction of the average transportation business, offers brand recognition to new clients and the opportunity to enhance your relationship with existing ones. With BlueGrace franchise, most of the hard work is already done and as the owner you simply need to focus on stage four and build on your client relationships!

BlueGrace South Carolina Has A Pet Friendly Workplace

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BlueGrace is always being recognized for our outstanding unique culture. Most of our franchise offices implement it quite well. Bill Demet, owner of BlueGrace South Carolina, has a small modern workplace but allows his employees to do something that most of our offices don’t, he has a pet friendly workplace.

“I’ve always been a firm believer of having pets in the workplace,” says Bill, “when I started Blue Grace South Carolina in 2011, I made a commitment to not only allow, but encourage employees to bring their dogs to the office. In the early days, my yellow lab, George, was the first and only employee. I learned very quickly that George initiated a family environment and made me more comfortable during the day. My first employee was presently surprised when I told him to bring his dog to work. We currently have 3 dogs that join us daily in the office. The dogs have allowed our company to feel family friendly and bring much joy to the daily rigors of work.”

Research shows about 20 percent of companies in the United States allow their employees to bring their pets to work, most commonly dogs.

BlueGrace South Carolina believes there are benefits to having your furry friend at work:

1. They lower the stress level – Having a four legged friend at work can make you smile. That’s enough to lower the stress in any given situation.

2. They help break the ice – It’s not easy to strike a friendly conversation during an important business meeting, but having a pet in the office can make light of an uncomfortable situation.

3. They force you to step away from work- especially when you’re on the tightest of deadlines, they still have to “go”! Taking that few minutes to stretch your legs while walking the dog can clear your mind and increase productivity throughout the day.

“A pet friendly office contributes to the overall casual and comfortable work environment we have,” says Bill, ”this ultimately allows us to focus on the important things: being creative, collaborative, and serving the customer.”

 

Is Buying a Franchise a Good Idea?

Buying a franchise

The thought of being your own boss is what most of us dream of, but is it possible? One of the best ways to start your own company is to buy a franchise. Starting your own business from the ground up can take a lot of sacrifice. It can take years before a profit is made if a profit is made at all; most businesses fail in the first two years. The economy is weak, but slowly making its way back. It’s time to get in on the ground floor and make an investment that will pay off in the decade to come. Buying a franchise offers safety nets that are crucial in today’s economy. If you are looking to buy a franchise, just remember to think R.I.C.H

R-RESEARCH

          In deciding to buy a franchise, the freedom to research the company is available. When doing research look for a few things like reviews on the business, success rates, competitors, location, and economic demand.

I-INSURANCE

          Not all but some companies will offer guarantee profit from insurance companies. After researching different franchise opportunities, make sure to look into the benefits each company offers.

C-CLIENT

          The best business incentive to buy a franchise is the built-in cliental, as opposed to building your own following. A franchise offers brand recognition with costumer loyalty that a business can only gain after time. The main responsibility as a franchise owner in regards to marketing is expansion, which is much more achievable than start-up.

H-HOURS

          Being the boss has its advantages and the best is setting the hours! Depending on the type of franchise, it is possible to not even leave the house. It is true, owning a business comes with a lot of demands and a lot of hours, but the beauty of a franchise is the establishment the company already has, so it’s up to the buyer to create their own schedule and keep it up.

So remember all you future business owners, think R.I.C.H!

 

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Meet BlueGrace South Carolina

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BlueGrace South Carolina’s main focus is Customer Service.  I’ve learned the term “Customer Service” is frequently stated in the Freight Industry but rarely implemented.  After receiving a Ceramic Engineering degree from Clemson University, I ventured in the Chemical Industry focusing on Sales and Sales Management.  After spending several years with DuPont, Saint-Gobain and General Electric, I learned the true meaning of Customer Service.  These companies stressed that retention of customers is based on your ability to provide invaluable assistance, knowledge and time catered to their needs.

While working as Sales Manager for General Electric, It was my responsibility to ensure our product was delivered in a timely manner, regardless of last minute changes from the customer or production.  I learned much about the freight industry and how to make it better.  I decided customers wanted a Transportation company to make their shipments a priority.  Weather they are shipping one box or ten tankers.

BlueGrace South Carolina is not only a liaison between the customer and freight carrier, but a Champion for our customer’s freight.  We consider every customer’s shipment a priority.  We have brought Customer Service back to the Freight Industry.

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Top 3 Halloween Traditions

BlueGrace Franchisee’s Favorite Halloween Traditions.
We reached out to our franchise owners this year to find out what their favorite Halloween traditions were. Here are the TOP 3!

 

#1 BlueGrace Jax

BlueGrace Jacksonville

“Our favorite Halloween traditions is to dress up, and donate candy to Clara White Mission Families to help uplift their spirits.” Jeff Lavallee, BlueGrace JAX Franchise Owner

 

#2 BlueGrace ORD 

BlueGrace ORD

“Halloween party with friends, costumes, and a photo booth with green screen. I (Randy) actually started a photo booth company a few years back. I closed the business since but we still use the booth.” Randy Vlasic, BlueGrace ORD Franchise Owner

#3 BlueGrace Long Island 

BlueGrace Long Island

“Attending a Halloween Party is what I typically do. I really don’t have any other tradition. Just going out and having a good time with friends.” Joe Parinello, Vice President BlueGrace Long Island

FRANCHISE OF THE MONTH – OCTOBER

 

BlueGrace Jacksonville, led by franchise owner Jeff Lavallee is October 2014 Franchise of the Month. Jeff Lavallee was one of the original to join the franchise network in 2011. Since Double Up 2014 BlueGrace Jax has really taken initiative to follow the key points of Jack Daly’s systems and processes. One of Jacksonville’s successes has been improving their hiring practices to better their culture. They have recently hired a Sales Manager and are currently utilizing the recruiting program in effort to help them hire better people. BlueGrace Jax has been concentrating to focus on their current customer base to add additional revenue that they are currently not capturing, while also focusing on improving their relationships.

Jeff Lavallee BlueGrace Franchise
           BlueGrace Jacksonville, Jeff Lavallee;              FOTM October 2014

 

“I contribute our success to expounding on the culture by mimicking BlueGrace Corporate,” -Jeff Lavallee

BlueGrace Logistics Launches TOP Program (True Ownership Plan), Provides Exclusive Incentives For Entering the Award-Winning Freight Franchise System

BlueGrace Logistics (www.mybluegrace.com) is now offering up to $250,000 in signing bonuses for the industry’s elite of logistics freight agents. BlueGrace recently announced the launch of the TOP Program (True Ownership Plan Program), providing exclusive incentives and benefits to join BlueGrace’s award-winning franchise network.

In 2014, BlueGrace was recognized by several media for the growth and expansion of their franchise opportunity. Since franchising in 2011, the system has added over 50 franchises across the United States and seen over 60% growth year over year. BlueGrace will use TOP to promote true business ownership; giving converted agents customized initial and ongoing training, operational support from the corporate office and more.

“We created this program to encourage industry entrepreneurs to own their own businesses. Their experience and passion for the trade will add tremendous value to our franchise network while providing them with the true support they’re unable to receive elsewhere,” says Bobby Harris, President and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics.

Logistics agent programs became popular during the financial of the 2000’s, when the job market was weak and businesses needed to lower operating expenses. At the time, the logistics agent model provided a mutually beneficial relationship for the both the agent and company. However, as the economy began to recover and agents began to book more business the fine print on agent contracts looked a little bigger. As many were looking for support, training, control of their book of business and breaks on commission splits; expectations were not met. BlueGrace created TOP to address this situation, helping agents become true business owners.

Carrier Direct (logistics consultancy) wrote the white paper “The Impending Death of the Logistics Agent Model”, clearly the demise of agent programs. Click here to read. 

TOP by BlueGrace is now open to all logistics freight agents, seeking true business ownership. The dedicated TOP Program team is currently accepting inquiries. You may contact the TOP team directly at [email protected], by calling 888.752.0441 or simply fill out the form below.

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Becoming a Freight Truck Broker

Becoming a Freight Truck Broker

So you’re interested in becoming a freight truck broker? I’m sure you already know that being a broker in this industry can be extremely exciting: you have unlimited earning potential, the freedom to create your own hours and full control of your career! What you may not know is that the freight brokerage world is full of unknowns and surprises, which is why many people choose to open a Blue Grace franchise instead of going in this business all alone. When you open a BlueGrace franchise, you get all of the excitement of the industry, plus full support and assistance when you need it.

One of the great things about opening your own BlueGrace franchise is that not only do you own your business, but you also get a full package of teams to help you along the way. A dedicated member from the Franchise Support Team is always available to help you with any issues or questions you may run into. The Marketing department will help promote your business through print, TV and social media. And finally, your customers get to use BlueShip 3.0, the most innovative Transportation Management System to date.

As a broker, you’re another agent, but why be an agent when you can own a TRUE business?  Contact us today to find out what it takes to become an entrepreneur and take ownership of your career.

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FRANCHISE OF THE MONTH – SEPTEMBER

 

BlueGrace Indianapolis Central www.bluegraceindy.com was named BlueGrace’s Franchise of the Month for the month of September, 2014. Franchise owner, Peter Foradas, opened BlueGrace Indianapolis in June of 2013, and has grown over 60% in his first year. The company plans to add two jobs to its growing franchise by the end of this year, doubling his numbers in the past few weeks.

Foradas is very thankful to receive this award and he doesn’t believe it would be possible without the support team he has at BlueGrace headquarters. The passion and energy that executives at BlueGrace corporate exemplify to grow the BlueGrace brand as a whole. Foradas feels it’s great to have such a good support system behind you.

BlueGrace Indianapolis Central, Pete Foradas; FOTM September 2014
BlueGrace Indianapolis Central, Pete Foradas; FOTM September 2014

“I feel honored to be Franchise of the Month with all the competition in our network, this is truly amazing. They key is to try and drive your business with honesty and integrity and the success will come.” – Pete Foradas

What Up Franchise Owners?! – Q&A

 

This month’s Q&A is with BlueGrace Fair Oaks Sharon McWilliams, owner since 2011. From lawyer to franchise owner, Sharon is a great example of a successful Business Woman. She just happens to be part of our network.

Q: When did you become interested in a BlueGrace Franchise and how did you find out about it?
A: I was so excited back in 2011 when President and CEO, Bobby Harris decided to franchise BlueGrace. I had known Bobby from a previous freight job and I found it to be a fascinating segment of the shipping industry. When Bobby started Blue Grace as a freight franchise system, I was immediately interested in focusing my business efforts solely on freight.

Q: What has helped make your business successful?
I have found having good employees is the primary thing that has helped me be successful. My employees treat every customer like they are important. We have a great retention rate of our customers because they know we will work smarter and harder for them than other logistics companies.

Q: What challenges have you overcome to be successful?
A: I would say, my only challenge of being a franchise owner would be not having enough hours in the day.

Q: How have you juggled having a family and flourishing business?
A: Instead of beating myself up over the fact that I can’t give 100% to both my business and my family, I look for ways to be more efficient. It can be hard juggling family life and a business, but these years with kids at home are short and I feel lucky every day that I have control over where I devote my time. When I decided I needed to spend more time with my children after school with homework and activities, I hired an additional person in the office, which eased up some of my office workload.

Q: What is your greatest success as a Blue-Grace Franchise Owner?
A: The joy that I feel in coming to work every day. I enjoy all of my employees and I get to work with amazing customers and freight companies.

 

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FRANCHISE OF THE MONTH – JULY

July’s Franchise of the Month is BlueGrace NJ Metro, led by franchise owners Dennis Schanstra and Anthony Franco. Dennis and Anthony met in the freight industry and decided to put their 25 years of freight experience to do business for themselves, and in January 2013 they became owners of a BlueGrace franchise. By focusing on sales and getting new activations, they have doubled their numbers in the last few weeks. NJ Metro will soon be seeking for employees to hire. They have formulated a combination of inside and outside sales, utilized the contracts they have in place and pushed insurance to bring them to this success today.

Dennis Schanstra and Anthony Franco of BlueGrace NJ Metro
BlueGrace NJ Central’s Dennis Schanstra and Anthony Franco; FOTM July 2014

“With only being franchise owners for the last 6 months, this is a huge success for New Jersey Metro. We couldn’t be more pleased with how much we’ve grown and look to grow in the future. Our goal is to double everything.”

– Dennis Schanstra, Franchise Owner

The Secret Sauce: Freight Sales Success

 

What’s your secret sauce?

Do you know the most common answer I get when I ask a BlueGrace franchise owner about their performance goals?

You probably wouldn’t believe it, but we have some very competitive personalities in our channel. Almost every franchisee’s response is to “outperform the rest of the franchisees and be the #1 franchise in the company”.

We were interested to see what BlueGrace Indianapolis Central franchise owner, Pete Foradas was doing to grow his franchise with being so successful in just one year of becoming an owner.

Exactly one year ago, Pete Foradas grabbed a bull by the horns and decided he wanted to become a franchise owner. He inquired about BlueGrace Logistics, and it turned into the perfect fit. Foradas has been very successful in growing BlueGrace’s brand. He is a sales machine, and in these last few weeks he is doubling his numbers. We first asked him what is his most successful technique for selling and this is what he said:

a.         Create a game plan for every day of the week. I block out time for prospecting door to door in a specific territory. I make a goal for how many doors I want to hit, how many leads I should generate, how many appointments I should set, deals I should close, and activations I should record.

b.         Persistency is one key to success; the other is spending time in the right places. I try to focus on leads that fit “inside that box” which statistically yield a higher rate of return.

c.         Finding common ground within a meeting is imperative. Associating with clients and relating to their organization creates an environment conducive to productivity. Creating a partnership is key. Finding common ground and creating trust is crucial to long term, residual income.

“I have so much to learn from all of the talented executives and franchise owners in our system. I’ve yet to spend the time with others around the country to observe the “best practices” of some of our finest franchisees. I think it’s a fair to say that I’m one of the younger owners in our system, and one thing I need other business owners in the market place to recognize, is that I am a young professional”. – says Foradas.

Foradas loves being a franchise owner because he enjoys the freedom, and his ability to call the shots. He knows that he is in business for himself, so calling the shots and giving it all he’s got, helps him know he is getting the job done. We next asked him what his secret is to running a successful franchise:

“Consistency and Accountability. I’ve found that being predictable is a good thing. It means you’re consistent. Whether it’s consistently good or bad, just be consistent. Your customer wants to feel there’s a process in place, and so do your employees. Consistency provides a sense of control and trust. From an accountability standpoint, I hold myself responsible for everything that happens under my watch. Whether the carrier allows freight to sit on their dock for 2 weeks without notifying anyone, or I recommend a service that saves my client time and money, I hold myself accountable. I let the people around me know that I made an error, but I also make sure they know when I went above and beyond for them. I schedule 30-60-90 day business reviews. If you have BDMs (Business Development Managers), assign them to the account after 90 days. Allow your sales reps to sell and your BDMs to manage.  A BDM would be compensated on growth of existing accounts and retention” – says Foradas.

Foradas knows sales is the most important aspect of our industry and he feels there’s too much competition to rely on your current book of business to get you to retirement. He believes that he tells a pretty good story of who we are and what we do, and how we position ourselves in the market. So he believes in relating to the business of others and asking as many questions as possible. He uses handouts to illustrate our product and services during meetings. Foradas associates his success with hard work, “hard work means knocking on more doors, and knocking on more doors means more leads, more leads means that I have more phone calls to make, and more phones calls means more appointments, and more appointments means more sales, more sales means more money. It’s really that simple,” says Foradas.

“Securing the business of your customers is the key. It isn’t a daily sale for me. I secure my business in the initial meetings by setting the expectation of what it will be like to work with BGL and Pete Foradas. I remind them of the road bumps that we’ll face together as partners and I try to create value outside of the transaction” – says Foradas.

Foradas said that becoming a franchise owner has made him grow and mature in ways he never knew possible. He may not be thrilled about Indiana, but financially it’s great. He really had to learn how to act as an accountant and pay attention to his finances, which he rarely had to do, because once someone cut him a check, whatever was in the bank was what he had to spend, so overall it’s impacted the way he looks at his dollar, or how it’s spent. It’s changed the way he looks at businesses as far as liability, insurance and protecting his own assets by who he goes into business with.

“I understand jumping into business ventures is risky, I make sure I do my due diligence and make sure it is a good fit. It correlates with how I make friends, how I handle my personal relationships with my significant others and my family members. Just taking into consideration all those variables, and applying what I have learned through business into my day to day life”.

Having a strategy is everything, so Foradas looks to hire Sales and Truckload employees, and nearly double his revenue in the next year.

 

 

The Great Outdoors with Jeff Lavallee

 

BlueGrace Logistics has many active lifestyle franchisees, but franchise owner of BlueGrace Jacksonville, Jeff Lavallee, is known for his love of the outdoors. He and his family have a huge 37ft. fifth wheel camper. With a luxurious comfortable camper like that who wants to go back to work? Lavallee was one of the first to join the BlueGrace franchise network and has been successfully growing the brand since 2011. He has been in the distribution and freight business since 1997 and that’s where he fell in love with the industry, and decided to make it a business of his own. Lavallee found interest in the BlueGrace franchise opportunity because “BlueGrace Logistics has the best reputation in the industry as well as superior internal leadership qualities,” says Lavallee. When becoming a franchise owner he knew he might have to balance his passion for freight and his love for the outdoors. He knew he would still have time to do everything he wanted, just was unsure of how much time. Fishing, Camping, Clamming, Scalloping, you name it, Lavallee loves to do it! “Of course every franchise owner wants to obtain financial freedom, but mostly I think the goal is allowing yourself to have no restrictions,” says Lavallee, “it falls in line with the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality”. He has formulated a technique that has allowed him to still take vacations and grow his business 44% since 2013. Whether you work hard in the morning and take off the rest of the day, or you work double and overtime through the beginning of the week and take off the rest of the week, you always have to make sure your work, job and livelihood come first. Though Lavallee has 12 employees, he still believes that he has to take charge and set an example so the team can follow his lead. He is looking forward to scalloping season to start, so he is preparing now to make sure goals and expectations will be met. Lavallee is seeking to expand his office over the next few months, and during that time he won’t be vacationing, so this will be his last summer shindig before big business starts!

“It’s important to work hard and take work serious, but when doing so, you need to allow yourself to still have time to let loose and break free from work, to enjoy your life,” says Lavallee.

Salesforce is a Gold Sponsor for Double Up 2014

Salesforce

BlueGrace is proud to announce Salesforce as a Gold Sponsor for the 4th Annual Double Up Conference. Gold sponsors are key players in promoting value added content to the events agenda. This partnership aids in cultivating our affiliation with the Customer Relationship Management System provider. Their sponsoring of the event will encourage increased exposure to the services they have to offer for our franchisees and carrier partners. The Double Up experience will also provide an ideal opportunity for us to determine firsthand how we can continue to develop our relationship. As sponsors of our 2014 annual conference, Salesforce is going to be a part of our greatest conference to date!

BlueGrace Marietta franchise owner Slade Casey participates in 45th Annual Peachtree Road Race

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The 45th annual AJC Peachtree Road Race will take place tomorrow, July 4th 2014 starting at 6 am. The Gun Shot start will take place at 7:30, some of the participants start at 7:30, some a little later based on wave placement but then they can all gather back together at the finish line area for the celebration. This 10k is America’s largest run and is counting on having 60,000 participants. BlueGrace Marietta, owned by Slade Casey is focusing on being top participant in the run. Casey always participates in any run he can get into to, but he takes great pride in this race as it is one of the biggest events in his hometown. Slade always trains and amps himself up for all of his races, but he is ecstatic to be a part of this world class event. He says he will know most of the runners as they are a part of the local community. Slade also participated in this year’s Boston Marathon finishing in just over 3 hours. After the run, the party will continue in Piedmont Park all day, if you choose.

There is also a Peachtree event for the military oversees that has become very popular with military branches from all over the world starting at 7:30 am, where they are and running a 10k.

“I like the Peachtree Road race because it is a world class event in my hometown, Atlanta on the day we celebrate our independence. Running the streets from Buckhead to Midtown with 60,000 other runners from all over the world is an electric event. The spectators are loud, everyone is in red, white, and blue, the music is patriotic, there are tons of American flags being waved. It is almost like your feet don’t touch the ground for 6.2 miles” – says BlueGrace franchise owner Slade Casey.

 

BlueGrace Announces Franchise of the Year Awards at the Double Up Gala

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BlueGrace Logistics is ramping up for the 4th Annual Franchise Conference, Double Up 2014 in Las Vegas! The focus of the Conference will be on doubling our business, where participants will learn new sales techniques that will enhance productivity in the workplace. On Tuesday night at the Gala BlueGrace will be announcing the Awards for Franchise of the Year, Salesperson of the Year, and Rookie of the Year. The competition has been close and we can’t wait to reveal the winners. Our franchise channel has now grown to over 50 franchises and we have been constantly exceeding our goals for weekly record shipment counts as well as weekly franchise revenue. Everyone is excited about our growth and the Conference is just going to make us even more Rock stars! All BlueGrace Franchise Advisory Council and Presidents Club Members will be attending the Conference. BlueGrace will also be announcing the “Carrier of the Year”.

 

For more information, please visit www.DoubleUpConference.com

The Napkin Presentation

Randy Vlasic, Franchise Owner of BlueGrace ORD is a funny dude. We certainly get a kick out of his random calls, Tweets or phone calls. Last week, we were in for a surprise. As we were connecting with our network on Twitter, we saw that Randy posted an image of his Napkin Presentation. He met with a client earlier that day and connected with them on an entirely different level. This was an instance where the client relationship reigned in the moment. Had he broken out a PowerPoint or even a video, he probably wouldn’t have had the same impact as he did with this drawing. What we can learn from Randy’s napkin presentation:

I. Don’t rely on technology to engage with your customers: Face-to-Face Meetings are always the best. It’s important to recognize an opportunity to get in front of your customer. Technology can feel impersonal if it’s all you rely on. Can’t visit? Pick up the phone and have a chat.

II. Have a good time discussing business. According to Randy, THEY LAUGHED THE ENTIRE TIME. If you truly love what you do then this will come naturally. Don’t let the conversation run dry. Remember Core Value #1: Be Happy & Have Fun. Your customers will notice.

III. Don’t Force Creativity you don’t need to have excellent drawing skills (just ask Randy). But getting your message across in a way that is digestible and engaging is important. Be prepared, but don’t rehearse your entire conversation.

Going into the napkin presentation, he already knew what lanes he was proposing to run, prepared for it and going into it with rounded rates.

He went in completely prepared to give one of the best presentations. With freight spend in mind, and showing how to save time and money– he calculated about $130K in savings! The Napkin Presentation is a great way to show value and it breaks the ice when you’re drawing elementary like pictures for an adult conversation, people laughed at how bad the drawings were, but they LOVED the detail they were given about their business.

The Napkin Presentation helps build credibility for the customer. You’re directly showing them what they’re spending and what they could potentially save with a powerful partner like BlueGrace instead versus the competition.

Randy’s strategy is adding BG in the mix and showing their current situation with their existing process and provider, cost savings we could provide, and consolidation.

Good interaction with the customer gives them something to hold on to and to see. If you keep your customer laughing all through the presentation, you know you’re driving the conversation. Here’s an example of how you can showcase your own hand-drawn-Napkin Presentation:

NapkinPresentation
The Napkin Presentation by Randy Vlasic, BG ORD Franchise Owner

1. Start with an unhappy face stick figure and give him a name. List the process of using all the carriers, companies and loads. (Randy drew all trucks, 5 different companies and 5 loads)

2. Show the business owner emailing all the load tenders to the carrier. Show the carrier responding “yes or no.” and somehow show the back and forth conundrum when a company has to decide what provider to go with.

3. Show what the business has to do to manage their own loads with 4 labeled plates (ie: audit invoicing, tracking and tracing, importing and consolidation, etc.) This process is time consuming so your customers will relate.

4. Show your customers the benefits of working with BlueGrace and start with a happy stick figure. Label your benefits in no more than two plates like he did in the above example (ie: “Consolidation” and “Import”). Whatever the benefits are for fitting the situation but keep it simple.

“My customers laugh the whole time. I want to give my customers something to remember.”

Teach your customers about what other companies don’t want them to know. Give them a reason to laugh and have a good time. Business meetings aren’t expected to be fun, but if you can lighten the mood it adds value to the customer relationship. The Napkin Presentation is more than just stick figures, you’re providing and entire proposal in front of a prospect without a stack of boring paperwork.

 

For more information on The Napkin Presentation fill out the form below to contact Randy Vlasic, Franchise Owner of BG ORD.

 

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Up in ARM’s for BlueGrace South Jersey

ArmsAway

Sometimes, you just need to take things into your own hands if you want something done right. That’s what BlueGrace Franchise Owner, Jason Eckhardt and his wife Sherri did five years ago when they decided to create a charity that in their eyes would truly make a difference for the betterment of breast cancer survivors and research. In 2009, Jason Eckhardt came up with an idea that would support his wife Sherri in a way she never imagined.

In 1983, Sherri’s mother, Arlene Ruccio Meyer passed away from breast cancer. It was only 2 days after her 35th birthday and 3 days before Christmas. Sherri was only 5-years old and didn’t understand the impact her mother’s death would have on her life until she reached adulthood. Her mother was diagnosed in 1981 and doctors told her she only had two months to live. After undergoing treatment and much to her surprise, she was able to spend another 2 years with her family. Little did she know her future son-in-law would come up with an idea that would benefit families who were faced with her tragic circumstance, all the while supporting of her daughter… his wife, Sherri.

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“You don’t understand the loss as a kid. It means so much more to me (having my mother around) now that I’m a mother,” says Sherri Eckhardt.

On the 25th anniversary of Arlene’s passing, Jason wanted to go above and beyond for the purpose of remembering his wife’s late mother. As he was contemplating his master plan, he came up with “ARM’s Away.” He took this idea to the golf course in the form of a charitable event using “ARM’s” as an acronym representing the initials of Arlene’s full name. In addition, they created their own acronym that would give the charity a global meaning: Awareness. Research. Making a Difference.

When he first presented it to Sherri they had no idea just how successful this would become. The first year of ARM’s Away was raising $5,000 and they exceeded their expectations by raising $7,500. Each year they set goals to raise money and each year they surpass them. Just last year, the Eckhardt’s set a goal to raise $15,000 at the 5th Annual ARM’s Away Golf Outing and they raised over $17,000! To date, Jason and Sherri have raised over $68,000 and have gained the support of businesses, individuals and families from all over the state of New Jersey. But their biggest-little supporters live with them… they are their kids.

Today, Sherri is a mother of two beautiful children (son, Austin, 6; daughter, Kylie, 3) who don’t quite comprehend what a charity stands for or means for that matter. All they know is that it’s for Grandma and that ARM’s Away helps people get better. That alone encourages them to give to the greater good of breast cancer research. They are active participants and donate to ARM’s Away themselves. Last year, their 6 year-old sons Austin, earned tips for work he had done during the event and on his own took every penny to the event’s donation center because “he wanted to make a difference too.”

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All proceeds raised at the event are donated to the Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Rutgers uses the donations for two very powerful reasons: to enhance the technology used in treatment and to support patients who need assistance to be treated themselves. The center unites scientists from several disciplines to focus on the causes, detection, prevention, and treatment of breast cancer. Today, you can visit Rutgers University and see a Wall of Remembrance, which recognizes the years of donations ARM’s Away has provided to their initiatives. BlueGrace is proud to be a sponsor of this great event and hopes that this year they can once again surpass their goals.

“My husband (Jason Eckhardt) and my Dad should win the MEN OF THE YEAR award because of all they’ve done to help bring this charity to fruition. Without their help, support and guidance it would never be possible,” says Sherri Eckhardt.

To donate to the ARM’s Away charity, please visit: http://cinjfoundation.donordrive.com/event/ARMSAWAY2014

The 50th Franchise Benchmark

In May, BlueGrace awarded its 50th franchise, BlueGrace Olympia! New franchise owners Stacey Harold and Logan Plassman stopped by our Tampa office for franchise training and sat with us for a few minutes to talk about their new journey with BlueGrace.

Harold and Plassman are originally from Michigan, lived in Tennessee and found their way to Olympia, Washington in 2006. They describe Olympia as a “very environmental and beautifully landscaped city” where everyone is friendly, laid back and easy going.

They aren’t your average business partners. They are a mother-son team who decided to join forces with BlueGrace. Plassman wanted to build a legacy for himself and eventually for his children. His passion and determination inspired his mother to partner up with him.

Harold previously worked in transportation and decided to research different franchise opportunities with her son Logan. They researched all types of opportunities from fast food chains to cleaning services but found BlueGrace and felt it was a perfect fit.

Both Harold and Plassman are honored to have been awarded our 50th franchise; ready to be in business for themselves hiring talent and building their success.

“We have high end 5-year goals: looking to expand to an office and gain employees – Gain Traction,” says Logan-Plassman, BlueGrace Olympia Franchise Owner.

We asked what the most important thing to them was as a new franchise owner.

”Everything is important,” says Plassman “but getting out, networking and building rapport with customers is the most important thing we’ve learned.”

 

Pictured from left to right: Stacey Harold and Logan Plassman, franchise owners of BlueGrace Olympia
Pictured from left to right: Stacey Harold and Logan Plassman, franchise owners of BlueGrace Olympia

Of course, there are many challenges when operating a new franchise. They’re aware that at the beginning they will make mistakes, but they’re ready to face them head-on.

“We will make mistakes and learn from them, turn around and attack them,” says Plassman, “we’re looking forward to this awesome opportunity. Looking forward to making it work and making it successful. We’re going to be partners and include ourselves in outside sales.”

When asked if they could give any advice to someone who is considering applying for a BlueGrace Logistics franchise, Harold said, “If considering it, go for it. I have never seen a culture or company so welcoming and supportive. Your success is their success.”

For BlueGrace Headquarters this is a great accomplishment. We have repositioned our process to consider those who are a perfect culture fit and the shoe fits for Team Olympia.

As we continue to expand our network across the country, we’re looking to develop franchises in markets where our footprint does not exist. Some of the markets we’re seeking to expand are St. Joseph, Michigan; New York State; Toledo, Ohio; Denver, Colorado, and Salt Lake City, Utah to name a few.

The 50th franchise benchmark came extremely fast as we’ve only been franchising since 2011. The BlueGrace Franchise Development Team is filling their pipeline with eager candidates each day. However it’s important they take our time with each interested party. From an initial call, 1st Interview with Leadership, Final Interview (which takes place at our office) and researching credentials the process is in-depth but assures a fit for all involved.

For more information on BlueGrace Franchise Opportunities, visit www.bluegracefranchise.com