Flexibility of Being a Franchisee
The flexibility of being a franchisee is for Jen Kline Clark what she enjoys most about her Coffee News business. Clark has been in the Coffee News business since 2012. At that time she and her husband, Patrick had just completed the process of adopting their first baby.
After working in a highly demanding career that required her to travel extensively, Clark said, “We wanted to find something that would allow me to stay home with my son who we waited so long for and I wanted to be part of my community.”
Coffee News wasn’t even on their radar until Patrick met a Coffee News publisher at a baseball game who was selling his business.
Clark recalls, “Patrick came home and told me about this. It was a perfect match for what I like to do and could provide us with a consistent income.”
Today Clark owns four Coffee News franchises and publishes three editions in Bucks County, Pennsylvania – just North of Philadelphia.
Eighteen months ago Jen and Patrick welcomed a baby girl to their family of three!
“I’m very happy doing what I do. I love the flexibility of this business as a parent. I was actually doing layouts for an edition while in the hospital when I had my daughter. ” Clark said.
In addition to the flexibility that Coffee News affords her family, Clark enjoys the connections she has made in her community as a result of her business. “I think of my Coffee News business as a way to help small businesses in my community get the word out about their business.”
Building community is what Clark is all about. When talking about what it takes to be successful in the Coffee News business she stresses the importance of networking and bringing people together.
“You have to network the heck out of this business. In my first year my goal was to attend three new networking events a week. That really helped to build my business and my networks. I know so many people now,” says Clark.
She adds that over time she has built a Coffee News family and even plans events to bring people together. “It’s a great way to network and have fun. People really feel like they are part of something.”
Although Clark has a strong base of long term advertisers, some of whom have been with her since the beginning. She stresses that, “To be successful in this business you have to constantly be generating new business and bringing in new advertisers.”
For Clark, bartering has been a great way to introduce the benefits of Coffee News to businesses. She cites an example of losing their furnace after Hurricane Sandy and bartering Coffee News ads to buy a new one.
“My businesses like to advertise in Coffee News because of the affordability and exclusivity. They like the one page easy-to-read format and I make changes to their ads at no extra cost to them.”
Clark stressed that although there is a lot of flexibility in this business – it is a full-time job.
She says, “There are a lot of moving parts and pieces including taking care of your advertisers and cultivating new ones. There is publishing and distribution and the day to day tasks of managing a business.”
“I do love it. Coffee News has been a great thing for this period in our lives,” she added.
Clark offers these tips to be successful in the Coffee News business:
- Have enough working capital to cover your expenses in the beginning while you’re building your business.
- Hire a bookkeeper and have a good CRM (customer relationship management) program to keep you organized!
- Get out there and NETWORK! Build your connections and your community.