Reflecting on 21 Years as a Coffee News Publisher

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Coffee News® Profile – Wilma Scott of Cornwall, Ontario

wilma scottWilma Scott recently celebrated 21 years as a Coffee News publisher in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. It’s been a long run for75-year-oldScott, who is in the process of selling her publication.

“I publish one issue that I’m now selling, due to health issues. I have mixed feelings about that. It’s kind of like giving up my baby, so I’m looking for the right buyer to take it over,” she said.

When Scott started with the CornwallCoffee News franchise in 1995, she was one of only six people publishing Coffee News in Canada, where Coffee News originated.

“There was a woman publishing in Ottawa and I asked her to bring the paper here. She started it, with me running it, but she didn’t do it for long, so I bought it. I wanted to keep it going. I’ve watched it grow over the years,” Scott reflected.

Scott’s first advertiser, a mechanic, is still with her. “About half of my advertisers have been with me for a very long time. Once they try it out and discover that it works, they stay with it. Many say that Coffee News is the only thing that works for them,” she said.

Scott adds, “Businesses like the exclusivity of advertising in Coffee News. I have businesses calling all the time asking if a spot is open for their type of business so that they can have it. When a spot does open up, they grab it.”

Reflecting on her years in the business, Scott notes how things have changed. “I remember the old days when we had to lay out the ads and content on a piece of paper and take it to the printer. That was before we had computerscapable of doing it,” she said.

Scott used to deliver all of the papers by herself, but that changed a few years ago when she fell down a set of stairs and broke her back. “I now have a very nice older man who delivers them. He takes his time to stop and talk to people,” she said.

“After I broke my back, I was still able to put my Coffee News publication together, working on a laptop from my hospital bed,” recalled Scott. “I’ve never missed an issue.”

When asked what she will miss most about being in the Coffee News business Scott replied, ”I will miss getting the paper out every week and being known as the Coffee News lady. I will miss sitting in a restaurant and watching people pick it up and enjoy it.”

Some of her best memories of her Coffee News experience include the support she has received from Coffee News headquarters. “They have always been there for me to offer advice and support. One time I even got to go on a Caribbean cruise with other publishers. I took my girlfriend with me. It was a memory I won’t ever forget,” Scott said.

Scott says her plans for life after Coffee News include taking care of herself, getting healthy and traveling. “I lost my husband in 2009, and happily I have a new friend in my life, and we would like to travel, maybe take a river cruise in Europe,” she said.

Scott adds, “It’s sad to sell my Coffee News franchise, but I’m selling it knowing that I contributed something to people’s enjoyment and to small business growth,and that feels good. I am really going to miss being ‘the Coffee News gal’.”

Scott Offers This Advice to be Successful in Coffee News:

Do Run Contests

I would hide a Coffee News ‘gal’ somewhere in the paper, and would get 100 to 150 entries per week from people who would find her and enter to win a drawing for restaurant gift certificates.

Reach Out for Help

The people at the Coffee News headquarters have been so helpful to me over the years and offered so much support. Take advantage of that resource.

Don’t Get Discouraged

It can take time to build the business. People have to know it and recognize it. There will still be slow times, especially when doing business in a seasonal area, but don’t get discouraged, just keep going.

 

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How a Conversation at a Dinner Party Led this Mom to Her Coffee News Career

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Lori Danielson (left), Leah Hickman (right)

Lori Danielson (left), Leah Hickman (right)

NEW Coffee News® Publisher – Leah Hickman of Longview, Texas

It was at a dinner party in the summer of 2015 when Leah Hickman found the career opportunity she had been looking for. “My friend Lori Danielson, who has been a Coffee News publisher for the past twelve years, told me that another publisher wanted to sell back the publication that Lori had sold to him previously, because he was moving,” Hickman recalled.

She added, “Lori’s Coffee News business was really growing and, after talking it over, we decided to go into business together.”

Hickman had been searching for her next career opportunity after being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years with her son and daughter. “When our youngest started school, I knew it was time for me to start thinking about my next chapter,” Hickman said.

Lori and Leah run and get it done in their best Coffee News fashions.

With a background in sales and marketing, Hickman explored many opportunities that included returning to her previous career in pharmaceutical sales or in medical billing.   She had also worked as a marketer for an assisted-living facility and sold fundraising campaigns for schools.

“I knew I needed something that would get me out of the house.   I was also looking for something that was flexible and with a good income, and I wanted to be my own boss,” Hickman said.

Hickman, who is very active in her community as a volunteer, met Danielson through her involvement with the Junior League.   “When Lori and I started talking about Coffee News at the dinner party, everything just came together.   It just felt like the right fit for both of us,” Hickman said.

She adds, “We make a good team.   We complement each other and together bring 30 years of experience in sales and marketing to the business.   By sharing the workload and the profits, we can cover more ground and still have time to do the other things we both love to do,” she said.

The team is now publishing three editions of Coffee News and Hickman has hit the ground running selling ads and loves her new career. Hickman says, “It’s such a fun paper. Everyone loves it and wants to be a part of it. And I love being back out there, being my own boss and being a community connector.”

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How Serving in the Ministry has Served This Coffee News Publisher Well

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Coffee News® Profile – Lance Carrithers of Wichita, Kansas

lance carrithers

Sometimes it’s time to make a change. That was true for Lance Carrithers of Wichita, Kansas who became a Coffee News publisher in June of 2015, after 26 years as a minister.

Prior to becoming a minister, Carrithers had built and managed a radio station.   “I was familiar with advertisers and what they wanted. I knew that experience would serve me well in the Coffee News business,” he said.

From radio he went into the ministry.   “My wife, Kristi and I were working with youth as volunteers. I felt called to the ministry so I returned to graduate school to get my Masters in Divinity and started my career at a United Methodist Church.   My last job was as the Senior Pastor of the United Methodist Church in Dodge City, Kansas,” he said.

When asked how his years as a minister are serving him well in Coffee News Carrithers replied, “Ministry is all about customer relationships. My last church had 1,000 people so I was getting constant feedback from the customers in my church. In addition, I had to manage the business of the church including our finances, planning for growth and the day-to-day operations.”

When Carrithers decided it was time to make a career change, he began searching for the right opportunity.   “I wanted to find something that I could do and work for myself. Then I saw a listing online for a Coffee News franchise that was for sale and I became interested,” he recalled.

That franchise was being sold by a publisher who was involved in another business and decided it was time to sell off his six franchise areas.

“My wife, Kristi and I met with the seller, and we talked to other Coffee News publishers and the people at the franchise headquarters, before making the decision to buy the business,” Carrithers said.

In June, 2015 the deal was complete and the Carrithers began publishing Coffee News.

In September of 2015, Carrithers attended his first Coffee News College in Bangor, Maine.   The College is a three-day training program conducted by the Coffee News Head Office that provides new franchise owners with the information and training they need to be successful in the business.

“Since we purchased an existing franchise and going concern, we were already publishing when I went to the College. I learned what I was doing well and where I needed to make course corrections,” Carrithers said.

Purchasing a going concern has its share of opportunities and challenges according to Carrithers. “We purchased a business that was already known in the community and had an existing base of advertisers and distribution points. That is a great advantage.   The challenge was not having time to really get to know the business.   Our learning curve was steep and fast because the papers were already in production.”

Carrithers adds, “When you acquire a going concern, you have less control over the image of the business that has been around for a while and it’s harder to make changes as a new owner when people are used to things being a certain way.”

Those changes included increasing the distribution network of the publication and getting more papers out of the racks and into the hands of people.

“We are publishing seven editions and have 300 distribution points. Ideally, we would like to have 500 or more. We are also working to make our display racks more visible and add more contests to attract more readers and advertisers,” Carrithers said.

He is also working to build relationships with new and existing advertisers. “It can be hard to get in the door sometimes.   We are in a large metropolitan area and I am really a ‘small fish’ by comparison. I am involved with BNI (Business Network International) and that helps,” he explained.

Carrithers is enjoying his new life as a Coffee News publisher.   “It was time to do something else and, as hard as I am working now, I am not on-call 24/7 like I was in the ministry. After 26 years, it’s so nice to have evenings and weekends available to spend time with my wife and enjoying life,” he said.

How to Be Your Own Boss Without Stressing Out

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All of our Coffee News® publishers remember the energy and emotion of their early days as entrepreneurs. Starting your own business and taking charge of your own financial future means taking on a lot of responsibilities—and new kinds of stress. How can you manage your new workload and manage your anxiety? We can help!

You started your own business. Now, your new business needs an employee wellness plan. Managing the stress of being your own boss is one of the hardest things for new entrepreneurs to do, but it’s also one of the most important. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of business. To succeed at being self-employed, you need to find ways to fight off stress.

Self-employed and stressed out? Start getting plenty of sleep.
Sustained stress has a big impact on your sleeping patterns, and your sleep has a big impact on your success. Sleep deprivation clouds your memory, reduces your immunity, heightens your irritability, and can make you gain weight. It can also have long-term negative effects on your cardiovascular system and your mental health.

Are you staying up late working, or just worrying? Either way, you’re probably better off sleeping. While the amount of sleep we need is highly individualized, most adults aren’t getting enough. Adults who get less than seven hours of sleep on any given night have more difficulty concentrating and more mood swings than people who slept seven to nine hours.

Because you are your own boss, you can create a sleep schedule that works for you. If you do your best work at night, sleep later in the morning. If you find you are more focused and alert early in the morning, go to bed earlier in the evening. Just make sure that you get a healthy amount of sleep.

Self-employed and stressed out? Start exercising regularly.
Just like a full night’s sleep, regular exercise strengthens your resistance to stress. Exercise releases endorphins, natural mood enhancers that boost your outlook and your productivity. Exercise also enhances your immunity, increases your stamina and keeps you looking and feeling your best.

Being your own boss lets you schedule your workout whenever you want. Go jogging in the morning, take a brisk walk during your lunch break or go biking with your family after dinner. Better yet, find exercise opportunities that can also expand your business. Gym and golf memberships or intramural sports leagues are great places to meet other business leaders in your community.

A regular exercise program also boosts your energy levels, making it easier for you to make healthy eating choices throughout your day. When you feel naturally energized, you don’t need sugary drinks or sweet snacks to wake you up. Regular exercise will keep you feeling healthier, stronger and stress-free.

Self-employed and stressed out? Start seeing the bright side.
A positive outlook is a powerful way to manage stress. When things aren’t going your way and you feel yourself getting stressed, step back. Take a few minutes to take some deep breaths. Focus on finding the best way forward. And see if humor can help! When it comes to stressful situations, laughter really is some of the best medicine.

Seeing the bright side of being your own boss is easy when you work at Coffee News®, the little brown paper filled with humorous stories and good news! A franchise opportunity is also one of the least stressful ways to start your own successful business. Learn more about Coffee News® franchise opportunities today!

 

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How a Career in Law Enforcement Prepared One Couple to Own a Franchise

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vanessa randy coleCoffee News® Profile – Vanessa & Randy Cole of Dalton, Georgia

Sometimes you just need to make a change.   That was the case for Vanessa Cole and her husband, Randy of Dalton, Georgia.

“We both had a long career in law enforcement as sheriff’s deputies and I was a crime scene investigator.   About eight years ago we began thinking about starting our own business,” Cole said.

The couple had no idea what kind of business they wanted to start, so they went to the SBA (Small Business Administration) seeking advice.   “We asked them to tell us what we should do. They said we would have to make that decision for ourselves and they would help us once we knew what we wanted to do.   So, we took some business classes and started looking around,” Cole recalled.

They saw a story about Coffee News in entrepreneur.com and became intrigued with the business, especially because it was such an affordable franchise. “We performed our due diligence by talking with the franchisor about it and with other publishers about their experience. We brought it to our contact at the SBA and they thought it looked like a viable business opportunity, so we went for it,” Cole said.

In 2008, the couple purchased two franchises and published one edition. “It wasn’t easy at first because no one within a hundred-mile radius had heard of Coffee News, so we had to educate people about it.   Plus, the economy was in a downturn at that time. We tried to find distribution points and sell ads at the same time.   It was hard to sell ads before we had our distribution places lined up.   A few weeks into it, I was a bit discouraged, but I’m really persistent and I’m not a quitter,” Cole said.

Today the Coles publish six editions of Coffee News. “I gave up law enforcement to go into the Coffee News business full-time. Randy left law enforcement two years ago to join me in the business. “It’s been eight years now and I’m so glad we did it,” said Cole.

When asked how their background in law enforcement prepared them to go into the Coffee News business, Cole explained, “All I ever knew was law enforcement, so this was a big change. The stress is totally different.   It’s not ‘life or death’ and it’s a lot easier and more fun.   We learned how to work hard in law enforcement and how to be persistent. You can’t give up when you are investigating a case. Those skills are serving us well in our business.”

The Coles are also enjoying the flexibility of their Coffee News franchise. “There are weeks when we will put in forty to fifty hours. We do work hard, but with this business I can go to the beach with my cell phone and laptop and take care of business from there,” Cole said.

They have built a great team, including two sheriff’s deputies who help them deliver their Coffee News editions. They partner with an organization that provides opportunities for developmentally-challenged adults to also deliver their papers.

They employ a college student part-time for administrative, web/social media support and client retention efforts.

“Randy and I share the duties of running the business. He does some of the deliveries and the ad layout work. I focus more on ad sales. We have different responsibilities. So even though we are in business together, we rarely see each other during the workday because our schedules are different,” Cole said.

Cole also spends a lot of her time volunteering and networking. “Although I was out in my community when I was in law enforcement, people really didn’t know who I was.   When we started Coffee News, I jumped into the business community.   It was a new world for me, but today I am very involved with our Chamber and community events.   A lot of our business comes to us through referrals as a result of me being out there. I don’t do a lot of cold calling,” Cole said.

Cole says the businesses that advertise in Coffee News like the fact that they can target their advertising to where their customers are.   They also appreciate the exclusivity and affordability of advertising in Coffee News.

“We educate businesses about why it’s important to advertise for the longer term. We recommend a six-month to one-year commitment to see results.   Time and repetition works. We see a higher percentage of ad renewals from businesses that advertise for the longer term,” Cole said.

Cole offers these tips to be successful in the Coffee News business:

  1. Understand your cash flow and plan how you will cover your expenses while you are building your business.
  1. Be patient and persistent. Don’t ever give up!
  1. Get out in the community and get involved. People have to get to know you and trust you.
  1. Be sure to follow up with people. Call people back promptly. Do what you say you will do. Under promise and over deliver.

COFFEE NEWS LISTED AS ONE OF BEST FRANCHISES FOR VETERANS 

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Coffee News has been listed by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the Best Franchises for Veterans  

More than 5,600 veterans have become franchisees in the past four years, according to the International Franchise Association. Coffee News has been listed as the 81st out of 100 franchises offering incentives for veterans. Franchisors find that vets, with their leadership and teamwork skills and nature for following a system, make ideal franchisees. Coffee News offers 0% financing for the purchase of additional franchises, after the initial purchase. Coffee news is ranked 137 on Entrepreneur’s 2015 Franchise 500.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

 

Six Tips for Successfully Starting a Small Business…with Your Spouse

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business-comment_04_temp-1345110797-502cc30d-620x348Not all entrepreneurs go it alone. More than three million of U.S. small businesses are run as partnerships, and many of those businesses are run by life partners—married couples. While this can make being your own boss even more rewarding, it can also put one of your most important relationships at risk. You already know you love living with your life partner. Here are six great tips for making sure you love working with them, too.

According to the Small Business Association, the 1980s saw a 90% increase in companies run by couples, and the new freelance economy has accelerated that trend. By 1995, one-third of successful Fortune 500 companies were run by married teams. Successful small businesses take smart risks and develop strong relationships—with their customers, their vendors and suppliers, and their investors. When you decide to start your small business with your life partner, you put one of your most important relationships at risk. At Coffee News®, 50% of our successful franchises are owned or operated by spouses, and they have six great tips to help you and your spouse succeed!

Tip #1: Set Up and Structure Your Small Business from the Start
Are you both going to mastermind your new venture, and lead as equal partners? Or does one of you have more of an entrepreneurial spirit, and the other is eager to be the first, and best, employee? Deciding early how you want to structure your business will help you best determine how to grow that business together. It also has important implications for how your successful small business will be taxed.

Tip #2: Divide to Conquer
One of the biggest reasons entrepreneurs decide to start a small business with their spouse is to share the risks, responsibilities and rewards. Sharing everything might not be the best strategy for long-term success, however. Dividing up tasks according to each other’s strengths, skills, talents and interests can be more efficient and eliminate potential conflicts. And once you agree on each other’s turf, agree to respect each other’s turf. Don’t micromanage and second-guess your spouse.

Tip #3: Create an Emergency Fund
Money is the number one reason 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years. Money is also the number one cause of divorce. If you start a small business with your spouse, you have twice as many reasons to worry about money as other entrepreneurs. (In fact, many of our married Coffee News® publishers chose Coffee News® for its low cost and how quickly it generates positive cash flow.) Agree on your mutual tolerance for risk, make sure you have adequate cash on hand to meet your responsibilities at work and at home.

Tip #4: Keep it Professional
Make sure that when you are at work, you and your spouse have a working relationship. Even if you were bickering at breakfast, you need to be congenial with your clients and co-workers. But don’t overdo it! Displaying inappropriate amounts of affection can make others uncomfortable. Find a working relationship that works, and refine it as needed.

Tip #5: Find Ways to Separate Work from Home, Even if You Work From Home
Many small business owners decided to start their own business in part to achieve a better work-life balance. When you start a business with your spouse, especially if you start that business from home, you can blur all sorts of important boundaries. And if you have kids, it’s even more important to create space between your work life and home life. Decide together how early or how late you want to work. Should you answer the phone at dinner time? Are weekends on, or off-limits? Who will take time off to care for sick children or elderly parents?

Tip #6: Decide on Your Exit Plan
Couples who start a small business together don’t always finish that business together, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Lives—and people—change, and success can create as many stresses and pressures as failure. New additions to your family, another job offer or even simple burnout can all cause one spouse to call a timeout. Agree in advance to check in frequently and see situations clearly, and you may never need that exit plan at all!

Want more insight from Coffee News® couples? Meet thriving Coffee News® publishers Angela and Tom Balsamo, and Marty and Ed Douglass!