Adam Torres and Bryan Vielhauer discuss launching franchises.
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Well defined and processes are needed to successfully launch and run a successful franchise. In this episode, Adam Torres and Bryan Vielhauer, President of Decal Impressions, explore how Decal Impressions serves franchises along with Bryan’s new book, Mission Matters: World’s Leading Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Top Tips To Success (Business Leaders Vol. 10, Edition 3).
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About Decal Impressions
Decal Impressions was founded in 1969 and served as a provider of 4-color process vehicle graphics to law enforcement organizations nationwide. Decal Impressions now works with organizations across every industry. The list of products and services they offer include, but are not limited to, are Indoor and Outdoor Signage, Wide Format Digital Printing, Screen Printing, CNC Milling, Fleet Vehicle Graphics, Point-of-Purchase Displays & Signage, Graphic Design, and Order Fulfillment. They serve a wide variety of businesses and organizations with signage, brand identity products, vehicle wraps, exhibiting materials, and much more. They have been located in Over the Rhine since 1985. In 2010, they moved just a few blocks away to where they are located now in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood, but still easily accessible from all parts of the tri-state area. This move to a warehouse that was the site of a former sausage factory enabled us to expand and update our capabilities to better serve their customers. In 2001, Decal Impressions was purchased by Chip Vielhauer and his son Bryan. They became the third father and son team to run the company. Then, in 2010 they joined forces with Media Sign Company, where Bryan first worked after college. This allowed us to even further expand both their staff and their equipment. In recent years, Decal Impressions has begun offering Web Design, Social Media Management, and Marketing services to complement their growing list of products and meet customer demands.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres. And if you’d like to join our community, head on over to missionmatters. com forward slash community. So today I am so proud and excited and joyful to announce we have Brian back on the show. Brian Veilhauer. And let me tell you, so we’ve been on this journey together, Brian, making this.
Book together. And for anybody that’s ever put a book together, you know, takes time, takes work, takes, there’s a lot to it. But that being said, where we’re finally at the end of the road, the book is live, the book is out. And first off, I just want to say, Hey, welcome back to the show, Brian, and congrats.
Thank you so much, Adam. It is so great to be with you again. This is one of the highlights of our process together as being together and, you know, sharing our, our thoughts and wisdoms with each other. So Brian we got, we got a whole lot to talk about today. Of course, we’ll get into a decal impressions and really what you’re doing for, for franchises and for businesses.
And of course we’re going to, we’re going to talk about the book. But before we get into all that you’ve been on the show, you know, the drill, we’ll start with our mission matters minute. So, Brian, we at Mission Matters, we amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and experts. That’s our mission.
Brian, what mission matters to you? Our mission really at Decal Impressions is absolutely about serving our customers, getting their story, their branding, their information in front of their customers in a professionally expedient manner. So really you and I have parallel lives with just a little bit of a different flavor.
No, it’s great. I again, love having you back in the show and love bringing mission based individuals back on. So I guess just to get this kicked off, I don’t want to assume that all of the, all of the new audience maybe caught some of our previous work. So maybe go a little bit into your background and really how you got started on this path to being the president over at Decal Impressions.
Well, I was you know, I had a great opportunity at a very young age to become a part of this organization. It had fallen on some hard times back in the early. Early 01s, if you will. And my father and I had a chance to grab the reins and start putting the pieces back together. It was at that time about a 30 year old business and really with technology, with some changes, they were really struggling to find their way.
And I had a little experience in the graphic arts industry. I also had some experience in the supply side of the business, and it seemed like a natural dovetail to get involved in this side of the business. We were able to get our hands on it and we were able to get really active in the company, roll up our sleeves, start kind of protecting our customers, protecting what we were doing for them.
And starting in October of 2001, we put ourselves to a growth growth mission, and we’re 20, 22 years into it and still busting heads. Wow. That’s, that’s, that’s an amazing, that’s an amazing story, and I wanna keep you in the, you know, it’s, it’s easy to look at the, you know, 20 some years later, success story, right?
But I wanna keep you in maybe some of the, the earlier days, if I may. Of course. Because there’ll be some entrepreneurs, some executives, some individuals that watch this. So who, who knows, they may be launching something new, they may be working on a turnaround of their own. And we both know that’s not easy.
Like, so yeah. Thinking about maybe some of those early days, like what do you think are some of the components that kept you strong, that kept you in there and that kind of contributed to the success? I think fundamentally for me, never accepting failure. You always had to succeed no matter the challenge, no matter what it was.
You had to pick, literally pick yourself up from time to time and dust yourself off. We, we were so interesting because in our origin, you know, we were in a very old community in Cincinnati that was really struggling 20 years ago. And we were faced with two options, stay in the community or abandon the community.
And I made the decision to stay. Communities need businesses that they can lean back on and shoulder support. And not terribly long after I made that decision, I rounded the corner to the office and looked at the street and went, wow. And every single window in my building was laying in the street and it was a, you know, you just, you, there’s no book, there’s no motivational speaker that can prepare you for the reality of coming to work with a whole different set of business challenges.
And then be faced with challenges that you just simply could not expect. And what that really taught myself and my team was that any obstacle can be overcome. You just have to put your thought and your mind to it. Work with your neighbors, meet people, talk to people. And shortly after that, we were really engaged and we learned a lot about our neighbors.
And next thing you know, we had people looking out for us. Nothing was going to happen. And today, you know, if Amazon should happen to leave a box at our business when we’re after hours. One of my neighbors will pick it up, put it in their house, come see me in the morning and, and hand it off to me. So, you know, we just, we made our community, we, we became part of a community that really needed some people to stay in the community.
And I think that was just really special. Yeah, it’s interesting to me, too, because sometimes as we’ve gone through, you know, this idea of people coming online and now even the concept of community has changed a bit, but not really. To me, it’s more so like the delivery and how we unite as a community maybe has changed.
Obviously, there’s still the in person component. But now adding to it, that, that online component, I feel like I probably some of my online communities I live in, you know, downtown Los Angeles. So, you know, skyscrapers and let’s just say not always the, it’s not always the easiest to get together. And I find, I find I get together more with my online community than maybe some neighbors that, that live in the same, in the same building as myself.
It’s interesting. You’re, you are not wrong, but I do way better in person than. Predominantly because turning on the computer is still a challenge for me, so I, it’s, it’s easier to knock on the door and have somebody open it and then possibly slam it in my face, but I’ll knock again. Oh, man, that’s great.
So let’s switch it up a bit here. I do want to talk some about the book while I got you on the line, of course. So you’re, and I’ll kind of go through what some of the content was, and we’ll pull some out here and have some fun. So your title was find the best print service provider to launch a successful franchise.
And some of the things you wrote about small to medium sized franchises that are coming up company portals, materials, what makes a franchise brand great. So I guess to kind of set the table for this discussion, maybe talk a little bit about decal impressions and what you do for, for, for franchises, so that all of this context will make sense.
So when you work with Decal Impressions, you’re working with an ambassador to your brand. We work with you from whatever stage of the process you are in. We engage fully in protecting your brand, understanding your brand, making sure that you are getting the resources that you need from us as a print service provider, whether it’s marketing material to sell new franchises, whether it’s.
Marketing material for your existing franchises, so that your, your franchisees are generating revenue and profits. We work to streamline the process by creating company portals online. So we kind of make your franchise an online community where you have access to all your goods. As an owner of a franchise, you can outline the store so you know exactly what’s in it.
So people don’t go rogue on you and decide that you need to have a different color logo or something like that. Because No matter, no matter what business people are in, you do get the entrepreneur in a franchise sometimes. And that can be a little dangerous because a good franchisee needs to be part entrepreneur, but part person who’s going to follow directions and really run with the concept.
But what I think, one of the things I think we really, really bring to the table that a lot of folks don’t fully see at the onset is. How we set the franchise up for protection and focus and by focus. I mean, they do not have to worry about what their franchisees are doing. They don’t have to worry about what they’re.
Ad agencies doing, they have us there as a bulldog to make sure that everything is the way they have dictated it to us and they can have peace of mind to be focused on their job responsibilities as opposed to constantly running around behind everybody. Did you do that? Did they do this? Why is that horizontal and not vertical?
And so really what, what we become is an integral part. Of your marketing department and talk a little bit about maybe why those why those safeguards, if you will, are important, especially when building a brand and a franchise, because for those that are kind of going through it, like they know, but for the, like, meaning, you know, one day you, you, you show up to one of your stores, maybe you’re doing a check and and you’re like, okay, who printed that?
That’s not far. That’s not what we said. So maybe share some, some of that insight into what you see. Well, and you, you really hit the nail right on the head, Adam. What it boils down to is making sure that when the customer shows up, they know for sure they’re at the correct place at the correct graphics.
It’s about developing confidence in brand recognition, and it’s just so important to be militant to that process from the very beginning. And that is also the hardest part. Of the process to be militant. You know, you’re, you’re under the, you’re under pressure. You know, you’re launching, you’ve got, you’ve got financial considerations, you’ve got market considerations, and you’ve got to be disciplined and keep the brand on target.
You just can’t let folks, well, I could get those for one penny less than those. Yeah, but it’s the wrong color and it really doesn’t speak to what we do. And, and when you’re trying to elevate a product and you have an elevated brand, the last thing you want is somebody. Devaluing your brand. I mean, it’s, that’s what folks are after.
And the member portal, like that’s a big component of this because you know, to give all of the different franchisees access and to make it to where it’s not this big administrative nightmare, right? That is correct. Streamline, streamline, streamline. People, the one resource that we all want more of that we can’t make is time.
And knowing that when you’re on the portal, the questions are easily answered, the order is easily placed, the confirmation comes in clean, your franchisee is approved, the proof on the screen, and they know it’s coming to them, and that’s the last thing they have to worry about. As opposed to possibly going to a different location or, oh, you know, our printer’s not calibrated or, oh, wow, we didn’t know what Pantone meant.
And you’ve got a purple item instead of a blue item. And these are, these are real world challenges because you’ve got a lot of people in a lot of different. Chairs when you’re buying, buying print media, when you’re buying graphic arts. So it’s all about protecting. It’s all about creating that portal with all the things, all the tools that you need.
And that’s, that’s something we’re really, you know, that build out process is extensive. It’s exciting. Gives the people on the ground an opportunity to look through the portfolio and go, wow, I didn’t even know we had that. Look at that great marketing idea, you know, free cookie Tuesday or kids eat free on Wednesdays.
I didn’t even know that was an option and they can go on the portal, they can see their items and then they go, you know, that’s going to work really well. So it gives them the ability to make choices, but choices within a box that protects the brand. Now, I want to speak to the maybe to the businesses yet that at the moment that maybe haven’t gone the franchise route, because I know you work with small businesses as well.
It doesn’t have to be only a franchise, but I feel like there’s some learning based on you working and having scaled franchises that there’s some learning there that is then transmitted to these small businesses and to creating better and stronger brands for them, whether they ever want to go forward.
I think personally, one of the great benefits to us, even if you’re not going to be a hundred unit franchise, but you’re a one or two locations, the experience that we have serving bigger markets means that we’re always working with you on the bigger play may not necessarily be the play that you’re after, but when you recognize that everything you do is congruent, looking good in, in brand in message, it is such a powerful item and it’s Perception is reality.
So when we work with small businesses, we can elevate what they have and make them make them feel bigger, better, stronger, which they then project out to their clients. So it’s, it’s all about perception. It’s all about feeling good about it. It’s all about the fact that the business card has a nice touch, that the sign on the easel is made of a high quality material and isn’t have water stains all over it, if it’s at a golf outing.
Or if you go to a golf outing that, you know, it’s not a generic item that you can get from a Uline catalog, it’s something that’s been custom made that speaks to the mission of the outing. So there’s these little tricks and trade little tricks, I would say things that we take from our trade and bring to every business that we deal with, because really what it matters, whether you’re going to have one or 100, you’re always a repeat customer.
If you’re a business, we always need you coming back to us. We always need your customers coming back to you. That’s what creates the wheel of success for us. And that’s what keeps it rolling. No, it’s great. And so as you kind of, as, as the business, obviously you’re going to continue helping franchises, small businesses, but what’s next?
Like what excites you right now in the market? You’ve been in this game a long time, whether it’s the technology, whether it’s the delivery, whether it’s just the business environment in general, like, I don’t want to put words into your mouth, but, but what excites you right now? Well, right now we have, we are in the midst of a great opportunity with a new franchise.
It is so exciting because, you know, we see a lot of businesses, we touch a lot of businesses and this is a really, really exciting one. It’s put out by craft culture, their, their businesses parlor, and it is going to be epic where this brand is going. They’ve got a great frontline thinker and Don Robinson, who’s the president of the company.
He’s got a great young team of people who are just out there driving their brand, elevating their product. And it is so exciting for us because we’re on the bleeding edge of this thing. We’re, we’re working conceptually with them on store design, on creating their portals so that all the items that they need are their package branding.
So for us, just being in business with them is exciting because we get to touch so many different things. They’re going to blow up. I mean, it’s, it’s going to be like wildfire because their product is exceptional. Their people are exceptional and you know, there’s tons of competition with everything there’s competition.
But what I love to see is people who are ready to take on the competition and win, because that means the consumer is going to come up with such a better product at the end. What are some elements that like that? Because you’ve seen a lot of businesses and what you can share with us, right? Obviously, if something’s not launched, you don’t have to tell us, but like, what are some elements that you see that you’re like, like this business is about to blow?
I mean, for me, it’s about the people, Adam. I mean, every single time when you’ve got a core group of people working together and you have, you know, people in the kitchen. Might be a restaurant concept when you’ve got people in the offices, you’ve got people in the hospitality side of the business when you bring all of those pieces together, where you’ve got this core group of professionals driven already successful people trying to be even more successful.
It just, it just fires me up. It. It is so exciting to work with them, to see their vision come to life, for them to be able to trust us with their brand, with, you know, with essentially their baby, you know, of course, you know, this is their idea. And then, you know, sometimes you have to say, Hey, like this, have you thought about this?
And sometimes you win it, sometimes you lose it. But the key is if you keep focused on the consumer, your customer, your future customer, if it’s good for them, then it’s good for everybody. And so when you have an open collaborative. Relationship with the people that you’re working with. You just get to double down on success.
So Brian, I always like to ask the authors as they get to this point where I like to say, this is the beginning of the journey because the book’s out now it’s time to promote and make a lot of noise and let everybody know it’s out. But having gotten your story out there and your message speaking to, and I don’t mean this isn’t a plug for mission matter.
So whether somebody uses us as a publisher or not, doesn’t matter. That’s not the point of the question, but. Like to me, the point of the question is to inspire others to tell their story, however they feel appropriate. So what would be your advice or what would you tell others out there that it meant they haven’t quite told their story yet, whether it’s being an author, whether it’s a podcast, whether it’s a blog, like whatever it is.
And I, and I’m picking on you just a little, cause you’re the one that’s. said you had a, you said this, that you stick out a little bit of a problem with the, with the computer. Okay. So let’s just say that you said that you’re not the best with technology, but what kind of, what kind of message would you tell, you know, those other business leaders out there like yourself that maybe haven’t taken that step yet to go out there and tell their story?
Boy, it’s not like you put me on the spot or anything. No, really what I would say is, is. back to those early days in your business, go back to all the things that you said, I’ll never forget that. I’ll never forget that. And then realize that you’re starting to forget it. The time moves a lot of distance, puts a lot of space between those monumental events in your career.
And this process of authoring a book, putting your story together, you know, in this case, publishing, I think is just. Frankly, I think everybody should do it. It was so great for myself and my team to put together our stories. You know, I consulted with a lot of folks within our business to kind of get their perspective.
It was a collaborative process for me, but we now have a true written. Documentation, if you will, of some things that really matter to our business that matter to me personally, and you just never know, right? You know, if something terrible happened to some extent, it’s a guiding principle that people can go back and look on and I just, if you’re not computer savvy, or you’re not technology savvy, don’t be shy.
Don’t get some help. Go to the public library. If you absolutely have to. There are resources out there everywhere to help people. Do what we did and I just can’t emphasize enough that it is a team building exercise. It’s a personal journey exercise. It helps you refocus some things that you probably thought you were focused on.
And then after the process, you take a step back and go, wow. That was, it’s been a minute and a minute. And, and so I, I just really, I cannot emphasize enough how great a process it was, how important it is for executives, for leaders, for businesses to have this kind of written history. You know, we all have a page on our website and it’s got a little thread here, a little thread there, but the bigger story starts to fade over time.
And it’s important to refocus that energy. Well said, Brian. We’re thrilled to have you part of our Mission Matters community as an author and just as just a community member, because that’s what we are. That being said, Brian, so if somebody’s watching this or listening to this and they want to follow up and they want to learn more about Decal Impressions and follow your journey, I mean, what’s the best way for people to connect?
The best way for us, our website’s fantastic. Since we’re a visual company, you just have so much great information. Decalimpressions. com. We are constantly updating, putting new information. You can get connected on our social feeds. And you know, just kind of join the, join the journey with us and. Be a part of it.
And, you know, and I would, I would say one thing to you, Adam, just on that previous question, you know, if anybody’s considering it your platform, your process, your people, your team, they are lights out and there is anybody on the fence. Get with Adam. He’s your boy. He knows how to do it. He does know how to curate your story and they bring so much out of you.
I just can’t emphasize enough. You know, we, we made a decision strategically to partner with your organization. It was the best thing we ever did. And we’re just super excited to keep telling our story because now, now that we have the story and now that we’re really pushing it. It’s only leading to the next chapter.
And that’s what we’re so excited about. Ah, it’s awesome. And that makes me happy just to know that we’re, we’re playing our small part in getting your story out there. And by the way, for the audience and everybody else listening we’ll, we’ll put all the links to Decal Impressions and all that good stuff in the, in the show notes, you can just click on the link and head right on over.
And speaking of the audience, if this is your first time with Mission Matters, Hey, hit that subscribe button because we’re all about bringing on mission based. Individuals to share their mission, their stories, their businesses, what we can learn from their day to day so that we can all grow together.
And that’s the whole point is we want to grow together and Brian really appreciate you coming back on the show, man, as always make it time for us and I’m going to keep out what we’re going to keep on building together. So thanks so much for, for all you do. Absolutely. My pleasure, Adam, just thrilled to be here.