Less than a year after we first featured Glenn Read’s success story, we’re sharing the latest from this inspiring entrepreneur who is already growing his business, which he first acquired in 2017. He’s the owner of Allegra Marketing Print Mail, with his franchise based in Schenectady, NY.
Learn about Glenn’s latest ventures, including how he’s:
- Strategically scaling up his business
- Strengthening infrastructure to support growth, including obtaining an SBA 7(a) loan
- Leveraging opportunities to better serve his customers and improve the bottom line
Background: Life before entrepreneurship
Glenn served on-and-off in the US Army, Army Reserve and New York Army National Guard from 1983 to 2017, before medically retiring in 2017 due to injuries caused by his years of service. For his next endeavor, Glenn wanted something that would also enable him to build a team to work together toward a common goal, much as his life in the military had.
He decided to venture into business ownership and in 2017, he purchased an existing Allegra franchise operation. With that move, Glenn immediately had a fully operational, full-service printing, mailing and marketing business, complete with many existing customers and a good brand presence to build on.
Still, despite these advantages, the path to business success wasn’t straightforward or easy.
The business’s early years: Summer 2017 to Spring 2019
This Allegra franchise had been in operation for about 30 years when Glenn acquired it and along with customers, equipment and brand identity, he also took on its financial struggles. And that’s when he ran into a common problem that many entrepreneurs face: With cash flow tight and no reserves, he needed money, but he and his business didn’t meet all of the banks’ standard criteria for business loans.
Out of need, he turned to high-interest, short-term loans with exorbitant repayment terms. Soon, the business’s finances were worse than before, with Glenn owing more than $9,000 in loan payments every month, which left little to cover expenses or to reinvest in growth.
As a result of the loan’s beneficial terms, his monthly payments were reduced to just $1,600, and with cash flow stabilized, he retained seven jobs and began to turn a profit.
Smart growth and an SBA 7(a) loan
It wasn’t long before Glenn began eyeing new opportunities to grow, including the potential purchase of another specialty business that was available. And this time around, he knew exactly what to do: He contacted his team at Pursuit, who helped him apply for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan of $600,000.
“I didn’t hesitate to go to Pursuit because they made the first loan experience such a pleasure,” explains Glenn. He continues, “I knew the terms would be great and that the team would help me if I ran into difficulties. The 7(a) application is pretty comprehensive, so their guidance was really appreciated.”
His business’s financial position was so improved by then that he could put in more than the 10% owner-equity requirement. He received approval in autumn 2019 and quickly closed the purchase deal.
The SBA 7(a) loan covered acquisition costs and working capital for the business that Glenn acquired, Commercial Mailing & Printing Services, which specializes in mailing and perfectly complements Allegra. Over time, it will be fully integrated, physically and operationally, with Allegra, enabling his team to meet all of their customers’ printing and mailing needs in-house. His clientele is strong, too, and consists primarily of a healthy mix of non-profit agencies and corporate business.
“If you asked me a year ago if I’d be running a million-dollar business, it would’ve been unimaginable then,” Glenn laughs. “But Pursuit helped so much that when the opportunity came around with a great seller and strong financials, I couldn’t imagine not doing it. And my Pursuit team saw that, too. They knew that my business could triple revenue and double profits, and they put their full support behind the decision.”
Looking ahead: Leveraging client loyalty
Now, Glenn’s focus is on integrating Allegra and CMPS thoughtfully and slowly, so that existing clients are assured of the quality and attentiveness that Glenn’s leadership brings to the operation. He says, “It’s important to stay focused. I try to run the business effectively, and to be smart about keeping great customers by helping them understand the true benefits of doing business with us.”
Still, he’s open to other complementary opportunities that will enable him to grow his client base while further honing client services. He’s also learning how to outsource effectively. For example, email marketing is done through Constant Contact® and he’s hired a consultant to handle marketing, social media and publicity.
It’s a formula for success that will help him build client loyalty and strengthen his business’s financials.
More experience, more advice
For other business owners, Glenn offers this advice, “If you’re in business, and whether or not you think you need funding yet, talk to the Pursuit team. The support you get is unbelievable. It’s a whole package including funding, of course, but also financial management tools and training, human resource training and more. The Pursuit team is driven by success. They want entrepreneurs to succeed and they want the communities we serve to thrive, too.”