In January 2020, André and Cindie Nel realized their dream of owning a business in the United States by purchasing their Minuteman Press franchise located at 2930 College Ave., Unit C in Costa Mesa, California. “We have both always been entrepreneurs at heart,” says Cindie.
As a dynamic husband-and-wife duo, André and Cindie have combined their strengths to create a highly successful Minuteman Press business in Costa Mesa, with strong growth since buying the business during the pandemic and through to today.
Journey from South Africa to Costa Mesa
Hailing from South Africa, André, as part of an owner run business, built a significant multi temperature logistics and distribution company for several large US fast food franchise brands. Cindie, through her strong sales and account management skills, built an innovative telecommunications brand.
Cindie shares, “André, recognizing the value in investing in leading US Franchise organizations, set about purchasing a franchise in the US. Minuteman Press International, with its solid track record and stellar reputation not only in the U.S., but in other global markets including South Africa, made the Minuteman Press franchise opportunity a front runner. This, combined with André being a college marketing major and me being a public relations major, meant there was an obvious synergy in the commercial print world, and this made Minuteman Press the perfect business opportunity for us.”
Now operating in Costa Mesa for over two-and-a-half years, André and Cindie have fully integrated themselves and Minuteman Press into their community. “Costa Mesa is an inclusive community with businesses choosing to shop and support local and we have seen huge benefits in both supporting and receiving local support,” says André. “Support includes not only business but also sharing facilities and neighborhood responsibilities.”
Building the Business in Costa Mesa
To grow the business, André and Cindie have successfully differentiated themselves from the competition.
André explains, “Earning our clients’ trust through personal service, quick turnarounds and over delivering on expectations sets us apart from our competitors. We’ve learned to understand each client’s specific requirements and tailor our solutions accordingly. Rather than be a ‘Jack of all Trades’ we strive to become an expert for their essential needs and grow into their requirements from there.”
For Minuteman Press in Costa Mesa, key product growth areas include customized labels, stickers, books, and custom branded apparel. André says, “We’ve invested and skilled up in the label/sticker and book capabilities. We’ve realized the key is in-house, quick turnaround service. We are price competitive, however, not the cheapest in town. Our clients love our personal service, with pre-production samples and our ability to meet tight in-hand deadlines setting us apart from our larger competitors.”
“We have also managed to grow our customized apparel business through a great partnership with a decorator with whom we work closely in understanding the balance between exceptional quality and meeting customer in hand dates.”
“With so much being ‘virtual’ in today’s society, print is still something tangible that people can touch and feel and use to connect more personally with potential and existing clients,” adds Cindie. “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of connecting with one another at every opportunity, be it postcards, brochures, apparel, signage, customized mailings, etc. Print is highly personal and society is craving more and not less of it.”
When it comes to marketing the business, Cindie shares, “Our biggest growth initiatives have been online marketing through Google optimization, with our five-star Google Reviews being a massive contributing success factor. The Minuteman Press pedigree is also key in clients locating us through Internet search filters. Other major growth contributing factors have been personal networking and client referrals. One of our largest clients, a realty company, is a friend of ours and it’s rewarding to be a part of their marketing and business development success.
“When you’ve invested in paid Internet optimization and client referrals, it’s critical you answer the phone and email as quickly and as professionally as possible to ensure these opportunities are secured.”
Why Minuteman Press?
For André and Cindie, joining the Minuteman Press franchise family enabled them to realize their dream of owning a business while also providing additional resources and support.
“Becoming integrated into the Minuteman Press franchise system has been seamless and successful due to the informative training at World HQ and the ongoing solid local support from our Regional VP Dan Byers and the local field team,” says Cindie. “Minuteman Press checks all the right boxes in terms of onboarding, operational and financial training, and franchise support.
“Additionally, where Minuteman Press hits the ball out the park is in the inclusive ‘Minuteman Press family’ culture where everyone supports each other in challenging times and cheers each other on and celebrates sincerely in each other’s achievements. This is what makes Minuteman Press the unique and special place that it is. During these unprecedented times we’ve all been facing, the kindness and generosity shown by our Minuteman Press family has been remarkable.”
When asked about the rewards of business ownership, Cindie states, “Our biggest personal reward for owning our own business is that we get to remain connected with our children through time flexibility and the ability to support them financially. Our son, Ethan, is a Computer Science Engineering Major at UCSC. We love that we get to visit him and the beautiful campus and town of Santa Cruz. Our daughter, Madison, a Junior at San Clemente High School, is an aspiring actress and we love having the time and ability to share her dreams and passions.
“Our professional rewards are how our clients have become our partners and friends resulting in doubling the turnover of our business in the brief two and a half years we’ve owned our shop. This has been achieved with the mindset that every project is about how we can add value to our clients’ businesses or employees. Without our strategic relationships with our suppliers and service providers this would be impossible, so we therefore value, support and deeply invest in these companies who are an extension of our family.”
Advice to Others
For others who are looking into owning a business, Cindie shares, “Our advice to business owners is to do as we did; learn from the best. The key to success is to know your local market and client base and to let them dictate what and how much to invest in in-house capabilities.
“Become experts in your field. Never hand over a job that is anything less than exceptional and also package and label your orders in the manner that you as a client would like to receive them. Always be excited and enthusiastic about every job you do for your client and rewards will follow!”