Interview with Dave McConachie – President of Digitech
Dave is the President of Digitech, a company that specializes in environmentally safe printer cartridges. Dave has a broad based business background consisting of time as a specialty retailer and a small business consultant before focusing on Digitech. Under Dave, the company has grown and developed by making product quality, customer service and environmental responsibility the Company’s key strengths.
Dave believes strongly that businesses must be sustainable and give back to the communities they trade in. On a volunteer basis, David devotes a significant amount of his time each year to the Variety Club of British Columbia. He presently serves as President of Variety BC, which raises approximately $7,500,000 annually for the children of British Columbia.
BeTheBoss - Tell us about the Digitech concept.
Dave McConachie - Digitech produces one of the most environmentally friendly printer cartridges available in the market today. We use a unique process to create a renewed laser toner cartridge by disassembling and recycling used ones, rather than just re-filling it with new toner. The renewable toner cartridges are as good as, if not better than new. We are ISO 9001:2008 certified for our cartridge manufacturing, and each cartridge comes with our standard one year, same-day replacement warranty. We work to be a partner with our clients rather than simply a supplier. We offer amazing services; including fast delivery, live phone support and no required contracts - all designed to make life easier for our clients.
BTB - How and when did you become involved with Digitech?
DM - I was a client of the company’s before purchasing it in 2005. We have a 21 year history of providing quality cartridges backed by remarkable service. Over the past 6 years we have really focused on reducing our own environmental impact as well as working with our clients to help them reduce theirs, all while maintaining our product quality and improving our customer service.
BTB - What was your background prior to joining Digitech?
DM - I spent a decade in specialty retail as a multi-unit franchisee for The Body Shop, where I learned the importance of customer service as well as corporate responsibility. I know what it’s like to be on both sides of the franchise model which I think gives me a good perspective in dealing with our licensing program. After the Body Shop I founded my own consulting practice and help other small business owners grow their company’s before deciding to become an owner operator again with Digitech.
BTB - What are some of the advantages in being a Digitech franchisee?
DM - The major advantage is the 20 year license. We are looking to develop long term relationships with our regional partners to ensure they can successfully develop their territories in a sustainable and customer focused way.
We have a fantastic training program which successfully teaches our partners how to represent the brand, and generate sales. We provide all of the administrative support allowing our licensees to focus growing their businesses as well as providing ongoing coaching and marketing support.
BTB - Who is your ideal franchisee?
DM - Someone who is passionate and driven; who is willing to step outside their comfort zone to learn new skills and abilities, and who is prepared to work hard to earn success. One of my favorite quotes is "Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't." Unfortunately the author is unknown, but it sums up what we are looking for – entrepreneurial people who appreciate that hard work now will pay off later.
BTB - Tell us a little about the printer cartridge Market?
DM - The printer cartridge industry is huge, 30 billion annually in North America. We specialize in providing products for the desktop laser printers – mainly HP, Lexmark and brother brands which represent about 80% of the market. While there is a fair amount of competition in the industry, most tend to be from smaller operations who don’t manufacture their own cartridges, but are selling third party cartridges which makes it hard for them to control quality. There is no common set of standards for the printer cartridge industry, and often quality is the first thing sacrificed to lower the price. That was the primary reason we became ISO 9001 certified for our manufacturing, so that our clients could see that an independent third party is auditing us for quality. We’ve done the same thing for our environmental programs, seeking out a third party to measure and audit that we are “walking the talk”.
BTB - What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
DM - It’s all about people. It doesn’t matter how good your product is, it is strong relationships that keep clients.
BTB - What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
DM - It’s all about people. Take the time to meet and get to know the people you will be working with. They are your support structure so it’s important to make sure you are partnering with people you are confident you can work well with.