Interview with David Loopstra - President of Our Homes Media Group
David Loopstra is the president of Our Homes Media Group Inc. He is a graduate of journalism school, and has been involved in the media business since he started his career.
David lives in rural Ontario and has been involved in growing several successful companies, most recently the OUR HOMES magazine group of franchises which is rapidly expanding across the country.
BeTheBoss - What’s the story behind OUR HOMES Media Group Inc.
David Loopstra - OUR HOMES magazine was launched in 2006, with immediate success. The idea was to create a premium home, real estate and décor magazine, that looked and felt like a “national” decorating magazine, but with local content, and local advertising rates. It was a hit. Advertisers flocked to our pages, and soon decided that OUR HOMES magazine would become a regular staple of their advertising plan. We realized that we had a winner, and decided to offer our franchise model to the marketplace where we were met with enthusiastic franchise buyers.
I am happy to report that the trend established in the early days of local advertisers recognizing us as the premier choice for advertising in their region has continued. This is great news for the OUR HOMES publishers (the franchisees) because it means that their customers (the advertisers) become repeat clients who stay with the magazine. And repeat customers means a healthy business. Our franchisees do not need any publishing or editing experience. All the complicated processes of creating an amazing local magazine are taken care of by head office. Our franchisees focus on growing their sales revenue by meeting with local advertisers in their region(s).
BTB - What made you decide to franchise?
DL - We realized we were onto something after pilot-testing our model in two very different markets. When both became very profitable magazines, we knew we had something special to offer to the franchise marketplace. Almost anyone can become a successful OUR HOMES franchisee. They just need to be great at working with people, and they need to be comfortable in a sales position. We ensure that they have the most premium quality magazine in their regions, that’s our job as a franchisor. We provide the optimum advertising choice for theircustomers, so it’s an easy sell for our franchisees when they are meeting with their customers. And that’s why we decided to franchise. Almost anyone with great people skills can do it.
BTB - Tell us a little about the Magazine Industry?
DL - Our franchisees become the publisher of their OUR HOMES magazine, and they focus on selling the advertising space within those magazines. Overall the magazine industry is extremely healthy, and growing. Magazines are benefitting from technology, and readers are continuing to form ever-deeper connections with the magazine brands they love. This is good news for the OUR HOMES franchisees. It means that advertisers are increasingly looking to magazines as a good place to invest their advertising budget. Within each of our franchisees’ local markets there are hundreds of home- and real estate-related businesses that spend anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of their gross revenue on advertising. That‘s a healthy marketplace, and OUR HOMES is the natural advertising medium of choice for them.
BTB - What have some of the challenges been in growing your franchise?
DL - At first, we had so much demand from prospective franchisees, that we had to put a hiatus on franchise growth to ensure that our management team could accommodate all the production, and still produce a premium quality magazine. We have achieved this now, and we are ready to grow again.
BTB - Who has been your greatest inspiration?
DL - I get inspired everyday by the people who work hard, and focus on the key tasks they need to do to grow their business. Within our system, this key task is sales.
BTB - What are some of the advantages in being an OUR HOMES franchisee?
DL - OUR HOMES is a lifestyle business for our franchisees. Our Franchisees set their own hours and often enjoy much time off. Since the magazine attracts high-quality, repeat advertisers, our franchisees are able to build a steady and reliable stream of income through their magazine. With their advertisers repeat-buying, our franchisees’ time is freed up to either continue to grow their magazine, or spend lots of time with friends and family. Some other benefits of this are that the initial investment is low, because franchisees can work from their home offices, and they can set their own hours, which is unlike other franchise opportunities like, for example a restaurant or store, where you have to be there.
And finally, you get to be the publisher of the most beautiful magazine in your region. It’s prestigious position, and one that garners respect.
BTB - What “Gadgets” can’t you live without?
DL - Definitely a laptop, and a cell phone. Those two items are key for any publisher.
BTB - What do you do in your spare time?
DL - I like to mountain bike and sea kayak and spend time with my wife Jenn and my kids, Brooklyn and Mav who are 3 and 1.
BTB - What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
DL - Be sure to identify what type of lifestyle you want, and then begin your search from there.
BTB - In your opinion, why do you think that OUR HOMES would be a great opportunity for someone?
DL - OUR HOMES allows those who are good at sales to put their sales skills to work them, and grow their own business. It’s a beautiful magazine, and we have a great team to work with. And the rewards are wonderful!