Sep52012

“Your company’s success in the future may depend on your ability to attract repeat and referral customers.”

Duane & Kim Carns
Duane and Kim Carns
Cookie Advantage
President & Vice President

Guidant Financial: The leader in alternative startup, franchise and small business financing

National Bank Services: Nationwide Credit Card Processing

Cookie Advantage is a customer care follow-up program designed to develop relationships with your customers by sending them a gift tin of gourmet made from scratch chocolate chip cookies as a way of saying “Thank you”.

Cookie Advantage works with businesses to help them build their repeat & referral customer base.

MO: How did you come with the concept for the Cookie Advantage?

Duane & Kim: Kim and I held different marketing positions for many years. We were always searching for the most effective way to build our business. We were like most business owners and sales professionals trying many forms of marketing from TV, Radio, newspaper ads and mail outs but were less than satisfied with the results. Then we started giving our customers gifts, thanking them for doing business with us or sending us referrals. The response from our customers was overwhelming and they were telling us how no one ever had thanked them like this before. Our business began growing dramatically and by tracking our results we realized that the bulk of our new business was coming from repeat or referral customers. We then developed our concept so we could duplicate these same results for other companies. Your company’s success in the future may depend on your ability to attract repeat and referral customers.

Cookie Advantage brings more repeat and referral customers to businesses which in turn add more dollars to their bottom line.

MO: Can you talk about your entrepreneurial journey from having the concept for the Cookie Advantage to turning it into a successful franchise? What was the most challenging aspect of the process? What has been the most rewarding?

Duane & Kim: We knew we had a viable concept and that it would work but our challenge was getting a bank to loan us the money to start our business. No one wanted to loan us money on a startup concept, so we just pulled out our credit cards and went for it! 15 years later with our successful track record we’re on the SBA Registry for approved franchise financing. The most rewarding part of our business is when we see people join our franchise system and enjoy our 4-day work week, earn great money and enjoy spending time with their families.

MO: What inspired you to create a fundraising aspect to your franchise? What kind of research did you undertake before expanding into this area?

Duane & Kim: We were approached by different organizations and groups asking us if we did fundraising. We decided to offer this as an additional product or service by request only. We brought on a consultant with over 30 years in fundraising experience to use his expertise when building our program. This is not our core business but do have it available at some of our franchises.

MO: Can you share with our readers how John Maxwell’s teachings have made a difference in your business?

Duane & Kim: We have been students of John Maxwell’s teachings for many years. John has written over 70 books, one of our favorites is “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. This book has many leadership principles that help you develop not only your business but as a person too. One of the 21 laws is the “The Law of the Lid”. Many times companies or individuals place a lid or ceiling on what they are able to accomplish. By sharing with companies many of John’s principles we are able to open their eyes to the possibilities of what they can accomplish by helping them lift the lid they have placed on themselves. We not only use these trainings with our franchises but with others too. We feel so strongly about John’s teachings that we have become part of the John Maxwell team and become John Maxwell Certified Coaches and Trainers.

MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

Duane & Kim:  We are excited about the growth of Cookie Advantage. We plan on doubling the number of franchises in the next year.

 

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