TAPinto is a network of locally owned and operated, objective local online and mobile newspaper franchises. It is also a community resource that helps to raise awareness about towns, clubs/organizations, religious institutions and local businesses.
We recently interviewed Darlene Tedesco Cullen, owner of TAPinto South Plainfield and Tapinto North Plainfield/ Green Brook/ Watchung, to find out why she chose her franchise, her secrets to success and what advice she has for potential franchisees.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I have owned TAPinto South Plainfield for two years, and TAPinto North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung for three months.
What were you doing before becoming a franchise owner?
Prior to becoming a franchise owner, I was banking executive. I was in banking for over 30 years.
Why did you choose your franchise?
I liked the concept of TAPinto, and thought in addition to providing a service for the community, I could use my business development skills to make money while providing the local news for our residents. Buying a franchise is like becoming part of a “family” where all members work together for the good of the whole. TAPinto includes a diverse group of over 40 franchisees working individually but together to increase revenue and readership, broaden our brand and grow the TAP family.
What were some of the challenges you faced when starting your franchise?
The biggest challenge was to familiarize the residents with online news. There was an established weekly paper in town which was considered the local news source for over 10 years. Residents soon became accustomed to the TAPinto model and now enjoy getting their local news via email, mobile, iPad or desktop.
Where did you research or get advice about starting a franchise?
I did most of my research online and meeting with the principals of TAPinto. When you buy a franchise you are purchasing the years of experience and software the franchisor has in place. Make sure you have an understanding of what you are purchasing, the training involved and having your team in place.
How much did you spend before your doors were officially opened?
The startup was inexpensive, once I made a decision to purchase the franchise, we officially launched within two months. My partners and I familiarized ourselves with the software and attended various training sessions to make our launch seamless.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There is no typical day when you are covering the local news or selling ads. You must roll with the punches, overcome obstacles and celebrate successes.
What is your secret to success?
Perseverance and balance. It is important to have the right balance when you are covering the news and sales. Organization is the key to succeed in life, work and play. Having the proper financing in place and having the right team is critical.
What would you do differently if you had to do it all over?
Nothing pertaining to the franchise, but personally I would have left banking a year earlier than I did to pursue owning more franchises.
Where do you see your business in five years?
TAPinto being a household name, owning more franchises and mentoring those who would like to be a franchise owner.
What is one trend that really excites you?
Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor?
In banking throughout the years I always had a mentor, which was part of my successful career, and in turn throughout the years I have mentored many people in their careers.
What advice do you have for others looking to own a franchise?
Research the franchise and talk to a variety of franchise owners. Have your finances in order as well as your team. Ask questions about training. Honestly assess your own ability to run a business: accomplishments come with great effort, dedication of a tremendous amount of time and initiative — do you have what it takes?
Would you recommend others be franchisees?
I definitely would, particularly if they are looking to be their own boss and be in charge of their destiny. I strongly believe you need to have a strong work ethic, and not only be dedicated to the business but believe in it.
Where can people get more information on TAPinto franchise opportunities?
Visit the website here.
Where can people find your TAPinto franchises on social media?
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