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He Saw the Sign

A franchisee's success is out there for the whole world to see.

When the Allentown, Pennsylvania, police were trying to track down a homicide suspect, they obtained the help of Doug Reed and his Billboard Connection franchises. Reed donated ad space on his electronic billboard, the first of its kind in Allentown, to serve as a modern-day wanted poster. The suspect was apprehended in just two weeks.

Working as an auto mechanic and later in real estate, Reed, 36, felt unfulfilled, so in 2005, he decided to go into business for himself as a Billboard Connection franchisee. The advertising company's low investment requirement and the positive track records of two of its sister companies attracted Reed to the business.

Reed's clients include owners of outdoor media who are looking for advertisements to place on their billboards and bus stop ads, as well as advertisers themselves. Reed also sells advertisements on Poletectors, protective light post covers in parking lots. His strategy for selling Poletector ads was so successful that he now holds exclusive rights to sell ad space on them.

Reed currently owns five Billboard Connection territories. He attributes his 2007 sales of $750,000 and the Franchisee of the Year award he earned last year to his dedicated and trustworthy staff, as well as his own strong sense of initiative and desire to explore new horizons. "If I get an idea in my head," he says, "I chase it.

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This article was originally published in the April 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: He Saw the Sign.

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