Category Archive : Our Franchisers


Who: Ciska van Schagen (49)

What: Minicards Barcelona 🇪🇸

Part of the Minicards network since: 2003

Exploits also: Minicards desk maps in two versions: English and Chinese

1. What’s your biggest milestone or achievement?
“I started Minicards Barcelona in 2003.A great concept: simple, easy to use and visible. My plan was to run this business for five years. I expected Minicards to be overtaken by digital media by then. But despite the online competition Minicards remains a strong product. The cards are still a popular source of information for tourists. I expect it stays like this in the near future, especially for those who don’t want to have a mobile in their hands on vacation all the time. Now, sixteen years later I’m still running Minicards. That’s quite a milestone and I’m proud of it.”

2. Can you tell us about your biggest challenge right now?
We are visible in hotels and other locations, but online there are still many opportunities. The biggest challenge for me is: how are we going to create more online visibility and profile ourselves on social media? In this way we can attract new customers and offer the existing ones even more service.”

3. What’s big on your to do-list for this year?
“Approaching customers by phone or email is not always effective; people do not read their mail or are difficult to reach. Via social media, such as LinkedIn, I see new opportunities. That’s why I want to focus on social selling. It would be great to make contact with potential customers through social media, so we can build up valuable relationships and start a sales process.”

4. What’s the most remarkable thing that ever happened at your business?
“Once, a Russian company wanted to advertise on Minicards. The contact person suggested to meet in the lobby of a hotel. I saw a man sitting at the bar with a suitcase beside him. I started to talk about Minicards, but he looked at me and said: «Don’t say anything. We’re just going to do business and here’s the money.» He pushed the suitcase towards me. It felt like I was in a mafia movie and didn’t accept the money. Confused I left. This was a Russian way of doing business, but I had no idea. In the end we worked together, by the way. Finally, I accepted the money, but not after he signed a contract of course.”

5. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since starting your business?
“Always invest in personal contact with your customers. Start a conversation, and don’t be afraid to ask about personal stuff too. Building on a good relationship, so that customers know you and trust you, is worth its weight in gold.”

Minicards Madrid & Valencia

Who: Rubén Martin Barriga

What: Minicards Valencia and Madrid 🇪🇸

Part of the Minicards network since: 2009

Number of employees: 10 working for his company GrupoDream

Exploits also: Minicards desk maps

1. What was your biggest lightbulb moment or insight concerning Minicards?
“Minicards is a strong, simple product. That realization came mainly during the economic crisis, when I noticed that our revenues hardly decreased. In Spain the only sector that suffered the least from this crisis was the tourism industry. That has given me even more confidence in the product and has always inspired me to continue with Minicards Spain. In addition to the cards, we also distribute the desk maps in hotels in Madrid. With a circulation of 600.000, we are the largest operator in the city. That’s a great achievement.”

2. What is your biggest challenge right now?
“In fact, I always want to keep growing; in customers and in distribution points. That motivates me constantly. But I would also love to add a few institutional clients to our portfolio of advertisers, such as the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum. Such advertisers are good for our brand and because of the high number of visitors, many tickets are submitted. Which works well for such a measurable product as Minicards of course.”

 3. What’s big food for thought for the future?
“We are exploring whether it is profitable to place digital screens in hotel lobbies, so we can offer a wider portfolio and increase our impact. And minor detail: there is a demand from our advertisers for such screens, so we feel we have to respond on that.”  

4. What’s the most wonderful or remarkable thing that ever happend at your business?
”Multiple things! For example, our Minicards have been on Spanish television several times. Also the fact that Minicards are known all over the world. Many of our customers already knew about Minicards, because they saw our product abroad. And last but not least: we have a fanatic collector of Minicards regularly asking us to send him the latest versions. Amazing, right?”

5. What’s your biggest lesson about the Minicards business?
”Keep on going and never give up: that’s what it takes to run my business. And even more important: always go for quality and advertisers that really benefit tourists.”

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