Publishing Franchise Grows by Helping Small Businesses Grow


Sponsored content by The Scout Guide.

Eleven years after releasing their first city guide featuring locally owned businesses in Charlottesville, Virginia, The Scout Guide publishing franchise has guides in more than 60 markets, promoting more than 3,000 small businesses to a print circulation of more than one million and a digital audience of more than one million fans, followers, and email subscribers.

With franchisees located from New Orleans to Nantucket, Baltimore to Boise, the company continues to expand, adding five new cities in 2021 alone. At a time when supporting independently owned businesses has never been more crucial, small business owners are turning to The Scout Guide for a unique advertising opportunity that helps them stay in front of customers, clients, and potential partners. As advocates for the small business owners who advertise in their city guides, franchisees align with advertisers in a synergistic—and often deeply rewarding—relationship as they promote the businesses in print, online, and in person.

A mix of sales, publishing, marketing, and creative direction, the owner role appeals to potential franchisees with a variety of backgrounds. While having an aptitude for advertising sales is beneficial, being passionate about supporting local businesses is a must. The photo-driven print guide, which is published annually in each city, is the cornerstone of The Scout Guide; recognized as a trusted resource for locals and travelers alike, the guide serves as both a celebration of and introduction to the local business owners who make each city unique.

The dynamic, multi-marketing approach The Scout Guide offers advertisers is comprised of the creative and collaborative creation of the advertisements; year-round distribution of the guide; promotion on a locally focused website and social media platforms; and in-person networking events. Business owners cite referrals, the cultivation of a loyal clientele, increased exposure to a local audience, alignment with other local business owners, and the support and advocacy of the local franchisee as prime reasons why they invest in The Scout Guide.

While the franchisees focus on selling advertisements and supporting local businesses, a robust headquarters team focuses on helping franchisees—small business owners themselves—succeed. Teams provide training, creative, and technical support while also growing a national brand with a nationwide following that enjoys learning about The Scout Guide advertisers, browsing the guides, exploring The Scout Guide cities, and more. In addition, The Scout Guide franchisees frequently engage with one another, sharing ideas, experiences, and encouragement. At every level, the company’s mission to support and celebrate small businesses, local entrepreneurs, and communities informs decisions, developments, and day-to-day operations.

Since its inception, the 100% women-owned and women-founded company has produced more than 6 million copies of The Scout Guide city guides to date. Having achieved growth in a variety of areas in 2021, including market share, digital audience, print circulation, and advertiser inquiries, The Scout Guide is poised for expansion in the coming year. The remainder of 2021 and 2022 will see The Scout Guide celebrating the publication of the tenth volume of its signature city guides in 10 markets as well—a testament to the brand’s model, mission, and business owners.

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