Prior to opening their dream restaurant, the Ways each came from very different backgrounds. Marilyn enjoyed a 25-year career as a bus driver for the local school district, and plans on returning once schools are back in session. Jim worked for 26 years in various finance and operational roles for a major office-supply company. By Cindy Charette
Tough Road Ahead
This antique car restorer didn’t let a bad credit score detour his plans.
by Diana Capirano
Certified Franchise Consultant
Like other Detroit natives, Anthony, a client of mine, worked at Ford Motor Company. Anthony, like prior generations of employees, had viewed positions at companies like Ford as secure, with a path to retirement. For 25 years, he felt his job was his safety net, but like many of you reading this magazine, he also aspired to own his own business through franchising.
On bad days, Anthony was committed to quitting, but he rationalized there were still goods days where he was content with stable pay, growing retirement savings, and a large pension—Middle America’s dream. Conflicted, he began an on-line franchise search, and in October 2016, one fateful click connected him to me.
Anthony shared his success as a prototype engine technologist and engineering tech for Ford, as well as his passion to restore classic and antique cars. He expressed a desire not only for “financial freedom,” but also the freedom that comes from owning your own business. He wanted a schedule with more time for family and hobbies. After years of designing and restoring cars, Anthony made a brave decision to re-engineer his life and his future.
Bumpy Road Ahead
Anthony’s story is not unique, but it’s highly inspirational. Along with mounting stressors at work, Anthony was caring for elderly parents in poor health, and he had just gone through a very ugly divorce. As a result of a damaging divorce settlement, his credit score plummeted more than 200 points to 560. Ouch! I knew that this would immediately disqualify him with franchisors and it would be impossible to secure a loan. Terrible credit is the “kiss of death” in our world, and his plans for an SBA loan were immediately crushed.
Certainly, this is not the first time I met someone with a disqualifying credit score, but it was the most impactful. Anthony never came off of the throttle. (For those who don’t yet know me, I’m a car enthusiast so pardon the metaphors). Anyhow, my client, a self-proclaimed pessimist and cynic suddenly became fueled with conviction and positivity. His original fears and doubts were now powered with purpose and focus to overcome this major bump in the road. For many, this would have been their jumping off point—a point of acceptance and giving up. Anthony’s innate problem-solving skills now defined his personal strength as he kicked into high gear.
Improving his credit to the targeted 700 score would not be easy, nor would it happen overnight. Still motivated to begin research for some great franchises, he began with the end in mind—freedom. He enlisted a credit-repair company and throughout the next 22 months, Anthony worked resolutely on building back his credit.
Over many months, he met with six franchises and he was transparent about his situation. Wanting to stay in his comfort zone (automotive), I convinced him to break out of that boundary to view other models. Most franchisors will not even engage a client with poor credit, but as they “looked under the hood,” they saw Anthony’s desire, determination, and drive—all qualities needed for a successful franchisee.
Anthony’s next key obstacle was adapting an employer’s mindset. After all, he had been an employee his entire life and a union worker for 25 years. Anxiety set in. Transitioning from receiving a guaranteed paycheck to being an employer who cut paychecks was worrisome.
By finding the right model with FISH Window Cleaning, he realized that a recurring revenue structure would create a more predictable income. Anthony became confident and excited for the freedom of a limitless paycheck. Here’s the best part…days after Anthony returned home from Discovery Day, he received an email that his credit score had reached 700. Finally, after all of that hard work, he was granted his loan and signed his franchise agreement with FISH Window Cleaning.
I hope Anthony’s story inspires you to take a path less followed. Anthony achieved his end goal—freedom, and in my opinion, his journey not only restored his credit, but also his credibility. He emerged just like one of his painstakingly restored cars—a total “classic!”
Diana Capirano, CFC, has an expansive career which includes corporate and franchise sales and development, marketing and operations, merger and acquisitions, structuring and negotiations as well as business ownership. As a highly-respected consultant and mentor, Diana espouses a profound commitment to help prospective business owners and investors understand and navigate the process of deciding on a franchise business. Contact Diana at 941-999-0095, email email@example.com, or visit http://www.focusfranchise.com.
Step out of your comfort zone
by Jessica Melendez
Certified Franchise Consultant
I have often compared a franchise consultant to a psychologist because both professionals observe, interpret, and record the client’s objectives and desired outcomes. While working as a franchise consultant, I have come across clients who say what they want and what they don’t want. But then as I start to uncover their true objectives and desired outcomes, what they originally told me doesn’t match up.
For instance: A couple of years ago, I worked with a client who planned to invest in a franchise while he kept his corporate job. He wanted nothing to do with restaurants or a brand-new franchise. Along the way, he also told me that St. Louis was changing and he felt it was ready for something innovative. He wanted to be at the forefront of an industry or product in his market. He also wanted to buy multiples to make an impact and build an empire. As we continued our conversation, he said he had a passion for health and fitness.
At the time, FranServe added the new brand Rush Bowls. Rush Bowls is a concept that targets the on-the-go health-food industry in a unique way. Rush Bowls restaurants serve flash-frozen, thickly liquefied fruit that is topped with other healthy ingredients—a meal replacement in a bowl. Because Rush Bowls was an emerging brand, it had only two franchisees at the time. St. Louis was wide open for development, and the company’s concept was the innovative product my client sought in an industry he was passionate about.
Despite my client telling me he didn’t want to be in the restaurant business or be a part of a new franchise, Rush Bowls had everything else: the ability to build an empire while keeping his job and a concept currently missing from his market. When I presented this option to him, I issued a disclaimer outlining the two negatives, the things he specifically said he didn’t want, but I also suggested he keep an open mind about this brand. Lo and behold, what he thought he didn’t want was the very thing he ended up with. The pros to this brand ultimately ended up prevailing over the things he perceived as undesirable.
This client is the perfect example of why you need to look beyond your comfort zone. He was receptive enough to step outside the box and look at something that would have never occurred to him. By doing that, he ended up with exactly what he wanted. He is the proud owner of three Rush Bowls in St. Louis and may develop a total of seven to 10.
Sometimes an open mind and a willingness to leave your comfort zone can pay big dividends.
A trainer and mentor for FranServe, Inc., the world’s largest franchise consulting firm, and the CEO of WestStar Franchise Group, Jessica Melendez coaches and educates prospective franchise owners and helps them find businesses that align with their personal and professional ambitions. As a franchisor and president of Dryer Vent Squad, Melendez has first-hand experience in all aspects of franchising, which makes her an excellent resource for prospective franchisees. Contact Melendez at 915-202-8272, email Jessica@weststarfranchisegroup.com, or visit https://www.weststarfranchisegroup.com.