What are your personal factors to success?
For us, we believe in leading by example. We look for people that are teachable and that will not only trust us but trust the franchise system. My wife is an exceptional trainer and mentor. She and I work extremely well together.
Every business cycle has its slow times. How do you handle it?
It’s funny. We thought our first quarter was horrible this year, but when we actually looked at the numbers, we were ahead of last year. It all goes back to ability and efficiency. We hired an interior designer that works just for our franchise, so we have a much bigger production capacity. So while we thought we had a lot of free time, the reality was we’ve just become more efficient at producing the same amount of work.
Could you give one piece of advice for an aspiring entrepreneur?
Like Kenny Rogers said, you’ve got to know when hold ’em and when to fold ’em. People who could be successful quit before it starts to get good. You need to have a long-term view of your business and build the type of business you want to have. It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane task of getting work done and lose sight of the big picture. It’s the big picture that gets you up in the morning. If I got up thinking I had to make a sale every day, it would probably make me want to stay in bed.
Was there ever a time when you questioned what you were doing?
Daily. I think there are intuitive decisions you make as a result of experience. Sometimes intuitive decisions are extremely favorable, sometimes they’re not. The key is being able to look honestly in the mirror and make a detailed assessment of what’s working and what’s not. I believe in the power of the “and.” It’s not this or that. It’s this and that. Between the two, something good will work.
You sort of answered my next question already, but how do you overcome those times of doubt?
Have good people around you. As we try to develop our franchise owners, we reach up to those around us. That’s very true in areas where we don’t have much expertise. Like with marketing and SEO and technology that we know is necessary, but it’s not our expertise. We look for proven business professionals to guide us.
If you could go back talk to yourself when you first decided to start this business, what would you say?
One of the hardest things is to believe in yourself, especially when you’ve had a couple of failures. For both Jeanette and myself, this is our third business. The difference is my first two failed, while her first two were successful. I’ve often felt a lot of guilt and remorse over those two business failures. What I’ve learned is those failures were important for me to learn the lessons to make this business as successful as it is today.
What do you look forward to?
The most rewarding thing is watching other people reach their ideas of success. It was nice when we won a lot of different awards, but it paled in comparison to when one of our owners got up to receive their awards. I look forward to knowing I’ve had such an impact on people’s lives in a positive way. That’s the most rewarding thing you could aspire for. That, and to be able to retire how we’d like to retire. Although, it’s hard to imagine retirement when your business is such a part of who you are. And it’s such a passion that you hope you can find a new way to interact with it when you’re retired. But who knows if we’ll even be able to walk away?
Anything else you would like to add?
I think I was always encouraged to find something I loved. My problem was I could never find what it was. I didn’t know that what I loved was being an entrepreneur, especially after those first two business failures. So I guess sometimes finding what you love is a complete accident.