Longtime employee turned franchisee shares insight into what it takes to succeed.
Roger Wilder has come quite a long way since he worked alongside Smoothie King’s original owners, Steve and Cindy Kuhnau, as a staff member in their stores. At just 23 years old, he became a franchisee of the brand and opened his first location. After one year in business, he received Smoothie King’s Outstanding New Franchisee Award and continues to receive awards due to his work ethic and dedication to the brand. Now, Wilder and his business partner own and operate more than a dozen Smoothie King locations. 1851 spoke to Wilder about the steps he took to get where he is now and the advice he would offer potential franchisees.
What was your perspective about franchising prior to joining?
At 23 years old, I really did not have too many thoughts about franchising prior to joining Smoothie King but that changed with my experience with the brand. I knew that I could make Smoothie King my own within certain boundaries. Having worked at the corporate stores, I was able to learn the ins and outs of the business model. I liked what I saw and felt I could go far with the brand.
What is the top thing you think people don't understand about franchising?
I don’t think people understand how involved and dedicated one has to be to achieve success in franchising. Outsiders see an organized, well-oiled machine running and might not realize that it takes a lot of work. When you become a franchisee you have to use certain trademarks and systems, but the rest is on you – achieving success is solely your responsibility.
How has being a franchisee changed your life?
Becoming a franchisee has allowed me to be my own boss and create structure in my life. Within a system, I am able to take the reins into my own hands and create my own path. Franchising allows people like me to achieve the American Dream.
Why did you pick Smoothie King?
From a young age, I worked at corporate Smoothie King locations and was lucky enough to see the potential and profitability of the entire system early on. I noticed that Smoothie King was in the early stages of growth and I wanted to be a part of it.
Why should someone buy Smoothie King?
Simply put, Smoothie King offers the best product and supports a healthy and active lifestyle, which is in high demand in the market right now.
What advice would you have for someone looking to become a franchisee?
With passion and hard work you will find success but it is vital for you to love and believe in the product you are selling. Make note of the intangibles within a franchise system, such as the reputation, licenses, patents and copyrights; these are things you want to be aware of and are what makes a brand unique.