1851: What was it that drew you into franchising?
Laura Vodvarka, VP of Innovation for Signal 88 Security: The opportunity at Signal 88 is what drew me into franchising. The CEO in particular had the vision of helping small business owners get out of their comfort zones and do more than they had pictured for themselves. Franchising is a great opportunity for people to set up a business locally, with the tools and resources from corporate to help them do that. As I’ve gone to different conferences and people while I’ve been in this role, it is apparent that people in franchising are very passionate about franchising.
1851: What do you see as the biggest change that is going to impact the franchise industry going forward?
Vodvarka: I believe integrating technology and analytics in a better and more timely way is an ongoing change, especially in franchising. Companies like Signal 88 have already started doing this but it will continue to be a challenge for bigger franchise brands because everything is so separate. We need to have the technology, analytics and business intelligence to be able to move and change more quickly than non-franchise brands. We are trying to do this now and are at an advantage because we are a little smaller and more nimble and more able to make changes and improvements quickly across the system.
1851: What do you do to help your brand stand out for the competition?
Vodvarka: We try to be sincere and honest at Signal 88. In terms of marketing, we try to keep up with current trends and have a fresh look, but at our core, we are focused on being real and transparent. We work with our franchisees to source their ideas and use them. We involve our franchisees in what’s going on at the ground floor on a daily basis and make sure their needs are being met. This focus on innovation will continue to move our brand forward and stand out from others in the space.
1851: What advice would you give to other young up-and-comers?
Vodvarka: Maintain your honest and integrity -- it’s very easy for people to see through having false motives or doing what’s best for only one side. Also, be brave and push forward. Sometimes the bright new ideas or the risky ideas are the best ones and if you believe in it and have done the due diligence, it will work and people will come along with you.
1851: Who is one of your role models or influencers and why?
Vodvarka: My father. When I was growing up, he would always talk about his employees and how he really cared for them. He was genuinely interested in their family lives and always wanted to do what was best for them. He taught me those values that I try to instill in my career now. He always had a positive attitude about everything.
1851: What are some things you do in your spare time?
Vodvarka: I have two little boys, aged 2 and 5. We go to the park a lot and do a lot of Legos. I also like to read and I like to run. My husband and I went to Creighton University so the family likes to go to Creighton soccer and basketball games.