Learn why this Oklahoma City business owner takes great pride in being able to say he’s grown his business by getting involved
Since starting with Mosquito Joe in 2014, Rich Anthony has always been committed to giving back. The multi-territory franchisee has continued to grow his business year over year by getting out in the community and making a difference. Rich is the first person to volunteer to organize a stunt to cheer up children with cancer and the last to say no to someone asking for his help. It’s because of his ongoing initiatives that Mosquito Joe has become such a recognized name throughout the greater Oklahoma City area, from his vibrant motorcycle to his bold personality.
We talked to Rich to learn more about why community involvement has been so important to the growth of his business. Here’s what Rich had to say in his interview with 1851.
How important is it to give back to your local community as it relates to growing your business?
Anthony: ?Giving back is huge for local business owners. If you don’t give back to your community, your community won’t get behind you. Mosquito Joe gives us five top tips for customer conversion, and number one is referrals. What we’ve found is the key to referrals is involvement. My wife and I attend events, we’ll pass out candy at parades with my mom and sister. It’s not just the technicians going out for sprays, I’m out in the field with them. Our community loves to see that we’re not just sitting behind a desk running a business, we’re all hands-on deck.
What local or charitable outreach efforts have you made in order to connect with your local community?
Anthony: My son is hearing impaired, so Hearts for Hearing in Oklahoma City was the first charity we got involved with. Annually, they have a charity auction and as a first-year business owner, people were surprised that we were spending the money to attend. For us, it was a chance to stand up for a cause we really cared about and to network with the other families and business owners in attendance. We were not only able to connect with a number of other charities that we’ve since partnered with, like Toby Keith Foundation’s OK Kids Korral for example, but we also made lifelong friends. It was a chance to form a real bond with people I might not have otherwise.
What are your top ideas or tips to market your local business?
Anthony: The first piece of advice I can offer is that you can’t expect to get a return on your investment just for spending a lot of money. And if you do have the money to spend, make sure it’s in a way that helps your business stand out. I’m a little different, I like cars and motorcycles. Knowing that it would be a bold way to start up a conversation, I invested in a Mosquito Joe-branded crotch rocket. It gave me sponsorship opportunities and the chance to make an impression at car and motorcycle shows. Secondly, don’t try to sell you services upfront. Instead, be a friend. Talk to the people that approach you and answer their questions, but no one likes a car salesman. It takes time for people to trust you and want to invest in your business.
How effective are charitable efforts in growing your business?
Anthony: Our charitable efforts are the reason we’ve gotten to the point we’re at today and continue to grow. It’s the reason we’ve had recurring customers from the teachers at my old high school to the others we’ve met along the way.
What advice would you give to other franchisees who are just starting their businesses to best set themselves up for success on the local level?
Anthony: I live by Arnold Schwarzenneger’s Six Rules of Success. It’s on the wall in my shop. It taught me to trust myself, break rules, never be afraid to fail, work my butt off, ignore the people who try to tell you that you can’t do something, and to give back. My first year was hard. I worked 14-hour days seven days a week. I fell down stairs. I fell into a pond. You name it, it happened to me. But you have to stick with it and really commit to the business in order to get past that pain point. In my second year, everyone knew who I was because they’d either heard of me or had seen me out in the community. It’s been easier ever since. Get involved and everything else will fall into place.