For Beau Reed, his baseball experience has earned him more than athletic accolades; it has also taught him the necessary grit to succeed in business.
“Baseball is a game of failure. The best players in the world only get a hit 3 out of 10 times,” he said. “So, you’re failing 6-7 times every 10. You learn the mental toughness to keep going and have the poise to get back up there and take another swing.”
Reed has found this same lesson to be invaluable along his career path to entrepreneurship.
After graduating from Arkansas State University, where he played on the baseball team as an outfielder, Reed began his career as a financial adviser and transitioned to internet marketing before founding his first business—a fitness center.
“It was a great concept, but quality of life is extremely important to me and I didn’t like the day-to-day of that business. It just wasn’t the right fit for me,” said Reed.
Reed began researching business opportunities that would allow him to fill an important need in his community and provide for his family. However he also wanted the flexibility to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with his 6-year old son, whose USSSA baseball team, the Arkansas Ice, Reed is now the head coach of.
Reed opened his Mosquito Joe of Jonesboro, Arkansas in February 2015 and hasn’t looked back.
1851: Why Mosquito Joe?
Beau Reed: I liked the idea of buying into a franchise model where there are already best practices for day-to-day operations, marketing materials and a successful business model in place. When we opened, I took careful time and consideration in making sure I was hiring the right staff for me, and now my team is pretty self-sufficient, because they’re great employees and they have the franchise to piggyback off of for day-to-day questions they may have—it ends up giving me a lot of flexibility.
The number one thing that stuck out to me about this brand in particular was the marketing; I felt like everything from the creative to the messaging was very memorable. I have a marketing background and know firsthand, you can have the best product in the world but if it’s not marketed correctly, you won’t make money. Secondly, the quality of the product and the application is second to none. I know that we’re going to have great marketing and the customers will be taken care of with 100 percent satisfaction. This was really important to me because where we live in Arkansas, there’s actually a huge mosquito problem and I wanted to make sure whatever my business ended up being, that I could solve a real problem for the people in my community.
1851: For those who are curious, talk about the cost to invest in the brand.
BR: The hard cost of buying a Mosquito Joe is $20,000. What I think a lot of people neglect to think about though, which is really important in starting any business is making sure you can start with some money in reserve. You’re going to need some cash to cover expenses while you’re in the process of establishing your business.
I’d say you should be prepared with a credit line anywhere between $70,000 and $115,000. For me I started with $95,000. We haven’t even used all of that yet (Reed opened in February 2015), but I wanted to make sure there was plenty of funding for us to be successful.
1851: What challenges did you face in opening your business and how did you overcome them?
BR: My biggest challenge was very specific to the mosquito industry. I’d imagine with any industry there are specific nuances, so I’d say in general be sure to research those nuances and learn how to navigate them.
For me, it was making sure I had a state applicator license. The challenge was that the certification test is not something you can just go take whenever you need or want to—sometimes there can be months between available testing times. Because there was not going to be a test in time for me, I end up needing to find someone who already had their certification to work with me in order to stay on schedule.
1851: What advice would you offer to others interested in opening a franchise business?
BR: I have a lot of previous experience working with small business owners and have done a lot of reading on entrepreneurship. I’d recommend one book in particular to other people called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” What you’ll glean is if you’re researching business opportunities where you live, be sure the ones you are considering will solve a problem for people, because that’s how you will make money.
I would also reiterate a few things I’ve already mentioned. Make sure you can execute on the system the corporate franchise already has in place. Be prepared with enough cash/credit not only to purchase your business, but cover expenses while you’re getting things up and running. And focus on careful and quality hiring. The quality of your employees will ultimately end up determining how much flexibility you’ll have in your own life as a business owner.
1851: What are your future plans for your Mosquito Joe business?
BR: My family and I really love this business model and we hate mosquitoes. I’d love to continue expanding the business throughout our community to take the burden mosquitoes off of more and more of the families in our community.