Two new franchise business owners share what they've learned.
Everyone knows one of them - that guy or gal who somehow manages to open a successful business by age 30 and make it look easy. While the rest of us are nervously navigating post-college life, these young entrepreneurs are scouting their next business location. What qualities do these people possess that others lack? What do they attribute their success to? I spoke with two highly successful franchisees who, before turning 30, already owned multiple locations of their respective businesses.
Molly Martin began working at a premium wireless retailer in high school before working her way up to management. When the store she was working at closed, she decided she was ready for a store of her own and purchased her first Wireless Zone location at age 22. Now, she owns three in Michigan.
Edison Cook III studied entrepreneurship in college and always had a dream of owning his own business. After working in the hospitality industry, Edison left his job at 25 to move back to his native Southern California where he opened his first Which Wich Superior Sandwiches location in 2012. Just three years later he owns three locations with plans for more.
Here are the habits that Molly and Edison attribute their success to:
Never compromise your vision
When Molly announced that she was pursuing business ownership at 22, there were many naysayers who said she was too young and this was just too big a risk to take. She had faith in her management skills, experience under her belt and a clear vision of what she wanted her business to be. She took the leap and bet on herself and it paid off.
Look at a business concept objectively
When Edison began looking into franchises to invest in, he found that it was easy to gravitate toward brands that he was a fan of. You should never invest with a brand that you don’t believe in, but he is glad that he took a step back to look at the companies he was considering as a business investment. While he liked the food and atmosphere of all of them, he didn’t feel any had the growth potential and staying power that Which Wich did. Once he took the emotional part out of the decision-making, the choice was clear. Being a young entrepreneur, it was important to Edison to set himself up for success in the long run.
Find a trusted financial backer
Most young people don’t have the assets to open a franchise on their own. Molly wanted to pursue her dream without going into massive debt. She turned to her inner circle of family and friends and found another entrepreneur that believed in her and the business concept of Wireless Zone. The financial backer is a silent partner in her business and offers her the support of someone she trusts.
Be ready to put in the work
Edison found that becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t translate into a nine to five workday. You are responsible 24/7 for any issues that can arise. He suggests really looking into what it takes to become an entrepreneur. He had watched his mother build a real estate agency from the ground up as a child and remembered those lessons.
Have a great support system
Molly has a network of support both at the local and corporate level. The Wireless Zone corporate team gave her the business structure and advice she needed to succeed, and a longtime employee, who she had worked with previously at another wireless retailer, helped her in those early stages and is still working as a manager with Molly today.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty
Both Molly and Edison think this is an important piece of advice that many franchisees forget. Molly worked her way up at a comparable premium wireless retailer, learning the ins and outs of the business from the ground up, so when she opened her own stores she knew what each employee’s position entailed and had experienced that herself.
Edison frequently jumps onto the prep line and has made a point of making sure he is able to and has worked at every position within his restaurants. This helps employees feel that they are part of a team, and translates into their loyalty to avoid constant turnover.