Money. That’s the main reason many prospective business owners are looking to get into franchising. Sure, they love the challenge of starting a business, the idea of working for themselves and the possibility of contributing to their community. But most entrepreneurs wouldn’t be considering business ownership unless it also came with the potential to make some money. That’s why many franchise owners get quite energized when looking at multi-unit opportunities. They picture themselves driving around to multiple locations, and with that, comes a lucrative, growing business with their name on it.
Jeff Swackhammer Jr., the proud owner of 15 Wireless Zone locations, a hotel franchise and three home related franchises, will tell you that being a successful multi-unit owner all comes down to having good people – both on the franchisor’s corporate team and within each of your locations.
Swackhammer, his father and his brothers, who are all partners, started their first Wireless Zone in 2004 and have steadily grown ever since. They had their biggest growth spurt around 2011, but otherwise continued to add one or two locations a year over the last ten years.
“We’ve had Wireless Zone locations that, even with the initial investment, we’ve been able to turn into a profit within the first quarter,” Swackhammer said. “It’s not easy, but they do make it as easy as it could be to grow in that capacity. The franchisor’s field support is excellent and has allowed us to grow not only with Wireless Zone but also with other businesses.”
When Swackhammer talks about the tools a franchisor provides to help his businesses, he refers to more than the name recognition and proven business model that a franchise provides. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits to being a part of a franchise system is the infrastructure of ongoing support. At any given time, there are other franchisees around the country experiencing the same challenges and successes that you are. Whether it’s an issue with an employee that you’re not sure how to handle, or if you’re just not sure if you can keep up with the everchanging digital trends that a company like Wireless Zone would require, you have an entire support system that’s there to help you.
Wireless Zone provides its franchisees with tools that go a long way to help monitor and manage multiple locations. They have regularly scheduled franchise meetings, and each franchisee has a dedicated field support staff that will make regular visits to each store. Wireless Zone provides franchisees with an excellent POS tool that helps franchisees monitor where each store is at on a daily basis, and the brand’s relationship with Verizon Wireless gives them an even bigger leg up for fast growth.
“When we’re breaking into new markets that we might not know very well, there are typically Verizon people in the area that help us get our foot in the door,” said Swackhammer. “Verizon’s support along with my Wireless Zone field team’s support has given us a great experience as multi-unit owners. Our field support is awesome – they’re always helping us brainstorm marketing ideas, looking at our training process and giving us suggestions on our new locations.”
Swackhammer recommends that entrepreneurs looking to own multiple units should not only seek out a supportive franchisor, but they also need to ensure they have the right employees that they can trust. Swackhammer is in his stores around two days per week and is in each store at least once a month, but his team’s biggest strength is that they have a few original employees still with them since their very first location.
“I know those employees share in our values,” he explained. “If you’re looking to grow your business, you need to find those people – people with pride, who have the same standards you do. Then once you find and train good people, let them do their jobs.”
The Swackhammers are far from the only franchisees taking advantage of Wireless Zone’s multi-unit development opportunity. The brand is one of the most experienced in helping local owners take their businesses to the next level, and even offers an affordable initial investment cost with discounts available for multi-unit owners. With more than 370 locations across the country and additional owners expected to sign on to develop more stores in new key development markets by the end of the year, Wireless Zone is aiming to provide customers around the country with a local experience in an in-demand technology industry.
“Part of what makes Wireless Zone fun is the everchanging industry – products that didn’t even exist a few years ago are all the rage now,” said Swackhammer. “There’s always going to be a space for brick and mortar stores as long as you can continue providing people with a reason to come. Financially, it’s been a great opportunity for us, but what’s especially fantastic is the freedom that comes with franchise ownership. Each of our stores are our baby, but we’ve learned to let go and trust our team in order to continue growing and reaching our full potential.”