The Reason I Bought A Franchise…Love

A behind the scenes look at why purchasing and running a local franchise is the right decision for me.

John, you say the reason you purchased and run a local franchise is “Love?”

That sounds pretty sappy… What’s up with that?

Owning a Business is Not For Everyone.

Work for Someone Else? Work for Yourself?

Which Path is right for you?

Before getting to the answer, you might want to read last week’s post entitled, “Finding Your Own Path (April 2014)”.  It relates a story that changed my world view and set me on my career path as an Entrepreneur.

Here’s the Cliffs Notes version:

  1. We make our own choices.
  2. There are two fundamental career choices:
    Path #1 – Work For Someone Else.
    Path #2 – Work for Yourself.
  3. My career choice: Path #2.
  4. I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life.
  5. Underlying Message:  A career choice is a personal choice too.

Are we all caught up now?  Great.

I do believe business and personal decisions are closely related.

When making a career choice, it’s important to evaluate options from both perspectives (business and personal), and weigh the common factors.

Here are 5 common factors that I use to evaluate options: Time, Money, Viability, Skills, Lifestyle.  There are plenty others, these will do for now.

For my latest career decision in 2007, another significant factor presented itself:  My New Wife Cynthia.

So why did I purchase a franchise instead of just starting and running a business like I’ve done before?

The answer:  Love.

I Love Owning My Own Business  

Bah Humbug, 2007 was a tough Christmas

Bah Humbug, 2007 was a tough Christmas

I married Cynthia in 2005 and in early 2006 I was hired as a VP of Product Development for UnitedHealthCare (UHC).

I was responsible for building a new national department to serve UHC’s millions of customers.  It was a large, challenging position.  I traveled frequently and it was an exhausting but extremely gratifying time for an entrepreneur like me.

A dream job.

On Christmas Eve, 2007 UHC laid me off after I’d spent the previous 2 months laying off my entire new department.  I knew it was coming, the economy was crumbling and UHC was entering “Survival Mode”.  Survival Mode = Sole focus on core services, don’t invest in anything new.

Bad economy, I’m out of a job.

My career choices:  Path #1: Find another Product Development Executive Position or Path #2: Start my own business.

What is my next career choice?

What is my next career choice?

Here’s the thought process evaluating my 2007 career choice.

Path #1: Work for Someone Else

  • Time: It takes a while to find another executive position, will savings last?
  • Money:  Executive pay is great, in this economy are companies hiring executives?
  • Viability: If UHC entered survival mode, other companies are too (nothing new built for a while).
  • Skills: I can run operations but my resume says I build new things. Tough to get hired.
  • Lifestyle: Executive positions require travel and maybe relocation.

Path #2: Work for Myself

  • Time: Starting and growing a new business takes time. Can I grow fast enough?
  • Money: I have some money and I’m blessed to be able to borrow more if needed.
  • Viability: Most new businesses struggle to make it, what could increase my chances?
  • Skills: I’m confident I can build a solid company, it’s what I’ve done and can do again.
  • Lifestyle: Building a local company means more time at home with Cynthia and family.

In light of the failing economy, the conservative, albeit still risky choice for me was to take Path #2: Work for Myself.

How to I reduce the risks involved with starting a business? Consider purchasing a franchise.

IFA - International Franchise AssociationUsing the same common factors, here’s how a franchise could reduce my risks:

So, a bit more up-front costs and ongoing royalties but I’m using a proven system with national support and I have a much better chance of surviving.

From a pure business perspective, my choice is clear:  Path #2: Work for Myself and Purchase a Franchise.

(Check out: “Living Our Company’s Core Values (Feb 2012)” to see some reasons why I chose Fish Window Cleaning)

I Love My Wife And Family  

In 2005, just before I married Cynthia, my Dad passed away from bladder cancer.

Quite a lot happened between then and Christmas 2007 – A wedding, helping my mom through the grieving process, starting and ending an executive dream job, the economy starting to tank and now I’m facing my first career decision as a married guy.

The question of finding another executive position and/or starting a business loomed.  And now I have a wife to consider too.

What would Elvis Do?

What would Elvis Do?

To be honest, before marriage, I probably would have trusted my skills (again) and created a business from scratch.

As I considered my 2007 career choice, I looked to my Mom’s & Dad’s great life together (married 45+ years) and how Dad’s company (one he helped build from scratch in the early 70’s) provided financial stability for them, even after his passing.

Cynthia and I met later in life and I haven’t spent 30+ years building a company.

I love my wife and I want to take care of her.

What would happen if I passed away?

  • If I take another executive position – there’s my life insurance, but that will only help Cynthia for a couple of years.  Then what?
  • If I build a company from scratch, even if she helped build it, could she take over if I’m not there?  Possibly, but it depends on the business.

These options are not what I wanted for her and us.

If we purchase a franchise and run it together, and then I’m not there, she will still have the franchise systems, support, corporate offices and fellow franchisees to help her.

The choice is clear.   We bought a franchise because we love each other and want to take care of each other.

Here’s what a franchise provides Cynthia if I’m not in the picture:

  • Time: She just steps in and runs the business, all systems are already in place.
  • Money:  The money continues and grows as the business grows.
  • Viability: Cynthia has our employees, the franchise system, HQ and fellow franchisees to help her.
  • Skills: She’s already running the business with me and understands how to be successful.
  • Lifestyle: Though different without me, she’ll have financial security to keep going.

Path #2: Walking and Working Together

I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon, but I can tell you I do sleep better knowing that our choice, Path #2 – Work for Ourselves and Purchase a Franchise, will take care of both of us just fine.

So when a competitor or colleague asks, “why the heck did you buy a franchise when you could have just started a company?”

I smile, look down at my wedding ring and answer…

I bought a franchise because of Love.

So, am I a sap?  Just a guy who loves and cares for his wife?  What do you think about my thought process and decision?

Please leave a comment, I’d really like to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading and Have a great weekend! 

_______________________

About the Author

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran (@FishSouthBay) is an entrepreneur and former marketing and product development executive who has grown his successful Fish Window Cleaning franchise in the Los Angeles – South Bay area to become a leading professional in window cleaning services for business owners and home owners.

With his popular blog A Clear View Through Clean Windows, John shares his window cleaning expertise by addressing topics and answering questions that customers continually ask him during his day.  He also uses window cleaning pictures, inspirations and stories about his business to demonstrate the fundamentals for building a strong, healthy, thriving business.

John lives & works with his wife Cynthia in Redondo Beach, CA (she runs the business too!)

If you have a question or would like window cleaning services click Here or Call 310-973-3474 for a Free, on-site written estimate.

Work for Someone Else? Work for Yourself?

Finding Your Own Path

Understanding yourself and the life choices you’ve made enables you to clearly see and choose the path that lies ahead.

Owning a business is not for everyone.

We each need to find our own path in our business and personal lives.  I’m going to stay away from the “personal life” side, except where it intersects with how you function in your “business life”.

Work for Company? Work For Yourself?

Work for Company? Work For Yourself?

The way I see it, in business there are two distinct paths, and the one you choose is personal.

Let’s start with the fact that we are all our own, personal company – a “Company of One.”  As individuals, we all have skills and time, and we choose where to use them.

Being a homemaker, getting a job, starting a business – these are all personal choices we make based upon our free will and circumstances.

You may combine your resources with a spouse, friends and family, but ultimately you choose your own path.  You make the decisions.

The “Company of One” is you.

When you choose to accept money for your time, the paths are:

Path #1:  Work for Someone Else: Perform tasks, get paid. Lower Risk, Measured Rewards

Path #2:  Work for Yourself: Perform tasks, earn money.  Higher Risk, Variable Rewards

The choice your “Company of One” makes is how much risk you are willing to assume. It’s a very personal decision and there’s only one right choice.

Yours.

I’m continually asked, “Why did you purchase a Window Cleaning Franchise when you could have built one on your own?”

The answer:  Because it is the right choice for me.

Becoming An Entrepreneur 

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life.

In fact, I come from a family of entrepreneurs though they’ve never really called themselves such.

My mom opened a cake decorating store, my sister started her own architectural firm and my Dad joined his fellow PHD graduates and started a prominent scientific research firm.

I even married an entrepreneur.  My wife Cynthia is a musician and actress and it’s called show “business” for a reason.  You are your own company and definitely your own boss.

Though as a child I sold lemonade and mowed lawns, I became a entrepreneur during my first “real” job in my senior year at college.

The Secret Key to Success

Working for a small computer consulting firm, the owner told me the following story that changed my life forever.

What is Success?

What is Success?

An enterprising young man is working for a large corporation and he really wants to know what success is and how to achieve it.

He works late every day and one day around 7pm he sees the company’s Founder/CEO walking down the hall.  With some nerve and a good amount of naivete, he approaches this successful man and says, “good evening, sir.  My name Mark and I’ve been working for this company for two years.  I admire you and I would really like to know what success looks like, and how I can achieve it.”

The CEO looks at his watch, sees they are the only two still in the office, and realizes this kid is giving his all to this company.

“OK”, the CEO says.  “Meet me tomorrow evening at 7pm, on this building’s helicopter pad.”

The next day, Mark wears his best suit, puts in a full day and at 6:50pm walks onto the roof.  At 7pm sharp, the CEO arrives, they board the helicopter and take off.

The CEO pulls out the Wall Street Journal while Mark looks out and reads the CEO’s name on the building.  He looks at the city below and just smiles.  Yes, this is success.

They land 20 minutes later in a grassy area and get out of the helicopter.

Mark is very excited and the CEO begins to speak.  “Mark, imagine up on that hill a large ranch-style home with swimming pools, tennis courts and horse stables.  In this area, there’s a gated community and we are standing on the private golf course.”

Marks is awed and very impressed.  “Yes, yes.  These are all examples that demonstrate a successful life.  How does one achieve these?”

The CEO answers.

How do you define Success?

How do you define Success?

“Work hard every day, listen to your manager and exceed at your assignments.  Focus on moving up in the company and take on more responsibility.”

“Yes, Yes.”  Mark is soaking in every morsel of this wisdom.

“Motivate and inspire your fellow workers to also work hard and contribute to the company.”

“OK, I can do this!” Mark says with a smile.

“Find ways to innovate and grow this company and make it great.”

Mark nods and waits with baited breath, listening for the secret key to success…

The CEO points to the imaginary house, pools and golf course and concludes:

“Give everything you have to this company, and one day… all of this will be mine.

I was changed. 

The CEO (and my boss who told me this story) had clearly demonstrated his own Risk vs. Reward relationship.  He started and owned a business and pointed to his Path – Path #2: Work For Yourself.  

There are many secret keys to success, just as there are many paths to success.  This one resonated with me.

Path #2 had worked for them and it could work for me too.

I worked with this computer consulting firm until graduation then joined the working world with a new focus – Being an Entrepreneur.

Do you have a similar story that changed your life?  Please share in the comments below.

Next week I’ll answer why my wife and I chose a franchise and share with you our thought process.

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend! 

_______________________

About the Author

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran (@FishSouthBay) is an entrepreneur and former marketing and product development executive who has grown his successful Fish Window Cleaning franchise in the Los Angeles – South Bay area to become a leading professional in window cleaning services for business owners and home owners.

With his popular blog A Clear View Through Clean Windows, John shares his window cleaning expertise by addressing topics and answering questions that customers continually ask him during his day.  He also uses window cleaning pictures, inspirations and stories about his business to demonstrate the fundamentals for building a strong, healthy, thriving business.

John lives & works with his wife Cynthia in Redondo Beach, CA (she runs the business too!)

If you have a question or would like window cleaning services click Here or Call 310-973-3474 for a Free, on-site written estimate.