Regi’s Road to Business Ownership

Regi John is an engineer who’d been at Microsoft for 21 years. He reached a point where he had an inner urge to do something different. Even though Microsoft is a fantastic place to be, his inner urge wouldn’t be ignored, and then kept getting stronger. “I wasn’t sure how to figure it out, so I started exploring different things, including the idea of starting a business. No one in my family is in business, and I don’t have a biz background; this was completely foreign to me.”

Why did you choose franchising?

I explored two traditional paths to business ownership: startup and consulting. I realized quickly it’s extremely difficult to create something from scratch. You’re building a brand, a network, including non- tech aspects that you have to build in order to be successful. And this would be true for both business paths. I discovered franchising when I attended Charlie’s Summit. The part which struck me was Charlie’s anecdote. He described working in the corp world, travelling a lot, but wanting to spend more time with his family. In one instance, he was able to surprise his son by making it to a science fair. This story really resonated with me – it was pivotal. I knew I was going to do it! But I just wasn’t sure what.

I underwent the process with Charlie and began to drill a little deeper into the things I was passionate about. During this process, I discovered Charlie’s superpower is his ability to be a patient guide. He’s a great listener. I’m used to working about hyper caffeinated, type A people, so I really appreciated this. He was helping me with my journey, regardless of where I landed.

As soon as we sat down, Charlie asked me, “Regi, how are you in sales?”

I thought that was a crazy question! However, it was an awesome leveler. Charlie changed my mindset about sales by posing this single question. Had I not been comfortable with the sales motion, there was no reason for me to be doing this. It’s really important to recognize that sales and marketing are one of the most significant parts of entrepreneurship.

I started researching a small set of franchises to help discover what I liked and didn’t like. Gradually, I started to understand the franchise model, and it seemed to be the right fit for me – I could leverage the infrastructure, and plug into an existing system. I wondered if there might be a franchise that involved tech. I then discovered Team Logic IT. As we went through the due diligence process, Charlie provided good guidance including helping through the FDD, and recommending an attorney and an accountant, and providing good questions to ask when I contacted franchisees. The pieces started falling into place, and after I completed the due diligence, I entered a three month “waffling” period.  I was still working, and I also drove my wife crazy.

Finally, the “click” for me was that I realized I could potentially provide the same level of IT support which I, as an employee of a fortune 10 company, receive. I finished waffling, and flew down to corp HQ to sign the franchise agreement.  It felt awesome that day! The next day, well, I was scared as heck!


Have you experienced any surprises?

I’ve had realizations rather than surprises. There are so many things to deal with including employee management, business licensing, office leasing, financial management, and the actual business – and everything has equal priority.

The tech part is natural for me, but my areas of discomfort are the sales, marketing, business management; everything is brand new.

I attended the Annual Owners Summit last week and met other owners, many who are like me –  they reached a point when they needed a change, and then they took this leap of faith.  This group of people is going to be a deep resource!


What’s in your future?

I get to build the kind of company I personally want to be a part of. I can build an environment and culture that matters, and be a positive force in the community. I want to make sure my team has a great place to come to work, and have great careers. In addition, deep satisfaction for me is to help small and medium sized businesses effectively use information technology to unleash their business potential.

A Strong Partnership Makes Semi – Absentee Ownership Possible


Kari Hingst always had plans to become a business owner, but like many of us, she needed to find the right opportunity. With the help of a strong partner, she’s been able to launch her first Zoup! location and stay employed full time.

Why did you consider franchising?

Each year, I write down my goals, and for several years, I had included “start my own business.” I had tried to start my own business several times before I connected with Charlie and discovered Zoup!

I attended Charlie’s Summit. I’d never considered a franchise before, and I was quite skeptical at the beginning. As I sat through the seminar, I was blown away by the sheer number of franchises available –  the variety, business segments, and models. The franchise types ranged from business to consumer, to bricks and mortar, to at-home models. I thought there MUST be something for me. I also really liked that the Summit, as it also showcased other business experts, such as legal and financial; this gave me an overview so I could get a snapshot of the possibilities.

Taking the assessment was easy, and low commitment, yet I was still taking a step forward to discovery.

Charlie was helpful in our process – he’s got a high level of EQ and genuinely wants people to be successful.

What advice would you give someone considering running their own business?

I realized you don’t have to be a top executive or millionaire to take this path. If I can do it, others can too!

Know your financial boundaries, but also realize there is a vast array of opportunity. Because I’ve tried starting my own business before, and explored so many ideas, I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted to do when I started the process, yet I kept an open mind. Charlie suggested options, which I spent a few months investigating. It quickly became obvious what I wanted.

If owning your own business is the path you want to follow, attend a seminar and start exploring. But don’t sit back and think about it for 20 years – take action! I’m not afraid to fail and I don’t have all the answers – don’t let this hold you back. If I hadn’t taken a step, none of this would have happened.

You have to work to make the business a success, so be ready to put in what it takes. The systems (within the franchise) helps make it easier, but it’s not going make it a surefire success.

Be sure to consider whether the support, the idea and infrastructure (of the franchise) are enough for you. When I did my initial discussion with Zoup!, it was the only franchise who had an actual member of their corporate team talk to me (rather than a consultant). This was important to me because it reflected a family friendly experience – I had a direct line of communication with Zoup!.

How did you decide on the semi absentee model?

I’ve continued working full time as I start this business. I’m fiscally conservative, and when I considered the financial outlook and Zoup!, I decided to continue working.

To start this business (Zoup!) you absolutely need a strong partner. If you decide to go the route I have, surround yourself with a strong community and partner – your own tribe can help you along the way because it’s a big undertaking.

Was the intent to research semi absentee ownership?

My mom helped explore the business options with me. We met together with Charlie; she was on all exploratory calls with franchisors, and we discussed potential challenges, likes/dislikes throughout the process because I wanted and needed her to be invested in the concept.  Especially given she was going to be heavily involved in the day to day, no matter which Franchise I selected.

Have you encountered any surprises?

I know myself well. But I’ve really learned so much more while running the business. I made the right choice – but it’s so much harder than I thought. I’m ramping up on not only the fast-casual space, but also the business itself, and I’m operating with a different labor and workforce than I’m used to leading. Every day is something new! But this is my own business, and with it comes all the good, bad, easy, and difficult.

Franchising is such a great option because running your own business is already challenging. Franchising helps eliminate some of the basics, but not all the difficulty you’d have starting any business. Franchising enables you to pay for some initial infrastructure, which can be invaluable.

Top Franchise Opportunity in Washington for May


The automotive aftermarket industry, a $275 billion giant in the US, presents itself as a very strong category for franchise opportunities.

The body shops provide repair and customization work to the interior and body of passenger cars, trucks, vans and trailers. Some industry operators specialize in specific auto repairs; for example, paint shops specialize in post-collision paint jobs, while automotive glass shops replace, repair and tint windows. Restoration shops, which typically represent a niche market, restore classic and antique cars. 95% of body and paint shops are independent – and very fragmented, presenting a big opportunity for franchising.

Auto mechanics, on the other hand, provide mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance for cars, trucks, vans and trailers. Operators include self-employed mechanics, auto repair shops, garages and car care centers.

There are both macro and micro reasons for the growth in these sectors…especially for the franchises. I’d like to share a couple of macro trends first.

  • The total number of vehicles and the average age of vehicles on our roads have steadily increased on our roads to over 250 million. The average age is currently at an all-time high of 11.3 years, and older vehicles require much more frequent and expensive work.
  • Second, the sheer number of models of conventional, hybrid and electric vehicles, and the rapid globalization of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) present a wide variety (and complexity) of channel partnerships, specializations and bundling opportunities to retail automotive shops. Large franchises have significantly higher purchasing power than small, independently owned shops. At the same time, parts complexity encourages consumers to visit trusted brands for their service needs. Relationship-based buying while consumers wait in family-friendly coffee-lounges, has largely replaced transactional selling to drivers through special offers while they wait on grease-lined floors.

At a micro-level, the case for franchising is more intuitive. Think about it.

When a customer walks into a mechanic shop she doesn’t usually know what is wrong with her car. So, she doesn’t know what repair is needed. For her to take a leap of faith, trust is paramount. And once trust is established, through good work and customer service, she is not going to change her service provider for a really long time. Strong franchise brands get new owners a trusting buyer base, that takes years to build, in a highly fragmented marketplace.

When consumers travel by road or migrate, they are also more likely to stick to a franchise brand. This is partly driven by brand loyalty and partly by Direct Repair Programs (DRPs) of their insurers. The industry itself is very resilient to economic cycles. While economic downturns encourage consumers to keep their vehicles longer, rising disposable incomes encourages consumers to visit auto professionals for specialized labor and equipment versus opting for internet (or do-it-yourself) solutions and release their pent-up demand for non-essential repairs, unsightly dents and scrapes, etc. from the recessionary period.

I will be happy to share more of my research and specific opportunities with those who are considering getting involved in this sector in the state of Washington. Please connect with me here.

Top Franchise Opportunities in Washington for April

Non-Medical Home Care

Non-medical home care industry is estimated to be in the vicinity of $80 billion nationwide. The bulk of sector revenue comes from population of 65 years and above (which is about 34 million individuals or 12% of entire US population), and it is estimated to grow to 70 million in next 25 years.

We are living longer, and a vast majority of the seniors prefer home care to institutional care. In the past, it was not uncommon for the seniors to live with their adult children; however, the vast numbers of working couples have made it a rare occurrence now.

The non-medical senior home care is generally not covered by medical insurance or government reimbursement plans like Medicare and Medicaid. It is a private pay service. As disposable income levels have risen over the past five years, this segment’s share of total homecare industry revenue has grown as well.

Beyond the demographic revolution that is spurring growth in senior care, there are various home care concepts that cater to individuals of all ages. Some of these are:

  • Caring for new or expectant mothers,
  • Disability support for children and adults,
  • Caregiving for those recovering from serious injuries (including injured veterans),
  • Childcare for working parents, and several other specialized segments.

The range of activities includes transportation, bathing/toileting, errands, light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders, general companionship, and assistance with activities of daily living. These types of home care are sometimes referred to as custodial care or personal or companion care. It can be a boon to those recovering from an illness or injury, or who are less capable of getting around independently.

Owning a Home Care Franchise

According to Franchise Business Review (FBR), franchisees in senior care work more hours (including more nights and weekends) when compared to franchisees in other business sectors. Ideally, franchisees must focus on the business full-time from the very start. Senior care franchisees also rated their “work-life balance” lower than franchisees in most other sectors.

At the same time, it has been constantly rated among the top 5 sectors for franchisee satisfaction and the licensing requirements are far lower than health care franchises, in general. The cost of entry into non-medical home care sector is low, and yet, given the nature of work, the profit margins of a well-run operation can be very lucrative.

The most successful franchise operations do share characteristics like:

  • big markets with a population of at least 250,000 people
  • strong franchisee skills in networking and word-of-mouth marketing
  • high-quality training of caregivers, which makes referrals so much easier

To be successful a franchisee in home care,

  • prioritize the hiring and training of caregivers. The caregivers determine the reputation which drives sales.
  • determine key sources for referrals in the area – local physicians, rehabilitation centers, religious institutions, discharge planners, medical home care companies, elder law attorneys, estate planners, bank trust officers, geriatric care managers, among others.
  • get involved in the local community, and adopt strategic public causes.
  • finally, the most successful home care agencies do an excellent job of treating their patients’ families like their own.

Many of the best practices in operating a home care business are embedded in the franchise operator’s manual. This can make it easy for an industry outsider to start and dominate the local home care market. In Washington, the combination of demand for non-medical home care services and an increase in the labor pool makes it a perfect opportunity for franchising!

Is It Possible To Own A Franchise After Years In The Workforce?

In a word, yes! However, you’re the only one who can convince your stubborn, scared self that it’s possible. Spending years in corporate America or #working for other small/large #businesses doesn’t have to cripple your franchise ownership #dreams. In fact, the experience and knowledge you’ve gained to this point will prove to be very useful! At FranNet, we want you to know that it is certainly not time lost – look at it instead as time preparing for this new path.



You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

In the franchise industry, there are countless individuals that prove day in and day out what hard work looks like for a business owner, and how rewarding it is to see their efforts make a difference in their community and in their life. At FranNet, we love to share success stories with others in #hopes that any entrepreneur will #read it and know that they too can chase their dreams and #flourish.



You Don’t Need a Promotion to Grow at Work

As organizations run leaner and flatter, your ability to move up can stall much earlier in your career because, simply put, there’s no place to go. This is true whether you work for a corporation, nonprofit, or public agency. So what should you do when you reach that plateau and you’re only midway through your career? First, take stock. Do you enjoy and learn from your colleagues? Are you still energized by the mission of the organization? If the answer is no, it may be time to move on. But if the answer is yes, consider ways to grow on the plateau.



How Visual Systems Make It Easier to Track Knowledge Work

Walk into any fitness center, health club, or gym in the country and you’ll see yourself. Or rather, reflections of yourself. It doesn’t matter whether the gym is one step up from a cave or a posh Park Avenue fitness emporium — you’ll see mirrors, and lots of them. The mirrors aren’t a manifestation of the customers’ narcissism. They’re actually there for an important purpose: to help people do their exercises properly. The mirrors act as a real-time check on your activity, enabling you to immediately adjust to ensure your safety and the quality of your exercise.