Why Franchising is Right for Enovana Green Cleaning
By Joe McCutcheon, CEO & Founder
In late 2016, I attended “Springboard, A Special Event For Emerging Franchisors” in Philadelphia, hosted by Lane Fisher of franchise law firm Fisher Zucker. Since I had really ramped up our efforts to explore and execute on a franchising plan, I thought the event would offer a chance to network and get educated on some of the nuances of franchising. I wasn’t disappointed, and I found one aspect of the event—a panel of angel and private equity investors—very intriguing.
One of the investors, Steve Gordon of Four Box Holdings, was taking a contrarian position on franchising, noting that it’s easier than ever to start a business. To his point, anyone can look up multiple resources on the internet, many of which can get you off to a good start. In fact, he basically said you could google “how to start a business,” and proceed with your dream.
Gordon went on to say that franchises were really great 20-30 years ago, because of the lack of information and resources available to start-up entrepreneurs. So, I thought to myself, has the internet killed franchising? Are we two decades late to the party?
Well, I think franchising is still the best way to grow many types of businesses, including our own in residential cleaning. While there are indeed a lot of resources out there to help you start a cleaning business, they’re not all good. For example, I recently saw a Facebook group where people convene to share their tips for starting and building a cleaning business.
Upon deep review of the Facebook group, I was first unsettled by the fact that about 90 percent of the group’s members had been in business for less than three years. You certainly see a lot in the first three years of running a business, but you certainly don’t see near enough. I was also shocked to see people sharing practices that I knew would run afoul of US Department of Labor regulations, practices that’ll surely get you sued, fined by the feds, or both! I saw people espousing marketing practices that definitely don’t work, and in time, they, too, will learn what my team and I have on this front.
When we first began researching expanding via franchising several years ago, we got really excited. We just knew that our concept of residential cleaning driven by green products and practices would resonate with health- and environmentally-conscious customers around the country, as well as those who just appreciate a job well done. But ultimately we decided the timing wasn’t right. At the time we were a much smaller company, and we hadn’t yet perfected the processes and systems that we knew helped set us apart in the residential cleaning industry.
Just as importantly, we had not perfected the art of replicating great leaders. My decision to hold off on franchising was largely based on the fact that we would potentially have to weaken our corporate operations at our Raleigh location by investing considerable human resources that would then be spread too thinly.
As we’ve grown during the last six years, we’ve been able to develop what I think has to be the best leadership team in the industry. Now, we can allow someone to run the Raleigh business, while the first leader I hired after running the business myself for so long, our President Derek Owen, can now devote himself entirely to replicating our model for franchisees.
I knew I was ready last year, when I had the pleasure of meeting Forest Walden, the CEO and founder of IronTribe Fitness, which has two locations in Raleigh and Cary (among others). Mr. Walden was introduced to me by our corporate attorney, James Forrest, when he spoke to our intro class at IronTribe, and I was really taken with his approach to business.
During his talk, Forest referenced a really strong book that has influenced IronTribe’s rise as a multi-franchise operation across the Southeast. The E Myth, by Michael Gerber, advances the theory that franchises are successful due to their systemization of products, services, operations, and policies. Thus, when franchises face adversity, they might suffer a temporary hit to revenue, but they won’t collapse.
For example, if you’re running a great set of systems, you can withstand losing a key employee, because you simply teach a new person the systems. As I listened to Walden and later read Gerber, I thought, we’ve got the systems!
Throughout our first 10 years, my team has built this company in the right way, unwittingly optimizing Enovana for franchising. Along the way, we perfected our craft of running our business. Now, we are ready to teach our franchisees the Enovana Way.
And that’s the rub, really. The reason you buy a franchise, and definitely the reason you buy one from Enovana, is that you’re buying not only the systems and practices that have made us successful over time, but you’re getting the added value of not having to make the same mistakes or suffer the same adversity that we have. You’re joining our family of franchisees that can stick together and build a brand together.
We’ve been audited by the DOL (and were violation-free!), and we’ve had our fair share of marketing fails. The point is, that when you invest in a business that’s seen success over the long term, you’re way less likely to waste your money and time. And when you’re starting a business, every dollar and every day counts.
For more information on franchising opportunities at Enovana Green Cleaning, visit http://enovanacleaningfranchise.com.