News Column

The Franchise Road to Business Success

June 11, 2013

Many small-business owners take different paths to entrepreneurship.

Some start from the ground up with an original idea, others become agents of existing companies, while others stake their money in a franchise, like Shon Stevens did.

When he heard the Winter Olympics were coming to Utah in 2002, Stevens, a Salt Lake City native, thought there would be plenty of need for more police officers.

However, after he left the police academy, he discovered there was a hiring freeze for law enforcement.

To get a job, he had to go out of state, where he worked as a cop in Ketchum, Idaho.

"I guess I enjoyed it because I was there for eight years," Stevens said, "but everyone says I was too nice."

After a while, Stevens said seeing car accidents and suicides day after day started to wear him out.

He said he did not have the mentality to be a police officer, and he began helping a friend who owned a Chem-Dry business, cleaning carpets.

Stevens said he enjoyed the work, so when the opportunity came to start his own business, he took a chance and started his own Chem-Dry franchise, responsible for the Ogden area.

Like other franchise owners, Stevens was able to buy into a company's brand and reputation, while also receiving training, supplies and marketing plans.

After completing a training course in Logan, he went on to purchase a van and equipment.

"There were people in the class that had never even touched a carpet cleaner," Stevens said. "For me, it was kind of redundant."

Franchises come in all forms and can range from carpet cleaning to fast-food restaurants to health services.

Davis County Chamber of Commerce President Jim Smith said franchises help entrepreneurs with many of the difficulties of running a small business, such as accounting and supply.

"Franchising is a very valid way to begin a new business," Smith said. "The franchisors have taken out a lot of the guess work of starting a business. If you come in with the energy and dedication, you can make a real go of starting a business."

But the idea for the franchise has to start somewhere.

For years, Jason and Nancy Prince have been involved in teaching and working in structural integration therapy, which is supposed to help manage pain by restructuring the body.

The Princes decided to take their plan for a structural integration approach to massage therapy, and create their own franchise.

The couple partnered with their longtime business associate Martin Metzler and created Structura Body Therapies. Their location is at 6112 S. 1550 East, No. 203, South Ogden.

The first franchised Structura Body Therapies clinic will open in Chandler, Ariz., this summer.

"This has been a dream come true for my husband and I for many years," Nancy Price said.

She said they do not see anyone else offering such services.

"We do see a void in the marketplace and we are prepared to fill it," she said.

Metzler said by franchising the company, and keeping it affordable, they can reach many more people.

"They didn't want to limit themselves to a small business or a local area," Metzler said. "I looked at it as a business and I have rarely seen such a business that is so needed, so viable. This will change the face of health care out there."

While a franchise may buy brand recognition and training, it is a significant monetary investment and the business owner gives up independence. The franchisee must follow the guidelines set by the company to carry its name.

Stevens said one reason he went with Chem-Dry was because the franchise was within his price range.

"Something like a Subway wouldn't have been possible money-wise," Stevens said.

According to franchise network group FranNet, those interested in starting a franchise should consider demand, competition, ability to operate a business, name recognition, training and support services and growth.

But for those who use franchising as a path to entrepreneurship, it is a chance to be their own boss.

"You don't have to answer to anybody," Stevens said, "you just have to make the people that you clean happy."

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(c)2013 the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah)

Visit the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) at www.standard.net

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Source: Copyright Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT) 2013


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