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Going for the Green

A love of golf and prior sales experience put a franchisee right on course.

When executive recruiter Rob Frnka first began considering business ownership, he thought of starting a recruiting business. But then he came across an ad for LTS Leaderboard, a franchise that hosts golf tournaments. "The idea of work that relates to something you enjoy seemed like a really neat idea," says Frnka, 36. Ultimately, he chose his love of golf over his experience in recruiting and opened his Dallas location in March 2004.

The LTS Leaderboard franchise offers an electronic scoring system for charity and corporate golf events. A digital leader board displays players' scores--staying accurate and up-to-date with score cards that can be scanned--along with pictures and videos from the tournament, as well as logos and messages from the sponsors. Frnka likes that the business not only involves his favorite pastime, but also offers him the opportunity to help charities.

He wasn't just following his heart by choosing LTS Leaderboard, though. Frnka also felt that the franchise was a good fit with his sales and marketing background, which he could use to take on his biggest challenge: introducing this new way of scoring golf tournaments to the industry. To get over this hurdle, he worked his first few tournaments at a discounted rate and displayed his leader boards at various trade shows. "Once people see [the service]," he says, "they really see how it can benefit their events."

Frnka did 15 tournaments in his first year of business. He has doubled that number every year since and had sales of $125,000 in 2006. By 2005, he was getting so much positive feedback that he decided to buy a second territory, in Forth Worth, Texas, making him LTS Leaderboard's first multiterritory owner.

Tracy Stapp Herold is the special projects editor at Entrepreneur magazine. She works on franchise and business opportunity stories and listings, including the annual Franchise 500.

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This article was originally published in the May 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: Going for the Green.

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