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Corporate Climbers

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According to this former sales and marketing manager of a dry-cleaning franchise system, he is "pretty handy." Still, Matt Eggenberger, 45, knew he'd need a lot more than that if he was going to get his Mr. Handyman franchise off the ground. Eggenberger opened his franchise near Cincinnati in February 2001 after leaving his job in January. His division had been closing, and, with nearly 10 months of warning, he decided to go into franchising for two reasons: the value of a name brand and the support franchises provide.

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In fact, the franchisor was an indispensable resource during the earliest days of Eggenberger's business--they taught him everything he needed to know about fixing stuff. "I've had to learn about ladders," he says, laughing. "How to conduct safety meetings, how to maintain Material Safety Data sheets--I really didn't have to worry about that in my marketing job."

It was also difficult to adjust to doing everything himself. "When you're in the corporate world, you can plan your day," he says. "When you're starting a new business, everything you do is something new...you have to be the accountant, receptionist, customer service--everything."

But the payoff is 2002 sales projections of $1 million. "It's fulfilling knowing you're building equity every day," says Eggenberger. "You can see the results of your decisions."

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This article was originally published in the July 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Corporate Climbers.

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