Franchise Players: This Franchisee Caught the Business Bug in High School
Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. This week, we’re profiling young entrepreneurs: franchisees under 30. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Molly Martin has always described herself as a go-getter. She’s been passionate about entrepreneurship since high school, where she was the student body president all four years. Having spent eight years working as a manager for a Verizon Wireless retailer, the 24-year-old's leap to Wireless Zone franchisee 10 months ago was a natural progression of her hard work.
Name: Molly Martin
Franchise owned (location): Wireless Zone, two locations in Fremont, Mich. and Whitehall, Mich.
How long you have owned the franchise? Ten months.
I chose to pursue franchising because of the support that you receive from Verizon Wireless as being a part of the Big 6 (Verizon premium retailers).
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was a division manager of an indirect authorized retail location for Verizon Wireless. The company was individually owned by a board or members. I had worked for them since 2006 where I gained knowledge in the cellular division of retail.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I knew Wireless Zone was a match for me because they offered many opportunities to ensure a successful business. From the beginning stages with Janet Labanara, who is part of Wireless Zone’s franchise development team, she introduced me to the franchise and guided me through the steps to begin my business. Once I signed the dotted line I was then in the guidance of my regional franchise director Scott McGarry. He has been a huge supporter in my businesses success and has always helped drive my day to day operations in the right direction.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
Opening day inventory had a cost of about $50,000. This included accessories, phones, and other devices. To create the Wireless Zone sales floor was approximately $60,000. I opened each store with three dedicated sales associates along with myself and my general manager. As the same with any other new business, we had to purchase office supplies which was about $3,500.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I heard about Wireless Zone from my Verizon Wireless account manager and district manager when I held the position of division manager at my previous employer. The company I was with, was going through structural changes and those individuals recognized my motivation and encouraged me to become a franchise business owner.
I have always been a go-getter and always wanted to be the best I can. In high school I was student body president all four years. As I approached my sophomore year, I was one of the first as a sophomore to join DECA. DECA is an association of marketing students that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in high schools and colleges around the world. My DECA advisor Kelly Roney always pushed me to be great. She was a huge influence and credit to my business sense. She would tell me what needed to be done to be successful and professional and how to make it in the business field.
I went on to several competitions over three years to further my business experience and knowledge. In 2006, I began working in the cellular retail business and utilized what I was learning in DECA to help me with sales. As the years passed I knew more and more that I wanted to someday own a cellular store. I just never imagined it would happen so quickly. I am grateful for everyone who has supported me over the years.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Finding the perfect location was my largest challenge. Then there were the little things that challenged me the most. After being open for three weeks, Mother Nature hit us with a record amount of rain which in turn flooded our store. Winters in Michigan are brutal as is, but both store locations had to endure no heat for several days.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
If you are interested in owning your own franchise, utilize your resources. Learn all there is to learn about the franchise. Seek out other owners to aim questions to and bounce ideas off from. Being financially supported is also something that helps the business grow. You have to make an investment in your business to make a profit in your business. As a new franchise owner I had to learn to delegate the little things.