Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Jerry Baltus began looking into franchising with the help of a coach from The Entrepreneur's Source after leaving the corporate world, nothing appealed to him. Then, his coach suggested he look into business coaching himself. Today, Baltus is a multi-unit owner with AdviCoach and has helped thousands of business owners improve their businesses. Here's what he's learned.
Name: Jerry Baltus
Franchise owned: I am a multi-unit owner with AdviCoach based in Northern Wisconsin.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I launched my AdviCoach business in December of 2006.
I was not committed to investing in a franchise opportunity when I left my corporate job in September of 2006. Rather, I was looking for a business opportunity that would allow me to leverage my professional background in business management, sales and marketing to achieve the income, lifestyle, wealth and equity that I desired.
I have observed others spend six months or more building the business structure before bringing on any clients. I wanted to connect with clients right away. I needed a program that would provide me with the structure, training and back-end support necessary to build my client base and begin making an income. The franchise business model provided these resources, which is why I eventually chose to move forward with investing in a franchise opportunity.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Prior to becoming a business coach, I spent more than three decades in business management and development.
My diversified professional background includes 17 years with a privately held Fortune 500 manufacturer in the functional areas of accounting, international sales and marketing. Additionally, I have more than a decade of experience serving as vice president of sales and executive vice president for a $35 million privately held manufacturer, where I lead day-to-day operations.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
In an effort to reach the next level in my career, I began exploring business opportunities that would help me achieve my income, lifestyle, wealth and equity goals. To guide me through the exploration and discovery process, I contacted a coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source, who presented a series of business opportunities that matched my personality, experience and skill-level. Unfortunately, none of these businesses appealed to me.
Eventually, my coach presented The Entrepreneur’s Source, in the hopes I might be interested in joining him as a business coach. I followed his direction and began researching the concept. That is when I discovered the company’s sister-brand AdviCoach, which at the time was called Business Advisers International. Several months later, I purchased the nation’s first co-brand regional developer franchise licenses of The Entrepreneur’s Source and Business Advisers International (now, AdviCoach).
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
The investment for a single unit franchise is between $73,000 and $76,000, which includes the $45,000 franchise fee and $10,000 training fee. The price includes the franchise license and two associates.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
My coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source proved to be instrumental in helping me find the right franchise opportunity.
In addition, I sought advice from a local attorney who has a background in business acquisitions and franchising. He provided support as I became more acquainted with franchising, including filling me in on what I should expect during each phase of the discovery process.
I also conducted my own due diligence online. In the beginning, I was interested in a range of career alternatives. Once I had narrowed my scope, I began doing more in-depth research on the franchise websites.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Because I anticipated there to be challenges with growing and developing the business, that is where I originally focused my efforts.
Also, because I understood the importance of building our client base early on, I became actively involved with my local chamber and BNI group right away. That aggressiveness from the on-set led to today’s situation where many of our newer clients have come to us through referrals.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
My advice to individuals exploring franchise opportunities is to do their due diligence. It is essential to do adequate research before moving forward with such a life-changing investment.
Additionally, I would advise prospective franchisees to think like a true entrepreneur. Franchisees that have become accustom to large corporate environments tend to lack the tenacity and urgency needed to succeed in business ownership. It is essential to remember that YOU are responsible for growing and developing the business, not the franchisor.
What’s next for you and your business?
Looking ahead, we are planning to grow the business across the state of Wisconsin. We are looking forward to bringing on new associates to help us extend our reach into new communities nationwide. Growing our presence will allow us to have a greater impact on entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the area.
Additionally, AdviCoach and The Entrepreneuer’s Source are looking to expand its U.S. presence in the coming year. We are looking to award franchise opportunities to individuals and teams with an ambition to succeed.