What Serving as a Marine and NYPD Officer Taught Me About Franchising
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.
Brendan Ryan became a franchisee because the system made sense to him. After 20 years serving as a police officer and a Marine Corps reservist, he understood how to follow a step-by-step plan for success. So, he became a Blue Moon Estate Sales franchisee. Here's what he has learned.
Name: Brendan Ryan
Franchise owned: Blue Moon Estate Sales in Charlotte and Union County, N.C.
How long have you owned a franchise?
SOP (standard operating procedure) is a term well understood by anyone who has served in the armed forces or police force. It refers to a plan, a system, a step-by-step method for how a particular mission or function will be carried out. Military and police personnel understand the importance of following a plan to successfully execute a mission and capitalize on every opportunity. This systematic approach to achieving goals is very similar to the franchising model of doing business and it's why more and more people like myself are taking advantage of franchise opportunities after returning to civilian life.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I served with the New York City Police Department for 20 years. During that time, I also served as a United States Marine Corps reservist, earning the rank of gunnery sergeant during my service that included three combat tours in Iraq in 2003, 2005 and 2009. I promised myself that I would one day find a new career that echoed the teachings and philosophies of this important chapter in my life. I retired from the Marines in 2014, one year after retiring from the NYPD, and stayed true to my pledge when my wife, Kristen, and I purchased a Blue Moon Estate Sales franchise in Charlotte and Union County, N.C.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I honestly couldn’t have chosen a better franchise that matches up so perfectly with my skills and desires. Blue Moon Estate Sales is an outstanding business for veterans because it rewards the characteristics common among men and women in uniform: a capacity for hard work and service, respect for the property of others and an ability and willingness to follow proven systems within an organization to reach specific goals.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
As a thank you for the sacrifices veterans and their families have made for our country, Blue Moon Estate Sales provides veterans a 10 percent reduction on the $25,000 franchise fee. That said, my franchise fee was $22,500. I spent about $2,500 in additional start up fees – including forming a LLC – bringing my total investment to approximately $25,000.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
The internet and SBA website. I also sought input from other franchise owners and small business owners.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Marketing a new franchise or startup is hard, especially if you’re a small team. This was my most unexpected challenge. Fortunately, Blue Moon Estate Sales provides significant training and support throughout the launch process and beyond, from business operations and IT to marketing and valuation. It’s also very helpful that each new Blue Moon Estate Sale franchisee has a webpage optimized for high organic search results and focused online marketing campaigns.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Opening a franchise is a big decision. So, it should take a lot of thought and research on your part before you decide to buy. But, there are so many franchises out there to choose from, which can make it a little overwhelming when you start looking at your options. First and foremost, choose a product or service you’re truly passionate about. Next, research the franchises in that industry to select a respectable and profitable one. Then, examine the franchisors to find someone trustworthy, someone you get along with and someone who will put in the right amount of time and effort with your location. Last, but certainly not least, make sure you have enough income to get you through the startup phase.
What’s next for you and your business?
To grow the company, continue to market the brand and hire more employees.