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This Franchisee Found a Business That Rocked His World

This Franchisee Found a Business That Rocked His World
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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 franchiseplayers@entrepreneur.com.

For Kenneth Hall, rock’n’roll has always been a passion, but one he pursued only on his free time: He worked at PepsiCo for 27 years in sales and marketing and oversaw food service for a Pepsi division as a regional sales manager. But he yearned to move to an industry that struck an emotional chord.  

Then, one day on a plane, he was reading Guitar magazine and spotted an ad for School of Rock, a franchise whose owners run schools offering music lessons in their favorite genre. For Hall, the pieces fell together. “Honestly, it was not like I was searching out all these different businesses for the perfect franchise,” Hall shares. “However, when I saw this opportunity to own a business with two of my biggest passions of music and teaching, it just aligned perfectly.”
 
Name: Kenneth Hall

Franchise owned: School of Rock Germantown, Tennessee

How long have you owned a franchise? 

Three-and-a-half years.

Related: Three Franchises Far From Business As Usual

Why franchising? 

I had never thought about franchising or owning a business before, but the opportunity to open a business that that makes a difference in kids’ lives was just an amazing opportunity. I was looking for a way to channel my passions into a career, and once I found School of Rock, I knew it was the perfect choice for me.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner? 

Prior to opening a School of Rock, I worked for PepsiCo for 27 years in sales and marketing. I oversaw food service for a division of Pepsi as a regional sales manager. After more than 20 years at Pepsi, I realized I wanted to work in an industry that I had a strong passion for. Working at Pepsi was a wonderful opportunity, but I knew there was more I would like to do, and eventually I went back to school, received my MBA and planned on becoming a teacher. I love teaching, interacting with kids and making a difference in their lives, so I thought this was the best way to follow my dream. I had such a great job with Pepsi, however, that I couldn’t leave just yet.

Why did you choose this particular franchise? 

My two passions are music and teaching. I knew I would love to combine the two passions into one career, but I had no idea how. I had my MBA, was thinking of teaching, but still working at Pepsi. One day, I was on a plane reading Guitar magazine when I saw an advertisement for School of Rock. I was ecstatic, because here I was, receiving my answer on how I could combine my love for teaching and my love for music.

I came home energized, but cautious, because I had never thought about opening my own business. But I kept taking steps forward and finally decided to pull the trigger, and we opened our school in August of 2012. Owning a School of Rock is so rewarding. We have kids come in who lack confidence and self-esteem; they even have trouble looking you in the eye. But they start learning an instrument, and six months later, you see them step up to a microphone to perform. It’s amazing to see the transformation. Our parents often say the school is a second home for their kids, and we love being a safe haven where they can interact with friends and do what they love.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

My cost was $275,000, which included working capital, franchise fee, build-out, gear, legal, signage, grand opening marketing, etc. Then we had furniture, computer hardware, insurance, charters and licenses.

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research? 

Honestly, it was not like I was searching out all these different businesses for the perfect franchise. I was not really looking to open up a business. However, when I saw this opportunity to own a business with two of my biggest passions of music and teaching, it just aligned perfectly with what would give me the courage to leave the corporate world.

Related: 'Mother Knows Best' Inspired This Franchisee to Truly Listen to the Music

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise? 

[They were] the cost of doing business and delivering on net income objectives, the ongoing cost of equipment replacement and repair, and scheduling challenges.

Related: Franchise Players: How This 'Computer Mom' Became Franchisee of the Year

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise? Find something that you truly have a passion for, and can have fun doing, as of course owning your own business will require a great deal of your time. Ensure that you will have the support you expect from the franchisor. Have realistic financial goals in mind and take the time to write a business plan. Hire great people and treat them well.

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