Leaving Corporate America for Franchising After 30 Years
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.
After nearly 30 years in corporate America, Paul Deal was ready to go into business for himself. So, he signed on as a Floor Coverings International franchisee.
Opening his own business brought some surprises. Deal hadn't realized how much attention little details would take, like the difficulties of disposing packaging. He also hadn't realized how much he would love going into work every day.
Here's what the flooring franchisee has learned.
Name: Paul Deal
Franchises owned: Floor Coverings International, in St. Louis.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I had worked for large and small corporations for 30 years and I decided that I wanted to work for myself.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was vice president of marketing and business development at Stupp Bros., Inc. for 18 months. Then, I was director of marketing at Emerson Electric Co., later called Nidec Motor Company, for 17 years.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
- I liked the business model.
- The industry is extremely fragmented and allows me to build a brand in a region.
- The Mobile Showroom is a significant differentiator in the industry.
- I have the ability to work on the business versus working in the business.
- This is a business that, once built, will not rely on me or my involvement in the future—my children can take over or I can sell it.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I consulted current and former franchisees, franchise consultant, career consultant, friends, family, and FCI.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
- Having worked for large corporations for 30 years, I had become accustomed to having a significant support surrounding me. I didn't realize how many little details there were that required my attention.
- I did not expect to enjoy my days as much as I do. I have to make myself go home at the end of the day.
- Handling the delivery of all the samples and disposing of all the packaging!
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Do your research. Talk to every franchisee you can find—especially ones that failed. Compare the two types and understand what leads to failure and what it takes to be successful. Then, honestly evaluate your strengths, weaknesses and commitment.
What's next for you and your business?
Continue to grow and hiring my first employee.
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