A Two Time All-American Hurdler Overcomes Obstacles in Sports and Business Like the lawns and landscapes he cares for, Justin Rush can withstand rough patches.

By Carly Okyle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Justin Rush
Justin Rush

Franchise: The Grounds Guys of Westerville

Franchise Location(s): Westerville, Ohio

Number of years in business/number of employees: 2 years (as of February) / 12 employees on average

Initial investment: The initial investment was roughly forty thousand dollars. After about an additional ten thousand for marketing, branding, and training we were off and running.

Related: How This Woman's Young Daughter Inspired Her to Change Careers

The best stories are often underdog stories, and Justin Rush is an underdog.

Standing at 5'8", Rush doesn't have the typical physique of a track-and-field star. As he says, the odds of him becoming successful at the sport were overwhelmingly not in his favor. Yet, with the help of coaches he became a two time All-American hurdler. The obstacles continued when an injury his junior year of college ended his career.

After graduating, Rush began a career as an educator and coach, but it wasn't smooth sailing then, either. Budget cuts made the job precarious, so after five years as a coach and four as a teacher, he decided leave education to start his own business. His goal, he says, "was to create a business that had real value," but he realized that the value of his independently owned company wasn't much. He estimates that his business was worth $500, pointing out that it was similar to the cost of his iPhone. Rather than a business, he realized, he had a hobby.

Related: This New Mom Never 'Expected' to Find the Perfect Business Model

So, he turned to The Grounds Guys -- a lawncare and landscaping company -- and opened a location in Westerville, Ohio. Once more, there were challenges. Specifically, Rush says that financial awareness was difficult. "I knew entering the business world that knowing and understanding the numbers would drive our success," he says. "It has taken a lot of time and frustration to understand the importance of managing to the numbers." Again, he turned to a coach, only this time the title was "franchise consultant."

Now, over two years later, Rush's business is doing well enough that he's thinking of opening more locations. "I see expansion in our future," he says. "We will be pursuing options to acquire additional territories and open a second location. My long term goals do not end in Columbus, Ohio. I am here to support The Grounds Guys in becoming the leading grounds care company in North America."

Related: The Grewal Family Franchises Together and Thrives Together

Whatever obstacles come up along the way -- because every business has them -- it's likely that Rush will handle them well and move forward.

For more information: The Grounds Guys.
Wavy Line
Carly Okyle

Assistant Editor, Contributed Content

Carly Okyle is an assistant editor for contributed content at Entrepreneur.com.

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