📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Franchise Players: How Franchising Provided a Solution for This Minister and His Disabled Son The owner-investor franchise model was the perfect fit for this family preparing for an uncertain future.

By Kate Taylor

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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 ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

When Tom Sharman began losing his vision due to a rare genetic condition, the first thing that his parents, William and Mary Beth, were worried about was his future. How could they make sure Tom would be able to provide for himself over the coming years, and even after they were gone? The family found a solution in franchising. Today, the father-son duo owns two Sports Clips franchises that operate with an owner-investor model, allowing William to continue working as a minister and helping provide Tom the support he needs. Here's how they found a franchise that was the perfect fit for their family.

Name: William Robert Sharman III (Bob)

Franchise owned: Two Sports Clips in Greensboro, N.C.

How long have you owned a franchise?

Seven years.

Why franchising?

Franchising offers brand and service/product protection plus advertising and support. The home office of the franchise (if it is a successful franchise) takes seriously the responsibility of setting and keeping standards for services and products offered at the highest level possible, plus requires buy-in to advertise on a local, and national level.

Related: Franchise Players: After the Military, a Couple Finds a Career in Franchising

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

I am a Presbyterian minister and continue full-time pastoral work in the church.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

Sport Clips has an "owner-investor" model, rather than an owner-manager model. That is, the owner hires and has trained a manager and team to run the store on a day-to-day basis. This model is perfect for our son, Tom, who is disabled and would not be able to run an independent business, and who would benefit from the above mentioned advantages of a franchise.

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

We invested a little more than $100,000 of our own money and received a matching business loan. This amount got us built out and running, though it should be noted that it included the license fees for three stores.

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

I have a business degree and had owned a successful small business, so I was "in the neighborhood" as they say with regard to understanding the set-up of a small business. I also consulted with a franchise broker. Also, Sport Clips provides great support services prior to investing—that is, they are very careful about who becomes part of their system; thus, they give a fairly clear picture of what is involved in financial and time requirements.

Related: How These Brothers Took Over a Taco Franchise

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

When it comes to patience, it's easy to "talk the talk," but it can be challenging to "walk the walk." There are always exceptions, but in general, a business takes time to really get going and be healthy and mature. With a great model like Sport Clips, we experienced profits much sooner than we expected. Plus, Sport Clips sets high standards for itself and its franchisees. So, they kept helping us with basic store analysis for creating excellence, which eventually led to even greater profitability.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

The advice I would offer is tried and true and shared by everyone who has gone through the start-up of a franchise business:

  1. Trust the formula. If you are not 100 percent sold on the formula of a particular franchise of interest, you would be foolish to sign-up.
  2. Have patience -- work the formula.
  3. Hire a great manager. Tipping points don't just happen -- they are almost always related to a great personality in management who is driving the process.

What's next for you and your business?


Related: Franchise Players: Why You Need to Find a Mentor

Kate Taylor


Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."

Side Hustle

How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Successful Business

A hobby, interest or charity project can turn into a money-making business if you know the right steps to take.


Want to Be More Productive? Here's How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules

These five tactics from inside Google will help you focus and protect your time.

Business News

These Are the 10 Most Profitable Cities for Airbnb Hosts, According to a New Report

Here's where Airbnb property owners and hosts are making the most money.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.