How Play N Trade Fuels Franchisees For an entrepreneur looking for no work and all play, it doesn't get much better than this.

By Justin Petruccelli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

They say when you love what you do for a living, you never have to work a day in your life. Take a business that involves being surrounded by video games all day and it's pretty much a lock.

In 2000, Ron Simpson got hooked on video games while enjoying them with his kids. That burst of fun led him to take over the faltering store where he and his family bought their games. Play N Trade was born and, three years later, began franchising. The company now has 178 franchises with another 200 planned for 2009. Simpson says his ideal franchisee doesn't have to be business savvy as long as he or she's passionate about the product.

"[We look for] someone who really gets the excitement of gaming and wants to share that excitement with people," he says. "We don't always need franchisees who have retail or gaming experience; that is what we are here for. What we need are people who have a 'make it happen, this is going to be my last career' attitude when they get back to their stores.

"I've always been told, find something you love and you will be a lot more successful. Some of our franchisees love gaming but really don't know the first step in owning their own business, and that is where we come in. [Successful franchisees] are people who are committed to following our proven system, then adding their personality and drive to making their store successful. They need to be well-capitalized and outgoing. They also understand the sacrifices necessary to be successful."

Simpson says the Newport Beach, Calif.-based company also recognizes that certain personalities might not be a good fit for a high-energy industry such as gaming.

"Someone [who] looks at gaming from a spreadsheet and not as a lifestyle [might struggle]," he says. "Also introverted people [may struggle], because so much of what we do is promotional in nature. I compare our franchisees to someone running for mayor, because they have to be willing to really get out there to meet a lot of people and kiss a lot of babies, so to speak."

Simpson describes himself as being "born to sell" and believes "an idea without action is worth about as much as a car without a motor--zero." His franchise support system is reflective of both philosophies.

"Aside from our obvious competitive advantages, [the value of our system is] the more than 100 years of combined retail experience of myself and the people in our corporate offices [who] have been there and done that," Simpson says. "I really don't think there's a question a franchisee could ask in this space that we haven't experienced personally ourselves somewhere along the line.

"There are so many fatal mistakes people can make in retail before coming to our training. I know I would have liked having these experts on my side in my early retail days. It would have saved me a lot of time, money and anxiety."

Wavy Line

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