Atlanta Couple's Formula for Success in Franchising

Atlanta Couple's Formula for Success in Franchising
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At the trailhead of their entrepreneurial journey, metro Atlanta couple Marietta and Darrin Morris already knew a great deal about investing in a franchise. They also came to the table with a wealth of personal expertise, professional experience and a plan.

Still, the time it took to traverse the road toward personal and financial success tested their perseverance and revealed much about their collective superpower – patience.

Looking back, they both agree the view is worth the climb. Their drive and persistence are paying off as they enter their second year as the owners of 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon in Marietta, Georgia. The idea of reinventing the men’s barber shop is definitely on trend, but that wasn’t the deciding factor. Marietta’s family owned a salon when she was younger, so she knew the lay of the land and Darrin’s experience in corporate branding drew him to the 18|8 story.
 
But how did they get there?
Over two years, this driven couple developed their roadmap to success. They pinpointed:
  1. Precisely where they wanted to locate their business,
  2. What roles they each would play in running the business, and
  3. What they wanted their business to provide for their futures.

“When Marietta found herself in the midst of a job transition, she and I met to chart their course and uncover the best opportunities given their unique criteria. She would return to her corporate leadership role, but not before we made some real headway,” says FranNet Consultant, Juliet Denise.

Family history and extensive professional backgrounds would play key roles in the franchise they selected; but, when it comes to a brick and mortar franchise, among the top criteria is a good location within close proximity to your target demographic. The Morrises were willing to invest in solid research and professional resources, and wait for the right location to become available.

Defining Your Business Model
Both Marietta and Darrin enjoy, and intend to keep their day jobs, long-term, while owning their business. In franchising, this is called semi-passive or semi-absentee ownership. It allows you to diversify your investment portfolio with business ownership, while continuing to work in your primary career. It also often means a longer runway to get started, but potentially a stronger equity event in the long run.

The popularity of this semi-absentee model is steadily growing; but Darrin recommends investors be very clear, there is no such thing as “passive” franchise ownership. The owner, while not required to be physically present at the location, has an active role especially leading up to the grand opening. Discretionary time, after work and on weekends, is much less discretionary with a large percentage reallocated to opening and building your new business.

In fact, Marietta shares happily, “I feel our greatest accomplishment to-date is when we finally opened our doors!” So much mental and physical energy went into just getting to the start line, it’s no wonder she feels this way.

Staking Your Claim
In the early days of the gold rush, citizens would run wooden stakes in the ground as soon as a new territory opened and, once claimed, everything found on that land, and the land itself, would belong to the stakeholder. The couple narrowed down their ideal location early on in the process. “We knew the exact locations in East Cobb, down to the shopping center address,” said Marietta. Darrin’s background and connections in commercial real estate proved to be very helpful.

Once they decided that 18|8 was the franchise for them, it was a really just matter of waiting out the current tenant and jumping on the lease. Most franchisors will help in this scenario. “We did utilize the services of a commercial agent recommended by their franchise partner,” said Darrin, “but, when it came down to lease negotiations, we engaged a commercial real estate attorney who specialized in tenant representation.”
 
Setting Goals
“For me, it’s about creating a second stream of income and investing in a business we can grow over time leading up to our retirement from corporate America,” says Darrin. Marietta agrees and adds that she comes from an entrepreneurial family and always had dreams of owning her own business one day. She was drawn to the franchise because it provided a playbook - a set of systems and processes designed to prevent trailblazers from falling off the cliff.

Finding the right semi-passive franchise doesn’t have to be a bumpy road. With careful planning, research and the right franchise consultant to lead the way, you too can build an additional stream of income; and, maybe even a business you love so much, you’ll finally be ready to leave the 9-5 behind.

About 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon
Claiming its name from the original formula for stainless steel, 18% chromium + 8% nickel added to steel, 18|8 Fine Men’s Salons offers its clients that same transformative effect – improving both look and performance. Since launching in 2002, 18|8 has established itself as the premier men’s salon catering to a discerning clientele with an upscale suite of hair care and grooming services.

About Juliet Denise
Juliet Denise utilizes her 30 years in financial services as an independent businesswoman and FranNet of Atlanta consultant. Since 2012 she has enjoyed connecting people, guiding those in career transition and expertly assisting those that would like to explore business ownership through franchising. Recognized often for her advocacy, she was named a Top FranNet Consultant in 2014 and 2016.

A graduate of Northwestern University, Julie volunteers with Atlanta Jobseekers, is the Atlanta Chapter Leader for the Business Executives Networking Group (BENG) and secretary for the SCORE North Metro Atlanta Chapter.

If you are curious and would like to explore whether business ownership through the franchise model is right for you - please email jdenise@frannet.com or call 678-249-9867.

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