Sometimes the pieces perfectly fall into place. The timing and location are exactly right for a life-changing decision.
This was the case for Smoothie King franchisee Jarrod Johnson, who was fortunate enough to bring a brand he loved from childhood through college to a new market and a new home in Rome, Georgia. The journey was a learning experience that helped Jarrod forge a new understanding of what budding entrepreneurs should ask themselves when considering investing in a business opportunity.
Here are a few questions Jarrod highlighted for anyone thinking about making a change to franchise ownership:
1. Do you love the brand and products?
I grew up on Smoothie King as a kid. I went there all through high school and college. Especially if you’re going into a new market, you have to really sell it. You can’t expect to just open and have people come. You have to push the business and build brand awareness in your local market. I can sell anything I love.
I give credit to my wife. She took the initiative to reach out to Smoothie King to let them know we were interested in bringing the brand to Rome. Luckily, the interest was mutual, and we’ve been able to bring a product that we both love to a community that lacked many better-for-you alternatives.
2. Are you ready to take your life in a new direction?
I was on the Houston Police Department for 11 and half years and was eyeing retirement, which you get after 20 years on the force. With just over eight and a half years left, I intended to retire in Houston. But that didn’t happen.
What many people don’t know about policing is that you can’t transfer your tenure from one department to another. You can’t go from state to state and agency to agency and bring your seniority. When you leave one agency, you have to go through training all over again with the new one.
Long story short, I wasn’t interested in starting over from scratch. If I was going to start over again, I wanted to be in a completely new field. At the same time, my wife got a job in Rome, and I wanted to support that endeavor.
I honestly had no clue what I was going to do when I got to Rome. Inspiration struck during one of those late-night conversations that many married couples have when they consider what direction to take in the next chapter of their lives. It happened one night before we were going to bed. We realized that Rome didn’t have many nutritious options. Smoothie King would be great here.
3. Does the market scream for the product?
During the first year of living in Rome, I got into CrossFit. Meanwhile, my wife had been working as a physician at the local hospital. We both recognized that Smoothie King would be a great fit in the community.
Consider what you know about the community. Ask yourself:
- What do you know about the people in your market?
- How many households are there?
- How many high schools are there?
There are nine gyms in my market. I thought those people were going to be the core of my business. In general, though, most guests are just “regular people” who want to eat a little better. High school and college students come in, as well as moms after school.
As I consider opening up a second location, these questions are spinning around in my head. It’s time to do my due diligence in the surrounding area.
4. Are you flexible?
When opening a franchise, you have to be ready for obstacles. The first location I chose for real estate fell through. It was going to be a standalone drive-thru across the street from the hospital. The market is tight when it comes to real estate. Everyone wants to be on the main road, and we tried hard to make it work. However, it didn’t work out.
Eventually, a location on the main thoroughfare became available and we jumped on it. It took about two years to open our doors, but it was worth the wait.
Are You Achieving Your Purpose?
Ultimately, each person has his or her own unique motivation for becoming a business owner. With Smoothie King, the mission is clear: Inspiring people to live a healthy and active lifestyle. So, the final question you have to ask yourself is whether that’s something you’re passionate about and want to bring to your community.
For answers about the Smoothie King franchise opportunity, download our franchise kit here.