A Year Later: Lessons Learned from a First-Time Smoothie King Franchisee
Launching a business as a first-time entrepreneur can be intimidating. There are many variables to consider, tasks to juggle and challenges to hurdle. For some, the enormity of the task creates a barrier to business ownership.
Luckily, franchising can help to make life easier for new entrepreneurs. Franchises equip owners with established brands and proven formulas. The right brand can improve a hard-working franchisee’s chances at long-term profitability and growth.
Take Adam Cozzolino, a first-time franchisee with Smoothie King. Adam got so comfortable in the driver’s seat that he’s now preparing to open a second location.
When Adam first began his franchising journey, we talked with him about his experience as a millennial business owner. Now, a year later, we’re checking back in to hear what Adam has learned from his time at the helm.
Journey to Becoming a Smoothie King Franchisee
Before entering the franchise industry, Adam worked as a district manager for a tax firm and oversaw seven offices. After years in self-guided positions like auto sales, he took the opportunity at the firm to build his communication skills and get comfortable managing people.
After an attempt to open his own tax preparation franchise fell apart, Adam knew it was time to reassess. He remembered how much he enjoyed visiting the Smoothie King by his campus at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte and felt inspired by the brand’s mission and quality product.
This June marks Adam’s second anniversary as a Smoothie King franchise owner. In that time, he launched one location in Hickory, North Carolina, and now he’s gearing up to open a second in Charlotte.
Although Adam majored in business management at UNC, his hands-on experience as a business owner has taught him countless lessons in just two short years. As time goes on, he’ll learn even more. Here’s what he’s taken away so far:
While taking a new business from conception to grand opening, Adam got a crash course in operations and marketing. But his biggest area of development was as a manager.
Hiring and supporting his own smoothie bar team helped Adam identify his strengths as a leader and leverage them. As a good communicator, he does his best to level with employees and speak to them honestly. If something goes wrong, he takes the opportunity to check in and figure out how to set them up for success. This approach builds trust, promotes teamwork and decreases turnover.
“I definitely came in with managerial skills, but I grew so much because of all the different experiences I dealt with as a business owner,” he said. “For example, if a team member makes a mistake or comes in late a couple times, you’ve got to put yourself in their shoes and coach them to do better instead of just telling them what they did wrong. When they know that you understand them, they’ll respect you more, and they’ll work harder for your business.”
Franchising Supports Long-Term Business Goals
After finding success as a franchise owner, Adam is looking toward his next venture. He decided to reinvest with Smoothie King and has a second location in development. He’s also considering putting his new skills to use with an independent concept.
As he maneuvers toward his long-term business goals, Adam is glad he chose Smoothie King for his first venture.
“You can’t go wrong with Smoothie King, especially with the growth they’re experiencing,” he said. “Smoothie King’s franchise office is incredibly helpful no matter what question you have. They have operations consultants on call, and I still speak with the people who helped train my staff and assisted me with my grand opening. They’ve always been there for me, and they support my entrepreneurial goals. I couldn’t have picked a better franchise.”