Tolkien Reading Day is Wednesday, March 25. An annual event aimed at encouraging the reading of works by J.R.R. Tolkien, the day is a great time to pick up a good book and transport yourself into its story.
To help celebrate Tolkien, who is most famous for his classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, we want to take an in-depth look at one of his most notable quotes. Tolkien once said, “Not all who wander are lost.” And in the world of franchising, we couldn’t agree more.
If you find yourself wandering from the corporate world or standard workplace, you aren’t lost. Chances are, you’re an entrepreneur. With a desire to start your own business, lay your own path, and shape your future, your entrepreneurial spirit may lead you to consider franchising as a career option.
Think you’re an entrepreneur? Visit ExpressFranchising.com to see how Express Employment Professionals can work for you.
When Nate Miller graduated from high school, he spent two years doing volunteer work in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was able to combine two passions: his heart for helping people and his love for the Spanish language.
Today, he is putting both those passions to work in a powerful way as franchisee of the new Express Employment Professionals office in Anderson-Muncie, IN.
Equipped for Success After his work in Argentina, Nate studied Spanish at Indiana University and was then recruited by Express to work in the Lafayette office.
“Nate spent nearly five years working in the Lafayette office, performing every job from Front Office Coordinator to Office Manager,” said Bill Thompson, Express franchising executive. “It means a lot that his former manager, Lafayette franchisee Chuck Fish, believes he is ready to take on a franchise of his own.”
“While working at Express, I got to see the blueprint plan in action,” Nate said. “I was impressed with the way Chuck Fish ran his franchise, and by the many ways Express provided the tools he needed to succeed in the staffing industry. I am excited to take this model and make it a success in the Anderson-Muncie area.”
“He understands perfectly how to follow the Express blueprint to success,” Bill said. “He is a perfect fit for the business.”
Love for Spanish Language Proves Valuable According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 5% of Anderson residents are of Latino or Hispanic heritage, and more than 4% speak a language other than English at home.
“Nate’s bilingual skills will be very valuable to this market,” Bill said. “He will be a great addition to the Express family in Indiana.”
Join Express The Express family includes more than 700 franchises across the U.S. and new ones are opening every day by talented individuals who have what it takes to be their own boss and run a successful business. Interested in joining this growing industry? Express has been named one of the fastest growing major staffing companies in the country. For more information on owning an Express franchise, visit ExpressFranchising.com.
Thinking of owning and operating your own business? According to David Lewis, vice president of franchising for Express Employment Professionals, a good first step is to analyze how your personal characteristics align with four basic business models.
“Your level of comfort in running a business can be compared to how you feel about the different ways of buying a house,” David explains. “By evaluating where you fall in these four buckets, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of business venture you’re wired for, or whether you’d ultimately be happier working for someone else.”
A good thing to ask yourself is, “Which of these scenarios is most comfortable to you?”
The good home in the nice neighborhood.
Some home buyers limit their search to houses that are already built in existing neighborhoods. They don’t want to have to make a lot of decisions about the structure. They prefer a home that’s ready to go, so they can add their personal touches through decorating or landscaping.
“If this is you, you are likely a great corporate employee,” David notes. “You like having company policies and procedures already in place, and come to work ready to do the job set before you. You may have what it takes to rise through the ranks at your company, but you probably would not feel at ease running a business.”
A Rental on The Side
You have a home you love, but you like to invest in rental property on the side. You are comfortable with the associated risks and responsibilities of managing the property.
“As a part-time or passive investor, you have a good opportunity to evaluate your potential for running a business,” David notes. “You may realize you are not willing to leave your steady day job, and that’s okay. For others, success in these ventures can lead to business ownership over time. It’s a frequent pathway to franchise ownership.”
A Custom Home You Create with the Help of a Good Builder.
You’ve purchased enough homes or rental properties to feel comfortable taking things to a new level. You want to make your own mark, but you don’t want to start from scratch, so you work with a builder who offers expert tools, resources, and a blueprint built for success.
“If you have done well in corporate, but reached a level where you can’t advance any more, you may be ready for opening and operating a franchise,” David says. “The best candidates have experience building great business relationships and do well executing a blueprint and following proven policies and procedures. They understand the value they offer to a franchise partner, and appreciate the resources that are already “tested” by the franchisor.”
“Express CEO Bob Funk calls this the ‘semi-entrepreneur,’” David adds. “Becoming a franchisee can be a career choice of its own, or a bridge between a corporate career and full-out entrepreneurship. At Express, our franchisees appreciate the fact that we give them a blueprint that truly works as long as they are willing to invest effort in it.”
Grid Paper, a Pencil, and a House You Design from Scratch.
You are ready to create your own one-of-a-kind home and you don’t feel you need a safety net of any kind. You want to control everything, from where the electrical outlets are to the kind of mudding used on the walls.
“This is the pure entrepreneur,” David says. “Pure entrepreneurs are often frustrated working in a corporate environment. They do not want a company providing the basic processes and services to support their business, they want to start from scratch, all on their own.”
Franchising 101 is a series of educational articles that provide important tips for anyone who is considering buying a franchise. For more information on Express Employment Professionals and the fast-growing staffing industry, visit ExpressFranchising.com.
Karina Parr has lived in Mexico City and traveled the world, but this seasoned HR professional and her family have found there’s no place like home in Connecticut. And now, Karina has leveraged her business experience to open an Express Employment Professionals franchise in Danbury, CT.
Karina settled in the U.S. in 1994 and earned her MBA in 2001 while working in the hospitality industry. She is an experienced HR generalist who worked her way up from guest services agent for a Hilton hotel in Florida. Karina most recently served as director for a hotel group in New York City.
Her American Dream
Karina recently celebrated her 20-year anniversary in the U.S. and is delighted to fulfill her American dream of owning a business.
“Express franchisees who work with persistence and determination are able to use our blueprint to become very successful,” said Brook Wise, Express regional franchising director. “Karina has those attributes. She is extremely outgoing and very professional. She sets yearly goals for herself and this year, she reached her goal of completing the New York City Triathlon.”
Karina will operate the Danbury, CT franchise with assistance from her business partner, Foster Burnett. Foster also brings extensive experience from the hospitality industry, having worked for several prestigious brands, including Ritz Carlton, Swissôtel, Hilton, and Valencia Group as well as independent hotels including La Mansion del Rio and The Mount Washington Hotel and Resort.
Making Life Better for Others
“My upbringing has taught me to be independent and self-sufficient, while at the same time, teaching me how to be humble and care for others,” Karina said. “I feel driven to help others make their lives better.”
In addition to helping people find meaningful work through her Express franchise, Karina is actively involved in her community. She participates in Junior Achievement of South Western Connecticut, Toys for Tots, Dress for Success, Laurel House, Kids in Crisis, Waterside Coalition, Yerwood Center and the Southern Fairfield County Food Bank.
Karina is an active national member of the Society for Human Resource Management. She is married and has one daughter.
Congratulations to Karina for living out her American dream as an Express Franchisee.
How about you? Would you like to see your hard work pay off as a member of the Express family? There’s never been a better time to get started. The staffing industry is booming and Express has been named one of the fastest growing major staffing companies in the country. For more information on owning an Express franchise, visit ExpressFranchising.com.
National Read Across America Day is Monday, March 2. The holiday celebrates the importance of reading and the birthday of beloved author Dr. Seuss.
Across America, thousands of schools, community centers, and libraries will participate in the day by reading to groups of children and teenagers. There’s no shortage of statistics on literacy and its effect on the lives and welfare of people across the world. Still, it’s easy to take the ability to read for granted. Celebrate National Read Across America Day by reading to a child, picking up a good book on leadership, or even catching up with some of your favorite Dr. Seuss stories.
This year, the book being honored on Read Across America Day is the Seuss classic, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Your future and the legacy you leave behind may be shaped by the work you’re doing today. So, it’s important that you enjoy what you do and make a difference in the lives of others. If you’re considering starting a business of your own, today may be the day to take the first step! Check out ExpressFranchising.com for more information.
As Dr. Seuss said in his famous book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!”
Express Employment Professionals is honored to have three U.S. military veterans opening offices in California this spring. While their service specialties were quite different, they share many common traits and training that equipped them to lead Express franchises.
Brian Gilden was a U.S. Marine for 20 years, who piloted a CH-53E “Super Stallion” helicopter, flew 138 missions in Iraq, and won the Navy-Marine Corps Medal for extraordinary heroism. He is opening an Express office in the aptly named Mission Valley, CA, territory.
Eric Cross served 22 years in the U.S. Marines, and was deployed to more countries than many people ever dream of seeing, from Dubai to Somalia, including a total of 30 visits to Thailand. He is opening an Express office in Murrieta, CA.
Jon Noceda served as a personnel specialist in the U.S. Navy for 22 years, including two years recruiting medical officers. He is opening an Express office in Chula Vista, CA.
These three former servicemen find that running a franchise is the perfect fit for their military training and experience—and they are not alone. According to the International Franchise Association, an industry-wide initiative has helped connect more than 150,000 veterans with franchise employment opportunities between 2011 and 2014. In fact, the IFA reports that one in seven franchises were owned by former military members in 2013.
Gilden, Cross, and Noceda all liked the fact that Express Employment Professionals is a highly successful company with 725 franchises across the U.S., Canada, and South Africa, and that Express is ranked number 71 on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500® list and named one of “America’s Top Global Franchise Systems.” But all three say there were several other reasons that the opportunities fit hand-in-hand with their military backgrounds.
“Express and the military share a common purpose of service and excellence in all we do,” said David Lewis, Vice President of Franchising for Express. “Brian, Eric, and Jon live out that purpose and will make exceptional franchisees.
The Benefits of Leadership What makes this franchise opportunity a good fit for veterans?
“For me, it comes down to the leadership fundamentals,” Cross said. “The Marines teach 14 Leadership Traits and there are two key components of our training: “mission accomplished” for getting the job done and “troop welfare” for taking care of the people who work for you. Those skills are important to leading a small or large business in the private sector.”
“As a leader, I always felt my top job was to keep people employed and satisfied and to help them develop their potential,” Cross said. “Express lets me invest in people the same way. And I find it highly rewarding to be able to help people find the right job and to provide the right people for businesses.
Dan Gunderson, regional franchising executive for Express Employment Professionals, says veterans like Gilden, Cross, and Noceda have the qualities that make Express franchisees successful.
“Brian, Eric, and Jon exhibit strong leadership qualities and understand from their military careers how important it is to follow proven processes that lead to success,” Gunderson said. “In the past few months, Express has had three new franchises opened by veterans and dozens of our franchises are owned by veterans.
“We are proud to have these individuals represent our company in their communities,” Gunderson said. We are grateful to them and their families, who made sacrifices on behalf of our country, and we welcome the military training they bring to the table.”
Training Recruits, Not Robots “When I was looking at franchises, the structured approach that Express takes really appealed to me. They recruit the way we recruited in the military, with strong policies and procedures for finding the right talent,” Noceda said. “Following rules and regulations from headquarters is right in my comfort zone and Express headquarters also provides the support we need as franchisees.”
Brian is quick to point out that some employers misunderstand military training, believing it produces “mindless robots,” but nothing could be further from truth.
“Military training teaches the perfect combination of being able to follow a strategy and plan, with the leadership, autonomy, and intelligence you need to adjust to current conditions, whether on the battlefield, or in a business marketplace with its own economy and characteristics,” he said.
“There’s a saying in the Marines,” Brian adds. “The plan doesn’t survive the first shot fired down range. You can have the perfect plan, but then the weather changes or something else makes the plan impossible to follow through. That doesn’t mean that the aircraft isn’t still moving across the sky at 150 mph. You have to be able to adjust and go. People don’t last long in the military without that tactical decision making ability. We do that well in the Marine Corps. And it works perfectly for franchise ownership.”
The Importance of Loyalty Why does franchising prove more rewarding for many veterans than working in corporate America?
“Veterans find that corporate does not always include the level of loyalty, leadership and teamwork found in the military,” Brian said. “When you are used to a leadership and teamwork organization such as the Marine Corps, it is difficult to work in an environment where people may be in it for themselves, without any sense of loyalty or interest in true teamwork. An Express franchise offers the opportunity to be that leader, to train an excellent team, and to help people. I get an intangible good feeling in my heart when I place people.”
Eric agrees, and notes that when he was deployed to countries all over the world, his family learned to make sacrifices, yet continued to operate as a team.
“We all believe that, when one member of the team is not there everyone picks up their share of the workload. Life doesn’t stop,” Eric said. When he retired from the Marines, he worked some in the private sector, but discovered that path also meant many hours away from family.
“One of the things we like about Express is that the company wants its franchisees to have that balance of work and family time,” Eric said. “We are embracing this franchise opportunity as a family. I love being able to work side-by-side with my wife, and even involve my children, who are eight and 10. We can’t wait to begin serving the community.”
“That is an important thing for me when I looked into Express,” Jon said. ”After being away from my family in the Navy – sometimes for six to seven months at a time, I liked the family-friendly business model and the five-day work week. After serving in the military, I am no stranger to hard work or long hours. But if I chose a franchise in another industry like the food industry where weekends are the most important time in that industry, I would never have that time with my family.”
Finding the Right Fit In his spare time, Brian does a lot of volunteer work helping veterans and wounded warriors make the transition from uniform into civilian life. He advises veterans to take the time to make sure an organization is the perfect fit for them, as far as passion, skills, and the way the company feels about people.
“Express is a perfect match for me in that regard,” Brian said. “The company encourages all franchisees to be involved in their communities and give back to others. When I was researching opportunities, the Express franchisees I spoke with also praised the company’s plan, which, if followed, always leads to success.”
Eric says he researched many business opportunities before deciding on Express.
“One of the most important things that Express offers is a solid structure,” Eric said. “You get to be an independent franchise owner, but the standards and process control they offer is significant. The hierarchical structure of the company feels normal for me. It is driven by policies and procedures and there is a corporate help desk. The bottom line is, if you follow through, the system is proven to work by more than 700 franchisees who have put their faith in it, with excellent results.”
Jon agrees wholeheartedly.
“A good thing about Express is that they teach you the gun before teaching you to shoot it. You’re not just thrown into the fire,” Jon said. “With Express training, you get to learn what it’s like in trenches first—then use your leadership skills to run the business.”
“I talked to an Express franchisee who was an Army pilot,” Brian said. “He said the training he received from Express was the best training he’d ever experienced inside or outside the Army. I took that as a bold endorsement, because the Army does a really good job at training pilots. Upon completing my Express training, I’ll feel very prepared to take on this business and run it successfully.”
Join Express Does Brian, Eric or Jon’s story inspire you to become a business owner and make a difference in your community? Express offers a 50% VetFran discount for U.S. and Canadian veterans. For more information on owning an Express franchise or the VetFran discount, visit ExpressFranchising.com.
When Doug Anthony began a successful decorative paving business in 1999, he didn’t realize that his business experience would eventually pave the way to a new career in staffing. But when he saw how well his brother Curt fared as a franchisee for Express Employment Professionals in Nebraska, Doug knew that Express would be his path to success. He is now the franchisee of the Logan, UT Express office.
A Move in the Right Direction
“Doug’s experience makes him well-qualified to be an Express franchisee,” said Dan Gunderson, Express franchising director. “Doug started and operated his own successful paving and contracting business in Las Vegas for 16 years, starting in his 20s. He oversaw all aspects of the operation, managed his work crews and was responsible for new client development and ongoing service with his client companies.”
A Utah State University grad, Doug sold his business in Nevada in 2006 and moved to Utah to be closer to family. The husband and father of five owned and operated a paving business in the Logan, UT area for several years, and realized over time that the territory was the perfect location for an Express franchise.
“I’ve developed many close relationships in the Logan business community and I can see how the Express business model will work well here,” Doug said. “I became very interested in Express after my brother Curt opened an Express franchise in Omaha. It was very inspirational to me to watch his business grow so successfully.”
The Power of Community
Dan Gunderson commended Doug for also seeing his franchise as a way to help others in Logan.
“Doug understands the importance of playing a role in the community and being involved in the local Chamber of Commerce,” Dan said. “He is also active in his church where he has held various leadership positions and coaches a competitive 12 and under baseball team.”
Does owning a successful franchise appeal to you? There’s never been a better time to open an Express office of your own. The staffing industry is booming and Express has been named one of the fastest growing major staffing companies in the country. For more information on owning an Express franchise, visit ExpressFranchising.com.
U.S. Marines are taught to “lead by example,” whether in battle, in their home communities, or in the business world. After spending 20 years serving his country, former Marine Lieutenant Colonel Brian Gilden is taking his valuable leadership skills to a new career as a franchisee for Express Employment Professionals.
Congratulations to Brian and his wife, Robyn, who opened the Mission Valley, CA Express office.
A Humble Hero
“Brian has the qualities that make Express franchisees successful,” says Dan Gunderson, Express regional franchising executive. “He understands from his Marine career how important it is to follow proven processes that lead to success. He also has similar experience from the private sector, working for Caterpillar, Inc. and Lytx, Inc.”
As a CH-53E “Super Stallion” helicopter pilot in the United States Marine Corps, Brian flew 138 missions in Iraq.
“Brian’s awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, which is the highest peacetime decoration for extraordinary heroism in the aftermath of a helicopter crash,” Dan said. “Despite the accolades, Brian’s focus is not on himself, but on how he can help Mission Valley employers and job hunters find success.”
Caring for Community
Brian strongly believes in giving back to the community. He has served as a career transition assistance program instructor and lab coach for the Veterans Association of North County, as a guest lecturer for the San Diego State University Master of Homeland Security program, and on the membership committee for the San Diego Diplomacy Council. He is fluent in Spanish, and eager to reach out to both the English- and Spanish-speaking community in the Mission Valley region.
Robyn has served in the community as a Board Member At-Large for the Patrons of Rancho Buena Vista High School. She also has six years of experience working in nonprofits, most recently as an outreach and volunteer associate at Solutions for Change, an organization solving family homelessness through social enterprise.
Robyn and Brian have been married for 23 years and have two daughters.
The Express family includes more than 700 franchises across the U.S. and new ones are opening every day by talented individuals who have what it takes to be their own boss and run a successful business. Interested in joining this growing industry? Express has been named one of the fastest growing major staffing companies in the country. For more information on owning an Express franchise, visit ExpressFranchising.com.
When you are exploring franchise opportunities, it’s important to know you have the right to ask questions. After all, it is your money and your career. David Lewis, vice president of franchising for Express Employment Professionals, has some advice on the key questions to ask, and what to do if you don’t always get the answers you need.
1. How Much Money Do You Really Need To Be a Successful Franchisee?
“There is more to this than the cost of the franchise fee,” David said. “It’s not just the cost of the franchise fee versus how much money you have available to invest.”
David says it is important to look first at your own situation. “How much can you live on while you are getting the business started?” he asks. “If you won’t be able to draw a salary from the business for a year or two, you will need to consider that as part of the larger math equation.”
“Next, analyze the equity you have versus the debt,” he adds. “If you are going to need an additional $100,000 in cash or a $300,000 loan on top of that until your franchise becomes profitable, are you equipped to service the debt payments?”
2. How Much Will Your Business Pay You?
“For prospective U.S. franchisees, the first place to look for this information is in the Franchise Disclosure Document,” David said. “This disclosure is required by the Federal Trade Commission. It contains 23 specific items of information about the franchise, its officers, and other important information. Think of it as similar to a prospectus you would read if you were considering buying a certain stock.”
“Be sure to check whether the franchisor has an item 19,” David says. “This item is optional, so not every franchise will offer it. Franchises that show item 19 disclose a valuable financial performance representation of their business.” For example, The Express item 19 discloses that the mature Express office averages $5.1 million in sales each year. That’s powerful knowledge to know in advance of starting a business.
“If the franchisor does not share item 19, you are essentially being asked to buy into the franchise cold,” he said. “But there is one other source to seek out financial information: the existing network of franchisees. Some franchisees are willing to discuss their financial returns, but not all.”
3. What Does the Franchisee Investment Really Cover?
Every franchisor is required to tell you how much of an investment you must make, but it’s often not clear how far that investment will take your business.
“For example, a well-known brand may tell you that you need a million dollars to open a franchise of their fast food restaurant. Many people assume that means they need to spend a million dollars to break even, but that is NOT what it means,” David notes. “If it actually takes you two years to break even, you will wind up spending a great deal more than that initial one million dollars.”
David suggests that you continue to ask questions until you are sure you understand the true cost. Ask, is this what I need to get the doors open? What does it cost to run for the first year? At what point can I expect to break even?
“For example, at Express we believe in full disclosure,” David said. “Our franchise fee is $35,000, and we advise potential franchises that they will likely need to invest between $110,000 and $140,000 to actually break even. Once you know everything it takes to reach the break even line, you are equipped to make a good financial decision.”
Franchising 101 is a series of educational articles that provide important tips for anyone who is considering buying a franchise. For more information on Express Employment Professionals and the fast-growing staffing industry, visit ExpressFranchising.com.
What’s better than being your own boss and finding the path to career fulfillment? How about teaming with your son to expand and grow the family business?
Express Employment Professionals franchisee Scott Sodergren is excited to do just that, as he and his son Luke team up to open a new Express office in Hugo, MN.
A Strategy for Success Scott began his career with Express Employment Professionals in January 1989, working in the Rochester, MN office. He opened the Red Wing, MN office in March 1991, the Cannon Falls, MN office in August 1996, and the River Falls, WI office in January 1999.
The new franchise he is opening with his son is part of Scott’s strategic business plan for expanding his territory, which has served him well throughout the years.
“My Express territory is exciting to me, because it includes parts of seven counties, with some attractive locations because they are close to the busy Minneapolis-St. Paul city area, some in the suburbs and some that are rural,” Scott said. “Once I reach the point of profitability I want to see in one of my existing Express franchise offices, I start to look about 30 minutes away for a new location. I start forming relationships with employers and gathering employees so I have a working book of business before I ever open the door to a new franchise in that area. It helps us to be profitable more quickly and to help more people.”
Putting People at the Center One thing that attracted Scott to Express is the people-focused business model.
“We are different from other staffing companies because Express gives us tools we need to really get to know our clients, to understand what they are trying to accomplish, and to truly help people who walk in our door,” he said. “We only send people to companies that we know provide a safe, productive work environment for them, places that take good care of their employees. How would you want your son or daughter to be treated in a new job? That’s what we want for the people who come to us needing work. This makes us different from staffing companies who are just looking to win businesses as another pin on the map.”
A Network of Support Drives Success Scott credits Express as well as his fellow network of franchisees for creating a fantastic opportunity for those looking to own a franchise.
“Express is a good company with a great deal of integrity. On top of that, they have put together a helpful system of processes, benefits, and payroll services,” Scott said. “They did a really good job when they put it together, and they stick to their beliefs about doing what’s right, and that’s why the company is so successful today.”
“My fellow franchisees also offer a great network of support. They are all just wonderful people; honest hard working, and committed to creating a better life for themselves and others,” Scott said. “And now, I am looking forward to including my son. I think this is going to be a great experience for us to work so closely together.”
Congratulations to Scott and his son Luke for their latest franchise expansion for Express Employment Professionals!
Want To Leave a Legacy? Express can fuel your dream for success as well, and there’s never been a better time to open a franchise of your own. The staffing industry is booming and Express has been named one of the fastest growing major staffing companies in the country. For more information on owning an Express franchise, visit ExpressFranchising.com.