In the 1990s, Vic Scimo was top dog at a highly successful specialty restaurant company that brought in millions. He may have owned a small empire, but he felt like something was missing. He had a nagging desire to reach out and help other business owners.
Scimo bought his Los Angeles area FranNet franchise in 2000 and has never looked back. “I found my calling,” Scimo says. “It’s great to help others succeed with franchising business models that are structured for success.”
Now in his second decade of coaching and consulting, Scimo has helped clients open over 150 new franchise locations. Here’s what just one of those happy clients says:
“Thanks to Vic’s expertise, I can now say I’ve joined the ranks of those people who’ve had their dreams of business ownership fulfilled,” says client Van Casaneda. “I’m finally on the road to making myself wealthy instead of my employer.”
Q: What is your professional background?
A: I was with Marriott for 12 years on the business contract side. I decided to start another company because I saw a need in the market for a food service provider for colleges and universities. I sold my share of that company, Bon Appetite Management, in 2000. We had become very successful; when I left we had $90 million in revenue. I woke up one day and realized I didn’t want to deal with the stress and the traveling anymore. There’s more to life than money. I was ready for something new.
Q: How long have you been a FranNet consultant, and how did you decide to get into this kind of business?
A: I learned of FranNet in 2000 from a friend. I fell in love with it. It offers a way for me to use my business knowledge and really help people in the process. It’s a service that really gives people a leg up. It’s great to know that you can really help clients reach goals and see them grow. I love that we are able to offer clients so many choices of quality, premiere companies. I now see my work with FranNet as my calling.
Q: Can you give a couple of examples of your success stories?
A: Many of my clients have had transformations. Often when they come to me they don’t really know what they want. I try to help and coach them through the fears and doubts. Here are a couple of examples: I worked with a former female executive who had been laid off from Mattel. Through the coaching process we were able to identify some of her new goals. She felt it was time to get back to the community to make a difference. She purchased an educational tutoring franchise and was successful from the beginning. She was named Rookie of the Year in her company and is really pleased with her decision to become a franchise owner.
Another example is a high level CEO I worked with two years ago who didn’t feel like he could quit his job, but wanted to put something in place for his wife and perhaps himself for the future. They purchased a staffing business. She was scared to death but stepped up to the plate and has done a great job. They hit a home run. He has already joined her in the business.
Q: Did you know much about franchising when you started?
A: I knew about franchising in a general way. You don’t have to know a lot about it in the beginning. You can pick up the technical things you need to know as you go along. I didn’t know how many choices there are in franchising. That, of course, is one of the greatest things about franchising. It’s so much more than fast food and retail.
Q: Do people have preconceptions? How do you educate them about the diversity?
A: We try to define those things and work through them in our own workshops. We show participants the franchising world that goes beyond food options. We educate about how franchising lowers the risk of business failure – and dramatically. There’s also an educational process involved in finding the right business match. It’s all a process.
Q: Who makes a successful franchisee?
A: You need a passion for business and a desire to be successful. It helps to have an entrepreneurial spirit, but at the same time you need to be willing to follow a system designed by someone else and trust in it. Of course, it’s important to find a franchise that’s a good fit.
Q: What are the benefits of franchise ownership?
A: It minimizes the risk of failure because you have a partner who’s made the big mistakes already. You get help with marketing, accounting and operations. You avoid having to create everything from scratch. It’s like getting a business in a box. So much of the legwork is done for you. There’s also the aspect of independence and financial freedom. You have so much more control than a typical corporate job brings.
Q: At what price point do most people buy into franchising? What investment range seems to be the most popular?
A: About $225,000 for retail and $125,000 for service businesses. Five years to 10 years ago.
Q: How has your 2011 gone, compared to 2010?
A: 2010 was my busiest year in since I started. This year is a little slower because of uncertainty in the business world, but it’s still a very good year.