Interview with David Gollahon, CEO of Franchise In-Sites.
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Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
Franchise In-Sites provides online advertising campaign creation, placement, and management services to franchise companies that are actively expanding as well as performing the analytics on the subsequent sales activity.
When did you start the business?
I started working in this fashion with clients in 2007. The company was formally created in 2009.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
Prior to this, I was working with Landmark Corporation, as a provider of the very services that we now purchase for our clients. While there, I launched and developed BestFranchiseOpportunities.com, one of the larger providers in the industry. This is my fourth business start-up.
How did you come up with your business idea?
I found myself doing work not necessarily in uncharted territory, but in an uncharted fashion. I was doing successful marketing for other people and needed to solidify things to be able to market our services correctly. As the client base and business potential grew, I knew it needed a corporate name and face to go to the next level.
Did you operate your business from your home?
I operate from my home in Atlanta and my employees work remotely as well.
What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
The biggest challenge is learning to disengage. It is difficult to do when work is always just a room away. The biggest benefit is that working remotely allows for a much more fruitful family life and allows me to hire not the best people near me, but the best people nationally. Additionally, the amount of capital saved by not having brick and mortar expenses allows me to pass savings along to my clients, ensuring a better experience for them than they would have had otherwise.
With the current economy in a slump, what cost saving tips would you have for a new entrepreneur?
While it is difficult to do, the best scenario is one in which there is a minimal or non-existent cost of doing business. Providing a service, as opposed to a product that has inherent costs in manufacturing, shipping, and warehousing, is extremely beneficial in a time where capital is hard to come by. It can also allow for more time to ramp up the business than a situation where a person is not only giving up their steady income from a job, but also incurring a lot of debt.
Have you outsourced any portion of your business? Has that worked for your business?
Outsourcing is our business and I believe that outsourcing is the way of the future. As with traditional staffing, it works extremely well when you have the right people in place. While it requires people to be more autonomous than in a normal job, it also allows for a company to garner the best talent available, regardless of location. Only recently, and really via the internet and the subsequent capabilities stemming from it, has it become possible to create -- from your home -- a company with national presence and both nationwide clients and employees.
Finding employees to work in a new and growing business can be a challenge. How did you find your employees?
I was blessed to have good people at my disposal due to my relationships within the industry. A few really took a passion with what I was doing and provided immense amounts of support to me in the creation of the company and its direction. These are the people I am bringing in, not only to hire, but to share in the future direction, operation, and success of the company going forward. They were the sounding boards for ideas and earned my respect for their talents and passion when there was nothing to gain by it. That type of character speaks volumes to me.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Know your product, know your clients, and keep in tune with what they are after. If you give them the experience that you would want if you were in their shoes, they will be appreciative.
Walk a mile in the customer's shoes and give them what they want. Good advice. Thanks for speaking with us today, David.