As part of our FranchStrong™ movement to elevate exceptional Franchise Owners, we sat down (virtually, of course) with Steve Webb, Franchise Owner of two AlphaGraphics franchises in Minneapolis and Apple Valley, MN. His personal and professional transformation tells a story that’s both inspiring and on-trend.
Steve was ahead of the game, making the leap from the corporate world into franchising a few years ago, way before any signs of COVID. But it’s a hot franchise growth trend we’re seeing spike, especially due to the economic downturn of the pandemic. According to Forbes, jobs that were deemed secure at the beginning of the pandemic may now be lost. And, job postings in higher-wage occupations are now 28% below trend, versus 12% below trend for lower-wage occupations.*
How did the seed of franchising get planted?
Steve was very close to buying a business in the healthcare industry that wasn’t a franchise, but the deal unexpectedly fell apart. “I had a franchise broker in my back pocket, but I wasn’t interested in a franchise because I honestly don’t like being told what to do,” Steve recalls. “I had a meeting with him and long story short, here I am – a Franchise Owner, and I love it.”
Are you an entrepreneur at heart like Steve?
Since his 20s, and especially during grad school, Steve always had the dream to own his own business. “It was just a matter of when I would pull the trigger, but I needed enough money and knowledge to do that.” So he went to work, climbing the corporate ladder.
Over the years, he honed his business acumen and people management skills with high-profile executive positions at 3M, Naterra, Explore Information Services and AudaExplore. “I even started out as an accountant. And, I have a history of P&L, marketing, analysis, being able to read and lead the people I work with and building long-term customer relationships,” adds Steve.
“I learned a lot in my corporate roles that I definitely use today as a Franchise Owner.”
What’s most rewarding about franchising?
Steve sums it up best in one word. “Everything.” He adds, “I feel like I was born to be my own boss. I like the freedom. I like the lifestyle. I work hard but it’s worth it.” One of the things he loves specifically about his AlphaGraphics franchise is the feeling he gets when he knows their work contributed to a customer’s success.
For example: Steve’s AlphaGraphics team helped a national customer with safety signage for all their locations all over the country as they reopened after COVID shutdowns. And, Steve loves the thanks his team got from two of their executives for being “such a great partner during such a stressful time.”
“Nothing beats the feeling of knowing when something we did for a customer helped them achieve their objectives. It’s very gratifying for me and my team.”
What are Steve’s keys to success in owning a franchise?
“Dig into the franchises you’re considering and their operations. Some are stricter in their guidelines, and some offer you more freedom. Also, interview Franchise Owners to get a firsthand perspective, and ask yourself if you can see yourself in them.”
“Be open-minded and flexible with employees. In my corporate world, I looked for a certain background. Now, in this business there are so many employees with different backgrounds that have been incredibly successful. I reshaped to how I hire and who I hire for my business.”
“You have to be able to get knocked down and get back up. You have to also be able to accept and learn from some failures every day.”
“Go for it. If you have dreamt about doing it, do it! If you’re looking for franchises – take a smart risk. When I get to the end of my career, I can say I went after it. I’m glad I made the career change into franchising and tried something I wanted to try.”
Get ready for a tidal wave of franchise sales.
“Franchise companies better be prepared for the coming boom in franchise sales, or they are likely going to miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said iFranchise Group CEO Mark Siebert. “We are already seeing an increase in interest from those looking to buy their own franchises and are expecting that this will materialize as a tidal wave of franchise sales by 2021.”*
According to Statista, the number of franchises continues to increase year after year.*
2017 – 748,752
2018 – 760,476
2019 – 773,603
2020 – 785,316
We hope Steve’s FranchStrong story inspires others to open their mind to franchising and live the life of their dreams. To learn more about franchise lead generation tactics that attract individuals like Steve, talk to our team of strategists.
Written & Interviewed by: Darcy Clemenson, Hot Dish Advertising Copywriter