Scotty Milas’ All Things Considered Franchising w/ Michael Zmijewski of Image Studios

October 31, 2023 00:19:40
Scotty Milas’ All Things Considered Franchising w/ Michael Zmijewski of Image Studios
All Things Considered Franchising Podcast
Scotty Milas’ All Things Considered Franchising w/ Michael Zmijewski of Image Studios

Oct 31 2023 | 00:19:40

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Show Notes

Michael Zmijewski is the guest on this week's episode of "All Things Considered Franchising" with Scotty Milas, who has a successful franchise coaching practice!

Michael is an entrepreneur with a background in family businesses and independent ownership. He has experience in various industries and recently invested in Image Studios, a salon suites franchise. Michael values the support and expertise that franchising offers, as well as the opportunity to align his goals with the success of his tenants.

In this episode of “All Things Considered Franchising,” Michael Zmijewski discusses his background in family businesses and his decision to invest in a franchise. He highlights the benefits of franchising, such as access to support, technology, and best practices. Michael emphasizes the importance of a strong relationship with the franchisor and recommends working with a franchise coach for guidance.  As Michael says, “Working with a franchise coach can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process.” Scotty mentions the importance of a solid franchise agreement.  Michael strongly agrees, “The franchise agreement and the franchise is a marriage. You are signing a long-term agreement with the franchise.”  Finally, Michael shares his preference for real estate-based businesses and the appeal of Image Studios as a franchise opportunity. Michael feels that he found the Image team to be exceptionally interesting every step of the way.

Key Takeaways:

 

Scotty Milas can be reached at [email protected] and at (860)751-9126.

Michael Zmijewski can be reached through his LinkedIn profile: linkedin.com/in/michael-zmijewski-77410819

 

#allthingsconsideredfranchising #scottmilas #businessownership #franchiseopportunities #imagestudios #michaelzmijewski #franchiseagreements  #franchisecoach

 

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:06] Speaker A: Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of All Things Considered Franchising. All Things Considered Franchising is powered by Scottmilosfranchisecoach.com podcast series on franchising entrepreneurship, helping people explore and research business ownership, whether for the first time or diversifying a portfolio focusing in on franchise opportunities. All Things Considered franchise can be found on all of the podcast channels YouTube, Apple, Spotify. Scottmilesfranchisecoach.com is an organization that helps people research and explore business ownership, taking a look at different opportunities. So we'll talk more about that in a little bit. But I have a great guest today and I'm really excited to have him on board because Michael was introduced to me and for those of you who've been following my podcast was introduced to me about three, four months ago from Randy Smith. And Randy was a CEO, founder of a floor coverings company. And Michael and his brother's family were associated with Randy at one time or connected. And I got connected as a referral with Michael. And Michael is an entrepreneur. Michael, welcome to the show. [00:01:26] Speaker B: Thank you, Randy. Always a pleasure, Scotty. Thank you. [00:01:29] Speaker A: That's okay. I've been called a lot of things, trust me. So no know. Michael, you have an interesting background, interesting career. You come out of entrepreneurship as an independent owner. You were involved in family businesses. Your wife is a franchisee with an organization that focuses in on real estate. And recently we completed a transaction or I said, Jesse, you completed a transaction due diligence investing in Image Studios, a salon suites type business. Talk a little bit about or help our audience understand your background as an entrepreneur and maybe a little history of how you got into this and maybe not the direction of the corporate world, but really focused in on with your family entrepreneurship. [00:02:26] Speaker B: Well, Scotty, as you mentioned, I grew up in family business. Grew that business substantially from the operations side. It was a family owned business. Eventually we ended up selling out to the majority of the business to private equity, which kind of led to my entree to figuring out next steps. And although love the whole entrepreneurial, the whole idea of it, there is always pieces that are difficult. And I think franchising helps satisfy a lot of the things that give you a jump start in those areas that may be more difficult, such as CRM and software and back of house accounting. And I think that's the one thing that really drew us towards franchising. So shortly after leaving the corporate world, my wife bought a franchise in property management and then a year later started looking at other options, which is when I spoke to Randy about Image. And Image seemed to be really attractive to me because one image gave us all the support that we were looking for but also satisfied a lot of the needs. The one thing about Image is it's a really nice brand. I would consider a top of the line from a studios brand. They give you a ton of support, lay out the roadmap really well for you. But the other thing that I find very attractive is you're renting space and you're essentially a property manager to tenants. But your goals are aligned with those tenants. Those tenants actually have to be successful in order for you to be successful. And the goal is to actually keep those tenants in place for a long time. So I found it probably a very long answer to your short question. [00:04:31] Speaker A: No, that's know, let me ask you. You know, a good portion of the audience that listens to our podcasts are people who are contemplating business ownership for the first [email protected]. We obviously work with first time business interests. People looking to research and explore opportunities. We also work with people who are looking to diversify a portfolio, whether they're already an independent entrepreneur looking to get into franchising for the first time or an existing franchisee much like yourself looking to diversify a portfolio. But for conversation point, if somebody is listening to this and considering exiting the corporate world, kind of tired just for whatever reason, everybody has their own reason. What do you think are some of the things or the one or two things that someone should be thinking about and the steps that maybe someone should be taking to really take a deeper dive into this to see if it makes sense. I mean, you touched on something earlier that it's not easy. Business ownership, whether it's a franchise or an independent, is not easy. But there are rewards to this. So what should someone be thinking about or what do you think is the best approach for someone who's should I pick up the phone or shouldn't I? Is there some insight here that you can share? [00:05:59] Speaker B: The very first thing that comes to mind is with going in the business for yourself. Whether it's a franchise or buying an existing business, which I looked at both. We quite honestly over the last few years probably looked at over 100 different companies and franchises. The one thing we looked at was the support that you would get coming from corporate America. There's a lot of support that you don't realize that you have in place. Whether it be technology, software, even a roadmap to what's going on and best practices, even the support from other business owners. And I think all that's very important that you want to have like minded people that are owners franchisees. [00:06:47] Speaker A: Coming from the corporate world as an independent and a very successful company, I mean, anyone who can eventually sell their corporation company to private equity has done a really good job building that company. But coming from the corporate world, I don't like to use the word easier, but when you talk about systems best practices for the person who may be not good at accounting but great at business development or vice versa or delegating oversight, does a franchise make more sense than an independent? Obviously, you have to do the validation and dig in. But are you seeing that franchises really offer that support and make it a little bit less stressful? Less stressful, I guess I should say, getting into a business for the first time. [00:07:42] Speaker B: Based on my experience, I would say definitely. I took a long look at it. There's a lot of businesses out there that we looked at individually to potentially purchase, and there's a lot of missing pieces to those businesses in most cases. And with a franchise, what we found is that you can use the strengths that you had in the corporate world, but rely on them for your weaknesses. In my case, having a back of house accounting department, a marketing department, to fall back on from the franchise. And we're not tied to using them, but at the same time, knowing that they're there is a wonderful thing. And they're all experts in that particular. [00:08:34] Speaker A: Field, which is also starting. And that's a good starting point, having those services at your fingertips for support. And then if you want to branch out and bring in your own vendor or vendors later on helps. One of the things that has always caught my attention about your credentials, Michael, is your attention to detail. And I think that's an important trait in being a successful entrepreneur, whether as an independent or a franchise owner. And you mentioned that you looked at a number of different opportunities over the years, both in franchising and as an independent. So if we're talking to the audience about franchising, what are some of the things that people should be looking out for, or maybe red flags or green lights, so to speak, that people should look for within a franchising system? I always use a saying to my clients. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. Are there any insights to how somebody goes about their due diligence and looking out for red flags? I always use validation, but maybe you have some others that you can pass on to our audience. [00:10:00] Speaker B: Well, I found that the one thing that I always found that I was always most interested in was talking to other owners to find out what their experiences were and would they continue to buy additional franchises, or was it one and done? And if they're willing to buy more franchises and they thought that the first franchise was a good value and the second one was a good value, I always found that as a key thing, that it was positive experience. I don't think there's any way you can get more of a positive experience than saying that you'd buy units. [00:10:39] Speaker A: Yeah, I think there's that old question I tell my clients to ask, if you had the opportunity to do all over it again, would you make the same decision? I think that's always a good one. Like you said you've looked at a number of different categories, brands, different categories, as I said. But are there any categories that you think really kind of stand out versus a lot of my clients say, hey, Scotty, no food, no food, no food, no food. But I very rarely get know this or know that. Are there any categories? Is picking a category to focus in on a service based or a retail really based on skill sets and kind of looking at what your ultimate goal is as a business owner? [00:11:30] Speaker B: Yeah, that's a great question, too. For myself, I don't know if I'm the one to actually follow that, because initially I would consider myself very operational and very much on the contracting side. However, based on my past experience, there were things that I didn't want to see in that industry, and I really was drawn towards real estate, which is why we ended up with Image and Property management, is because I always felt a strong draw towards the real estate. I like the fact of being able to see it, hold it, feel it, touch it. I like the whole idea of the real estate. [00:12:13] Speaker A: Yeah. No, look, anytime you can have a business that has reoccurring revenue and have the potential to own the real estate if you choose, I mean, there's nothing better than paying yourself rent one business, paying rent to the other business. So I think you're absolutely right. I think the real estate play and that touchy feely thing is very important. When you look at Image Studios, one of the things that has always caught my attention about Jason Brandon and the team is their support levels. I always try to educate my clients that franchising is about a relationship. You may not agree all the time, but you got to be able to work out those disagreements. How important is that relationship with Image? And if someone is looking at a know, how important is that relationship being able to work with the brand and the brand being able to work with you? [00:13:16] Speaker B: Well, Scotty, I look at the franchise agreement and the franchise as a marriage. I mean, you're signing a long term agreement with that franchise, so it's stronger than a friendship. You're tied to them through business and all relations. So it's going to be important to one to communicate very well as far as and be totally truthful and upfront on both sides as far as what your goals are, but on the other side, having a clear path forward and what that actually looks like. And I found the Image team to be exceptionally interested in every step of the way as far as what I was looking for, what the financing would look like, what our long term goals were as far as additional units, making sure that they were prepared well in advance of what we are looking to, that's great. [00:14:15] Speaker A: You know, closing out of time here, Michael, and we appreciate you spending a few minutes with us. We're talking to Michael, who is a multi brand, multi unit owner now several businesses, lots of experience on the entrepreneur side, both as an independent and as a franchisee. Kind of a unique model. What's next? Obviously, you have to spend some time now getting once you've made your decision, signed your agreements, and now you have to get open, so to speak. You have to go through the real estate process. But is this exciting for you and your family, getting involved in multiple businesses? Is this as exciting as it sounds? Because I know when I listen to my clients talk about it, while there are some frustrations and headaches along the way, it is exciting. [00:15:10] Speaker B: Yes, the excitement level is overboard and from a standpoint of it is a lot of work. They keep us very busy, but at the same time, the excitement of knowing what that property actually looks like and getting to know people in the community and knowing that you're doing something that is very integral to the community as well is very exciting to us. That's great. Quite honestly, we're looking forward to the second and third unit as far as that's awesome. [00:15:47] Speaker A: That's awesome. Michael, any last minute advice? I know we touched on it in the beginning. Someone who may be interested in researching franchise opportunities for the first time. Any best advice on first steps? Education, maybe? Any books that you've read or guidance? And again, not to bring me into this, but you have worked with consultants in the past. You've leaned on consultants for guidance and education. Is working with a consultant the right way to go, or is it let's educate them. Educate yourself first and then reach out to a consultant. What would you say is the best route for someone to take as a first step? [00:16:29] Speaker B: Well, Scotty, we never actually talked about this, but before I got involved with Image and I knew it was a strong direction we were going to move in, it was asked me whether I wanted to talk to a franchise coach or if I wanted to go directly to Image. At the time I asked to actually go through a franchise coach, which is when I was introduced to you, which I have to say, you were excellent at telling me next steps. Even though I'd been through the process, what to expect on every call, I can't say enough about that. And it may sound a little OD covering that on this call, but I will say that I would definitely recommend to everybody that they go through a franchise coach. There's no cost to using a franchise coach to them. There's no downside to it. It's all upside, especially if you have a good franchise coach like yourself. [00:17:37] Speaker A: Right. Well, it's like anything, it's the relationship. I mean, it's building that trust. It's the trust you're building with the brand as you're going through your due diligence and validation stages. And it's the same thing. It's the same thing. In working with a consultant coach, you have to build that trust. It's kind of like when I tell my clients or instruct try to educate my clients on validation. The first question you don't ask somebody when you're calling up other franchisees is, how much money did you make? I mean, it's kind of like if you put it into a relationship standpoint, dating, if you met somebody at the bar for the first time, the first question you don't want to be asked is how much money do you make? So it's the same thing. So I think a lot of it is trust and building that trust in the relationship. And I have to say that some people don't need as much guidance as others. And I think that's the uniqueness of being a consultant coach, at least in my view, that there's no overreach or shouldn't be any overreach on the consultant coaching side. So just some thoughts. Michael, it's great. I hope we can get you back in the next six, seven months when you're opened and talk about the experience, the real estate search and everything. I know our audience is really going to enjoy this recording and this podcast because you bring a lot of education and experience to the table, and it's great to have you. [00:19:11] Speaker B: Thank you, Scotty. I appreciate it. [00:19:13] Speaker A: Yep. This is Scotty Milas, your host of All Things Considered Franchising, powered by Scott Milas, franchise coach. For more information, visit my [email protected] or go to allthingsconsitivefranchising.com for more episodes. Until next time, this is Scotty Milas saying so long and have a great day.

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