Randy Vlasic and Alex Veinot have known each other since high school. After graduating from college, the two best friends ended up working together as sales executives for the same company. However, the two longed to open their own business.
In a recent Franchise Players Q&A interview, Vlasic and Veinot talk with Entrepreneur.com’s Kate Taylor about how they decided that BlueGrace Logistics was the perfect vehicle for their entrepreneurial drive.
Just as we share our vast point of sale (POS) experience and expertise with startup owners in order to help them make the best decisions from the very beginning, we at Sintel Systems are happy to share articles and commentary about mid-life career changes and older entrepreneurs entering into the franchise sector, a major area of our POS expertise.
In the Q&A, titled Why These Two Best Friends Opened A Franchise Together At Age 28, the two entrepreneurs tell Taylor they signed their franchise agreement in November of 2013, and that, today, they’re more excited than ever about where BlueGrace Logistics in Bloomingdale, Illinois is going.
As new entrepreneurs Vlasic and Veinot knew their time would be stretched thin, “So having everything in place was critical in giving us the ability to focus on what mattered most: Growing our business.”
Vlasic and Veinot point to several factors as to why they chose franchising.
Franchising provided a turnkey system that was proven to work, telling Taylor, “Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, we bought into a company that has shown unbelievable growth, with a revolutionary approach to an already familiar industry.”
BlueGrace is a branded national leader in logistics. “We were able to bring immediate value to our customers and grow substantially faster than if we had started a company from scratch. The benefits of having all facets of a business already designed and ready to be implemented was a major factor in our decision to move forward with the franchise.”
Best friends since high school, Vlasic and Veinot had always dreamed of opening a business together. Immediately after high school, the pair worked in various sales positions and stayed focused on getting a college education. “Staying in touch throughout the years, we ended up as sales executives with a third party logistics provider,” they tell Taylor. “Quickly advancing to the top two sales executives in our company, we were forced to look for other avenues as our company began to cut back.”
BlueGrace Logistics offered two things that the two friends really liked about the company, telling Taylor, “The first was their laundry list of accolades associated with their tremendous track record of growth and success. The second was a culture unlike any we were familiar with. Their team was excited about the vision and the successes they shared. Employees seemed excited to come in every day, and each person was engaged in their role, with recognition flowing with each achievement. Teammates were promoted within, and coached by leaders that believed in helping individuals succeed not only in their career, but in their personal lives as well. We could immediately understand why the company was growing so quickly. Getting to know the executives, we knew it was a company we wanted to be a part of.”
When asked about startup expenses, the partners say they spent a total of $59,250, broken down as follows:
– Franchise fee: $50,000
– Office space: $750
– Furniture and equipment: $6,500
– Professional fees: $2,000
Vlasic and Veinot tell Taylor that most of their research and advice came from family and friends the pair knew as successful business owners and entrepreneurs, adding, “They helped us understand the business side and what it really took to establish and run a company.” An attorney and a CPA were retained to help aid in contract negotiation and the inception of our company, and additional research was conducted on the web, researching franchise opportunities and getting involved in forums for small business owners and franchise owners.
Vlasic and Veinot did not see many unexpected challenges opening the new business. They tell Taylor that their main challenge was putting everything we had on the line to take a chance at their new company.
“We knew opening our company would be difficult and we really didn’t know how fast we would grow. We did our best to construct a business plan and low to high projections based on some of the success we had in the past. From day one we dealt with issues such as managing cash flow, and generating new business, but any new business owner will have that. The main benefit we had to having to deal with those types of challenges was the franchise support group in our home office. Our franchisor helped us through the everyday challenges and with a vested interest in our company truly helped us ensure our success.”
Vlasic and Veinot believe owning a franchise is such a great opportunity for not only the franchisee, but franchisors as well, and that the franchisor’s ability to draw individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets and help them grow a company benefits both parties.
Their advice for anyone looking to purchase a franchise is to take your time and really get to understand the business you are looking into. “Use any resources available such as family and friends, but get some resources from the franchisor as well. Get in touch with people who already own franchises in that company and ask them about some of their successes and their failures. Then, when you find the opportunity you like, take your time creating a business plan and involve your franchisor. Understanding other successful franchises and how they got there can really take some of the headaches out of your first year in business.”
Heading into year two, Vlasic and Veinot are just as excited as the day they opened. “As the fastest growing franchise in BlueGrace Logistics, we continue to set new levels of accomplishment for our peers, and lead in our channel,” the proudly tell Taylor. “In 2015 we will double our business, and by the end of 2017 we will be a $100,000,000 company.”
Read Kate Taylor’s full Q&A with Randy Vlasic and Alex Veinot here.
For more insights into the franchise-seeking mindset, check out our related posts, Debunking The Old Saw “Youth Must Be Served”, The Baby Boomer Franchising Boom, Franchising Happiness, and After 34 Years In A Franchise Environment, A Franchise Of His Own.
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