Awning Cleaning Business Case Study: Entrepreneurship 101

It is most fascinating to study how entrepreneurs spot opportunity in the market place. "My name is Lance Winslow and I am a serial entrepreneur, I admit I am addicted and need help." ..."Hello Lance." Let me explain how I formed one of my companies which became a franchise system in itself and became a module under the umbrella company I had formed many years the prior. I at first saw it as another business to fit into our growing niche of cleaning businesses. It was to be called the Awning Wash Guys. This is an interesting case study in how businesses form and how companies seek, find and exploit opportunity in the market place. Here is the story:

Many years back I got a call last from my franchisees in Denver, who had been doing very good after signing up all the John Elway Car Dealerships for car washing. My franchisee was a Car Wash Guys Franchisee specializing in car washing for car dealers at the time:

http://www.carwashguys.com/dealershipdiv.shtml

He told me that Auto Nation bought out the 46 Dealership Chain in the Denver Area and they continued our services and have actually added tons of new dealerships in other franchise areas for us to wash. Every car gets washed 2 Xs per week at $1.25-1.50 each. Some of these dealerships have almost 1000 cars on the lots. Needless to say with this big account this franchisee became our quickest success story that year.

Then they were approached by Brian Stillmock, who just happened to be one of two of the leading awning washing companies and experts in that field. As luck would have it, he wanted to sell his business. But he loved his company and would only sell it to a professional out fit, because his customers had a ten + year following. Our Denver franchisees had the $90,000.00 to buy the business due to great sales, and the fact that I also hired them at $2,000.00 per new franchise to train the new team members. They asked if they could buy the Awning Wash Guys Business, I said yes but I wanted to see the books, and warned them about cash flow in a only billed customers type business.

Most franchise agreements have clauses, which are quite specific as to what types of businesses franchisees are allowed to participate in. We sat down and made a plan and cash flow strategy, and I knew if things didn't work out I would have to financially bail them out otherwise they might also go out of business due to cash flow with their Car Wash Guys franchise. Brian the seller agreed to stay on board with me as a co-founder. His books were immaculate and scary. Never seen such well-documented books; great business and incredible revenues almost $160-200 per hour; gross.

So we built a web site and offered it as a co-brand to new and existing franchisees of car wash guys, with the understanding that it was a totally separate business and they would need to pay Brian for proper training and buy his patented equipment. Before that Brian was a BIZ OP and sold about 24 units and did not understand franchising. I did, having just co-authored Franchising 101 and joined the Board of Directors for the AAFD-American Association of franchisees and Dealers. We decided that once we formed the WashGuy.com franchise all 24 Biz Ops including an operator and manufacturer of awnings in Canada would join our network and we would agree to never sell those territories as long as those prior Biz Op buyers were in businesses that had previously bought from Brian. Brian also had manufacturers who he networked with doing 50+ million in sales per year, who referred jobs to him and some of his BiZ Ops people. So what the heck. We join forces and go after a totally untapped market.

It worked.

I regret that that business is a higher generator per hour than washing and detailing cars in an industry, which is dominated by 1000s of independents and price competitive. A little bit of an ego breaker it was for me, but the numbers did not lie, and if a door is open that wide I will damn well run through it; especially with Brian's network of manufacturers, repairers and our team to back us up 110%. We knew if this thing grew too big too quick that Brian and I could split our time and hire another Biz Op out of Florida called Awning Rejuvenation Systems to help with training, marketing and product distribution. Brian holds 4 patents on Awning Cleaning devises and I know franchising very well. And our first prototype was our Denver franchisees that were sticklers for quality and consistency.

Brian also had several tri-state contracts he had been unable to service, TGIF and Block Buster Video that would be in regions we could service without other franchisees until things were finalized as far as a franchise was concerned. This site contains mega data about what we do. Instantly we became the best assembled awning wash team on the Planet. This one was obvious and simply fell right in my lap and it took me less than three hours to decide to go for it. We did and it works. I would like to have 1 franchisee in every one of the 240 DMAs in the next ten years. The day we started we were the number one Awning Washing Franchise in the World; albeit the only one. I like that scenario, as an entrepreneur it has a nice ring to it indeed; I can certainly use that.

If I enter an Industry, I want to be the leader in 18-36 months. If I can't I will collect all the data I can, read everything I can find and hire franchisees to do data searching. I read 160 magazines in every industry and collect articles and categorize them so when I am ready I will attack with the power of knowledge, this is what we did here. Richard Branson has 150 Brands, so 22 is a good start for a 35 year old who wanted to wash everything in the world and clean this place up. While Branson is flying around the World in a Hot Air Balloon, we are kind of had the fancy of washing the World below to better his view of things

This gives you a real live example of how co-brands are formed and how markets are won. It gives an entrepreneur a little insight as to how the real world works. Often enough if you listen to the college business professors, government brain dead regulators and lawyers giving you advice you would swear that building a business is something totally different indeed. As an entrepreneur you need to change the way you think and attack markets and how you seek, find and exploit markets. I hope this little story will help you see that point. Good Luck and continued success, think on it.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs

How to Make Your Business Image Stand Out Above The Crowd

Traditional advertising methods are still being used for almost 90% of businesses today. The number... Read More

Grants vs. Contracts

Commonly folks have asked me what the technical difference is between a contract and a... Read More

Pressure Washing Market Niche

Those who are in the pressure washer business should not neglect the Hotel exterior cleaning... Read More

Increase Your Profits with a Point of Sale (POS) System

Whether you operate a chain of restaurants, a mom-and-pop convenience store, or a medium-sized retail... Read More

How to Increase the Cash Flow in Your Private Practice in 30 Days

If you have a busy private practice, chances are you also have pockets of cash... Read More

Is Your Success Predetermined?

Your on-line success is based on your efforts and yours alone. Sure there are many... Read More

Shortcuts Will Kill Your Business

Think of your business as a living, breathing, organism. It requires you to give it... Read More

City Wide Garage Sales: Hidden Riches!

Most of us remember going to at least one garage sale in our lives. It... Read More

How to Start a Paper Shredding Business

Paper Shredding Business Opportunities are blossoming up everywhere because in recent years, privacy concerns and... Read More

Small Businesses - Big Obstacles

Everyone is talking about small businesses. In 1993, when it was allowed, more than 90,000... Read More

7 Cash Flow Secrets Your Accountant Never Told You

Looking for ways to boost your cash flow? As a small business consultant, I make... Read More

Starting An E-Commerce Business: Baby Steps

Starting your own e-commerce business can be quite the adventure. There is nothing wrong with... Read More

Small Business - Would You Still Need An Accountant If You Didnt Need A Tax Return?

After over thirty years advising small business it still comes as a surprise to see... Read More

Online Search: Small Businesses Level The Playing Field

Seventy percent of US households use the web when shopping locally, and about 25 percent... Read More

Looking for a New Office Chair?

Perhaps you are building a new home office or you are redoing the one you... Read More

Beating the Small Business Cash Flow Blues

Small business owners can relieve a lot of their own cash flow problems, according to... Read More

Creating a Dynamite Account Plan

Why do you need an account plan?When you first decide to approach a company through... Read More

Are You Ready to Own and Operate a Business?

How often has someone thought of starting a business based solely on the fact they... Read More

Breaking The Chains!

Everyday, customers and business owners are bombarded with billboards, logos, print and electronic ads from... Read More

4 Areas Where Your Business is Losing Money

In my 18 years of consulting I have heard it all. Everything from competition to... Read More

Consistency Builds Trust

You know your prospects need what you sell. You know they want what you sell.... Read More

How Mastering 5 Essential Money Making Ideas Can Lead Your Business to Longterm Cashflow

Essentially there are 5 tremendously powerful methods to make money online. These methods were not... Read More

Cash Flow: Why Chaos Equals Poor Cash Flow

Recently one of my customers told me the chaos swirling through his company was the... Read More

Become The Squeaky Wheel and Watch Your Business Skyrocket!

Providing high quality customer service is a must for any business to survive.Following up on... Read More

Wichita KS; Anything is Possible in Wichita Business

Just when the entire state was kissing Wichita goodbye, economically speaking, they turn around their... Read More

Shopping For a Franchise

Shopping for a franchise is easy if you know what you are doing. You can... Read More

Hard Money Lenders -- No Money Down The Easy Way

Would it help you as a real estate investor to be able to "Close For... Read More

Electronic Franchise Disclosure and E-Signature Future for Investors

It has been discussed allowing Franchising companies to electronically disclose franchise documents to the public... Read More

Small Business 101: Deadly Ignorance

American small business is again in transition. Many employees, now working from home, are no... Read More

Big Successes Never Happen Overnight

Treat your business as a serious, full-time business and be serious about making it work.... Read More

Small Business Secrets: Self-Confidence Can Be Arranged

At first blush this idea might be difficult to wrap your brain around. That's because... Read More

Common Sources of Financing for Small Business

The choice of financing is an important determinant of whether a product reaches the market,... Read More

Analyzing Customers in Your Business Plan

The Customer Analysis section of the business plan assesses the customer segments that the company... Read More

Get Out Of The Rut And Back On the Track

Do you sometimes find yourself just going "through the motions" of your business from day... Read More

Quality Controls for Franchising Companies Sample Outline

Quality control in franchising companies is paramount and all franchising companies must have strict guidelines... Read More

Pressure Washing of Paving Equipment and The EPA

Many pressure washing companies will be glad to take on additional work when a company... Read More

Computer Tips that Help Small Businesses Operate Profitably

When working properly, computers enable small businesses to make big business profits; however, get booted... Read More

Franchising VS Business Opportunity; What is the Difference?

The modern Franchise business model and the much different business opportunity are much different and... Read More

The Key to Creating Total System Empowerment

In this paper, I will:1. provide a framework for creating total system power at all... Read More

Canon City, Colorado - Good for Small Business

Canon City, Colorado is known for it's 6 Prisons; State and Federal, women's prison and... Read More

Incorporating a Small Business: S corporations versus C corporations

If you've been considering incorporating your small business, you've probably been confused about the difference... Read More

There Are No Dumb Business Questions, Not!

Q: I'm curious. What is the dumbest business question you've ever been asked? -- Norris... Read More

Dont Wait - Sell The Future Now!

Just as you are about to say "good-bye" to your hair stylist, you get the... Read More

Increase the Wealth in Your Community

Many of us have noticed how some nearby communities seem to be "wealthier" than other... Read More

Success & The Nature of Things

The story is told of a tiger chasing some goats to catch one for dinner.... Read More

Franchise Company Operations Manual Sample Outline

Many companies wish to expand and a few wish to use franchising as a method... Read More

How to be Annoyed and Make Money

When do annoyances in a relationship become too much to bear?Have you ever worked for... Read More

Business Scents - Do They Work?

You see it often in large shopping complexes. Customers seem to be flocking to a... Read More

Find Your Niche & Follow It - Part 1

In this series of articles I'm going to show you how to find out if... Read More

Four Reasons Why Small Businesses Succeed (or Fail)

The American system of business management has been admired and emulated around the world. This... Read More