In order to assist her clients with selling their businesses, Jennifer Hendrickson invested in a Murphy Business & Financial Corporation franchise in Cape Girardeau, MO in 2011. She shares what the experience has been like with Franchise Business Review.
How is it that you entered franchising? We founded our business consulting firm Hendrickson Business in 2007. Our clients increasingly asked us to also sell their businesses, which we didn’t know how to do, so we began looking at business brokerage networks that could help us do so. Murphy Business & Financial was the only one that aligned with our values and we felt it would enhance our reputation in the business community.
What have you found particularly beneficial about being a franchisee? Going on our own as an independent business brokerage group was never really an option. There is simply too much involved in this line of work. Because Murphy Business & Financial is a franchise, we have all the benefits of owning our own business with support from the corporate office. We also have the pride of being a part of a successful team that collaborates and works together. I can call any broker in the network at any time and ask for help or advice and they will be happy to provide it. I feel that the royalties we pay are very reasonable considering the amount of support we receive.
What advice would you share with people considering purchasing a franchise? Interview several current franchisees in markets that mirror your own so that you will know what to expect. Also, take the time to ensure you are a good fit for the franchise. For example, I feel that to be successful as a business broker, you need to be good at finance, accounting, reviewing legal documents, multi-tasking, negotiating, and communicating – both verbally and in writing. If you are particularly weak in any of these areas, this business could be quite frustrating. I worked for 15 years in corporate banking and was a Chief Financial Officer when I left the profession to open my own business. My experience provided a good platform for transitioning into business brokerage.
What should a franchisee expect during the first few years in business? It’s important to be prepared to invest time and energy without much cash flow initially. I spent the first two years educating my market about the role of a business broker as it was a new concept for our community.
What tips do you have for a new franchisee? Right out of the gate, invest in a really good laptop, a super-fast duplexing scanner, and a headset for your phone. When the business is up and running at full speed, eventually you will want to add administrative support. Also, never stop target marketing. Even when the pipeline is full, keep your message out there.
What is your work/life balance? When we first bought the franchise, it wasn’t uncommon to work 60 to 70 hours per week. My work/life balance became much better when I realized I can’t help everyone. Now I know what engagements to accept and what to pass on. Today I occasionally work more than 40 to 50 hours per week, but it’s not the norm.
What do you like best about owning your franchise? Buying or selling their business is very likely the largest financial event in my clients’ lives. It’s a great feeling to know I am uniquely positioned to help them do so smoothly and efficiently. I love it when buyers and sellers tell me that they just couldn’t imagine doing it without me. When they refer me to their family and friends, it’s truly an honor.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a franchisee? This business can be a bit of a roller coaster at times, both financially and emotionally. A deal can fall through at any stage, including right before closing. When this happens, it is particularly challenging because of all the time and effort invested combined with the financial blow of not making any money on the transaction. The key is not to take it personally. I focus on learning what I can from the experience and use the knowledge I gain to help future clients.
What kind of support do you most appreciate from your franchisor? The team at our corporate office actually knows and cares about each and every one of us. This comes through in every correspondence, every training, and every convention. I truly appreciate it. We also have regional developers who help train and mentor us as we get started in the business, which is invaluable. Finally, we have a collaborative model at Murphy Business & Financial. We all work together to help match buyers and sellers across North America, which is not the norm in our industry and can result in a more competitive rather than client-centered culture. The franchisor sets the tone for a healthy culture and we’ve maintained it as we’ve grown.
What kind of support do you receive from fellow franchisees? I love my fellow franchisees! They are all willing to talk, share resources, and point me in the right direction so I can be successful. I look forward to our convention each year to reconnect with my colleagues and welcome the new franchisees.
Would you share your gross revenue? I would prefer not to share specific numbers, but I will share that I’ve been recognized as a multi-million dollar producer for the last two years in a row. I’m proud of this accomplishment and am more than satisfied with the earnings that have come from our Murphy Business & Financial franchise. It’s a great investment and if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t hesitate!
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