Larkin Frazier, who served as a Captain, Communications Officer in the U.S. Army, started as a CruiseOne/Dream Vacations franchisee in Nashville, TN in 2015. He is strategically growing his franchise while working in his corporate job and looking forward to being a full time franchisee in the near future.
Why did you start investigating a franchise in the travel industry? I love to travel and normally coordinate family vacations and family reunions. I was intrigued that I could use these same skills and help others as a full time job. I studied the cruise industry for two years.
How did you fund your franchise? I was awarded the franchise through CruiseOne/Dream Vacations’ annual Operation Vetrepreneur. I had to submit a business plan, go through interviews, and was blessed to be one of the five military veterans in 2015 to receive a free franchise.
What have you found particularly beneficial about being a franchisee vs. if you had gone out on your own? The support of the CruiseOne/Dream Vacations team is amazing. Consistent and decisive actions are always taken to make sure that customer satisfaction remains top priority. I have never felt alone since I began this journey because someone is always available to answer questions when I need assistance.
What advice would you share with people considering purchasing a franchise? Retain the services of an attorney who specifically deals with franchisees to help you understand the Franchise Disclosure Document. Also, be sure to call as many franchisees as possible. When I did, I found out the good, the bad, and the truth, which enabled me to make an informed decision on entering this business.
What advice do you have for a franchisee in his or her first year of business? Build the business and learn the systems before hiring staff. I suggest spending the first year focused on guerrilla marketing to a specific segment of clients that you want to promote your brand to.
What is your work/life balance? It’s hectic because I am still in between my corporate career and transitioning to running my franchise full-time, but I enjoy it. As an agent, my phone never stops ringing, but I am learning how to effectively obtain maximum return on investment of my time.
What is it that you like best about owning your franchise? I love the ability to have freedom to market to anyone. Social media has been a good source of lead generation for me. I leverage my personal travel experiences to add value when making recommendations on anything from flights to hotels. This gives me credibility.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a franchisee? Walking away from bad business. I have literally turned away clients who are indecisive or price hagglers because I value the time and effort I place into booking a vacation for people. When I place a premium on my time and expertise, it separates me from a commodity driven shopper that wants maximum value without paying the premium for my time.
How has your military training helped with running your business? It has made me be resilient. The first year was a challenge and I learned a lot of lessons.
What kind of support do you particularly appreciate from your fellow franchisees? Advice and more advice.
To learn more about CruiseOne/Dream Vacations click here.
A list of more franchises that are ranked highly by veterans is available in our Top Franchises for Veterans special report. To see additional franchisee approved franchises, veteran and non-veteran alike, click here.
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