Bob Harms is a franchisee of Huntington Learning Center, serving the Pembroke Pines and Plantation, FL markets. He has owned his franchise since 2007 and is one of Franchise Business Review's 2018 Rockstar Franchisees!
What was it about the franchise model and or leadership that led you to purchase it?
The Huntington Learning Center franchise model was a big reason for me to purchase the business. I found that a franchise was an easy way to transition from corporate America to my own business without having to “create a new wheel.” Huntington Learning Center has been developing and perfecting their system since 1977; you can be very successful if you don’t venture away from the model.
What type of business experience, education and/or skills did you have prior to becoming a franchisee that you found particularly helpful?
I have an undergraduate degree in marketing and two graduate degrees in management and international business. In my prior work experience, I was a business development manager for a private company. Having both the experience and education in business helped me understand how to manage staff and have the common sense to follow a business model that has already been successful.
What do you like most about your job?
When I purchased my Huntington franchise, I did not look at it as purchasing a job for myself; rather, I was investing in an opportunity to manage a business that would continually grow. The ability to earn money and improve my quality of life has proven to be life altering.
My favorite part of being a Huntington Learning Center franchisee is that I am able to give back to the community by helping our students improve their confidence and skills in the classroom and in many ways change their opportunities and their futures.
How did you fund your franchise? Did you receive any discounts/incentives?
I was lucky enough to have an early small percentage investor in the first center so I didn’t need to take out any loans. Fortunately, I was able to buy out that partner fairly rapidly. When I took over my second location, I took advantage of an opportunity to turn around a failing location due to poor management by prior ownership. Taking over an existing failing center also proved to be a successful model.
What advice do you have for prospective franchise buyers?
My biggest piece of advice for prospective franchisees is that your franchisor has likely already made all the mistakes for you. If you follow the system and don’t try to be smarter than the system you are more likely to be successful.
Over the past several weeks, the novel coronavirus has prompted in-home health care companies to intensify their franchisee support efforts. Within days of the outbreak, franchisors stepped up their communications; sourced and shipped scarce personal protective equipment (PPE); and spent hours synthesizing and reporting out policy changes that would affect how their franchisees could operate within their regions, states, and municipalities.
In this episode, it was our pleasure to speak with Jesse Johnstone, the President of Fibrenew. He explains to FBR's CEO, Eric Stites, how Fibrenew is designed to succeed in both good times and bad and discusses the way they're supporting they're franchisees in the midst of the COVID pandemic.