George Hamilton was nominated for a 2022 Rock Star Award by the Snap-on Tools leadership team under the Veteran-Owned category. He was chosen by Franchise Business Review from among 200+ nominations for his outstanding achievements as a Snap-on Tools franchise owner in Saint Charles, IL.
What advice do you have for someone considering investing in a franchise?
The biggest suggestion I have for someone considering investing in a franchise is to research the franchisor. The two most important elements the franchisors can provide are brand recognition and back-office support. Brand recognition will help when you first start but most importantly you need to know that your franchisor is there to support you in good times and during challenging times.
If you could start all over again, which mistake(s) would you avoid? What were your best decisions?
To be honest, if I had the chance to avoid mistakes I have made while being a franchisee, I would not change any of them. While the mistakes I made were difficult to go through at that the time, they have brought me to where I am in my business and have given me the confidence to combat any challenge within my business. Hands down, the best decision I have made was to bring my wife and brother into the franchise system. My wife and brother have brought their unique talents to the business which has helped us grow and thrive as franchisees. Bringing my wife has had the unexpected result in improving our home life. She now has first-hand knowledge that the business is not as 'effortless' as she originally thought.
What is the biggest challenge you've had to overcome as a business owner?
The biggest challenge I have had to overcome is finding life balance. My life balance is still a work in progress. As a family, we have set time limits on business work outside of business hours. I have made a point to take time away from the business with family so I do not lose sight of why I am in this business in the first place. Since finding life balance for myself is important, I have made business decisions that ensure my employees enjoy work/life balance as well. I have found that employees with work/life balance are more productive during their working hours. That has helped my business grow.
What is your proudest achievement in your franchising career so far?
My proudest achievement thus far as a franchisee is seeing how much my business has grown since I started 10 years ago. I am proud my business decisions have afforded me the ability to support my family and provide employment for other veterans.
What was your work history before you entered franchising? How did you apply those skills to your franchise?
Before my life as a franchisee, I was an aircraft mechanic and US Air Force recruiter for 23 years. The sense of 'mission first' that the USAF instilled in me led me to put the hard work into my business and make it grow. My short time as a recruiter gave me the ability to go into any situation to talk to anyone confidently.
Did the pandemic or recession impact your business and, if so, what were the lessons learned from the experience?
The pandemic and recession have taught me quite a few lessons. I have learned even though you plan for challenges the world can still through you a challenge you could not have imagined. The pandemic has taught me to be ready to 'pivot' and use whatever means necessary to get the product and service to my customers.
What do you like most about your franchise organization today?
The element I like most about my franchise organization is the element that brought me to my franchise system in the first place: back-office support. My franchise organization really helped support my business with whatever they could during the beginning days of the pandemic. They proved their support is not just lip service the recruiter embellishes upon during your process. My franchise system really cares about the success of my business and me as their business partner.
How do you think your military experience has helped you as a business owner?
My military experience has taught me to be disciplined, delegate tasks and mentor employees. The military has prepared me to selflessly share my knowledge and support those who come behind me.
What leadership qualities are most important to you and your team?
A very important quality of a leader to me is to listen and realize someone else may have a better idea. Incorporating elements of others' ideas into your decision while giving said person proper credit does not diminish your leadership, in fact, it enhances it.
For more information on Snap-on Tools franchise opportunities, visit https://www.snapon.com/EN/Franchise.
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