Against The Odds - Overcoming Adversity To Keep A Franchise Running
Posted in Entrepreneur 101 by Michael Chance
The annals of franchise business history are replete with stories of determination overcoming apparent adversity. Stories of success have some common threads—hard work, initiative, and passion for doing business among them. Some success stories sound the same, with these elements taking center stage, but sometimes franchisees have to deal with major adversity before turning into successful business operators. Here are two stories of franchisees truly overcoming long odds to make it big:
The Exercise Coach runs personal fitness training franchises across the United States. Illinois corporate benefits consulter Woody Bedell turned to the franchise option after burning out on his old career, and found The Exercise Coach to be a good fit. Surely Bedell’s passion for fitness and experience in creating wellness programs would help his chances of success, he figured. But even the best plans of mice and men, as they say, can go astray—only a week after signing the lease for his Exercise Coach space, Bedell was diagnosed with a serious case of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2012.
Bedell decided the show must go on with his The Exercise Coach franchise. By the time his location had opened its doors later in the year, Bedell had completed his treatment, but had lost sixty percent of his muscle mass in the process. However, Bedell’s franchise has found success, not least of all with a clientele he truly connects with—fellow cancer survivors!
Len Cava had lived in Long Island and worked in the packaging industry for some time. He and his wife decided they wanted a change from the cold New York winters, and moved to Florida, where they opened an EmbroidMe franchise, which specializes in embroidery, screen printing, and promotional products.
However, Cava’s new home, Delray Beach, was battered with three major hurricanes only two months after he had opened his franchise. Cava kept the show running, even after the Great Recession hit shortly after. Cava chose early on not to use low pricing to compete with competitors in difficult economic times, but rather providing the best service possible. Cava began networking with the chamber of commerce, other business groups, and hit the ground running.
Cava explained his success as a product of total involvement. “To survive what we’ve survived, you have to be involved in the community. I don’t mean just supporting nonprofits, but getting involved in business and in politics.”