By Peter Saunders
You don’t need a background in the franchise business to become a franchisee yourself. Franchising has become the world’s most successful business model because it meets the needs of people from all walks of life, giving them the tools they need to be their own boss, often in an entirely new field. Considering your natural talent, skills and life experience, you’ve probably already got a lot to be confident about as you prepare for your franchising journey.
Still have any doubts? Maybe the nature of your career so far has been very different from the franchise you hope to buy? Don’t worry. In “You’ve Got What It Takes,” we show you how work experience—and any other type of experience—can be applied in a franchised setting.
What he does:
Russell Arthurs admits he is an unlikely candidate to operate retail stores that specialize in beauty products and salon services. Raised on a farm near Ottawa and schooled in agriculture, his original career focused on health and nutrition products for animals.
After eight years working in the U.S., a move back to Canada in early 2005 provided the opportunity for a career transition. He looked into various franchise businesses that would let him run a local store, rather than keep him on the road, away from his family.
“I had run a business before,” he says. “It was a matter of applying my selling skills to a retail concept. And having been gone from Canada for a long time, I wanted to get re-established quickly by plugging into an established template. I looked at a multitude of businesses.”
His search soon brought him to Trade Secrets, a growing Canadian chain of beauty boutiques that was not yet well-established in the Ottawa area.
“I found them in March 2005, when they were offering the Bayshore Shopping Centre location for a June opening,” he says. “I didn’t want to sit around for six months anyway. I hit the ground running.”
Following the success of the Bayshore store, the franchisor offered Russell a second location in Barrhaven the following spring. That was followed by a third in 2008 in Orleans and a fourth in July 2011 at the Rideau Centre.
“I didn’t initially think I’d go multi-unit, but I liked that the option was there,” he says. “Here in Ottawa, Trade Secrets was in 2005 an underdeveloped, up-and-coming franchise system with a lack of competition. It was really a matter of timing. And today, the market could still handle a few more locations.”
While Trade Secrets meant a major career shift for him, Russell says his sales experience carried him through to new success.
“I had to learn the industry’s nuances, especially when buying from suppliers, but I’m using the same skills,” he says. “You make your margins by buying the right items at the right time.”