You don’t need a business degree to be a franchisee. Franchising is the world’s most successful business model because it takes people from all walks of life and gives them the tools they need to be entrepreneurs. Considering your natural talent, skills and life experience, you’ve probably got a lot to be confident about as you prepare for your franchise journey.
Still have doubts? Maybe your career thus far has been totally different from the franchise you hope to buy? In ‘You’ve Got What It Takes,’ we show you how your work experience—or any other experience—can be applied in a franchise setting.
Name: Phillip Schwab
Franchise: Living Lighting
Location: Pickering, Ont.
In business since: October 2008
What he does
As a franchisee with retail lighting and décor chain, Living Lighting, Phillip Schwab has brought his career in illumination full circle. He operates a spacious location in a Pickering, Ont., power centre, where he and his staff offer indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures, lamps, light bulbs and various home decorations.
While the store’s customer base is broad, Phillip says his average customer is roughly 40 years old. Typically, they are savvy comparison shoppers who have visited other retailers but come to Living Lighting looking for “quality unique pieces,” as Phillip puts it.
“We don’t consider the big-box stores our competition,” he says. “ They have that end of the business locked up and we’re more than happy for them to do that. We try to offer pieces that are a little more unique, maybe even a little more upscale. On top of that, we really offer expertise. We’re not interested in selling someone only one fixture. We’re interested in establishing a relationship with them and keeping them, so that five years from now, if they’re looking for other pieces they’re going to come back.”
These days, Phillip is in his store at least five days a week, the bulk of which he likes to spend out on the floor, interacting with customers, with the remainder of his time spent on the various administrative duties needed to make his operation successful. He prides himself on being a hands-on franchisee, involved in every aspect of a business he truly loves.
“I used to get a lot of enjoyment out of doing a big project and seeing it come to fruition,” he says. “There’s a magic when you have a team that’s clicking on all cylinders; that’s what you live for. In the retail business, when you find the right fixture for someone and they come back in and tell you how much they love it, it’s the same type of satisfaction.”