Gene and Phillip Johnson – Louisville, Kentucky
Gene Johnson is no stranger to owning his own business. Right out of college he started his own business, after his company was bought out by a larger business; Johnson saw the beauty in franchising. He received a call from Mr. Appliance®. Johnson keeps his mind focused on being successful, and plans to expand in the upcoming years. Johnson is incredibly hopeful, and insists on remaining successful despite the tough economic times.
Q: What was your career before franchising?
A: After getting a business degree from the University of Kentucky, I started a small business out of my home while in my 20’s. I then got into a larger company that specialized in custom drapery, bedspreads, blinds, and shades where I had 25 people working for me. In the mid-90’s, that company was bought out and sold to a larger company, so I decided to get into franchising. I bought my first business in 1994, which was a Moto Photo, a film processing and portrait studio, and I ran it for 11 years. After that, I decided to go a different route with franchising, got into the appliance repair business.
Q: How did you learn about the brand?
A: I will be working on growing this location and getting it off the ground so that I can expand into more territories.
A: I got a phone call from Mr. Appliance’s corporate office one day and especially in regards to my previous experience, they thought it would be a good match and it turns out it was a good match.
Q: Why did you decide to open your own business?
A: Originally, I was in engineering and I could tell it would be a tough job market, so I went to business school. I figured I could work for someone or I could work for myself. My game plan was to work for someone for awhile, get some experience and then own my own business and take that leap of faith for myself.
Q: When choosing a franchise, what were the criteria you used to make your decision?
A: In this day and age, it’s advisable to get into something that makes sense to you that you will also enjoy. I looked at different franchises, and decided that joining an appliance franchise would be a good fit for me.
Q: What was appealing to you about joining a franchise system?
A: The most appealing thing is that franchise systems have a much higher rate of success than a non-franchise business. If you buy a franchise, you are likely to have a better success rate because there’s a set business plan in place that a new business doesn’t have. You also don’t have to go through trial and error to figure out what will be successful.
Q: With regard to your previous experience, what skills do you feel helped you in your business?
A: I feel as though I really have the mind-set to be a business owner. Every day, you have to keep working and stick it out and not give up. You also have to watch your cash flow as much as possible and when the money starts coming in slowly, remember to pay yourself last.
Q: Why did you choose to enter this industry?
A: I’ve always been interested in repairing appliances, so it just seemed like a good match.
Q: What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today with your business?
A: The tough economy has made things difficult for all business owners. Other than that, running two businesses at the same time can also be a challenge.
Q: How does your business connect with the community?
A: We will be joining the chamber of commerce as well as BNI (a business networking organization). The Dwyer Group® works a lot with the Ronald McDonald House, so I will be a part of that as well.
Q: What are some of your achievements (professionally or personally) that you think will help you along the way in your business?
A: The way I’ve looked at all of my businesses is that you do your best to go into someone’s home and give them the best service possible. If you treat them the way you want to be treated, they will praise your name when they’re talking to their friends. It’s hard to make everyone 100% happy, but you can try your best to make sure that the majority of people are satisfied with your business.
Q: What are your expansion or development plans?
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