“Could my business be franchised? How do I do it? Where on Earth do I start?” It turns out that it started for me at the NextGen in Franchising Summit at the IFA Convention in Las Vegas. I had almost no idea about the wonderful world of franchising until I was exposed to it in the best possible way.
In 2012, I founded EverLine Coatings and Services, a parking lot line striping and maintenance company in Alberta, Canada. I’m certain I was a lot like you! I started the business simply hoping to turn a profit, develop our personnel and I didn’t have much of an end-game in mind. As the business grew, more forks in the road began showing themselves and I had to decide how I wanted to shape the future of the company. The idea of franchising was interesting to me – you get to provide a successful business model that you can share with others and get an opportunity to expand your brand across an entire continent. Cool idea, I just had no idea where to go from that.
Flash forward to applying for the contest. I put a lot of effort and creativity into the application process (so don’t skip on that!). A couple of months later I was notified that I had won the Grand Prize and that’s where my life changed. Walking into the convention is initially intimidating but as soon as I mentioned that I was a NextGen winner I was welcomed into a whole new community with open arms. The franchising community, as big as it seems, feels quite small once you go through the NextGen Summit Experience. I was immediately connected with some of the smartest, most respected business people in the world. As a millennial, to be rubbing elbows with such accomplished and eager-to-mentor entrepreneurs who have been-there-done-that in the franchising world has been a complete game changer. Every opportunity to learn was there. I was able to stand up to a panel of established franchisors, explain where I was at in my business and simply ask “what do I do next?” They assured me that I was on the right path and gave me step by step ideas on where to go from there. That was huge.
NextGen gave me the opportunity to build wonderful relationships and friendships with key members of the IFA and beyond. I feel very much a part of the community. This has done wonders for EverLine Coatings and Services. Less than two years after the convention, we are ready to sell franchises nation-wide. I could not have gotten there without the experience, conversations, executive-level lunches, advice, mentorship and more. It has pushed me to grow as an entrepreneur and as a person – and I’m still having a ton of fun in the process!