I’m Teri Villanueva, FranNet’s territory consultant for San Antonio and Austin.
I’d like for you to meet a recent client of mine, Bill and Cristina Hodde. After connecting on LinkedIn, I was able to help the couple transition from their previous careers to an entrepreneurial future as the new owners of Texas Best Signs, part of the Signworld alliance.
With the assistance of FranNet of San Antonio & Austin, Bill and Cristina are embarking on a whole new journey—and it’s one that’s brought their family closer together. Below, in his own words, Bill shares his FranNet journey…
Bill and Cristina Hodde have been married for 27 years and have three children together. Bill was previously a CPA consultant working primarily in the oil and gas industry and Cristina had a stellar career in early childhood development. The couple had previously discussed an entrepreneurial scenario where they might one day own a coffee shop together, but read the rest of the story to find out where their investigative journey took them…
On Becoming an Entrepreneur
“One of the last consulting gigs I had was working as interim controller for a South Texas franchisor , so I got the chance to get a behind the scenes look at how the business model operated. At the same time, I’d just completed my MBA, which really instilled some confidence. I think we both got to the point where we were hoping for some more flexibility for our future, and we began to think about the dignity of owning a business of our own.”
“Really, it came down to the controller role with the franchisor. I learned so much about how franchising worked and the economic ecosystem and financial market of small business to support franchisees . And working directly for a franchisor I got a first-hand glimpse into how a franchisor supports its franchise owners. I came to learn that should we become a small business owner we weren’t going to go through starting a business all on our own.
Once we got started in the process with Teri, she showed us a few concepts which we later narrowed down to two opportunities—a senior care franchise and Signworld. But once we were introduced to the founder, Ken Kindt, we really hit it off. We wanted to own a business where our products and services would be high profile and, once we began conversations, everything kind of fell into place. Signworld is kind of a hybrid franchise that offers owners a lot of autonomy in the way they operate. We get the benefit of support like we were a franchise while at the same time maintaining our own brand and without a royalty payment.”
How FranNet Helped
“What really stands out is how Teri provides an education on the process of investigating franchises. Even though I’m a CPA, I wasn’t aware of the 401K rollover funding option that allows you to invest a portion of your retirement funds into owning a business. There were so many tax advantages to going this route, but I’d never heard of this method. Teri was quite supportive—always willing to answer our questions and she never left us feeling pressured to make a decision that wasn’t 100% our own.”
Where Do You Stand?
“We went through the investigative process January through February of this year and officially signed our agreement with Signworld on March 4, 2021. Since that time, we’ve been receiving our training and equipment—which includes a 64” printer and vinyl cutter. The plan was to have a grand opening next month, but we’ve already made our first sale before we could open the doors!
So far, owning a business of our own is turning out to be a great decision, but one of the biggest benefits is that our middle daughter, Jacqui, came to work for us internally. We had hoped that owning a business together would be something that included our kids and having her handling our marketing outreach has been such a blessing. It’s brought us all closer together and we couldn’t be happier.
For more information, please visit Bill and Cristina Hodde’s Texas Best Signs on the web.