Greg Billson opens ShelfGenie of Alberta, discovers business ownership
Greg Billson’s career spanned more than 30 years in the IT industry. Clients today know him as the owner of ShelfGenie of Alberta, a specialized resource for custom designed, built and installed shelving solutions. Having opened in mid-March 2014, ShelfGenie of Alberta was the business ownership opportunity Billson had been waiting for.
Originally from the U.K., Billson moved to Canada in 2000 and a year later began working for the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board. There, he was responsible for leading a team of IT specialists. After 12 years with the organization, however, a reorganization lead to the elimination of senior positions, Billson’s included.
“That was the starting point that gave me a chance to do some thinking,” said Billson. “I had always toyed with the idea of running my own business, but it was a risk I hadn’t been ready to take.”
Billson says that the downsizing brought him to zero-based thinking. He spent some time evaluating what it was that he wanted out of his career and how that could allow him to spend more time on the things that were important to him.
“The idea of continuing to work for someone else became increasingly less appealing. It was not the best vehicle to achieve the things that I wanted,” said Billson. “I wanted more than just to earn an income. There were so many more things that were important to me, like having the flexibility to enjoy time with family and friends and to do something that would be uniquely mine.”
Billson was just starting to become aware of the opportunities surrounding the franchise industry. He did some research on his own but says it was an outplacement service that referred him to franchise consultant Grant Bullington of FranNet Western Canada. Bullington works with individuals considering business ownership to match them with a franchise opportunity.
Meeting with Bullington, Billson took a Personal Franchise Assessment (PFA), a sort of personality test of his business acumen. The assessment looks at a person from many facets, including his behaviour profile, risk tolerance and financial background. Billson’s PFA was then used to help identify franchises that would align best with his attributes.
“Grant introduced me to a number of companies and systems that could be a good fit,” said Billson. “I really liked the methodical process of FranNet’s approach.”
One of the concepts Billson was introduced to was ShelfGenie, and it met his high list of requirements. Billson felt that the business aligned with his common values and core purpose. He wanted to be helping others and admired the business’ quality of work. He was also drawn to the business model recalling, “You could see the elegance – the work that had gone into making everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.”
ShelfGenie provides a niche product, offering innovative shelving custom built to retrofit existing cabinets. The Glide-Out Shelving System provides for accessible storage that is efficient and clutter-free. From the kitchen to the bathroom and garage, a function-first approach ensures that clients have a storage system that is tailored to how they function, work and entertain.
“It all has to do with the functionality of the storage design, and there really is nobody else that I know of that does just that and does it exceptionally well,” said Billson. “After we’re done, I follow up with clients and you just have to look at their faces. They’re beaming! And you can’t fake that because it makes such a huge difference in how they enjoy their home. This is what sets us apart.”
For more information on Billson’s ShelfGenie of Alberta, visit www.shelfgenie.com/alberta or call 888-663-3818.
For those interested in learning more about business ownership opportunities, contact Grant Bullington of FranNet Western Canada at 604-609-6165 or visit www.frannet.ca.