Jim Malcolm is Colorado’s Master Franchisee for Enviro-Master Services. His successful operation, begun just two short years ago, is rapidly approaching $1 million in sales, and he got there because of FranNet. If you want to hear a tale of how life’s twists and turns can result in owning a business all your own, Jim has an inspiring story to share.
“I started off my career as a middle school science teacher,” begins Malcolm. Presumably, this is where he picked up a great deal of patience and perseverance. For six long years, he taught teenagers the finer points of Bunsen Burners, cell division and how to test a theory to discover facts. But Jim wasn’t long for the classroom. In 1997, he was offered a sales position with McGraw-Hill, a leading provider of customized educational content, software, and services for students nationwide. This, in turn, led to an opportunity with Pearson Education, which bills itself as the ‘World’s Learning Company.’
Jim moved up the ranks quickly at Pearson—from district sales manager to regional VP. “We took my region’s gross sales from $70 million a year to nearly $100 million during the recession. But I was also racking up a lot of time on planes and in airports,” he remembers. He didn’t yet know it, but his career was about to take a final prescient turn before franchising entered the picture.
Jim was hired to conduct sales and marketing for PLAYTIME, an international designer and builder of custom indoor playgrounds. As VP of Sales and Marketing, Jim finally got an inside look at what makes a business run. “Up to that point, I’d never had the responsibility of reconciling a Profit & Loss (P&L) Statement,” he recalls. “It gave me the confidence in thinking, ‘Hey, I could do this for myself, not just for another company’.”
Jim was primed for a run at possibly owning a business of his own. And fortunately, around this exact time, he crossed paths with FranNet’s Cindy Rayfield, the associate consultant for Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. “I was nudged in her direction by my financial advisor as someone I needed to talk to,” recalls Jim. “I actually knew her as someone who had worked on our neighborhood newsletter and had once interviewed my family for their ‘Focus Family’ segment.”
What Jim remembers about Rayfield’s franchise knowledge was the education he received. And he appreciated the fact that Cindy lived and worked in the same community—and understood the local market. The process of finding just the right franchise concept was an enlightening experience. “We went through all kinds of personality tests and goal-setting exercises,” remembers Jim. “Cindy was very thorough. And the franchise she suggested as a perfect match for me was Enviro-Master Services. I wasn’t convinced at first–a franchise dedicated to cleaning, sanitizing and stocking restrooms?” wondered Malcolm. “I didn’t see myself owning a business like that, but Cindy was persistent in showing me exactly why this particular concept matched up well with what I said I needed and wanted out of a business. Eventually, she sent a heartfelt, five-paragraph email imploring me to reconsider. When I read it out loud to my family, we were sold.”
That was over two years ago. Today, Jim is the owner of his own business. Making money for himself, setting his own schedule and building something for the future each day he shows up for work. “The biggest change in my life has honestly been my attitude,” states Jim. “I really like where I’ve ended up. I no longer worry about how my contributions will be received by people in someone else’s company. Those contributions belong to me now. I’m in control, I’m more pro-active about my career and I feel well settled into this role.”
So, what does Jim see down the road for his burgeoning franchise operation? “I’m going to bear down over the next few years and really build up my revenue, cashflow and customer base. I want to get to the point where I’m functioning more as a CEO and less of a sales director. It’s the right timing for my family. In a few short years, my children will be in college and I want my business to be completely self-sufficient.”
As Jim Malcolm looks back on how he got here, he continues to have fond memories of his investigative process with FranNet. “Cindy Rayfield was the catalyst that set me on the path to owning a business of my own. Her personality and persistence and the total faith that she put into FranNet’s process in achieving business ownership was just an amazing experience. She was very convincing and, in the end, she won me over. And here I am, at the helm of a business of my own.”