A Franchisee’s Journey: Getting to Know…Michael Renault

Michael Renault is the proud owner of an image360 franchise in Charleston, SC. The business is a turnkey solution for customers who need custom visual communication products, including signs, banners, graphics, vinyl wraps, and much more. As a newly minted business owner, having opened the doors in July of 2018, Michael’s already come a pretty long way from his previous career act.

Renault spent over two decades in the banking industry, where he specialized in sales and development for both B2B and B2C customers. His ambitious work ethic and steady accomplishments put him on the fast track for leadership opportunities, culminating in the management and oversight of multiple sales teams. But despite this success, Renault still had to deal with the common challenges of working within a large organization. Competing corporate cultures and having to survive the banking industry’s post-recession environment added to his frustration.

“I had considered owning my own business at two other points in my life. The problem was, I just didn’t have the right level of resources or capital to make it happen at the time.” 

A mutual colleague introduced Renault to Cathey Petkash, FranNet’s consultant for South Carolina. He was already familiar with franchising, having worked within the industry in his banking career. Michael and Cathey embarked on the investigative process, but Renault also continued to seek a full-time job replacement. Things came to head one day when his wife questioned which direction he really wanted to go. Renault remembers answering before she finished speaking, stating, “I’m going out on my own!”

Fully committed to becoming a franchisee with FranNet’s assistance, Renault conducted his due diligence on several different concepts, trying to keep an open mind. Petkash dug deep to find just the right match, once advising him that he owed it to himself to try at least one phone call with a franchisor he was considering but wasn’t wild about. “It’s my opinion that Cathey really got to know me—both personally and as a professional,” said Renault. “She pushed back when it was needed and was candid with me in a good way.” Renault’s preference came down to two franchises but decided that image360 was a better overall fit.

After almost two years as a business owner, Renault is pleased with what he’s accomplished in such a short amount of time. He cites his networking abilities and even the current business climate as two factors that have led to success so far. “I’m fortunate that I have a really good network here in Charleston,” said Renault. “Because of these contacts and the hustle to generate recurring revenue, I have a pretty good level of continual work in the pipeline.”

And while the global pandemic has had a devastating effect on the U.S. economy, the immediate need for signage is suddenly in very high demand. South Carolina industry and commerce continue to open according to phased guidelines, but several new rules, regulations, and ordinances have altered the way businesses may now interact with consumers. And there’s no better way to remind the general public of these new guidelines than through the use of highly visible signage featuring clear and concise directions.

“I’ve not yet seen an overwhelming surge because of COVID-19,” says Renault. “Roughly 25% of my sales in April were virus-related. But I can report that my sales revenue for last month was more than double the best month I’ve ever had. And this month is almost certain to top that, so you’ll hear no complaint from me.”

For more information, please visit Michael Renault’s image360 franchise website.

May 20, 2020