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Doug Phillip with Budget Blinds, is an experienced Vice President Operations with a demonstrated history of working in the food & beverages industry.
He is skilled in budgeting, operations management, management, sales, and strategic planning.
He is a strong business development professional with a bachelor’s degree focused in business, management, marketing, and related support services from Auburn University.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- What should aspiring franchisees look for an in franchise opportunity
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Welcome to Franchise Marketing Radio, brought to you by SEO Samba, Comprehensive, high performing marketing solutions for mature and emerging franchise brands to supercharge your franchise marketing. Go to seosamba.com. That’s SEOSamba.com.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:32] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Franchise Marketing Radio, and this is going to be a good one today on the show, we have Doug Phillip with budget blinds. Welcome Doug.
Doug Phillip: [00:00:41] Hey, thanks for having me, Lee. Great to be here.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:43] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about budget blinds. How are you serving, folks?
Doug Phillip: [00:00:49] Oh, you know, budget lines is such a great brand. We’re a franchise organization that is actually the largest custom window coverings franchise in North America. We have franchisees that serve our customers in all 50 states across the United States. We’re all across Canada and we’re even in Mexico. You know, budget lines has actually been around since 1992. Unbelievable. We’re going to be celebrating our 30th anniversary here this next year in doing business and designing windows for our customers. It’s such a great brand.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:22] Now, can you share a little bit about the back story in history? What was the genesis of the idea?
Doug Phillip: [00:01:28] You know, it actually started with what’s commonly referred to as the five guys. It was a group of friends and family that started this business back in 1992. They started as a business for themselves and then a couple of years later started franchising, and it’s grown ever since. You know, it’s really neat when you look within. We actually call it a family between our corporate structure and our franchisees. But this family has grown so much. We’re in over 1300 territories again across North America. And what to me is so wonderful to watch is the franchisees. People buy in. They might buy one territory and then they keep expanding. They add territories to their business because they like it so much. They’re successful and then they get their family involved. So we have so many franchisees that, you know, have their their own family operating within that business, or they help them buy another territory to get into the business. So it’s been great to watch over the years how this business has evolved.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:25] Now has the kind of profile of an ideal franchisee evolved as well.
Doug Phillip: [00:02:31] You know, it’s interesting in the world of franchising. I’ll tell you a little story that you know you’d never see on a resume. I actually started with my family owning our own business all the way back when I was very young. My brother and I would watch my parents start their own business. It wasn’t a franchise at that time, it was their own, and so they had to develop the model. They had to figure everything out. And so I grew up in that world of watching and living in my parents, you know, providing for our family. And that really set the foundation for kind of getting into what I think of small business. That’s that’s such an important part of my life. When you look at franchising in today’s world, it’s actually very easy to get into. You go to Entrepreneur Magazine’s top 500 over half of the top 20 of those costs less than two hundred $200000 to get involved with. So it’s actually fairly inexpensive to become your own owner within a business and and not have to report up through the corporate America. It’s actually very simple for people to get involved in and to be part of.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:38] So when the brand first started out were the franchisees looked the same as they do today.
Doug Phillip: [00:03:46] You know, they probably probably did. I wasn’t involved back when it first started, but we actually have a mix of different types of people that get into the business. There’s folks that have already, you know, owned other franchises and other businesses that are looking to expand their portfolio. We also have people that have never owned their own business and want to be part of this. We actually have a process to be able to teach people, no matter where you’re coming from, to get involved with the business, to help you be successful.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:15] Now what are some qualities that you find successful franchisees have that are maybe that first time franchisee?
Doug Phillip: [00:04:24] You know, great question, Lee. You know, it’s interesting to watch people get into business, there’s so many different reasons that they get into business. There’s so many different things they’re looking from and what they consider success to be, whether it’s financial supporting their own family, their lifestyle, just so many different reasons. Now, when they get into the business, you know, again, some people have a background of owning their own business. Some people don’t. But the qualities are really somebody that you have to be happy with what you’re doing. There’s so many different opportunities in franchising to get involved with find something that you love, something you’re interested in because you’re going to be doing it every day. And then you know what? What I’ve seen is it takes somebody that’s going to be aggressive and willing to take chances. Again, you’re starting up a business or taking over in a business that’s there. You’re the person that’s responsible for that, and you need to be willing to go out and be aggressive to go chase that down.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:20] Now, do you have any advice for emerging franchise laws in terms of what they would have to do to help support that new franchisee in their system?
Doug Phillip: [00:05:32] You know, it’s an interesting question, Leigh, in the world of franchising, I do believe it is all about supporting the owners. And so in budget blinds, we actually earlier this year so proud. We’ve got a brand new facility and we invested in over 40000 square feet of training space that we have an opportunity to bring new owners in to be able to learn the business. It’s state of the art training rooms and then we’ve got a huge open area that we create what we call an experience center. But it’s an experience to be able to learn the business. It’s hands on getting in and understanding how they’re going to operate and what they need to do to be successful. So if a new franchise organization is coming in to me, it’s about how you set up your support for the franchisees to help them be successful. We’ve got, you know, again, I told you, we’re going to be celebrating our 30th year. We’ve got so many franchise success stories out there that have happened through the years. It’s truly a wonderful part of budget lines.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:30] Now, what does budget blinds do for those franchisees? Is there a opportunities for them to learn from each other? Is there kind of a sense of community among the franchisees?
Doug Phillip: [00:06:42] There is. I mentioned it earlier. Our franchisees refer to it as a family. It’s our corporate associates, our staff. It’s our franchisees and how everybody works together on the business. So it’s really unique. We’ve got all the standard departments, from marketing to technology operations within the corporate structure and all of the years of experience that people bring to the table to be able to support our franchisees. But then again, imagine we’ve got all of our franchisees across North America and all of the years of experience they have in doing the business. Well, chances are, if there’s a problem, somebody runs into, somebody’s got a solution. And so this network, this family of people that support each other has truly been unique within budget lines. I absolutely love it, and it’s something very special.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:29] Now, how does that kind of logistically operate for that franchisee? Is there like a Slack channel? Is there a regular calls or is there, you know, Facebook Group? Like, how do you kind of facilitate that kind of collaboration?
Doug Phillip: [00:07:45] You know, great question. We’ve got a number of different ways. We have an operations team that’s based in the field that supports our franchisees. We’ve also got a field marketing team that helps our franchisees understand and do better with local area marketing. But you know what? It’s this family. All of the different channels of communication from Facebook to we have regular calls that we get are regional franchisees together on on a weekly and monthly basis to walk through the business. What to do, what are the initiatives we’re working on? What problems are people having that we can all solve together? But it’s this network of communication on a very regular basis that I think helps us to be successful.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:24] Now, when you have a franchisee out in the market, maybe first time, maybe they worked in a corporate setting. What are some dos and don’ts when they’re kind of launching their franchise in a local market?
Doug Phillip: [00:08:38] You know, if they’re starting a new business, first and foremost, you’ve got to learn the business extremely well, it’s why we’ve got that experience center I mentioned over in Dallas that we’ve created to help people get started in their business and truly learn our products, truly learn installation and how to take care of their customers. One of the unique things I think about budget blinds is our customer experience and how we’re out in customers homes helping to take care of their needs. Truly designing beautiful rooms that make our customers happy and want to do business with us again. For a new franchisee coming in, it’s so important to just truly take the time to ramp up the business, understand the products, understand what you’re trying to solve for the consumer so that we wind up having happy customers that want to come back time and time again.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:28] Now did the pandemic, maybe for some changes into the operation in terms of, you know, how you do what you do, that maybe will be a silver lining and you’ll be able to implement post-pandemic.
Doug Phillip: [00:09:41] Yeah, you know, for all small businesses, this pandemic has been just a crazy world in the last couple of years. You go back, it shut down so fast, and all the new regulations that were out made it tough to get out in customers home. It made it tough for small business to even operate. Matter of fact, across the United States and in Canada, so many small businesses were forced to close because of the nature of of the business and the changes. We actually grew. We invested in our own infrastructure and we invested in our franchisees to help them to be successful and we grew. So we added things like a virtual consultation so that if we couldn’t be out in the home, our franchisees had the opportunity to connect virtually through all the online platforms that we utilize today. We created new tools and processes and created support for our franchisees so that if they were in an area where they were struggling because of the regulations and ability to get out, they could still be successful and make it through to the end of this is what I mentioned. I’m so proud of the work that our franchisees have done. We’re actually larger today and set up better for success coming out of this pandemic and where we stand today and probably where we were going into it
Lee Kantor: [00:10:56] Now for the people out there that are listening in one to learn more. Is there a website?
Doug Phillip: [00:11:04] There is its home franchise concept. If you’re interested in the business or learning more home franchise concepts as the parent company for budget lines, we actually have six different brands in the Home Improvement and Home Services segment. We have a van, a clean concrete craft, tailored living kitchen tuneup and bath tuneup and of course, budget blinds. But if you go to that website home franchise concepts, you can click on the franchise info, put a couple of pieces of information there in our incredible team. We’ll call you back here very quickly to start talking through the business and what the opportunities are now.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:41] From an ideal franchisee standpoint, do these ideal franchisees have kind of a sweet spot in their own personality and skills in maybe sales? Or are they more operational minded or are they more management minded? Is there kind of a, you know, kind of a best practice in terms of the type of ideal franchise, like what kind of qualities that they would have?
Doug Phillip: [00:12:04] You know, I think in so many different franchise models lead, there is more of a specialty that’s needed, but again, I’ll go back to what I think is unique and special about budget lines. I see so many different types of personalities come through start up businesses or buy existing businesses and be successful. We do. There is a need to have an outgoing personality to be able to be successful selling in the home. But a lot of people, if that’s not their their true skill, they hire people that can do that. There’s the installation side of the business and you know, you know, the the hands on being in the home, installing window coverings. Again, some people have that skill set in their background. Some people don’t. But the great piece is it’s a simple model. If that’s not my skill set, I can hire people to do that. And it’s and it’s not a hard function to have to perform.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:58] Now, do you help your franchisees with hiring? I know that obviously that’s their own business, but is there some best practices you’re able to share to help them attract the right folks?
Doug Phillip: [00:13:10] Yeah. So it is interesting in the world of franchising, we can’t hire and and go through the process for them, but we do have national programs that we’ve put together to help recruit and source potential candidates that meet the needs for our franchisees. Very difficult in today’s world, even finding employees to be able to work in businesses and small businesses. We all see it in the news every day. But we bring some incredible resources that help our franchisees solve that and we’re adding to that every day. And then second, you know, what are the the tools and materials that the training needs for these new people coming on board? And we’re continuing to build out what our inventory of support materials are for our franchisees as they bring in a new new employee, whether it be a salesperson and installers, somebody working in their office. We have the tools for them to be able to train them and make it easier for them to get started in the business.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:07] Well, thank you so much for sharing your story today. One more time with the website.
Doug Phillip: [00:14:12] It is home franchise concepts.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:15] All right, Doug. Well, again, thank you for sharing your story. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Doug Phillip: [00:14:21] Thank you so much, Leigh. Great to be on the program.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:24] All right, this is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you all next time on Franchise Marketing Radio.