A Seasoned Sales Executive Lends His Perspective on Building a Successful Franchise
Editor’s Note: Jon Purdon is an experienced sales leader and an IQ Franchisee. He has leveraged a successful sales background along with the tools and training opportunities at IQ to build a strong new business with a broad client portfolio. We sat down with Jon to learn what has driven his success within the IQ Franchise Group.
Q. What was your background prior to owning your own Franchise?
A. I started off my career at WorldWide Express in Small & Medium Business Sales, eventually moving to Cincinnati Bell and then Allergan Pharmaceuticals. These experiences were invaluable in building my skillset and I learned a lot about the key drivers of a strong sales-focused organization. In the end for salespeople it’s all about attitude and effort. If salespeople are willing to consistently maintain both of those at a high level they are putting themselves in a great position to succeed. It then becomes the organization’s responsibility to provide the tools and resources to support those individuals and ensure they have the infrastructure in place to build truly exceptional sales organizations and strong year over year growth.
Although I appreciated my time within these organizations, I eventually decided that it was time for a change. I moved down to St. Petersburg, Florida and though I remained with Allergan for a while, I ultimately decided that I wanted the chance to develop my own business in more of a startup environment. After evaluating opportunities for 6-7 months I was introduced to the IQ Franchising opportunity and everything clicked. It was an extremely quick, efficient process. Initial talks started in November and I was able to get up and running by March.
Q. After evaluating so many opportunities, what ultimately attracted you to IQ?
A. I looked at a lot of different business models and the thing that attracted me to IQ was the startup feel to the franchise and the support I had to build the business as quickly as possible. As a first time business owner I was concerned about all of the small details required to get a new business up and running, but IQ had everything in place from the beginning. I didn’t have to take on an entire staff or waste a lot of time getting the business off the ground, because all of that infrastructure was already built for me. With a full set of tools already at my disposal, I was able to focus on driving sales and building a successful business.
Q. What type of person do you think makes an ideal IQ Franchisee?
A. Some of that remains to be seen, because there are a lot of available paths to success in this business. To me an ideal Franchisee for IQ is someone who has a willingness to take their future into their own hands. IQ provides all the tools you need to succeed, whether that be comprehensive upfront training, product knowledge support, back-office resources or sales tools. I came into this franchise with no background in business products, but was able to get up to speed quickly because of all of the resources available to me from the beginning.
Q. Was there a steep learning curve coming into a completely new industry?
A. There is a lot of new information, but the resources and relationships at your disposal make all the difference. The day-in-day-out relationship with our wholesaler, in particular, is an invaluable resource. They have a whole network of experts in every category, including everything from furniture to janitorial and sanitation. Knowing you have the support of these established experts in their field along with pre-established relationships with upper-level management and district managers means that you always have the support you need when you need it.
Q. What tools have you been the most valuable in driving your business forward since becoming a franchisee?
A. We have a wide range of tools that have helped give me an advantage in the marketplace. Our web store is modern and easy to use. It’s exactly what customers need/expect and it makes ordering so easy for them. As long as they place their order by 4pm that item is delivered to their door the next day. But the tool that has actually helped me the most is our dealer services portal from SP Richards. I can go on and check inventory from 80 distribution centers across the country and have that item drop-shipped. Those types of tools allow me to create value for my customers and provide them with a service that I would have never been able to provide on my own.
Q. What tips would you give to new Franchisees?
A. Whenever you take on your own new venture there can be an overwhelming amount of business issues to cover and areas to manage. You have to oversee accounting, taxes, supply chain and the numerous other things that take your attention away from growing your business. One of the real assets of IQ is that there is a full support staff already in place to help make sure you have all of those details covered and free you up to acquire new customers. You have all the advantages of a large business, including full back-office support and the distribution network of one of the largest wholesalers in the country while still being able to provide your customers with the personal touch that they’re often missing from the larger corporate suppliers.
When I started my franchise, I initially looked at smaller to medium-sized businesses as my prime target, because that seemed to be more of a realistic sales goal. What I soon came to realize is that with the resources available to me and the national distribution footprint of IQ, I was able to compete with much larger organizations and win much larger contracts. I’m now dealing with some of the biggest office systems in the country because I can offer them the scale they need along with a level of responsiveness and customized service that the larger suppliers can’t or won’t.
Q.What is your vision for the future of your franchise?
A. A lot of the changes in our industry have been more towards the janitorial products and with COVID hitting, the growth of that business has taken an even more upwards trajectory. IQ has been far ahead of the curve in that area and we have been able to stay ahead of the demand, providing both the supplies and the expertise that our customers need during these difficult times. I see that trend continuing and it provides an exciting opportunity for IQ as we grow and adapt with this evolving industry.
Questions for Jon? JPurdon@IQTotalSource.com