A Successful Entrepreneur Shares Why IQ was the WISE Choice for His Next Venture
Editor’s Note: Mark Wilson is an accomplished small business owner with a long history of developing and operating his own organizations. He has made great strides in building his franchise and was happy to share his experience and lessons learned in the process. We sat down and talked about Mark’s perspective on the IQ Franchise Group opportunity.
Q. What was your background prior to owning your own Franchise?
A. I have owned multiple businesses in the past, starting with a family business doing bulk material handling and moving on to the tech sector in app development. After exiting those businesses, I was looking for a new challenge and was connected with the IQ Franchise opportunity. I immediately saw the potential in the business model. These are products that everybody uses, so the market is really large and the opportunity is there if you have the people skills and are willing to put in the work to get there. In business, it’s all about having the right product for the right customer in the right location. When those three align you know you have an opportunity for true long-term success and that’s why IQ stood out to me from the beginning.
Q. What convinced you that IQ was the right opportunity for you?
A. Before I started I flew out to Phoenix a lot and just being in the office you could tell there was something special about the company. I was blown away by their efficiency, by how little they had to work to get so much accomplished. It’s a really impressive and efficient business model when you have the opportunity to see it up close and it made an immediate impression on me.
There was also an incredible sense of values and family throughout the company. It’s lonely being an entrepreneur and you start to really appreciate the camaraderie and support an organization like IQ provides. It truly feels like a family. Everyone backs each other up and shares knowledge, including senior leadership. We spend a lot of time together and learn from each other’s mistakes. It’s a great organization to be a part of.
Q. What has helped you the most in getting to know the industry and the products?
A. The support of national product experts has helped significantly in getting me up to speed and helping me see things that are important to my customers. Our relationship with our wholesaler is so strong that their national Janitorial and Sanitation rep will come out and do walk-throughs with me for potential customers. I recently did a walk-through with a potential hotel client of mine and was amazed what a difference it made to have a recognized industry expert come out and help support me with all of her product knowledge and insider expertise. Her eyes saw 1,000 things that I probably would have missed. As soon as we walked into the building she already had ideas on how to bring down that customer’s cost. That’s just one example of the broad network of support that IQ has in place and what an impact it can make for a new franchisee to be able to start out with those connections and that leverage. Those types of resources are simply not available to other entrepreneurs as they start their new businesses.
Q. What do you like best about being a franchisee?
A. I love that everything is already set up for me. No matter what customer I’m with or what type of deal we’re working on, the infrastructure is already in place so that if I’m doing a furniture deal for a hospital, all I have to do is get on the phone and have my furniture rep send out samples. When you own your own business there can be a lot of distractions and the fundamental goal of building your business can be lost in all of the small day-to-day details. IQ eliminates those barriers and allows you to get out and focus on what matters most, while feeling like everything else is already under control.
Q. How has the IQ Franchisee experience differed from other new ventures from your perspective?
A. When you talk about IQ relative to a typical new venture, the thing that stands out is the immediate position of strength that an IQ franchisee enjoys. You eliminate all of the typical struggles of getting a business off the ground and the limited resources and connections of a standard new business. I’m very open and honest with clients that I may not have 20 years of industry experience, but the organization behind me has a strong position in the market and decades of combined expertise. I’m able to pack a really powerful punch relative to others in the market and customers know they have a strong established business partner who they can rely on no matter what.
Q. How has COVID-19 impacted your business and how have you adapted?
A. IQ as an organization did really well mutating through COVID. As a smaller, more agile organization we were able to source hard to find items and meet the shifting demand that the pandemic brought about. We have been able to provide current customers with the critical supplies they need to keep their businesses running safely and this has opened up the doors to new customers who were not able to get these supplies from their current suppliers. Our willingness to go the extra mile during the pandemic is another example of our Wildly Insane Service Experience and I think our customers truly appreciate that.
Q. Does IQ provide ongoing support past the initial onboarding and training phase?
A. Absolutely. We have weekly sales calls to discuss potential opportunities and strategy, we have weekly technical support to help us with our CRM, ordering tools, and the more technical side of the business. We also have sessions with industry experts to help us learn more about specific product features and benefits. The initial onboarding is incredibly helpful and well-executed, but it’s the ongoing support and continuous learning environment that makes IQ such an engaging workplace and that truly drives our success. Learning never stops here. We’re constantly adapting and building upon our wins to make sure we’re in the best possible position.
Q. What tips would you give to new Franchisees?
A. Get out and start selling. The resources you’ll have are tremendous, Sugar, VibeNET and all the other tools at your disposal will give you an advantage, so make sure you learn them and leverage them as much as possible. The need is there. Once I get that first meeting I’m able to close around 90% of potential new customers, so it’s really just about making sure you’re focused and finding the customers who need you the most. It’s about being flexible and being willing to try new things. At IQ we like to push each other and share best practices. Learn as much as you can from the other team members, because they are one of your greatest assets. I was horrible at this at first. As an entrepreneur, I was used to trying to figure everything out for myself. But I soon realized that one of the key strengths of this organization is that you don’t have to have all the answers. If you lean on the experience and expertise of everyone around you in the organization, you can build a much quicker, more efficient path to success.
Questions for Mark? MWilson@IQTotalSource.com