A The Entrepreneur’s Source Family Biz Success Story: Q&A with The Flying Locksmiths Franchisee, Jim DiSalle.
Three years ago, Lauren Cantor, A Charlotte-based ESource Coach for The Entrepreneur’s Source®, met Jim DiSalle through a local networking group. After more than 30 years in cable TV (and countless moves around the country), Jim had launched a successful fractional CFO consulting business. However, he was searching for something more – a franchise business he could run with his two millennial sons who were searching for more fulfilling careers.
So, earlier this year, Jim asked Lauren to help him find a business he could build with his sons and eventually transition out so they could make it their own. After working with Lauren and The Entrepreneur’s Source® for just a few months, Jim and his sons found their franchise match – The Flying Locksmiths. They bought half of the Charlotte market in September and they’re off to a hot start (they will surpass their sales goals in November and December). They’re having a blast together and are gearing up for a big 2017.
We sat down for an insightful Q&A with Jim to provide some insight and guidance for other parents considering going into business with their kids in 2017. Here’s what he shared with us:
Hi Jim! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career prior to going into business with your kids
I worked in Cable TV for 30 years and my background is in finance and operations. I’ve always been a finance guy – it’s in my DNA – but I’ve always been attracted to the operations component, too. However, while I loved working in Cable TV, it was an industry that forced me to relocate my family more than a half dozen times when my kids were in grade school. In fact, I remember one time when we were literally moving in to a new house in Denver and a better career opportunity presented itself in Charlotte. Thankfully, my wife has always been more than supportive and Charlotte has turned out to be our forever home – but it was definitely time for a career change. I left Cable TV in 2013 to launch my own “fractional CEO” consultant business for small and mid-sized companies. This was perfect for many local businesses who didn’t need a full-time CFO and I have done quite well with it.
So, what changed earlier this year? What inspired you to go into business with your sons?
Starting a business together is an idea I’ve been discussing with my boys for a few years. Both of my sons are very bright and driven and were frustrated that their lack of college degrees restricted them from securing fulfilling jobs/careers. When I first introduced the idea, my eldest son, Jimmy, was hesitant because he didn’t want a financial handout and was fearful of us investing our savings in a business. However, the boys were more open to it when we re-visited the idea earlier this year as they had done a great job accumulating savings they could invest in the business as well. Additionally, we all agreed it made a lot of sense considering our backgrounds and skill sets. Jimmy brings the sales and marketing skills and his younger brother, Billy, brings the analytical and logistics skills – making them a perfect pairing for the future of the business.
OK – so you decided it was time to go for it. How did Lauren Cantor and The Entrepreneur’s Source® help?
Oh – as I’d tell anyone considering going into business for themselves, using a franchise coach like Lauren Cantor is invaluable. I had no clue people like Lauren and companies like The Entrepreneur’s Source® existed when I launched my consulting business. Lauren and The Entrepreneur’s Source® were the key to us getting this right because she helped us make an informed and educated decision based on the I.L.W.E. (income, lifestyle, wealth and equity) we wanted to build together. She helped us realize that our family brought a balanced skill set to the table that would be a perfect fit for franchising.
More specifically, I knew Lauren from a networking group we’ve participated in for a few years. We told her we wanted to do something more B2B-oriented and wanted to steer clear of retail/food. During our exploration process, she introduced us to some great concepts, including a junk removal company, a sign creation company, and of course, The Flying Locksmiths.
Why The Flying Locksmiths? Why was that the perfect fit for you and your sons?
Great question. Of course, one of the keys is that everything felt right when we went to Boston for the discovery day over the summer. We loved the fact that the company had an easily definable mission statement – “If it’s on the door, we handle it.” Outside of that, there are three key reasons this was the right franchise business for us: 1) The market is open for a determined business owner who can do a larger volume (a lot of single shingle shops on Google searches, few other established competitors), 2) The corporate team was focused, open-minded and impressive (The Flying Locksmiths is also a family-business with 70 years experience that just started franchising), and 3) We simply love the corporate support and the business model.
That’s awesome! So, What’s next for you? What advice would you share with other parents who are thinking about opening a business with their kids?
As mentioned earlier, if you’re going to start a business, I would recommend the franchising route. The corporate support and education a franchise company offers is key, particularly when you don’t have experience in that field. Also – don’t underestimate the importance of working with a franchise coach, like Lauren and others at The Entrepreneur’s Source®.
As far as we’re concerned, we are thrilled with the success we’ve generated in the first few months with The Flying Locksmiths. We surpassed our sales projections in November and will do the same in December. And of course, we’re setting aggressive goals to achieve “hockey stick” sales in 2017. I’m very proud of what me, my wife and my sons have been able to accomplish so far with the family business and I’m excited to see what the future brings! Best of luck to anyone else looking to take the leap with their kids as well!
For more information about how you and your family can find the ideal family business franchise match with The Entrepreneur’s Source® and FranchiseMatch®, please visit www.franchisematch.com.