Becoming a franchise specialist has been a perfect convergence of my entire career. Having a extensive commercial real estate and finance background, I bring brokerage, analytics and customer service to my franchise practice. After more than a decade brokering commercial real estate, specializing in office and retail, I earned my Masters degree in real estate from M.I.T. This changed the course of my career to Wall Street.
As a REIT analyst (Real Estate Investment Trusts), and later an underwriter for a commercial lender, it was imperative that I understood the business strategy and financial models of the publicly traded companies, the strength of management, the team’s vision and ultimate track record. I now utilize the same analytical approach to assess franchises.
When I decided to leave corporate behind, in 2007, I explored franchises as a means of replacing my income. At the end of the process, I ended up becoming the first 24 hour Snap Fitness franchisee in Massachusetts.
Had I had a long-time dream of owning a gym? No; it had never occurred to me. But the business model checked all of my boxes and I was excited to get up every day and take care of my business, my customers. Eventually, when the opportunity arose, I sold my franchise at a healthy profit to one of my members. Five years later, I purchased the area rights to develop another franchise brand.
I am drawn to franchise ownership for several reasons:
- Given my age and level of experience, obtaining a high paying corporate job again was less viable, and frankly, less desirable
- I needed, and wanted, flexibility and freedom to make my own choices (without having to answer to anyone)
- I had no interest in started anything from scratch; I liked that others already made the mistakes, figured it out and I could validate others’ performance.
- Having the franchisor’s expertise & backing, plus a peer group of franchisees to turn to for help, is comforting and less lonely.
- With a franchise you can build equity.
- Did I mention not having to answer to anyone?
Having “been there, done that” more than once now, I can fully relate to, and better serve, my candidates. Franchising isn’t for everyone. I truly enjoy working with folks from all walks of life to decide whether entrepreneurship is indeed for them, and ultimately, sharing the best franchise options for their particular skill set, investment parameters and life goals.
My role is to educate, guide and help to ensure candidates have what they need to make a fully informed decision. I welcome the opportunity to have a low-key conversation to learn about you and how you want to spend your second half.
For more information & testimonials: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elaine-vakalopoulos/