Posted on Feb 13, 2012
Business Advice, Financing Tips, and Small Business Trends from a Young Franchisee
FranchiseHelp interviewed Vishal Sharma, a young entrepreneur and small business owner who bought his first franchise business at 24 years old. In 2009, shortly after graduating from California State University-Long Beach, Sharma acquired the Irvine, CA location of Juice It Up!, a fruit smoothie and juice bar franchise specializing in blended-to-order real fruit smoothies. Due to the business' success, Sharma acquired another Juice It Up! in Tustin, CA in 2011. At 26, Sharma now owns two successful franchise businesses and talked to FranchiseHelp to give advice as a small business owner and young entrepreneur.
Today, Juice It Up has nearly 100 stores across California, Arizona, Texas, and New York. The California-style juice bar's smoothies are consistently voted "best tasting" among the top smoothie and juice bar chains.
FranchiseHelp: Why did you choose to own a business versus join a company as an employee? And why a franchise versus an independent business?
Vishal Sharma: I chose to own a business because I like to be my own boss. If I work hard, I can make a direct impact on my business. Working for another company, I would not be able to do things the way I would want to do them, as I would have to check with upper management. Franchises have a structure that is already set up and has proven to work, so in my eyes paying a small royalty to the franchise is worth it.
FH: What has been your biggest challenge thus far as a small business owner? Any 'everyday' challenges?
VS: My biggest challenge thus far as a small business owner has been to increase the ranking for the stores and to ensure that customers receive the highest quality service possible. I have not had any 'everyday' challenges.
FH: What has been your biggest victory/rewarding experience as a franchise/small biz owner?
VS: My biggest victory as a small business owner has been to increase the ranking of the store from the 60s to the top 5 in the company. My biggest rewarding experience as a small business owner has been giving back to the community, such as fundraising for local schools and organizations.
FH: How did you get financing, any tips? It must have been more difficult as a young entrepreneur.
VS: I was fortunate to have my parents' financial help for the first location. For the second location, my wife and I saved and purchased the location.
FH: What are your plans for the two businesses you own, and your own career path?
VS: My plans for the two businesses I own are to increase gross sales, catering, and community involvement. My plans for my own career path is to continue improving business for my current locations, as well as obtain more locations.
FH: Any trends or changes you see in small business ownership?
VS: A change I see in small business ownership is businesses with more health-driven products since consumers are more health conscious and are purchasing healthier products, such as fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. For that reason, I am introducing a raw juice bar in my two stores.
FH: Any advice for future young entrepreneurs? What are some of the most important things you've learned from your experience?
VS: My advice for future young entrepreneurs is to be involved with your business and act as an owner/operator, not as an absentee owner. Some of the most important things I have learned from my experience is proper time management and management of employees, as well as excellent customer service.
FH: Any advice for franchise owners in particular?
VS: My advice for franchise owners in particular is to follow the established franchise structure since it has proven to be effective.
Thanks, Vishal! Visit FranchiseHelp.com for more tips for young entrepreneurs and the best franchise opportunities for recent college grads. To find your own franchise opportunities, search our franchise directory.
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