Below are profiles of two IFG franchisees, Lee Harvison and Lee Landon, explaining why they chose an IFG Franchise.
IFG Business Model attracts Entrepreneurship Graduate
Lee Harvison, IFG Franchisee, Melbourne Australia
What are your formal qualifications?
I hold a BA (Hons) Graphic Design from the University of Humberside in the UK and a Master of Entrepreneurship & Innovation (MEI) from Swinburne University, Australia.
What was your career before IFG?
I moved from the UK to Australia immediately after graduating. My first job was with Sensis Pty Ltd (the White Pages / Yellow Pages) where I held a number of roles, eventually running large IT projects delivering internal sales & service capabilities. The last of these projects employed 65 full time project resources and cost $20M+ and at the time was the largest IT project at Sensis to be successfully delivered. I built up expertise in Business Transformation via IT & Process change, with a keen interest in business benefit realization and the strategic frameworks for project initiation.
Sensis formed a JV in 2005 with recruitment industry legends Morgan and Banks Investments, and placed me into the new company as General Manager reporting to the CEO. I was responsible for a wide range of activities including HR, Operations, Facility Management and development of strategic alliances and indirect sales channels. At the same time they sponsored me to undertake the MEI at Swinburne.
At the end of this period (11 years in Sensis, of which 3 were in the JV) I took a role as a Program Manager with Satyam Computer Services, an Indian multinational software company, working on the Telstra Transformation Project. After I finished the MEI I worked for 12 months with one of my classmates, the owner of Acceleration Group Pty Ltd, a boutique Marketing / Online Communications consultancy serving Federal and Local Government clients. In late 2009 I started a role at Monash University, the largest university in the Southern Hemisphere, once again responsible for business and IT project strategy and delivery of new IT capability. I started IFG on a part time basis.
Why did you become an IFG franchisee?
During the 3 years in which I was simultaneously studying Entrepreneurship and working in a startup company I realized that I really wanted to own and run my own business one day. The study of lots of entrepreneurs and startups probably made me more aware than most of the huge risks and potential downside of trying to take an idea from its inception and find funding, build a company from the ground up etc. With a young family whom I fully intended to spend lots of time with, I became very interested in the idea of either buying an existing company or the possibilities of franchising, not because I imagined these options mean less work, but rather because I hoped that tried and tested models reduce the potential risk.
One important lesson I learned was to carefully understand the business model and how value is created; having worked in the corporate world and as a consultant I realized that a business whose revenue model is directly tied to the number of hours I put in is a) very hard to scale; and b) obliges me to work as many hours as I possibly can. And like I said, I want to see my kids.
The proposition of IFG means that I can spend time doing things that interest me (learning about clients’ businesses, what makes them tick, and hopefully helping them to become successful), while having my ‘money work for me’, rather than me ‘working for money’. Unlike other franchise models I’ve looked at in the past, the IFG ‘story’ became stronger for me the more I learned about it, and my dealings with the company since have supported this positive experience.
Owning a Franchise is the New Retirement
Former CFO finally finds work-life balance in his post-retirement career
Atlanta, GA - November 29, 2012 - Many Americans used to imagine their retirements as a time of relaxation and leisure. But for more and more Americans, retirement is the time to find a new career. According to the AARP, eight out of 10 boomers want to keep working after retirement.
Lee Landon, of Atlanta, Georgia, is one of them.
“Me? Retire? Of course not! What would I do? I hate being slow,” Landon said.
Drafted into the military during the Vietnam War, Landon was a military policeman in Germany for 2 years before returning to the United States and pursuing an accounting degree and an insurance career. He spent the next 30 years as a CFO for multiple Atlanta-area insurance companies and turned around distressed businesses.
“I was getting more and more frustrated over the short-term nature of what I was doing. I was ready to move on, ready to retire, but not ready to stop working.”
So Landon worked with a business coach to explore the benefits of opening a franchise business. CNN Money compiled a list of the best paying retirement jobs, and ranked franchise ownership at 18 based on market demand, scheduling flexibility, and other preferences expressed by this age group.
All of the concepts he considered were in professional services.
“I wanted to deal with professionals, not the general public. I was used to dealing with sharp, business-savvy people already. That’s a comfortable niche for me,” he said.
In the businesses that he considered was the 40-year old award-winning and established franchise, The Interface Financial Group. Its franchisees provide short-term working capital to other businesses via invoice discounting.
Landon was impressed with their level of professionalism and their proven track record. He opened his The Interface Financial Group franchise in October 2011.
A little more than a year later, Landon’s business is doing well, and he credits his success to following the plan that IFG provides its franchisees.
IFG provides its franchisees with a world-class proven system, a comprehensive risk-management program, thorough training, and a seasoned management team experienced in financial services.
“When you have a high level of confidence in the people guiding you along the path,” Landon said, “and when they are telling you it is what it is, and it works as they said it would, then you start to get more comfortable with it.”
Achieving Work-Life Balance
Landon also appreciates that after an already accomplished career, he is still learning about business.
“If you’re not learning something new,” he said, “you’re not doing something right. I never thought I would be able to work at home. Now I could not imagine working in an office every day. I’m so glad that on rainy days I don’t have to go out. You can work in a pair of jeans and a baseball cap.”
He also thought his wife, Vickie, would help with sales. But when she was given the opportunity to return her focus to her real estate business, Landon realized that he loved the telephone—and in-person—interactions his position required.
“I usually try to go to lunch with people once a week,” Landon said, “That’s how you maintain relationships and build long-term viability.
“You can work as little as you want with IFG. That’s just fine because you have time for your other interests. All I need is a laptop and smart phone. If you want to take a week to go the mountains, you can do it, as long as you have internet access.”
A federally-licensed collector of surplus military rifles and former hot-rod boat assembler, Landon appreciates the flexibility of owning an IFG franchise. Last summer he restored an old Corvette, and now has more time to travel and visit with his grown children and their families.
Landon says, “With business coming from so many expected and unexpected areas, I see IFG as a perfect fit for me”.