Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Issue II, 2017 - Page 42

U N D E R Finding the right franchise is vitally important, says Segura, who has nothing but praise for the 40-year-old educational and fi tness gym for children and parents. In college, when she met with the owner at the Baton Rouge gym about a job, she was stunned. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It combined all my gymnastics, cheerleading, and movement studies in one place. It was perfect for me!” Segura says she’s been lucky to have had the complete support of her parents throughout the venture and still counts on her mom to give her the occasional tough pep talk. After her wedding next month, Segura says she’ll get back to work on adding a third location. For now, she’s staying steady and maintaining her company’s signature family environment. Alex Bingham, COO of The Little Gym, says Segura is a young franchisee to watch. “Chelsea is one of our most pas- sionate and driven franchisees. Her success derives from her dedication to making the lives of children and families in her com- munity better, which aligns extremely well with The Little Gym’s overall mission,” he says. “We are so proud of Chelsea’s growth, and look forward to her contin- ued success in our system.” LIFE UNDER 30 How did you get into franchising at such a young age? I worked at The Little Gym of Baton Rouge throughout college at Louisiana State University, and I just knew this franchise concept was made for me. I wanted to bring it to my community at home. Was becoming a franchise something you’d planned on? It was not. I knew I wanted to be a business owner, and I could not imagine the challenges of doing it all on my own from scratch. I am very thankful for the support and rapport that TLG provides. Did you have a mentor or inspiration for getting into franchising? My mom has always been a small-business owner and entrepreneurial spirit. I have always admired this in her. I was lucky enough to have TLG fall into my life. What jobs, skills, and experience have helped you operate a franchise business? I would say my outgoing personality and big heart. I’m a people person, and adore the families that walk through my gyms’ doors. These traits have allowed me to grow not only in my professional life, but also in the franchise world. I want to help the families we serve, the communities in which I belong, and other franchisees in The Little Gym system. What kinds of obstacles did you face in franchising at such a young age? Defi nitely a lack of experience in the business world. However, with the TLG training they were able to walk me through every step. How would you describe your generation? I think the people of our generation have a big heart and care about the well-being of other people. I believe that we also value ourselves and the importance of a life/work balance. Our generation is all about the experience: we want to enjoy life and be successful in our careers. Do you see franchising as a stepping stone or a career for you? Career—it was made just for me. BOTTOM LINE Annual revenue: Approx. $670,000 (both locations). 2017 goals: $375,000 at each location. Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? Revenue is an obvious sign of growth. However, enrollment plays a major role as well. We like to see a 10 percent growth in revenue and enrollment each month compared with the previous year. Vision meter: Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? I would like each location to be a 500-child, $500,000 gym within 5 years. In 10 years, I hope to step back a bit more from teaching to focus all my efforts on operations. How is the economy in your region affecting you, your employees, your customers? The past two years have been tough for South Louisiana. This part of the state is fi lled with oilfi eld workers, and with the oilfi eld being down and many people jobless, we have seen a rather large drop in enrollment, especially at our Lafayette location. Covington is experiencing a similar economy, though not as severe. Are you experiencing economic growth in your market? We started out 2017 very strong and are ahead at both locations compared with last year. People around here seem to be hopeful that the economy is on its way back up. How do changes in the economy affect the way you do business? We are much more conservative than we have ever been. We cut back on some small things like offering free t-shirts and providing balloons at birthday parties. We use less-expensive options for party goods. We also had to discount the program for a certain period of time, which is not something we 40 MULTI-UNIT FRANCHISEE I SS UE II , 2 01 7 do too often. How do you forecast for your business? We shoot to grow 10 percent each month and each year, looking at enrollment and revenue. Experience with private equity, local banks, national banks, other institutions? Why/why not? We are from a small town and started with our local bank, which ended up being purchased by a national bank. The technology upgrade through that acquisition has been great. What are you doing to take care of your employees? We like to provide bonus opportunities each month by setting and achieving goals. We often cook for our team and provide team outings to let loose and bond. We create an inclusive family environment. It’s something that we are very proud of. How are you handling rising employee costs (payroll, minimum wage, healthcare, etc.)? We’ve always been super-conservative, but we continue to cut back in little ways. Keeping good employees is a blessing, but it also means they need raises every year. We have to make that a priority because we want to keep them for as long as we can. How do you reward/recognize top-performing employees? During key enrollment periods we have competitions and cash prize incentives. We try to do things year-round that let our staff know how much we appreciate them. We do gumbo for the annual Christmas party, and every May we have a crawfi sh boil where everyone gets a certifi cate of service and a personalized memento to make them feel special. What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? I’m too young to think much about it at this [