Hard Work, Dedication and Great Pizza: A Journey from Delivery Driver to Franchisee by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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As a high school senior, Joe Jaros was certain of two things: he was a terrible student and he wanted to retire by the time he was 40.

Luckily, what Joe lacked in the classroom, he made up for with a solid work ethic. As a delivery driver for Marco’s Pizza, Jaros continually impressed both customers and leadership with his passion and dedication. The role fit like a glove, and from the product to the people, he fell in love with the franchise.

“It was the perfect fit,” said Jaros. “But the question was: could it help me reach my goal of retiring by the time I was 40?”

As he worked his way up the ranks, Joe realized that the only way to achieve his goal of early retirement was through upper management, and ultimately, ownership of his own Marco’s Pizza franchise. With continued passion and dedication, he gave the job his all and made Marco’s Pizza his life. After just a year and a half as the general manager, Joe decided he was ready to build upon the store he managed as a part owner — and had a discussion with the then-owner about the possibility of moving up within the Marco’s brand or handing in a six month notice to seek different opportunities.

“The only way to hold myself accountable to [opening my own store] was to give myself a timeframe,” said Jaros. “I knew I’d be out of a job in six months, so I needed to get moving.”

Not wanting to lose his hardworking general manager, the then-owner provided Jaros with an opportunity to buy in as an equal shareholder of the Marco’s Pizza location he managed at the time. He continued to build an infrastructure that supported growth in the right way and never allowed his high standards to slip. With his methodical leadership, it was only a matter of time before his passion and dedication outgrew the first store and he started looking for a second and then a third.

With multiple franchise locations under his belt, Jaros had to switch his focus to the development of his growing empire. But, taking a more passive role in everyday operations was a difficult transition for Jaros.

“The biggest challenge was letting go of the original store to allow myself to focus in on the greater picture, which was the development,” said Jaros. “I needed to create opportunities so the greatest people could stay within my organization.”

As an employee, Jaros learned that what motivated him wasn’t always what motivated others. He applied this to his leadership style, learning what drives each member of his team and using that as motivation to get the best from each individual. Jaros understood that his chances of success were far greater when he had exceptional leadership in place, which led to the creation of his personal apprenticeship program for mentoring leaders.

“I needed to find people that were out there like me,” said Jaros. “I seek out hardworking people that want to get into the business and help them realize their dream of owning a franchise.”

Jaros never forgot the opportunities he received as a young employee with ambition and a small savings. He continues to mentor exceptional leaders and expand outside of his own market, duplicating his recipe for success across the country. Once his mentees prove themselves as capable leaders, he makes them shareholders in the store and, eventually, owners.

Jaros could fulfill his goal of early retirement at any time now. He currently owns seven Marco’s Pizza locations, was awarded the 2017 Franchisee of the Year award and inducted into the Marco’s Pizza President’s Club — all before his fortieth birthday.

Now, however, his goals have changed.

“I want to continue to create opportunities for the best team members and help them reach their goals,” said Jaros. “Now it’s about building a legacy.”

As a small business owner, Jaros has the potential to grow as much as he wants, doing what he loves. He considers this autonomy and control over his own path to be one of the best parts of entrepreneurship. However, it’s not only his own destiny that small business ownership has shaped, but that of his family.

“I wanted to create generational wealth for my family and the only way I can do that is through some kind of business ownership,” said Jaros. “Marco’s is allowing me to do that.”

Financial stability and a love for what you do aren’t guaranteed with franchise ownership. But for many entrepreneurs who possess passion and dedication, it becomes a life-changing and fulfilling way to experience these benefits on their own terms.

Thinking about owning a franchise? Consider these additional benefits while making your decision.

  • Infrastructure of support: Pursuing franchise ownership doesn’t necessarily require prior business experience. Fortunately for emerging entrepreneurs, established franchisors have proven methods of training and support to guide you and your business from day one. Franchises operate as a network, and as such, give owners access to the benefits, resources and advice available within that network. While franchise ownership is for your own benefit, you don’t have to do it on your own.
  • Immediate brand recognition: A major advantage of franchise ownership is the pre-existing brand reputation and image. With an established brand comes access to marketing and advertising support that has been refined and replicated on a national scale. Brand recognition also ensures an existing customer base that would normally require years of marketing efforts to establish. When these aspects of business are already taken care of, owners are free to focus on and improve the day-to-day operations of their franchise.
  • Unlimited growth opportunities: While franchisees are certainly part of a supportive network, franchise ownership allows owners the freedom to grow as large as they desire. What this growth looks like depends on individual business goals. But, the opportunity to purchase a nearby franchise location or to dominate the market are both viable options depending on the resources and business expertise acquired.

It’s said that if you do something you love you’ll never work a day in your life. Whether you are pursuing a popular brand or an emerging name, franchise ownership can make this entrepreneurship fantasy your reality.

February 6, 2019 at 09:33AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs