I have always had two passions – racing and entrepreneurship. From the thrill of a roaring engine to the adrenaline rush of being in business for myself, my hobby has taught me much about successful business ownership.
I achieved my dream of becoming an entrepreneur by purchasing a Chem-Dry Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning franchise over two decades ago. My Chem-Dry business has grown to 14 territories throughout Idaho and Oregon.
Over the years, I have applied racing principles to my business; and as a result, my operations have become more successful and my customer retention has increased. Here are some of the principles that have driven me to success:
Check your engine
As a gearhead, I study each part of a race – starting with the track and the engine and ending with the driver. I have learned that preparation is key to performance, and the same goes for running your business. Great companies plan, measure and analyze their performance and recruit, train and empower their employees in order to build the right foundation.
The Chem-Dry franchise model is like an engine – it’s built for long-term success. I was provided with a strong foundation of equipment, solutions, training and coaching as a Chem-Dry franchisee, but it’s ultimately up to me to ensure my business is running as effectively and efficiently as possible. I make sure to consider every detail of my business as well as the big picture to strengthen and grow my operation.
Let yourself be seen
Racecars are known for their sponsorship design, logo and number. The same concept can be applied to running a business. Marketing is essential to maintaining a healthy and growing customer base, and therefore it’s imperative to have a marketing plan that helps get your name out there. Whether you’re using broadcast commercials, digital marketing, postcards to past customers or all of these, the importance of a strong and well-executed marketing strategy cannot be overstated.
Marketing and brand recognition have had the largest impact on my Chem-Dry business. Sometimes it takes innovative thinking and an eye for unique opportunities to make your business stand out from others. For instance, with events happening at the racetrack every week, I jumped at the opportunity to add our logo to over a dozen cars. It gave the community the opportunity to approach me with questions or praise. Outside of racecars, I’ve also implemented sponsorship and donation programs that have helped me create stronger relationships within our local community.
Focus on the road ahead
As a driver, I know the road is full of sharp turns and distractions, and one poorly timed glance off of the road can lead to an accident. The same can be said when running a business. I avoid fads and “get-rich quick” methods of operation and follow the Chem-Dry franchise formula that’s proven to be successful for 40 years. I pay extra attention to the employees I hire and train them so they have the information, tools and skills they need to be take care of our customers and find success in the field.
Every season, we have a couple of races where our employees can get behind the wheel and race with the professional drivers. These are not only popular with our employees, but they’re valuable team-building events that create more unity and cohesion because we come together to race as a Chem-Dry team.
We put a very strong focus on customer service and building life-long, happy customers. My philosophy is that if I take care of my employees, they’ll take care of our customers. That’s led us to the place we are today where our customers are our biggest advocates.
I’m excited that my Chem-Dry franchise is showing no signs of regressing. It continues to grow because of the lessons and practices racing has taught me. From finding ways to connect with the community to building brand recognition through innovative marketing programs and focusing on building a skilled and customer-focused team, I have found a way to combine and leverage my two passions. With a solid foundation, good preparation, strong marketing and motivated employees, any business owner can grow and cross the finish line successfully.
About the author: Lynn Sharp is a multi-unit owner of the Chem-Dry Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning franchise in Idaho and Oregon. Chem-Dry uses a green-certified solution and proprietary Hot Carbonating Extraction cleaning process that provide a deeper clean, allow surfaces to dry faster, and leave homes healthier.
Edited for brevity and clarity by Sammi Caramela.