‘I can’t wait to build a great team’: the Franchise Partner who knows that success is All About People
Owning a business isn't just about making money, and Phil Apostolico, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING's Franchise Partner in Durham, North Carolina, knows that. In fact, one of the things he's looking forward to most about his new business, is building, developing and mentoring his new team. That, and being a huge success, of course.
What made you want to own a business?
For me, after 25 years in sales, working for big companies, small companies… I was ready. I’ve had a lot of success over the years, and I was like, you know what? I want to see if I can do this on my own. I’ve had all this success and learning in different departments: sales management, training, operations - and I wanted to bring them in under one umbrella and challenge myself to see if I could do this.
How did it all start - what was the turning point for you?
Something had always been in the back of my mind about starting a business, so it wasn’t a new idea, but the company I was working for back in December was bought out. That was the catalyst. That was the sign that I needed to do this. A friend of mine is a broker for franchises, so I called him up and I said ‘It’s probably time for you and I to talk’.
And why WOW 1 DAY PAINTING?
We looked at a lot of different options over a period of about 6 months. I knew what I didn’t want to do, which made it easier. I knew that I didn’t want to do food, I knew that I didn’t want to do retail. In terms of what I did want, I’ve always liked working with my hands. I like that sense of accomplishment - at the end of the day you finish something, you look at it and you say, wow. My wife thinks I'm crazy, because when I get done with cutting the grass, I just sit there and watch it. She says, ‘what are you doing?’ and I just say, 'doesn't it look great?!'. I really wanted to do something where the customer was directly involved with that sense of accomplishment, and WOW 1 DAY PAINTING offered that.
What made you opt for investing in a franchise, rather than starting from scratch?
You know what - at this point in my career, I just really wanted to increase my odds of success. Sure, I could have gone out, and bought a truck, and found some painters, and done it myself - but at the end of the day I want to be a success, and WOW 1 DAY PAINTING offers me the best chance of doing that. There’s a brand there that in 10 years is going to be worth something more than, you know, 'Phil's Paint Shop' [laughs].
What are you looking forward to most about owning a WOW 1 DAY PAINTING business?
In sales, I’d been in a training role, so I really look forward to training and developing people again. Finding some young folks that are perhaps not sure where they want to go, and giving them the opportunity to grow as part of a great team. The other part is just being able to say 'I'm a business owner'. That's pretty cool!
What are your interests outside of work?
Obviously my family. We go to the beach a lot. I’m also very competitive, so I play a lot of tennis. I really enjoy that competitive spirit, and that’s something I’ll probably bring to my business too - I really do enjoy competition! Also, I'm really involved in the same St. Baldrick's event every year. It's a non-profit for childhood cancer research, and I’m on the executive board for that event - I’ve been deeply involved with it for 10 years. This year we raised $125,000 and it’s just such an awesome event. I also do some mentoring within my community, my sons and their friends are graduating from college, and because of the experience I’ve had in the corporate world, I’ve been mentoring them in terms of next steps in career development.
What would you say are your main motivators in life and in business?
For me the next challenge is to build a successful business, and along with that is to build good people. So, you know, as I said before - to find some young folks who need a little direction, that have the skills and the drive but aren't sure what they want to do. I want to find those diamonds in the rough, bring them up in the company and develop them. I mean, obviously I'd like to make a lot of money along the way too. [laughs].
Tell us about your territory, Durham - what’s it like, what makes it unique?
What's cool about Durham is that we have 2 major universities - we have Duke University and UNC. Both are in my territory, and they're fierce competitors - especially in basketball - so I'm going to have to be careful when I'm at a client's home as to whether I'm a Duke fan or whether I'm a UNC fan [laughs] - gotta be careful which colour blue I wear! But no, Durham is a neat place, it's come a long way in the last 15 years. Downtown is just booming.
Do you think the people of Durham will be excited by the one day model?
Absolutely, absolutely. You know, I think that in this day and age that we live in, people live on their phones and their iPads, and we’re used to having things delivered in you know, 25 minutes. But at the end of the day people also look at yelp and google reviews - they want the speed, but also the quality - and that's exactly what WOW 1 DAY PAINTING is all about. So I think people are going to take to it, absolutely. I hope people are going to take to me too, like ‘hey I was in the corporate world for 25 years, and now I'm taking this leap’. I’ve talked to a lot of my friends about starting this business, and they all say 'I wish I could do this, I wish I had the gumption' – so I think that a lot of people respect that I'm taking control and doing this.
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