Buy-In | Research built foundation for Tan Company franchise Noteworthy | Take the pledge for entrepreneurship Noteworthy | Businesses are still glum; Citigroup to invest in community lenders; Wichita firm makes rankings Finding proper work-life balance can be more challenging in family businesses Entrepreneurs gain another resource Noteworthy | Learn about Israeli know-how today Emerging business profile | Service Management Group enjoys steady growth Company: The Tan Company, 13725 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park; 913-814-8400 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 913-814-8400 end_of_the_skype_highlighting; www.thetanco.com
About the company: The salon, a franchise operation, has 14 tanning beds and one misting tanning booth.
Owner: Gary Bodony
Owner’s role: “In the beginning, I was working alongside my employees, helping our customers, cleaning equipment, answering phone calls, ordering supplies, etc. Now my time is mostly spent on marketing, expansion and overseeing operations.”
What is your educational and work background?
“I went to Texas Tech University and graduated with degrees in finance and economics. Right out of college I was recruited by a Dallas-based finance company and worked on mergers and acquisitions. In 2003, I joined the Air Force and became an officer and a pilot. I still continue to fly for our country as a part-time member of the Air National Guard.”
How long did it take you to start your business?
“From the time I signed the franchise agreement to the time the location opened, it took about a year and a half. I opened on March 9, 2009.”
What kind of research did you do on the industry?
“I started by doing a lot of research online. In the beginning, I had very little knowledge about the industry and even some false reservations. I was intrigued by the demand for tanning services. I studied the industry as a whole as far as gross sales, number of operating salons, competition and growth potential.
“Then I started talking to all the major franchise companies in the industry. Next, I talked to small business franchisees and really honed in on what franchise concepts were the most successful.
“This is a controversial industry. The World Health Organization and the American Cancer Society have made recommendations against tanning bed use.”
Why a tanning business, and do these reports change your marketing strategy?
“I have researched the controversy thoroughly. I always encourage people to research the controversy as well. What is most important at The Tan Company is to promote tanning in moderation without overexposure. Likewise, we educate clients with complete tanning knowledge and have policies in place to make sure our clients are tanning responsibly.”
Why this franchise?
“I wanted a corporate partner that was big enough to be credible, yet small enough to provide personal attention. I also wanted an industry with plenty of growth potential.”
Are there any requirements such as licenses and permits for having this business?
“I needed to get a license with the Kansas Board of Cosmetology. I also require my entire staff to be certified with the National Tanning Training Institute. I am certified as well. When a customer visits my store, I want the employees to be able to teach the customers on tanning in moderation with the best results.”
Have you found any challenges to opening a business with regard to your age (31)?
“Securing financing was a bit tough, but I was able to pull through and get what I needed. I have a ton of experience from my former career in finance and my time spent with the Air Force. However, sometimes it is tough to prove to people I have the knowledge to make a business successful. If you’re young, people sometimes assume you don’t know what you’re doing when that’s not at all the case.”
How did you choose your location?
“I chose the location because of demographics and growth potential. I couldn’t find very many cities in the Midwest that could compare to what I found in Overland Park.”
How many employees do you have?
“Six. I have very sharp employees, and I delegate responsibility and empower them to make good decisions. I think many small business owners fall into a trap of micromanaging and never have a chance to grow the business.”
| Kerri Fivecoat Campbell, special to The Star
Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/17/1952555/buy-in-research-built-foundation.html#ixzz0oHJjm2Mm