How Any Lab Test Now Has Impacted My View of Franchising

Since joining the Any Lab Test Now home office team in 2007, my perception of the franchising industry has evolved and grown. Now, as the CEO of Any Lab Test Now, I want to share my hard-earned insights. We serve the healthcare segment, but I believe that many of the lessons I have learned will help other franchising systems realize the value of maintaining well-developed, open relationships with their franchisees.

Treat Franchisees Like Family

While one of home office’s objectives is to sell locations and expand the brand, franchisees are no ordinary customer. Unlike most interactions with buyers, the relationship does not end when a purchase is made. Rather than view franchisees as just another customer, think of them as family.

Just like in a family, there may be an occasional conflict, but disagreements are natural. When handled appropriately, they can actually benefit the relationship and contribute to company growth. Remember that the home office team and the franchisee are working toward a common goal — drawing in customers, providing a top-notch service or product and, at the end of the day, making a profit — so embrace different perspectives and opinions.

Along those lines, I’ve also found it critical to measure the results of any new campaign or initiative. Of course, this makes business sense: You want to know which were successful and which were not. But, it also helps in maintaining relationships, because hard numbers are often easier to understand than differing opinions. Having data in hand may help resolve conflict should it arise.

Support Your Franchisees

Your brand will suffer if you don’t invest time and resources into developing support services for your franchisees. From the moment a new franchise is awarded, it’s crucial to provide the owner with proper training and set them up for success. Failing to start the relationship with adequate support leads to a lower brand perception and ultimately a faster turnover rate.

It’s equally important to continue offering on-going support to franchisees. Continual training sessions and open communication will contribute to both a location’s well-being and your brand’s longevity. For example, at Any Lab Test Now, franchisees are assigned a dedicated contact whom they can contact to ask questions and receive personalized support at their convenience. This is critical to the system’s strength, because it’s the built-in support system that makes franchising so appealing to many entrepreneurs; they can maintain their independence through small business ownership, but don’t have to do it alone.

Encourage Franchisee Engagement

The final insight I’d like to offer is to actively seek feedback from franchisees — listen, listen, listen. Your franchisees have fantastic ideas and by keeping communication lines open, home offices can build relationships, trust and camaraderie with owners. As a result of having their voices heard and receiving balanced feedback, franchisees will feel more respected and are far more likely to develop a positive perception of the brand. Happy franchisees are an incredibly valuable asset as they are more likely to recommend investing in the brand to a friend, family member or potential new franchisee. Never underestimate the power of positive testimonials. Just remember to follow through on any commitments you make and act on their input when appropriate.

I’m grateful for the chances I’ve had to build this knowledge and be part of the Any Lab Test Now family over the past ten years. Certainly, franchisor/franchisee relationships may be complicated, but they are just that – relationships. They take work. Through support, respect and open communication, long-term success can be achieved for everyone.

To learn how you can join the Any Lab Test Now family, visit Franchise.AnyLabTestNow.com.

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Franchisee Interview – Jack Pentzer

How long have you been an owner of Any Lab Test Now?

We took ownership on March 1st, 2012.

How many locations do you own? Which ones?

We own two: Nashville, TN and Franklin, TN. We are the third owner of the Franklin store, and the second owner of the Nashville store.

Why did you buy an Any Lab Test Now?

It’s an interesting story. I had a career in advertising for 20 years. I ran an internet mailer catalog company for 17 years, and that company was sold and moved to Colorado, so I found myself without a job. ??I took some time off and started looking around for another management position, but I couldn’t find anything. Because I couldn’t find anything, my wife Hilda and I decided we should buy a business. ??We talked to a broker, and he presented around 12 different franchise concepts, everything from a quick print sign place to non-medical nursing care for seniors. When I looked at those businesses nothing really struck me as something I could sink my teeth into. ??My wife was visiting a friend and met Glory Gallucci (owner of the Raleigh and Durham locations.) She heard she was an Any Lab Test Now franchisee and became interested.

We went to Atlanta for Discovery Day, which is the presentation on franchising with Any Lab Test Now. When we saw the presentation, we thought this was something we could really do.

Driving back to Nashville from Atlanta we kept talking about the possibility of buying. The concern was the territories in Nashville that were available. They were areas of town that we didn’t feel would be suitable for sales. So, we got in touch with the owners of the two locations that already existed, and they were interested in selling to us. ??I looked at it closer, and started looking at their financials. They were profitable but weren’t making a lot of money. I felt confident that if we hustled and worked hard we could turn them around.

What’s your medical background? If no medical background, what is your background?

Hilda’s background is in nursing. My background has been marketing and operations/management. My degree was in painting, I was an art major. I have absolutely no medical training. You don’t have to have a medical background, but if you don’t you have to have staff that does.

What stood out to you about Any Lab Test Now compared to other franchises?

We just felt more comfortable, we were impressed when we went to Atlanta for Discovery Day. We thought it was a good fit, and it had a number of different aspects to it. There was the clinical part, there was the drug part, there was the DNA part. There are different areas of business that you could pursue. ??We kept talking to other franchisees as well. I tried to do a lot of due diligence and asked questions on how they were doing, and what they thought of the operations. Every other business had a downside to it except Any Lab Test Now.

What are the perks to owning an Any Lab Test Now?

Free lab tests! Free B12 shots! It’s been a great business, and it’s an interesting business. Also, everyone is paying with cash or card so you don’t have to worry about checks bouncing. You also don’t have to deal with insurance claims.

How involved are you in the day-to-day operations?

I’m pretty involved, I come into the office five days a week, but I rarely come in on Saturdays. I probably don’t come into work most days until 11 a.m., and I usually go home at 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. ??We have an office manager who is great. She worked with the previous owner so she’s been at it longer than us. She is very smart and has a whole lot of experience. She oversees both stores. ??Hilda works everyday as well, but she’s able to do most of the work she does from home. She’s usually in one of the stores 2 – 3 times a week.

What are the challenges you face as a business owner? How did you overcome this?

The biggest challenge I had was learning QuickBooks, and I’m still learning. ??Other issues that come up is also personnel. Our staff are medical assistants, which is the lowest level of certification in the medical field. You’re dealing with educated individuals, but it’s a very short process to become a medical assistant as opposed to a nurse or someone with a 4-year degree. ??On the positive side, It’s been just wonderful watching the two stores grow. It’s rewarding for us. It’s always fun to see how you’re doing compared to the other stores.

What is the support like from corporate?

I think it’s great, they have a good team. There’s someone for every issue you might have.??With my challenges in QuickBooks, I have a dedicated FSR who is always there to help me. She has single-handedly trained me in QuickBooks. ??I think corporate does a good job of finding collection partners. I think marketing has done well. Corporate has been good at giving us info and advice in how we can improve our business. I just can’t say enough about the Any Lab Test Now corporate team.

How is managing personal life while operating an Any Lab Test Now?

It works for me. It’s kind of a nice retirement business. I get up about 8 a.m. and have breakfast, and I take my dog on a 3 mile walk. We’re able to travel. We’re able to be gone and work from home. We’ve also established great friendships with other franchisees.

What’s your success story?

Follow the statistics. You have to look at every statistic you can to know what the business is doing. Statistics tell you where your profit and volume is coming from. Make sure you have enough money budgeted in pay per click. In my personal opinion, the number one thing for our success is customer service and pay per click. Google is our friend!

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Franchisee Interview – George Partida

How long have you been an Operations Manager at Any Lab Test Now?

Since December of 2014. I manage 7 of the corporate owned locations in Houston.


How did you become an Operations Manager at Any Lab Test Now?

I was with Any Lab Test Now since 2009. I started as a medical assistant just working at the front office like the MA’s do. Over the years I was getting more and more responsibility. When there was the transition of the previous ownership to corporate, I was promoted to Operations Manager.


What’s your medical background?

I’ve been a medical assistant since 2003, pretty much since I was 23 years old. I’ve only had a few jobs. I was with a doctor for 7 years, that’s where I started. I learned a lot just in the medical field. You pick up certain things after working 7 years with patients and doctors.


What stood out to you about Any Lab Test Now compared to other franchises?

What stood out to me is the fact that the customer can come into Any Lab Test Now and buy any kind of test with a doctor’s order already provided. I felt it was awesome for our country, and in general for people to have the option to walk into a place and buy whatever test they like when it comes to lab testing without having to go to a doctor first.

After working with a doctor, I know the process of going to get lab tests. When someone has insurance you just don’t get to pick whatever lab test you want to have done. You have to have a certain history or diagnosis. Just cutting back on the process of an individual getting a lab test, it cut the process by almost 70%. I knew from the very beginning that I thought it was something healthy for everyone, and I wanted to be a part of it.


What are the perks of being a part of Any Lab Test Now?

Being a part of an industry that doesn’t operate like everybody else. We’re unique! We don’t do what other places do. Once people know what we do, they’re surprised. That’s one of the perks because I get to tell other people you have other choices for their health.

As an Operations Manager, I get to deal with people on a very different level as far as employer to employee, and then as manager to customer. They are two very different relationships that I like to participate in on a daily basis. When I’m at a store I like to help the medical assistance take care of the customer. I tell the customer “thanks for coming in and we appreciate your business.” I want them to know from a management level that I am appreciative that they are coming into us.


How involved are you in the day-to-day operations?

I go to all of the offices once a week, sometimes twice a week. Every day I rotate, and on Fridays is usually my off day where I catch up on emails and anything I am working on the administrative side.


What are the challenges you face as an Operations Manager? How did you overcome them?

I feel like the strongest challenges were a year or two ago. Do I still have them sometimes now? Of course. Do I think I’ve learned and improved on what I’ve done and found ways to become better at them? Yes.

I think the main challenges for myself at the beginning were hiring the right people that are gonna make the difference here at the office. HR in general is a humongous learning curve for myself just because you want to have the best interest of the company at all times. You want to make sure that you do everything with the employees correct, and you don’t step out of bounds.

Training just involves a lot of time. We do a lot of tests. We work with over 20 labs and each lab has their own requirements. We have several national collection partners and each collection partner has their own specifications on lab tests. We have new tests that come out at least once a year. There’s always something new going on, so I would say that the training is a big chunk of the challenge. After having some time here I have a grip on it, but you are constantly learning.


What is the support like from corporate?

Personally speaking on my side, the marketing side is good. The Marketing Team is always available. They have done great things to make it easier for the franchisees, myself included, to order stuff to have access to marketing material.

They’re great if you have any questions in regards to marketing. ?When we have to reach out to the FSR’s they get back to us within a day or so and answer any of our questions. So far it’s positive. I would give a message to any franchisees to always reach out to your FSR’s for any kind of help or assistance. They are always able to help.


How is managing personal life while operating an Any Lab Test Now?

There’s only so much you can do within 40 hours of the week, especially in my case managing 7 locations and I personally own another one with another franchisee. It helps if you have a plan for your day, your week, even your month if you can. You don’t want to approach a job or operations without a plan. Otherwise it’s just going to be scattered, and it’s going to spill over into your Saturday, Sunday and family time.

What’s your route to success?

Number one I would say talk to other franchisees as much as possible and that means when we have our yearly conference or our smaller conferences, meet people and ask questions. Call them if you live in a city that has other franchisees, and try to schedule some time to meet with them and get to know from an insider’s perspective what are the best practices and what they go through. Don’t go at this by yourself. Even if you have experience and a lot of other things in business it’s better to get to know other franchisees and how they are doing things and how they are operating. Get their personal opinion on how to manage an Any Lab Test Now.

Meet and reach out to your FSR’s is my number two tip. Talk to corporate as much as you, can reach out to them and ask questions. They are the best ones to answer your questions because they deal with 100+ other franchisees so they are constantly working on these issues. Instead of guessing or not knowing where to go reach out to your FSR.

My last I would say get to know your customer. I think a lot of franchisees work behind their medical assistants, so take the time to meet the customer. Ask “how did you hear about us? what prompted you to come in?” I think that has a lot of positive qualities to it. One of them is that the customer feels like the business owners have interest in their life and that always leaves a good impression. Then Once you get into your marketing and your Google PPC you can adjust those numbers partially by what kind of people are coming into your store. Some of these people can be future B2B accounts. They may work at a business and they may refer that business over to you.

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