We’re proud to announce that the latest member of our Footprints Floors family, Mike Swofford, is starting a flooring business in Cincinnati! Mike has already opened up his Footprints Floors location and is taking estimates and performing jobs for people in the Cincinnati area, but we were fortunate enough to catch up with him and learn more about our latest Franchise Owner. Here’s a Q&A with Mike, detailing his background, hobbies, and the story behind his decision for starting a flooring business with Footprints Floors.
What is your personal/professional background?
I was born in St. Louis and lived in Dallas for some time before moving to Cincinnati in 1994. After earning a BA in English from Miami University I began a career with the Dan Beard Council, Boy Scouts of America. I held many roles there serving eight years as the Director of Support Services. In that role, I was responsible for the operations of all facilities including 1200 acres of camp properties, financial oversight of the organization, management of a team of 23 full-time employees, and many of the administrative functions of the business.
After 15 years, I began looking for greater challenges and decided to develop myself further by returning to school. In 2019 I was a full-time student at Xavier University and earned a Master’s in Business Administration.
How did you first learn about starting a flooring business with Footprints Floors?
I was contacted by a franchise consultant and was attracted to the idea of owning a franchise. After a discovery process with four different franchise companies, I was excited about the potential with Footprints Floors.
Why did you choose to invest in a franchise in the service Industry over a different industry like the restaurant industry?
I had no interest in a brick and mortar store or food service, seeing that the overhead involved can make or break the business much faster than anything else. In service, I can focus on quality and process, not on inventory and facilities.
Why is Footprints Floors the right fit for you?
In looking at franchises, I was sure I wasn’t interested in brick and mortar and wanted to avoid any business that was purely sales without being a part of the results. My earlier career had given me a passion for ensuring quality and building relationships with people, and I saw Footprints as an opportunity to build a business around providing great service at a fair cost and personally ensure results are delivered as promised.
What did you like about Footprints Floors’ business model?
My experiences with having two flooring jobs done in my own home gave me an instant appreciation for the Footprints Floors model. With both those projects, I was frustrated and disappointed with the lack of customer service and project management that was provided for a major upgrade to my most important asset, my home.
Footprints Floors’ model offers the exact opposite – constant communication, direct project management, and a relationship with the homeowner to ensure satisfaction and quality work. And knowing that many customers are like me and prefer to have the freedom to buy their own product, focusing on installation gives Footprints Floors’ a unique and valuable service not available anywhere else.
What did you like about meeting Footprints Floors’ Founder and corporate team?
While I enjoyed my earlier career, I was not interested in rejoining the competitiveness and the hierarchy of the corporate world. The Footprints Floors Founders were a breath of fresh air — real people that work hard towards each other’s success. I knew right away that these were people that understood that honest, quality service and good processes go much farther in building a business than saving a buck and rushing jobs.
What did you like about the Footprints Floors Discovery Day?
Because of the COVID-19 lockdowns, I was only able to attend a virtual Discovery Day, but in the spirit of adapting, Footprints Floors did a great job of ensuring I was given a genuine taste of the business. A Franchise Owner even joined the video conference and showed me around a job site, introducing me to the crew and showing me their progress. I felt that each of the officers knew their stuff and were proud of their work, and I was certain there was mutual interest in success.
Was there any one “A-HA!” or “lightbulb” moment that made you excited about starting a flooring business with Footprints Floors?
Having a lot of experience in financial management, it is important for me to really understand the numbers behind something. As I looked at the opportunity with Footprints Floors and the possibility of quickly seeing a return on my investment, I was skeptical about what I was being told. But after talking with several Franchise Owners and putting together my own forecasts, even my conservative projections showed potential for success. It was then that I knew that not only was I comfortable with the Footprints Floors model, but I was also excited to get started and be building my own business.
What sets Footprints Floors apart, in your eyes, from other franchise opportunities in the service industry?
Footprints Floors felt like a family right away, which I can’t say for the other franchises I explored. And while Footprints Floors is growing rapidly, I still felt like it is a young and exciting business to be a part of. The systems in place are solid, logical, and effective without being burdensome or distracting.
What has been the best part of your experience with the Footprints Floors’ corporate team so far?
The two weeks of training in Denver were incredibly helpful. I couldn’t believe that Bryan Park, the Founder and CEO, spent as much time directly working with us, offering his experience, best practices, and missteps as a guide. The value of that time is immeasurable, and I see how that approach is a part of the whole culture of the team.
What are your personal hobbies or interests?
I love to travel, having been to 17 countries and hope to explore many more. I enjoy anything outdoors and like to hike at parks around Cincinnati and other areas I visit. I also enjoy music, reading, computers, and home improvement projects.
Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
While I enjoyed my work in my first career, I gained a distaste for the politics and hierarchy of working for a large organization. I like the idea of seeing a direct connection between the work I put in and the success I achieve. I had always had in the back of my mind a desire to own my own business, but starting from scratch seemed too daunting. When I finished my MBA degree I gained the confidence to run my own business and working with a franchise was an excellent fit.
What do you think will make you successful?
I have a firm understanding of business practices and believe that organization and good planning are the foundation for success. My work ethic is strong, but I also have come to realize the importance of balancing work and enjoying life. And I believe that customer satisfaction is essential to my own pride in what I do.
Now that you’ve been through the Education Process, what advice would you give to a prospective Franchise Owner?
Being a business owner and particularly working within a franchise is not for everyone, and if you are considering exploring franchises the first step should really be to assess your level of commitment and interest in driving every aspect of your own success. Then do your homework, be skeptical of any promises made, and follow-up to ensure the potential you are hearing really makes sense as you project how your business might run. If A does really equal B and you are willing to be responsible for an entire business, then jump in feet first.
What do you look forward to most about starting a flooring business with Footprints Floors?
I look forward to the growth potential of my business. Starting meager with one territory, I already have a vision for expanding into more territories and building a team to meet greater and greater business needs.
Wishing you all the best in your new endeavor with starting a flooring business, Mike!
If you, like Mike, think that entrepreneurship is your next career move, starting a flooring business with Footprints Floors may be the right decision for you! Our franchise family is committed to providing outstanding service not just to our customers, but to our Franchise Owners as well! Territories are selling out fast- now’s the time to get in on the “ground floor” by starting a flooring business with Footprints Floors! Visit our franchise website to learn more about our available opportunities.
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