Local Entrepreneur Found Elusive Work/life Balance Going From Satisfied Client To Part Of The Team

SAVANNAH | Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Clark Smith, President of FPC of Savannah achieved personal, financial and professional success through the balance of freedom and guidance found in franchise ownership

Like so many others working in the Supply Chain Industry, Clark Smith was climbing the corporate ladder, with a major manufacturing company. He had relocated 11 times in 18 years for the company, but once his daughter reached school-age, he decided it was time to plant some roots. He wanted his daughter to grow up knowing where she was from, and have the opportunity to be part of a community and church. Clark was a workaholic, often times spending weekends at the office. Eventually, he wanted his life back.

He considered opening a business in manufacturing, but after running the numbers and considerable research, Clark realized that it made more financial sense to open a franchise. In addition, the Small Business Administration statistics showed that over 95% of franchises remain successful businesses after 5 years, while the numbers are substantially lower for independently owned businesses. Clark realized it wasn't worth the substantial risk of investing his entire net worth opening a new business on his own.

He came upon the idea of opening an FPC executive recruiting franchise after speaking with one of the FPC recruiters. The recruiter had served as an invaluable resource to Clark over his many years of being a hiring manager. He provided Clark with the type of quality candidates that allowed him to build successful teams while stationed at the firm's various nationwide locations. The FPC recruiter had approached him about a position as an employee for another company, but after hearing about what Clark really wanted for himself and his family, he suggested FPC ownership. After an initial chuckle over the idea, Clark started to research and really think about what it would mean for him and his family. He had a face to face meeting with the owner of the office and, after a trip to New York with his wife, Carol, to meet the Franchisor and training team, they were sold. "When I got off the plane to come home I cancelled the appointments I had set up with competing executive recruiting franchisors and signed on with FPC because we just couldn't imagine ever feeling as comfortable with anyone else as we did with this group of people." Carol, who has a Masters in counseling, became sold on the recruiting industry and decided to join as an active recruiter in the start-up. She remains active in the business helping to train new recruiters and supporting candidates and their families as they relocate and adjust to their new location.

When asked what he liked about being a part of the FPC franchise system, Clark said, "At startup, the biggest benefit was having someone teach you the business that had a track record of excellence over decades. As a client of FPC's, I was indebted to an FPC office for helping me build organizations in several of my various locations, so I knew we would be learning from people who knew how to do it right as an organization." He elaborates, "As we've matured in the business and having been successful in the business for 17 years, there are still times when I want to bounce ideas off someone. The trainers are talking to all the offices daily and have a great knowledge base. They have seen all the scenarios before and can offer guidance on what has worked and what hasn't." Clark says that being a franchise owner has increased his financial potential tremendously. "My wife and I had calculated that if we made 80% of what I made before, the difference in income would be worth the benefit to our personal lives. We made 80% the first year, 120% the second and over 200% the third. Imagine that, making more money and having a better work/life balance." With this type of work/life balance, Clark and Carol have been able to use their own discretion in how much time they spend away from the office-whether it's volunteering for the Olympics, Clark taking a trip to Uganda or Carol traveling to Mississippi for Katrina relief work. While time away from the office has a direct impact on earnings, they feel having control over where you spend your time is what business ownership is all about.

Clark sees himself in the recruiting business for the long-haul, and will eventually slow down without necessarily retiring, since recruiting allows you to take on more or less relative to your capacity. Clark and Carol have developed a strong team of recruiters and have two outstanding employees who are interested in eventually buying into the business. This would allow them to execute an exit strategy down the line, while ensuring the continuity of the business. Clark advises others who are considering entering this business to partner with a leader. "If this were an easy business, clients wouldn't be willing to pay the fees they do. We earn those fees because this is a complex business that requires the backing of someone who has been doing this for years and can help you through the many twists and turns of daily life as a recruiter." FPC is a national executive search firm with more than 70 franchise offices. The company has been providing human asset and career solutions since 1959. Advocates for both clients and candidates, FPC recruiters are committed to bringing together the right opportunity with the right individual. For further information about FPC, call 800-886-7839 or visit the FPC Web site at www.fpcnational.com.

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FPC (FORTUNE Personnel Consultants)
1140 Avenue of the Americas
5th Floor
New York, NY

Phone: (212) 302-1141
Toll Free: (800) 886-7839
Fax: (212) 302-2422

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