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Where Franchising Can Take You

It’s common to hear about the success of franchisors, but I always find it heartening to read about franchisee who has built a small empire for him or herself after starting at the ground floor of franchising.

The first Franchise Times issue of 2011 features a profile of George Zografos, a Massachusetts native who started his life in franchising as a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee. He now owns 13 Dunkin’ Donuts stores as well as a Harley Davidson store. Zografos was raised in a small house in Somerville apartment and now lives in a multi-million dollar mansion on nearly 5 acres in Cape Cod. Zografos is living proof that owning a franchise can provide the building blocks to serious wealth.

Here is some of his advice from a lifetime in franchising.

On failure: “I almost lost the business a number of times. I didn’t realize how seasonal the Cape was. The stores’ (sales) have dramatic swings.”

On taking risks: “He’ll take risks that I think he’s crazy (to do).” (says Liz Whitehead, who’s worked with him for years)

On choosing where to invest: “I overpaid for the site because I wanted the territory.”

On asking for money: “I was blowing through money. Break-even was $11,000. I was doing $6,000. When I got to June 1, I was out of money. (He went to his mother’s house), “my Uncle John came in and asked, ‘What’s the matter?’” he says. My uncle went downstairs and wrote a check. He told me, ‘Pay me back when you can.”

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