Nicholas Moore said he was drawn to entrepreneurship because, “as the father of three children, I wanted to impact my future—not live for paychecks.” In March 2019, he opened a You’ve Got Maids franchise in Hudson.
Having worked in food service, Nicholas started out looking at restaurant franchises. He opened up his search after realizing the high investment required and the equally high failure rates. The brand name, support, and network of colleagues that would come with a franchise—in any industry—appealed to Nicholas. “I’m huge on having peace of mind,” he said. “I feel like having a franchise helps me avoid costly mistakes.”
He met with the Regional Business Fund, an entity that offers low-cost loans to businesses that better their communities. They told him to seek entrepreneurial training before proceeding and introduced him to Katherine Fossler, Associate Director for the Small Business Development Center at UW-River Falls.
Katherine encouraged Nicholas to keep looking at franchises because, she said, “they’re a proven model, with built-in support. As long as a franchise allows you to express yourself and be creative, it can be a base on which to grow, without having to bootstrap a startup.” Through Franchise Direct, Nicholas came upon the You’ve Got Maids opportunity. “Their old-fashioned values lined up with mine—giving people what they pay for, treating people the way I’d like to be treated,” he said.
Entrepreneurial Training Program shows the way
Katherine suggested Nicholas take the Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP) offered by the SBDC at UW-River Falls. Through instruction, guest speakers, and coaching, the course serves those who are considering starting a business as well as owners of existing businesses. Nicholas enrolled in the 10-week course and finished the program in December 2018 with a robust, lender ready business plan and 3-year financial projections. He opened his business only three months later.
“The Entrepreneurial Training Program gave me the footing I needed for business,” Nicholas said. “So many of the ways I operate today are direct reflections of the course.” He appreciated the guest presenters on different aspects of business and the diversity of his fellow students’ backgrounds and experience. He also found the LivePlan software platform helpful in writing his business plan, which includes detailed financial projections. Katherine said, “Nicholas has been very open to the resources we offer, and he’s been willing to spend the time to follow up and connect with people who can help him “Nicholas has a keen business mind,” Katherine observed. “As a client, he has been a pleasure to work with.”
Nicholas said, “I’ve received a lot of ongoing support from the SBDC since opening my business.”
Accomplishments with the SBDC at UW-River Falls:
- Business plan
- Networking opportunities
- Ongoing support and resources
Entrepreneur finds a match between franchise and funding
Based on the franchisor’s recommendation, Nicholas first applied to the SBA with a funding request based on the purchase price of a You’ve Got Maids territory covering St. Paul as well as Hudson. However, the SBA judged that request too high. Nicholas took the St. Paul territory out of the deal, reducing his buy-in by two thirds, and financed his purchase of the franchise through SeekCapital.com. Katherine observed, “The program prepared him to gain the confidence of lenders.”
His decision to purchase a You’ve Got Maids franchise is paying off: “They tell me I’m the first franchisee to have grown and scaled to two teams in less than two months,” Nicholas said. “I limited my growing pains due to the support I’ve gotten” from the franchise system and his SBDC connections.