Franchise Gator sat down with Keith Dziki of Wireless Zone, to talk about his franchise and where its heading in the next few years.
How was Wireless Zone originally conceived / started?
At the dawn of the cell phone age, Wireless Zone founder Russ Weldon started an instantly successful business called "The Car Phone Store" in Wethersfield, CT, in 1988. From the moment it opened, it was a model that begged to be replicated. But Weldon knew it would be a challenge to find high quality managers for multiple locations, and he was certain that engaging customer service was one of the key ingredients of the winning formula along with carrying an in-demand product.
Developing a franchise model made it possible to find likeminded people with a vested interest in the success of their locations the kinds of individuals who would get involved in the community and develop marketing programs that would drive customers into the store for their all-important first visit. From there, they could be won over to be repeat customers for life. Our original stores report still serving some of the same people who bought their first phones back in the late 1980s, and they continue to be loyal customers.
What was your original vision for Wireless Zone? How has that changed over time?
We changed our brand to Wireless Zone in 1999 in order to convey more clearly the products that we sold then and still offer. Today we are no longer just a cell phone store. Wireless Zone locations are Technology Centers selling solutions to keep customers connected and productive at the speed of 4G. By offering options to our customer, we ensure that everyone that comes through our door leaves with the devices and a plan that fits their life. With 25 years of experience in the wireless industry we know what it takes to be successful.
What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?
Your Motivation. Actually, the first step in the franchise process is to determine your own motivation for growing with a franchise and what elements are important to you.
What makes your industry attractive?
We believe owning a Wireless Zone franchise is fun and rewarding. Customers are excited by the product and service and employees get the satisfaction of helping people. By providing ever changing technologies and services that people both want and need, our store owners become a vital part of the community they serve. As a Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer, our owners profit in numerous ways.
What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?
Our affiliation with Verizon Wireless provides our franchise owners the opportunity to co-brand with one of the country's strongest brands coupled with unparalleled support:
- Training "WZ University"
- Operational Support
- Franchise Owners Meetings
- Build-Out Team - Turnkey Solutions
- Wireless Zone Warehouse
- Customer Service Team
- Human Resources
- Marketing & Advertising
- Public Relations
What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?
Potential franchisees should have a positive attitude, be outgoing, have a passion for high-quality customer service, have a desire to serve their community, and a motivation to succeed.
The Wireless Zone staff works very closely with each franchise owner. For the long term satisfaction of all involved, selecting entrepreneurs whose values and ethics reflect our own are a vital component to the Wireless Zone franchise success.
Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?
The Wireless Industry has continued to evolve over the years and the Wireless Zone Franchise System continues to change with the needs and demands of our customers for the new and exciting technologies that emerge. The Wireless Zone Team will always be working hard to make sure we are leading the way in this exciting Industry.
What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?
Stay focused and follow the system. Just like any career there will be great days and some not so great days. However, rest assured that any challenge you face in your business we have most likely encountered and have an answer ready and waiting.
What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?
The world economy has changed and no matter how much a company appreciates their employees they can`t make any promises for the future. The only way to secure your destiny is to take control of it yourself. When you own your own business your hard work can be seen firsthand. With a successful franchise business you are also creating a better future for your family that will be appreciated for generations. A franchising opportunity is the safest and most dependable path toward business ownership, so don`t let the fear of failure keep you from realizing your dream of business ownership.
Can you explain your financial assistance?
Wireless Zone does provide limited in-house financing towards the initial franchise fee and store build out. In addition The Wireless Zone Franchise is also an approved Franchise with the SBA.
On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?
Once you have signed your franchise agreement and have become a part of the Wireless Zone Family you can expect to be open for business sometime between 12 and 16 weeks on average.