From Civil Engineer to Instant Imprints Franchisee – Entrepreneur

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Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you’re a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.
Anna Shmukler graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in civil – not a typical Instant Imprints franchisee prerequisite. Prior to becoming a franchisee, Shmukler worked as a civil engineer for 28 years, including 18 years as the owner of an engineering and surveying company. However, after retiring from the field of engineering, Shmukler became convinced that Instant Imprints was the perfect fit for her next venture. Here’s why.
Name: Anna Shmukler
Franchise owned: Instant Imprints in Roswell, Ga.
How long have you owned a franchise?
Six months.
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Why franchising?
I like to be part of the bigger community. With franchising, I receive support from like-minded people and reap the benefits of working with talented industry professionals. I’m provided with the latest on trends, supplies, marketing ideas and so on.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I am a Georgia Tech graduate with a degree in civil engineering. I spent 28 years as a civil engineer. Eighteen of those years I was an owner of an engineering and surveying company. I thoroughly enjoyed being an engineer. My specialty was transportation design projects. There are roads and trails all over Georgia that were designed and surveyed by my company and me.
When the went sour, I decided to retire from the field of engineering.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
It was fate that brought me to Instant Imprints. The more I learned about their business philosophy, the training resources provided and their approach to conducting business, the more I knew it was meant to be my next business venture. The pride of the Instant Imprints team helped to reaffirm my decision to join the company. They put a strong emphasis on training to make sure that I, too, could be proud and confident in my new venture. Life presented me with this opportunity and I recognized it and took it.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
It was an existing store when I came along. I spent about $125,000 to get the store running properly and smoothly.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I receive a lot of help from other Instant Imprints franchisees. The does a lot of research on industry topics that allows us to remain a leader in the industry. This is the beauty of being part of this wonderful organization: I can pay full attention to my business while having the newest industry information and provided to me.
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What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
I am a free spirit. I have to remind myself that there is no reason to experiment with business practices when Instant Imprints has a model that is already proven.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Make sure your values are matched by the franchise. It has to be a good fit not only financially, but in all other ways too.
What’s next for you and your business?
I am growing my business now. I am planning on learning more in the next year about logistics of our production and then helping our franchise grow and open more stores in Georgia and in the Southeast.
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