After two decades in the corporate world, Dusty Lepper decided that it was time to take control of his future, to be his own boss, and to build his own business.
He did just that in September 2020, when he joined WOW 1 DAY PAINTING as a Franchise Partner in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“I was beginning to feel stuck in a rut of the corporate world. I was facing the same recurring problems, and I just knew that it was time to do something different – something for myself,” said Dusty.
Fast-forward 12 months and the former Director of HR hasn’t just hit the ground running, but sprinting – smashing the WOW 1 DAY PAINTING ‘rookie revenue record’ in his first full year in operation.
So, how did he manage it? What makes an A-Player? What advice does he have for business owners – within franchising or otherwise – on how to scale up, fast?
We caught up with Dusty to ask him all about it.
DUSTY, YOU SMASHED THE ROOKIE RECORD IN YOUR FIRST YEAR OF BUSINESS – TELL US HOW THAT FEELS?
Honestly, I started my rookie year worried I would even hit my revenue goal. I had a lot of sleepless nights thinking about how I’d ever gain some traction and get on a vertical growth curve. So to end up beating the rookie revenue record was just amazing. If you would’ve told me at the start of the year that would happen, I would’ve laughed! It really felt surreal – and to see the reaction from my team when I told them, that was very humbling. It made all that sleep I lost more than worth it.
WHAT ARE THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO YOUR SUCCESS?
1) People, 2) Grit, 3) People. Surround yourself with really good people, point them in the right direction, and hold them to the high standards of the brand. It’s true that they say – nobody can do it alone, and everything hinges on having people that understand and embrace the customer service mindset. Finding people that are hungry is key, and then… just make sure you’re feeding them properly!
AS YOU SAY, CREATING A GREAT TEAM IS ESSENTIAL TO RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS – WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR HIRING THE RIGHT PEOPLE?
Find people that buy into the brand and the business model. Make sure your people know that you are committed to their growth and success, not just your own. I’ve told every single one of my employees that I want to see them grow with my company – if they retire from my company in the same position they started in, then I’ll consider myself a failure. But they also know that I’m not giving it away – they have to earn it, and deserve it.
I’m also a big believer in that old coaching mantra of 1 percent better than yesterday. You don’t have to be 50 percent better overnight, nobody sustains that. But everyone can improve by 1 percent. String a month together of those incremental improvements, and when you look up you’re 30 percent ahead of where you were. In that respect I look at employee development as a long-play, or long-term commitment. Show your commitment to me and I’ll give it back in spades.
HOW DOES BEING PART OF A FRANCHISE SYSTEM HELP YOU IN TERMS OF STARTING A NEW BUSINESS?
I don’t know that you can completely capture all of the benefits of being a member of the O2E Brands family. The marketing, the training, the support systems, the peer groups, it goes on and on. There’s something about the DNA of this brand. I can’t really put it into words or quantify it, but you feel it; it’s there and it’s palpable. You know that they’re all-in to help you be successful.
FINALLY, WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A SUCCESSFUL FRANCHISE OWNER?
Work ethic and self awareness. It’s never going to be smooth sailing all day every day. You have to be willing to get after it. Have some sandpaper to your game and rigor to the processes. Be willing to surround yourself with people that do things better than you. Stay away from recruiting people who are just another version of you. Put the right skill sets in the right positions and be strong enough as a leader to get out of their way.
THANKS DUSTY, AND CONGRATULATIONS! WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU DO IN YEAR 2!
Interested in business ownership with WOW 1 DAY PAINTING or one of our other brands? Learn more about our available franchise opportunities today.
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