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Part of an investor’s decision in choosing a franchise should include considering the age of a company. A venerable franchise operation can offer the advantage of an iconic brand; while a newcomer to the scene might have such perks as choice territories, lower franchise fees, and other incentives.
Based on his experience as a franchisee and a franchise developer for LaVida Massage, Duane Goodwin would agree that wide-open territories and exciting growth for the company are some of the factors attracting new investors.
The Commerce, Mich.-based company announced this summer that increased profitability, expansion, and overall growth will exceed even the excellent projections for 2013 made earlier in the year. The company reports that membership and new clients for LaVida Massage centers have grown fourfold in the last four years. LaVida reports that since 2009 annual revenue has increased 148 percent each consecutive year, while membership sales are up more than 310 percent and new clients have increased 115 percent.
One of the hottest franchises in the health and wellness space, LaVida Massage has opened nine new centers so far in 2013 and expects to open at least another six before the end of the year. The company is seeing the most rapid growth in the Southeast, which bodes well for Goodwin. In addition to being the owner/operator of LaVida units in Alpharetta and Marietta, Ga., he is also the master developer for Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
Know Your Sector
Goodwin, 55, advises any potential franchise partner to narrow his or her choices after deciding on a certain sector. For example, he spent his career working in all aspects of retail for companies such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Household Merchandising Inc., and Canadian Tire. When the economy soured a few years ago, he decided to leave a wholesale distribution company to enter the health and wellness space. He purchased two LaVida Massage units in Georgia in addition to becoming a developer for the company in the Southeast.
“The secret is to find a space that you’re comfortable in,” Goodwin says to potential franchisees. “You’re going to be spending a lot of years there and putting a lot of sweat equity into it.”