In this exclusive Q&A, we talk with James Copeland about his role as franchise business consultant for Restoration Specialties Franchise Group.
Franchise Chatter (FC): For those unfamiliar, what is Restoration Specialties Franchise Group (RSFG)?
James Copeland (JC): Restoration Specialties Franchise Group (RSFG) is a franchise that includes Electronic Restoration Services (ERS) and Art Recovery Technology (ART). These brands specialize in providing restoration and recovery of art, consumer electronics, electronic data equipment, data recovery, commercial restaurant equipment, medical equipment and industrial manufacturing equipment that have been damaged by fire, wind, water, natural disasters and other causes.
FC: Tell us about your professional background. What led you to become a franchise business consultant at RSFG?
JC: I joined the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) for the U.S. Navy at 16 years old and surprisingly there was no “delay”. I was sent to the Naval base in San Diego where I graduated in the top five of my company. I was then sent to Port OPS Guam where I was assigned duties in the engine room on a tugboat. This is where I had my first experience in mechanics and engineering.
When I left the Navy, I spent the next 20+ years installing and servicing commercial as well as industrial laundry and dry-cleaning equipment. In 2014, I was hired as a technical trainer for RSFG and was quickly promoted to applications engineer. In 2018, I transitioned into the role of a business consultant at RSFG.
FC: What does your role as a franchise business consultant entail?
JC: My role as a business consultant starts with establishing positive relationships built on trust and credibility. I am responsible for collecting and maintaining knowledge of the key business metrics to analyze issues and diagnose barriers which affect performance and overall profitability.
I assist franchise owners with setting short and long-term goals by reviewing financials and developing business plans, process flow charts, standard operating procedures and financial forecasting tools. My role also entails developing continuous training materials including manuals, videos, webinars and in-house training classes.
FC: How do you think the technical skills you learned throughout your career prepared you for a high-level, strategic role?
JC: During my career, I learned that everything has components that make up a system. The ability to troubleshoot and diagnose anything involves using a method that will allow you to break it all down to the component level, diagnose the issue and provide a prescription or solution. Humans are the most complex system I have run into and while I may be able to diagnose an issue, it is only through a trusted partnership that you can effectively provide solutions and prescriptions to strategically help them.
FC: Can you explain your experience transitioning from a role focused in mechanics to a role focused on managing relationships?
JC: It was an easy transition for the most part, because there are commonalties. I have faced challenges because humans are the most complex system I have ever had to work with. The same way I would diagnose a machine is now how I practice managing relationships. The difference between mechanics and people is empathy. I was never required to be empathetic to a machine, but when it comes to people, having empathy and understanding is most important.
FC: What technical skill has been most pivotal in propelling you into this new higher-level, strategic role?
JC: I think that understanding a troubleshooting methodology has been the most critical skill as I’ve transitioned into this higher-level, strategic role. Understanding the troubleshooting methodology helps me manage complex situations. More complex situations will require more complex plans, but when followed, measured and well documented, you can turn the most complex situation into a manageable situation.
FC: What would you say are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a franchise business consultant and how have you overcome those challenges?
JC: One of the biggest challenges is getting results. Previously, when I would install or repair a machine, the results were immediate. So, I’ve learned to become more patient. I only focus on the most important goals, then create daily/weekly actions that drive me towards achieving my goal(s).
I also measure the results of my daily and weekly actions, so when I review the lag measures I can identify if I’ve been moving the needle towards achieving my goal(s). If I’m not reaching those goals, then I reassess my daily/weekly actions and make adjustments.
The last, but certainly not least, way I’ve overcome this challenge is through accountability. A team and even an individual must hold themselves accountable for the commitments they make. Teams perform better when they create their own commitments and are held accountable by their team.
FC: Can you explain how ART and ERS both operate under RSFG and their similarities in terms of restoration and recovery?
JC: ART and ERS restore normal. ART and ERS operate under RSFG as separate brands, but do so with a shared vision, mission and core values. We have focused our efforts in being the experts for all specialty restoration services. From pick-up to delivery, we employ industry-best techniques throughout every step of the electronics and art recovery process.
FC: How does RSFG help customers of various types across different industries and situations?
JC: Our team of experts understand the need for urgency and aim to provide high-quality and cost-effective art and electronic restoration services. From photographs to high-end art and collectibles, residential electronics, restaurant and medical equipment, and data recovery, ART and ERS have restored property and renewed hope for thousands of clients.
FC: Tell us about the company’s forward-looking plans.
JC: RSFG is continuously looking into expanding our restoration services portfolio. Our vision is to be the expert of choice for all specialty restoration services, and provide unparalleled customer service and deliver value by utilizing specialized and advanced techniques. We respond with a high sense of urgency, listen respectfully and communicate honestly and do so with transparency.
FC: How can someone learn more about franchise opportunities with RSFG?