Franchise coach maps capital opportunities

December 1, 2009

By David Hayes

Phyllis Pieri

Phyllis Pieri

Franchise coach Phyllis Pieri clearly remembers her first business venture — a lemonade stand.

“When I was a child visiting my grandparents, I remember us driving past the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco,” Pieri said. “It needed to replace a broken stain-glassed window.”

Determined to help, Pieri opened a lemonade stand and sold an impressive $285 of the thirst quencher.

That entrepreneurial spirit followed her into adulthood. With only a degree earned from the school of hard knocks, Pieri has parlayed years of managerial experience in running local franchises (Sir Speedy and Automotive Lube & Tune) into an international consultation agency, MatchPoint, headquartered in her Issaquah Highlands home.

“I’ve been consulting now for around 20 years,” Pieri said. “My goal is to quit being the best-kept secret.”The way franchise consulting works, Pieri explained, is she helps a client chart his or her path into the business world.

“Too many people go into their venture not as a CEO,” she said. “Then, when their business doesn’t grow, they don’t understand why they’re not making it.”

As a franchise coach, she helps steer the client toward what they would be best at and how to best utilize what skills they have. About 95 percent of franchise proposals center on the food industry. With the market saturated with “ma and pa” startups that eventually fail, Pieri said she has helped tap into that 5 percent. The service business is one example.

“I had a guy from Idaho who actually said he would want a maid business. He didn’t want to be a cleaning person,” she said. “But I helped turn it around for him. He enjoyed managing, mentoring teams. And that’s what the maid cleaning business was, teams that performed the work. It’s all how you look at it.”

She pointed to another model franchise from the service sector — Great Clips. Once the business is set up, it can be run absentee. The owner doesn’t have to be a hair stylist to keep it running, she said. With technology, you can log on to the Web and monitor it from there.

Pieri has also helped venture capitalists tap into other sectors, including the burgeoning senior services business.

“Senior business is huge,” Pieri said. “Senior helpers, or companions, is a very scalable franchise. CNAs (certified nurses assistant) are plentiful and are perfect for this franchise opportunity.”

Through MatchPoint, Pieri has also helped many women entrepreneurs.

“I have a lot of empty nesters, with husbands who work long hours. What better opportunity for them than going to work in a franchise?” Pieri asked. “They are very passionate about having autonomy, being able to grow something without asking the husband for help.”

Pieri said she feels assured that it’s the small businesses that are going to help lead the way back to economic recovery for the country. She is really enjoying helping others be a part of the bigger picture.

“I love what I do,” she said. “I’m very passionate about helping people make the right decisions.”

David Hayes: dhayes@isspress.com, 392-6434, ext. 237. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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