Doctor by day focuses on finance, in Multi-Unit Mindset
OK, first thing. A doctor and a multi-unit ‘zee, how is there enough time in the day?
I’ve been extremely blessed by people who work with us. My brother is a big part of this. He’s the president and I’m more of the CFO side. He’s on the operations side. I think, honestly, it’s worked out so well for us because it’s solely based on what he’s good at and what I’m good at. I’m good on the finance and legal side and he handles operations.
What does your day look like between doctoring?
I’m very good with emails and text messages, so when I’m not seeing patients I have some time to look at emails and texts. Then in terms of visiting the stores, when I get some free time I’ll go see them.
You signed for 40 Cousins Subs, bringing the brand back to Chicago. What led to that deal?
Here’s the big thing, if you look at it, it’s family owned. There’s a difference when it’s a franchise that is run by a family, they stick to it. That, and over the last year and a half, it has undergone significant change—not just from a superficial way, but how that franchise is run. Also, we know the Cousins Subs brand—all of my mom’s family is from Wisconsin. So a few of my cousins and uncles own some Cousins back there.
You’ve grown mainly through acquisitions. How do you approach a new concept?
You have to really decide are you making an acquisition to increase cash flow or is it a great opportunity to grow. That’s a big difference. Some operations are perfect, so how much improvement can you make there? The other thing I look at is can I take the brand and grow it after the acquisition.
Acquisitions have been a bit of a blessing and a curse for OM Group. What was the worst?
That’s when we actually had two convenience stores, and we were buying two c-store locations, but when October 2008 hit and AIG went down in the dumps, the bank backed out. We were 20 days from closing.
So that was probably the most difficult period of time. The down payment went from 20 percent down to 35 percent down. We were digging into savings, reaching out to banks for some loans on existing assets and kind of going from there. Thankfully we weren’t in a growth spurt around then. It took until the 12- or 13-unit range when we could get better access to capital.
Staff writer Nicholas Upton asks what makes multi-unit operators tick—and presents their slightly edited answers in this column in each issue. To suggest a subject, email email@example.com.
What about your most positive acquisition?
We bought our first two Dunkin’ locations in 2015, which served as a platform for growth. In April of 2016, we realized we love this brand, so when we decided to grow with them, that was actually the biggest turning point, it allowed us to get more cash flow and grow the brand, and also look at other brands.
Through it all, what do you think has made you a successful entrepreneur?
A lot of it is people. If you don’t take care of the people that work for you and work with you, they’ll leave. If you give them respect and pay them well and give them opportunities, that really solves a lot of problems. Find the right person with the right training, and give them support, then they’ll come to you.