After Curves, Gary Findley Loves the Franchising Ride
Gary Findley is CEO of Restoration 1 and Bluefrog Plumbing + Drain.
“That Curves ride was a ride I’ll never see again, but now here I am, 56 years old, two grandbabies, but I still love what I do. I love, love, love franchising,” says Gary Findley, recalling the years he grew the Curves brand with co-founder Gary Heavin from two units to 8,000 in eight years.
Today Findley is CEO of Restoration 1, which is up to 200 locations since he took it over two years ago with 18, and Bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, with 12 locations. He gave a delightful interview for my new column “The Boss” in the next issue of Franchise Times, but here are some great nuggets that couldn’t fit on the page.
On solving disputes with franchisees early:
Some people take the approach, “We’ve got a contract. I don’t do that. I get on the phone with them and I go see them. Let’s resolve it. Most of the time the issue is, they want to vent. If you hit it early on, unless you’re dealing with a completely unreasonable person, where there’s a will there’s a way."
On loyalty to bosses:
“Wherever I go to work, I’m all in. I’m going to treat it like mine. I love being a CEO, but I'm an awesome No. 2 guy. I’m that guy who’s going to take care of you. You won’t ever have to worry about things. I’ve learned to put that across, hire those kinds of people, bring them in, build a team.”
On hiring and managing:
Ninety percent of his staff members “have come to me. They’ve all served in a role they were very, very good at what they did. Everybody wants to be part of the next big thing. What I look for more than anything is just that: I am the least micro-managing person you will ever meet in your life. I hire people that get it done, and I leave them alone.
“I hire them, I’m giving them rein and control, just like I was given. I believe in meetings when you need a meeting. I don’t want to wear people down with emails. I say, copy me on the email when you need to, but just walk in and see me. I am that guy who basically you’re not intimidated to call me. Letting these guys run with what they do best.”
On lessons learned:
“Always make your decisions based on business decisions, never make an emotional decision. When I left Curves, there was a group of friends, employees that were very loyal to me, and I opened a company based on that loyalty because they were getting knocked off. That was my consulting company. I formed a company with no business.
“When things are going great, you’re the king of Greece, you’re wonderful, and when you can’t do it any more, you’re not the greatest guy around. The biggest lesson I learned, make business decisions based on the facts in front of you.
“I’m not a whiner, so I pick up my bootstraps and keep moving. Nobody ever said life was going to be fair, so I use the God-given talent that I have, to just have that drive. I never, ever, ever blame other people. I give people the praise for what they do.”