President Jamie Brooks From City Wide of North Carolina Reflects on City Wide Journey
If you could tell your 1-year-in-business self anything from your 6-year-in-business self, what would it be?
The biggest thing I’d advise myself to do is to never stop interviewing. Even when your team is full, continuously searching for talented candidates is an important part in growing your business. I’d also tell myself to not get so focused on the operations that you loose sight of sales momentum and to double down on the amount of sales people you hire early on.
What is the best business decision you’ve made regarding your City Wide business?
For me, I’d say the best business decision I made was deciding to hire a colleague to oversee the day-to-day operations and allowing myself to be the “sales face” of City Wide. As the owner, it was important for me to get out into the community, network with potential clients, and bring in notable accounts—especially when our office was just establishing its reputation.
Along with that, I’d also say having the willingness to fire bad clients. There are some client relationships that are not worth pursuing if the amount of work being put into the account doesn’t equate to the amount of margin you’re bringing in. I learned to cut our office loose from troublesome clients so we could spend more time seeking out more profitable and more beneficial opportunities.
What’s an example of a professional mistake you’ve learned from or the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
When I first opened my City Wide office, we had a smaller team, but we were bringing in clients who needed work done right away. I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty, so you’d find me pressure washing on a Sunday afternoon. Two years later I found myself trapped, still doing service work, as other City Wide owners continued to grow. Deviating from the franchise business model like this was a distraction and at the time, it hindered our ability to move forward. Once I realized this, I went back to the book and quickly made operational changes so that our systems and processes would align with the ones City Wide put in the place.
For you, what is the best part about running your own business?
The most rewarding aspect of running my own business is knowing that the hours, sweat, and time put into growing the company doesn’t just result in a paycheck. It’s more than a job. I’m able to see firsthand how City Wide provides value to my colleagues and our clients. Plus, I take great pride in what our team has done to establish City Wide’s presence in Raleigh-Durham. It’s empowering to build a business’s local reputation from scratch and watch it grow throughout your region.
What is the most helpful tip you could give to a fellow City Wide Franchisee?
If you’re thinking about stepping outside the City Wide model—just don’t. Almost every failure my team has gone through can be traced back to a time where we strayed away from the franchise’s business structure. There will be times when you think you can outsmart the system and grow at a faster rate, but stick with the procedures that are designed and I assure you—everything will work out as it’s supposed to.
On another note, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are wildly successful City Wide franchisees who have been in your place and are embarking on the same journey. Network within the franchise system to pick their brains on business strategies and when issues arise. Along with the Home Office, other City Wide franchisees will be your most valuable resource.
Looking at the next five years, what’s one of your goals for your business?
As we continue to provide exceptional assistance to our clients and hire top-notch employees, my goal is to have City Wide of North Carolina become known as the leading provider of building maintenance solutions across all of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
If there is one more thing you would want the people in Kansas City and across the nation to realize, what would it be?
To finally admit that the true home of the greatest college basketball is North Carolina.Back