Looking back at the events that changed his life almost 2 years ago, John Lovier has no regrets. Sitting in his suburban St. Louis, Missouri house, John remembers his days as Director of Logistics at a global company as well as the 15 years he spent in the logistics field. He can also remember the sense of being just a number within a large corporation and being frustrated at watching decisions being made that were based solely on the stock price and not on what was in the best interest of their customers or the employees. While he loved the challenge of planning, prepping and coming up with creative solutions in the logistics field he was worn down by corporate life.
That was when John made a decision that would change his life. He saw an opportunity to take a voluntary layoff from his company in an attempt to reinvent himself. This was a very big risk for someone in their mid-thirties with a wife, 2 young children and a mortgage. With the support of his family, John set out on an odyssey to find the opportunity that would be the perfect fit for his lifestyle and his growing family’s needs.
“I thought about a lot of different options,” says John from his at home office. “At first I fell back into my comfort zone. I sent out literally 900 resumes and had two interviews, both for jobs that I was over qualified for. I didn’t really want to start over,” John continues. “I knew if I was going to be happy, I needed to start looking for other opportunities. In the back of my mind, I always envisioned owning my own business, but I never knew how or what was the right way to achieve that goal.” That is when John started doing research on what it would take to own a business and more specifically what kind of requirements it would take for him personally and financially.
John employed a multi-pronged approach as he was looking for the right business. He first looked at existing businesses in his area that were for sale and found restaurants and dry cleaners. He quickly realized that they may not be the right fit for him and his family given the long hours and the added anchor of having a physical location. He then contacted the Missouri State Employment Department which gave him a list of companies that had opportunities available in the state. On that list he found NOVUS Glass.
John began a search of business and franchise sites on the internet. Throughout this search process, John kept coming across information on NOVUS Glass on the different franchising sites and the more he read about the NOVUS Glass opportunity the more interested he became. He filled out a questionnaire form on one of the sites and his information was forwarded to the NOVUS Glass Franchise Development Office.
“Before the information from the state and my online research, the thought of a franchise didn’t even enter my mind,” says John. “It wasn’t until I started doing research and talking to a few of the companies did I realize that a ‘franchise’ was exactly what I was looking for.”
Through his diligent research, he found that for his vision to come true, he would need the support of a franchise organization to help him start his business and run it to its full potential. “Starting a new business is always going to be a bit scary,” reflects John, “especially in a field where you have no prior experience. What helped me through the fears and the anxieties is knowing that a system of training and support existed from the franchisor and that the support doesn’t stop after you opened your business, it continued throughout your career.”
One of the ways many prospective franchisees start their research is by talking with existing franchisees in their area or those in a similar size market. “There were a number of NOVUS Glass locations in my region, so I picked up the phone and started talking to them” says John recalling his research. John found that the openness and passion of the franchisees he had spoken with made him even more comfortable with a decision to move forward with NOVUS Glass “From these discussions I found the brand reputation, technical expertise and marketing resources I was looking for,” says John, “What I was looking for I found with NOVUS.”
“Choosing to go with NOVUS, like any of the other options, was a risk. My family and I thought out our decision thoroughly, weighed the pros and cons and went for it. The biggest fear was that of the unknown, it was the fear of taking a risk. We loved our home, we loved our lifestyle and we knew that going into business for ourselves put all of that at risk,” recalls John. “But not doing anything would have been the biggest risk of all.”
What initially drew John to the concept of franchising was the fact he would be in business for himself, but he wouldn’t be doing it alone. The size of the NOVUS Franchisee Network and the support he would receive is what sold him on NOVUS Glass. “I strongly believe in the concept of strength in numbers. A lot of the hard work and heavy lifting I would have to do while starting up a new business was already taken care of by NOVUS. That allowed me to concentrate on perfecting the technical skills that I learned from the training classes.” John remembers that “as I got those first early jobs, it helped me build confidence and pretty soon the technical part of the job became second nature.”
John always considered himself a “knowledge junky.” In his past career he prided himself on tackling the constant challenges of his job and coming up with creative solutions. With that drive and his corporate experience, it wasn’t necessarily running the business that John had concerns over, it was the sales aspect. “I am not a good salesman” John freely admits, “but I feel I am a very personable guy.” It was his personality and the training that he received from NOVUS that got him through his first weeks of business and he hasn’t looked back since.
With a lot of hard work, John envisions his business growing in the coming years. “I feel very good about the future of the business,” confides John. “One piece of advice I would give anyone in this business is to always answer your phone, you never know what you are going to get.”
One of John’s biggest early “wins” came from simply picking up the phone at 6:00pm on a Friday night. “It was a large national rental company that was looking for someone to do a quick windshield replacement on a truck that was scheduled to go out on Monday morning. The service manager had called a handful of glass shops and I was the only one to answer the phone,” recalls John with pride in his voice. “I replaced the windshield at 8:30am the next morning and they were able to get the truck turned around for Monday. The service manager was so happy he started giving me some business, now I have it all.” “I love my competitors,” says John with a bit of glee in his voice, “they are the worst business people I have ever met. They offer bad service, poor customer service and have little pride in their work. I guess that’s what sets me apart, I own my business and I take a lot of pride in what I do. While my competitors are watching the clock and turning down jobs that might inconvenience them, I gladly take them and win a customer.”
From the beginning of his process, the idea of working out of his home was very appealing to John. “Looking at my family and our lifestyle, I realized that I was not interested in a fixed location. I didn’t want to be anchored down, I wanted freedom and I wanted to be able to work the hours that afforded me time with my family.” John also wanted this to be a family affair. “My family was very supportive of this decision and the plan was to always include them in the business,” adds John. “At some point in the near future my wife will leave her full-time job to work the business with me.”
His oldest son, now 13, rides along with his father when he has the chance. “It’s great to have my son with me, he is already becoming my helper,” says John beaming with pride. “It gives me a chance to instill a work ethic and teach him how to do things the right way. Hopefully when his younger brother is old enough, he can ride along as well.”
From a family standpoint, one of things that set NOVUS Glass apart from some of the other opportunities was the ability of his sons to transition to NOVUS. The final decision came down between NOVUS Glass and a computer service franchise, and one of the key factors to John was that NOVUS would allow him to transfer the business to his children when the time is right. “I envision that my NOVUS Glass business will be a part of my family for a very long time and provide opportunities in the future for my kids.”
Looking back at the entire process, John speaks philosophically at what lead him up to today. “I can’t image going through the training, the start up and the first day as a business owner without the support I received from NOVUS. I’m very proud of all the hard work I have put in to get my business to where it is today,” John continues, “I couldn’t imagine doing it alone.”
NOVUS is best known throughout the world as the inventor of windshield repair. NOVUS is also the windshield repair industry’s research & development leader and pioneer. In fact, NOVUS has been awarded more U.S. Patents for windshield repair than the rest of the industry combined.
NOVUS is also the world’s original “Repair First, Replace When Necessary®” company. This distinguishes NOVUS from the average auto glass shop in the eyes of insurance companies, fleets and consumers. “Repair First, Replace When Necessary®” system is NOVUS’ distinctive competency and is backed by the NOVUS Guarantee that ensures a NOVUS windshield repair will restore strength and clarity to the glass; will halt the further spread of damage; and, will pass vehicle inspection in all states for as long as the customer owns the vehicle or NOVUS will refund the cost of the repair.