After working decades in Corporate America, Steve Odom was fed up and ready to move on.
A frugal man, Odom had saved well and was able to leave a career in manufacturing at the relatively young age of 57. He figured he’d be OK, but he wasn’t so sure about his son, Jason, whose retail management job was robbing him of valuable time with his three young sons.
“I just wasn’t enamored with the corporate life anymore,” Steve Odom says. “I wanted to find something else to do, but I had enough put away so that I didn’t have to. But I really wanted to help my son, so I investigated starting a family business.”
Odom did his homework and determined franchise ownership offered one of the best opportunities for long-term success with a family-owned business. He sought out Leslie Kuban, franchise business consultant with FranNet of Georgia.
“I started out pretty open-minded; I wasn’t skeptical about franchising,” Odom says. “Most people in this country who ultimately do well and succeed get their start in small business. I just needed to go through the process of finding a franchise that was a good fit.”
Within a few months, the Steve and Jason Odom family business was born – a fabric, leather and plastics restoration franchise in Milledgeville, Ga. The father and son team has been operating for 18 months and the business is growing fast.
“We are really gathering momentum,” Odom says. “We just had a record month in July. We just got a very good order from a hospital and we’re busy calling on all kinds of businesses – from hot rod associations to medical offices — to grow the franchise.”
Within five years, Jason will be running the show and Steve will take a lesser role but still be involved in key management functions.
According to research by the Family Business Review, the Odoms have an excellent chance of success, especially if they retain their managerial roles as the franchise grows. Family members at the top “can command greater loyalty within the firm, which enhances employee productivity and morale,” the study says.
The Family Business Review’s information also shows that family businesses are more profitable and create more jobs than non-family firms.
“Owning a franchise isn’t a decision I would have made on my own just for me, but I saw it as the perfect chance to help my son,” Odom says. “It was a wise decision. I have something to do, and most importantly, my son will be able to take over the business in the future. He can spend much more time with his children now. When family is your No. 1 priority, you’ll almost always find a way to succeed.”
Take a look at the following clips featuring Steve and Jason Odom and Leslie Kuban: