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Opportunity
Eric Little - ViP of Franchise Development of BounceU

1. Is there a market for birthday parties?

There is absolutely a HUGE market for birthday parties! Today's parents are busier than ever, and many are dual income families. Therefore, they just don't have the time to plan the perfect birthday party. Luckily, at BounceU that's what we specialize in! Plus, every thing is scheduled these days. There were no "play dates" when I was a kid. The structure in my "play time" was simple: "Be back by the time the street lights are on!" As a result, at BounceU, we offer many other programs and events in addition to birthday parties. For example, we offer Preschool Play Dates for the younger kids during the week, which gives the kids a little variety and fun. And, we offer Family Bounce Nights so parents and kids can come to BounceU and play together. We don't charge for the parents to join in the fun - if we did they probably wouldn't do get out there and bounce! It’s so fun to see a family out there bouncing, playing, and having a good time together. That's what BounceU is all about - we make memories.

2. What is the BounceU experience like?

The BounceU experience is all about fun. When you attend a birthday party at BounceU, it will be like no other birthday party you've ever been to. We are going to take care of all the details for mom and dad, and we're going to absolutely ensure that everybody has a good time. Everything we do in the store is focused on making that memory. So, whether it's arranging for a clown or a magician, or making sure we play the birthday boy or girl's favorite music during the bounce session, we want this to be the best birthday that a family has ever had!

Most BounceU's are dual stadium facilities, meaning that the store has 2 bounce stadiums, and two birthday party rooms. Most parties last two hours, with one hour and fifteen minutes of bounce time, and 45 minutes of party room time. We've also found that making each party private is really the way to go. BounceU is not like the other pizza party places where you have to share the facility with several other parties that are happening at the same time. We offer a private experience where your party is the only one in the room at that time. Same for the bounce stadium. Private parties rule!

3. Tell us more about your franchising opportunity.

The franchising opportunity is like no other that I've seen in my 10 years in franchising. The stores perform extremely well, with most stores achieving positive cash flow in less than four months. Many franchisees have already signed up for multiple units, and several already have two open.

This is solid progress for a company that's only been franchising since late 2004. Our franchisees make BounceU who we are. They are incredible with what they've accomplished. We currently have about 60 franchisees, with 17 stores open. We are opening about 2 stores per month at this point, and have made significant additions to our staff to accommodate this growth. This is truly a fun time to be a part of BounceU.

4. Why do you believe that it is an ideal franchise for women?

BounceU is ideal for women, and really anyone who loves kids. This business is so fun, but in the beginning it's a lot of work too. Most franchisees hire a manager right out of the gate to help them run the business, and within an year or so that manager should be able to run the day to day operations. The women in our society seem to be more plugged into the social side of the kids' lives. Your website is a great example - bizymoms.com. The internet is used for almost everything these days, and we're finding that the parents out there talk quite a bit about the various goods and services that they are interested in. The decision to come to BounceU is a very localized decision - and is usually based on the birthday boy or girl having attended another party at BounceU before his birthday. So, with the moms being so plugged into these local and global (internet) social networks, they have an advantage on understanding how the decision is made to host a birthday party at BounceU.

5. What do your existing franchisees say about Bounce U?

They say what they think, which we like! I think some of them are surprised that they can have this much fun, and still get paid for it. They also talk about the impact they've had on their local communities, and on the lives of so many kids. Many of them are active in the “Make a Wish” Foundation and various other charities - we've certainly received our fair share of tear jerking thank you letters from appreciative special needs kids and their families. So many of our franchisees before they are ever even approved to join BounceU talk about the fact that they want to be more involved in their local communities. They do this through charity work, mentoring employees, and hosting Family Bounce Nights. This really is a "feel good" kind of business - it's one that you can be proud to tell your friends about, and it's the kind of business that allows you to make money by providing a valuable service to the busy parents out there.

6. What sort of support do you offer your franchisees?

The support is second to none. Most of our franchisees come to us with no prior business ownership experience. Most of them come from the corporate world, and they usually have young kids. So, while they understand quite a bit about kids, they really don't yet know how to run a business. So, all of our support is designed around that concept - real estate, project management, marketing, training, research and development - it's all there.

We specialize in taking those without prior experience and teaching them our business. And, it's obviously working...there have already been several weeks where other franchisees have been able to surpass the performance of the original BounceU in Gilbert, AZ!

7. Describe your ideal franchisee.

Our ideal franchisee is an easy question to answer. They need to be family oriented and obviously love kids. They need to be comfortable following a proven system, and they need to have a genuine enthusiasm for life. They also need to have a real desire to be a business owner - it's not for everybody. It takes work and dedication, but the rewards (both financial and otherwise) are spectacular.

8. Any words of wisdom for would be entrepreneurs?

Wow, what a great question. I had an old friend once tell me, "Figure out what you like to do, and then find a way to get paid for it!" I've always carried that advice with me, and it has served me well. Also, for would be entrepreneurs, it's important that you have a genuine enthusiasm for whatever you're doing. You need to find something that gets you out of bed every morning. If you have some sort of anxiety, fear, or trepidation about what you do for a living, it really doesn't matter how profitable it is - you're not going to be happy. There are 3 basic questions/criteria that I advise potential franchisees to consider:

A) Does this business provide enough profit for you to make progress toward your goals?
B) Is this a business that you can be good at with your current skill set?
C) Is this a business that will make you get out of bed in the morning and want to go do it?

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