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Brenda Dronkers - Founder of Pump It Up

1. What is the story behind Pump it Up?

I started the company in January of 2000 in order to be able to stay at home with my kids and to have flexibility in my schedule. I wanted to be able to have time for my children, start a business centered around kids, and fill a need in the marketplace (a lack of good, creative places to have a birthday party).Once I was open for about a year or so, I knew that I had developed a solid business concept. I brought my partner, Terry Dillenburg, into the business in 2002, and we began franchising.

2. How does it feel to be the pioneer in the indoor inflatable recreation market?

Being the pioneer in any industry is exciting!! Being an entrepreneur-at-heart, I never really sat back and thought, "Should I really try something that has never been done before?"The beauty of entrepreneurial passion is that it is sometimes blind to obstacles that would otherwise stop others in their tracks! I saw a niche, felt extremely passionate about my concept, and refused to give up.

It is now a bit un-nerving, as you see others copying your concept. This is a franchise concept, where children's safety is paramount, and I just want to make sure that each and every competitor conducts a safe and clean business. This way we will keep the industry I created dynamic for years to come.

3. Would you describe your franchise opportunity as fun and one that caters to women?

Of course, I would describe it as fun!! Any business is work, but this work is extremely rewarding. Pump It Up is a family business. All of my kids have helped me with the business, and I have enjoyed growing my business, as I raise my children. I have a lot of female franchisees, who work their Pump It Up facilities, along with raising their children. Women tend to do well in Pump It Up because, as a franchisee, the owner works with teen employees, guests who are moms, and of course, children. Moms are so good with all of these people! However, this business certainly is not limited to women! We have a lot of very successful male franchisees and couples as well.

4. In your opinion what does it take to make it in franchising?

Franchising a business is extremely difficult. If you are thinking of franchising your business, you need to insure that you have a solid business model, that is duplicable, and that can be managed from a franchisor prospective. Many franchise systems do not succeed, because they have not taken the time to develop their franchise 'system', therefore they do not have a concept that will 'look, taste, feel, and smell' the same at each location. This is very important in franchising, as you are selling a Brand.

5. What is the most important lesson you learned on your way to the top?

I learned to trust my heart first. Follow your heart in all that you do. If you truly listen to your head and your heart, you will be successful in more ways than just financially. In business, you are challenged and at times your integrity may be questioned. Be true to yourself always, and you cannot fail.

6. How did you cope being a mom with a successful career?

Prayer. I was blessed to have a supportive husband, who has been behind me 100% from the day I opened the first Pump It Up. I have always believed that communicating with your children, and including them in your business helps them to understand the times that you are busy, or the times that it seems as though you are distracted. If your children feel that they are included, and they understand what you are going through in your business, they feel more involved in your business and the process.

7. What is the most rewarding thing about being your own boss?

I have always enjoyed working hard, but I have also required of myself the ability to be flexible in my schedule, so that I could attend all of the special times and moments in my children's lives. Being self-employed has given me this opportunity. After all, our children are only young ones. I also wanted to be able to create a legacy for my children, and Pump It Up has allowed me to do just that.

8. Your advice to women who want to make it in business?

Go for it! Believe in yourself and what you are doing, and soar. Be patient, and don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it.

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