101 Mobility Austin Featured on FranNet!
Kellye Jennings spent nearly 30 years as a certified public accountant in the northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., areas. Today, Jennings manages her own balance sheet as owner of 101 Mobility, a medical devices franchise comprised of selling, renting, installing and servicing products that help the disabled and elderly with mobility related issues.
The path to franchise ownership, however, was not necessarily an easy one for Jennings. After retiring from the company for which she worked in Washington, D.C., she focused her efforts on running her own accounting consulting business. To join her family, Jennings picked up and moved to Houston.
Nearly two years later, her previous company asked her to return due to the departure of several partners and sought Jennings’ expertise. Jennings sold her house in Houston and returned to DC. But within three months of rejoining the company, the company was sold, leaving Jennings looking for her next opportunity.
“Although I stayed on with the new company after the sale, I felt kind of stuck in DC at that point,” Jennings recalled, who remained in the area for an additional two years. “I really started to think about moving back to Texas and wanted to find a business I could potentially buy.”
Fate, however, would have a different plan for Jennings. An unfortunate fall in March of 2015 on some wintry ice caused her to break two bones in her leg requiring emergency surgery and a stay in an assisted living facility. Still driven by her business ownership dreams, her family encouraged her to investigate franchise opportunities in Austin.
“I was researching a particular franchise and talking with franchisees of that company,” said Jennings. “During one of those conversations, one of the franchisees told me I needed to talk with Merri Cronk of FranNet, so I reached out to her.”
Cronk owns FranNet of Central Texas. FranNet works with would-be entrepreneurs to aid in their search for a franchise business and sort through the abundance of information available, as well as steps necessary to open a business.
Working with Cronk, Jennings took a personal franchise assessment, a sort of personality test of her business acumen. The assessment looks at a person from many facets, including focusing on their behavior profile, risk tolerance and financial background. These attributes are combined with what FranNet has learned in the marketplace over the 29 years it’s been in business to identify franchises in which Jennings would do well. risk tolerance and financial background. These attributes are combined with what FranNet has learned in the marketplace over the 29 years it’s been in business to identify franchises in which Jennings would do well.
“Merri helped me understand what was important to me and those items in my personal and business lives which I truly valued,” said Jennings. “Merri also helped focus my search on the Austin market, which gave me access to her entire business network there as well.”
Through their research, one of the businesses that surfaced to the top was the 101 Mobility franchise. The franchise was even more attractive to Jennings because of its focus on the aging baby boomer population and that generation’s ongoing need to remain mobile.
“Stair lifts are a big part of our business because they enable someone to remain in their home, with the freedom of being able to safely navigate a set of stairs,” said Jennings.
Without any experience in franchising, Jennings said the more she learned about the franchise industry, the more attractive it became.
“I like that I’m empowered to build my own thing, but that can be good and bad,” explained Jennings. “Some days you wake up ready to set the world on free. Other days, it can be a little scary with that responsibility.”
Throughout the process, Jennings admits that her fall and subsequent stint in the assisted living facility may have been a blessing in disguise.
“You go through life and you get on a certain path, and you think life just happens in a certain way,” recalled Jennings. “But it doesn’t have to be that way. While recovering from my fall, it gave me the opportunity to look deeply inside myself and gain some introspective about what I really wanted, and I really wanted to own a business where the buck stopped with me. If I don’t do it, it’s not getting done. That’s pretty empowering to think about.”
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