Interview with Gotcha Covered Franchise President Paul Linenberg
Paul Linenberg has spent his entire career in business development, with a variety of experiences in sales and marketing. A former top salesperson with a Fortune 500 company and a successful Internet marketing entrepreneur, Paul joined Gotcha Covered in 2008 as the VP of Marketing. In 2010, Paul was promoted to the President of Gotcha Covered where he continues to focus on building the Gotcha Covered brand and helping franchisees find the income and lifestyle of their dreams.
BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Gotcha Covered concept.
Paul Linenberg: Gotcha Covered franchisees provide custom window treatment solutions for homes and businesses. We sell virtually everything for the interior of a window, such as blinds, shutters, shades, draperies, film and more. We take a consultative approach with homeowners and business owners to find the right products for them, regardless of their style or budget. Our customers are upscale, our service level is high, and our franchisees seek to build repeat and referral relationships within their markets. We are much more about relationships than transactions.
On the franchise side, Gotch Covered is all about building the income and lifestyle that people crave. With our extensive training and support, unique technology and high-powered marketing strategies, we can take people from all walks of life and give them all the tools they need to be successful.
BTB: How and when did you become involved with Gotcha Covered?
PL: I joined the Company in 2008 as the VP of Marketing because I believe in the vision that we can and will become a top brand in our industry. That dream is more alive today than ever, and those that join us today have a unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor as we build a great company together.
BTB: What was your background prior to joining Gotcha Covered?
PL: My first experience in franchising goes back more than 20 years, and I have been in sales and marketing the entire time. I was hired by our founder, Vic Yosha, in 2008 in part due to my Internet marketing background and my experience building businesses.
BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Gotcha Covered franchisee?
PL: I could list a lot of bullet points to answer this question, but the driving force behind everything I do as the leader of this organization is to do whatever it takes to help our franchisees be successful. We are a highly franchisee-centric system, and we understand that our collective success begins with the individual success of our franchisees, and that we are all in this together.
That being said, we have a metaphor around here about a bicycle. At Gotcha Covered, we have built a high-tech, effective, efficient bicycle with all the bells and whistles. We think it’s one of the best bikes available anywhere, and our franchisees get to use our bike to help them reach their goals. We’ll teach them how the bike works, how to ride the bike, how to accelerate as quickly as possible, and how to manage the journey and help get them where they want to go. The one thing we can’t do is pedal for them.
BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?
PL: The top performers in our franchise base come from all walks of life, but among the few common character traits, you will find drive, motivation, perseverance and an ability to connect with other people. Something that I tell every single candidate at some point in the process is that if they are willing to get up every day and simply tell other people what they do, then they will go a long way on their bike. But, if the thought of getting out and networking and promoting their business creates anxiety, them they are probably not a good fit for us.
BTB: Tell us a little about the Window Coverings Market?
PL: Our industry is very fragmented, with very little branding, name recognition, or differentiation. Most of our competitors are small, independent businesses without the buying power, training and support, or marketing sophistication that we provide.
One of our biggest challenges in bringing people into our franchise system is that most people never consider selling window treatments as a profession. But, for those that are open-minded, we have a great story to tell about the size of the industry (every single home or business is a potential customer), the great margins, the high transaction amounts, the cash-flow friendly nature, the minimal competition, and other aspects that make this a great opportunity.
BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
PL: I have an extensive experience in coaching youth sports, and I have learned that helping our franchisees improve, find success and achieve their goals is very satisfying to me. I have learned that if you set the right expectations up front, bring in the right caliber of people, and treat them like adults, the culture that grows up organically can be a very powerful source of motivation and support for the entire group.
BTB: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
PL: My CEO, Vic Yosha, is one of the founders of the company and a very successful business person and a great man. Although I run the day-to-day operations of the company and am the face of our company, I rely on Vic’s advice, judgment and counsel every day.
BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
PL: Take your time. Do your research. Be honest with yourself about your skills and your goals. Don’t be pressured into something that doesn’t work for you. But go for it. Find the right vehicle and change your life. You only go around this rock once, so take a chance. No regrets.
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Gotcha Covered would be a great franchise opportunity for someone?
PL: We are a great franchise opportunity for the right person. We are building an amazing team by adding only the highest-caliber people. In our base, and among our top performers, we have a fairly equal mix of men and women. The backgrounds of our team includes homemakers, stock broker, meteorologist, Green Beret commander, beverage delivery driver, aerospace engineer, marketing consultant, architect, banker, executive manager, engineer, teacher, business owner, and so on.