Franchise Hot Seat Presentation by Al Harlow

Hello, my name’s Al Harlow.

I’m honored to be here with you today in the franchise hot seat.

When John asked me to do this, I was excited. I have this opportunity to speak in front of a great panel of business experts about Clickit.

However you decide to say it, Click I-T is your local I-T department.

Our model addresses a grossly underserved market of small businesses and residents, with multiple recurring revenue streams in our 12 categories of over 100 services, products, and solutions.

Uniquely, Click IT delivers best-in-class managed services in a retail store setting, concierge-style, where the customer is king.

Let me give you a quick story about how Click IT organically came about.

10 years ago, I found myself leading a software development business here in the Village of Chagrin Falls.

We had a bank of servers in a co-location facility in downtown Cleveland and 15 or so employees.

This included two systems administrators. We were building web applications.

Now, these system admins were our go-to guys to set up and fix the computers in the office for our employees.

All through this time, friends were asking if I could help them with their computers,

and it got to the point where I finally decided to put up a shingle outside the back doorway entrance, that said “Computer Repair”. (Show card - This is my son, by the way.)

Well, in no time, doing computer repair turned into a surprisingly good income stream, especially when we figured out how to combine it with ongoing managed services!

We’d fixed it, monitored it (remotely I might add), and then bill for it, monthly, or yearly. Two guys were able to monitor and maintain hundreds of devices without leaving their chairs. All of our services are automated. This business was a geek’s dream.

Except for the fact, that someone in the front office needed to speak with the customer, which is why our ideal candidate is an “owner-operator” with a talent for selling.

We've learned that we must be good teachers, and listen -- and not be upset that we are repeating ourselves constantly.

So today, Click IT has a 1,200 square foot retail store on Main street, uniquely providing IT services, in the center of Chagrin Falls;

wherein 2020, during the pandemic, as an essential business we never shut down and did $584,000 in sales with a 40% margin.

In our stores, we have TV screens with menus of our most commonly bought items, so customers see the costs and details right upfront.

Like when you’re at McDonald's which was the inspiration for this.

As you can see, the margins are incredible, and frankly because they are so good, I am no longer working at the store. I have a very capable Operations Manager, Chris, and the store is properly staffed.

I am now dedicating my full attention to helping others use our model and intellectual property (IP) to build themselves their own thriving I-T business.

And I want to do this in every state, around the country, and do it fast.

Chagrin Falls is a small suburban town. Like many small towns, it’s a bit secluded. Inside a 5-mile radius there's a population of only 55,000 residents and at last count, 3,000 businesses.

So, several years ago, I thought, this is a perfect model for a franchise. I saw the opportunity. We have a computer industry focused on hardware, not services.

We have people needing good, steady employment, where they are in control of their own destiny.

And now, we have the blessing of a loosing up of the financial system, where more capital is available than ever before.

Click IT has the systems, the know-how, the “best-in-class” vendors and relationships --- in a nice little historical destination village,

where people come to eat popcorn while walking around to see the falls and shops, many of whom are now customers.

You would not believe, by the way, how much popcorn is sold out of that little Popcorn Shop. I know, because Click IT built their e-commerce store.

Now Click IT of Chagrin Falls has over 2,500 customers, and manages over 1,000 computers daily, watching over their business networks and helping them with their email, backups, security, printers, websites, and anything related to I-T.

Click IT of Chagrin has an A + rating from BBB and a 5-star Google ranking.

We have over 20 websites that will generate for our franchisees' web traffic that translates into foot traffic.

Uniquely I think, as a franchise, we help with all of this.

I want to build a strong network of owners and we can do it, I think because we have run our own store proving the model works for 10 years.

So now, the franchise. We call our franchise division "Motherboard" which owns the rights to sell franchises and all the I-P, intellectual property.

Motherboard has awarded two franchises, one just opened in Sun Valley Idaho – (Chad Bertoni is already speaking with me about a second store), and one is about to open in Brooklyn Ohio, about 20 miles from our Chagrin Falls store.

That Brooklyn store is going to have an illuminated sign, which I am looking forward to seeing.

In order to grow fast, we have developed a member’s portal that steps candidates through our vetting process.

Just the other day, I received a compliment from our soon-to-be Marietta store owners, regarding how much they have liked this system.

They were able to move at their own pace and weren’t overwhelmed all at once with the information we provide them with.

And let me tell you, it's a ton of information we provide to digest.

We have worked extremely hard to be sure we comply with the law and regulations regarding franchising. I have a lawyer on retainer to watch over everything I do.

Okay, what am I hoping to gain in making this presentation today?

Well obviously, franchising on a national scale cost money as you all know, and this is more than anyone can take out of a small store in a small town, through bootstrapping.

So the last time I was asked this question by John, I said we needed leads and money. Well of course. Do we all.

But now, several weeks later, I am happy to say, we have more leads than we can handle.

I have proven we can generate leads, and we can sell franchises. And, the timing is right on the money for this category.

Who doesn't need help with their IT?

The market is so large I believe we could have thousands of stores.

How am I going to get there?

Fortunately, I was awarded a $16,000 scholarship and I am attending next month an accelerator called NewChip in Austin Texas.

The goal for me now is to find the money so I can hire the talent, and then get out of the way.

In this process of raising capital and working with NewChip, I am looking for board members, so please let me know if you're interested and I can send you the information: https://clickitgroup.com/board-of-directors/

Created By
Al Harlow