We had helped 10 other JBF businesses get started around the country and were also assisting them with things like customer service, marketing, operations, etc. The move to franchising was a natural step in expanding the Just Between Friends brand that we originally started in my living room in Tulsa in 1997.
We did a lot of praying and talking to those already in the franchise business and made the decision to take that leap of faith. We knew that there would be risk involved, but we also knew that communities around the country needed what Tulsa had already embraced, a way to make and save money for their families.
Thinking about all the moms and dads that could benefit from JBF was really what helped us stay on track and move us forward, even when things weren’t easy.
2: You’ve gone international – in a way. Tell us more about that and what it means for Just Between Friends.
I think there is a trend here maybe it’s the irrational optimism that I have stepping out and tackling these growth opportunities and hoping for the best. It has been one of our goals for several years now to take JBF international.
Again, talking to those in the industry that have paved the way for international franchising was key. One of my best practices is to surround myself with smart people. I know that I do not have to be the expert in every area of Just Between Friends, but I had better find those who are experts in their field.
3: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? How have you seen this concept copied in ways you didn’t expect?
If someone thinks that they can do it better than you, cheaper than you, faster than you, etc, they will try. Our goal is to try to stay one step ahead of our competitors with new and innovative ideas that keep our customers coming back for more, while also keeping an eye on the budget and our core concept.
It’s hard realizing that I am no longer Just Between Friend’s demographic, so making sure that I choose to listen to our customers, the ones who are actually shopping and selling with us, is key.
4: What is the MasterMind Mompreneur Group?
This is simply a group of business owners (moms) who get together to share life and work challenges and accomplishments and learn from one another. It’s a time for friendship, fellowship and mentorship.
About five years ago, I got a call from Cindy Morrison, former channel 8 anchor, letting me know that she had started her own business and asked if I wanted to join her in a small group of entrepreneurs (four of us), that would meet periodically for a set amount of time, with a set agenda. I jumped at the chance to work with Cindy, who owns a social media strategy company called Socialvention, Carey Baker, CEO of Part Time Pros, and Adrienne Kallweit, owner of Seeking Sitters Franchise System.
On a side note, the Tulsa Chamber has a similar concept called CEO Roundtables. This, too, has been an invaluable part of my business acumen – surrounding myself with other business owners and sharing life and work experiences.
5: Your husband is a minister and you are involved in mission work. What areas speak most to your heart and why?
Thank you so much for asking me this question. Mitch and I have been married for almost 24 years. During that time, we have been so grateful to be at the same church for the entirety of his ministry, Park Plaza Church of Christ in Tulsa.
We have both had the opportunity to travel domestically and internationally to serve in different areas. In 2010, our entire family traveled to Niteroi, Brazil, with a program called Let’s Start Talking. We were there for two weeks of a six-week program and got to help Brazilians practice their conversational English using the Bible as text and content.
The thing that I loved about that particular trip was that my children also got to minister right alongside my husband and me. I’ll never forget it.
See the full article in the Tulsa World here.
Shannon Wilburn is the CEO & Co-founder of Just Between Friends Franchise Systems, Inc. (JBF), North America’s leading children’s & maternity consignment event. JBF has 150 franchises in 28 states and Canada. JBF is actively seeking franchisees throughout North America. Click here to learn more about owning a franchise.