Meet Marek – Joos’ franchise partner covering key territories in Eastern Europe. Marek’s journey started when he visited London for a weekend trip, suffering from the common dreaded moment when his phone battery was low. What would follow is a transformative career shift, the launch of a new service in several Eastern European cities, and the expansion of the Joos brand into previously unchartered territory.
We’ll be taking a deeper dive into the franchising process with Joos, and how the collaborative journey we have embarked on with Marek has helped set the foundations for the early success Marek has begun to have with Joos.
Joos: Marek, welcome! Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Marek: Sure, my name is Marek and I’m originally from a small town in Slovakia called Trenčín. I moved to Bratislava for high school and have ended up staying since. Ever since I was little, I’ve always dreamed of starting my own business and being my own boss, so after working in the security industry, I decided it was the right time to take the plunge and start my own business.
Joos: Coming from Slovakia, how did you find out about Joos?
Marek: The idea for my new venture with Joos came about by coincidence during a trip to London last year. My phone battery was dying, and I stumbled upon a Joos station, borrowed a power bank, and liked the concept a lot. It was a solution I have not really seen in my country and thought it had a lot of potential. That’s when I started exploring how to start a partnership with Joos.
Joos: What inspired you to make your career switch?
Marek: I am someone who needs growth and saw starting a business as a great way to achieve that, rather than staying in one field. The security industry in Slovakia seemed slightly limiting for someone of my nature, so I began looking for a change. When I saw Joos in London, it felt everything aligned for me and that it would be the perfect opportunity to start my business journey.
Joos: You mentioned your first encounter with Joos in London. What were the next steps after that?
Marek: Upon returning home to Slovakia, I was actively exploring ways to start the business and discovered the option of franchising with Joos through the website. I reached out through the franchising form on the website, got in contact with the team, and things progressed from there.
Joos: In the initial phases, I assume you needed a lot of support. Can you tell me a bit more about the support you received from the Joos team?
Marek: Absolutely. Joos provided significant support from the start, including regular meetings to plan and strategise. They guided us on the process of venue selection, which was crucial for our business to start out with. Additionally, after the team invited us to visit them in the HQ office, we delved into commercial strategy, and had the opportunity to learn about the hardware, maintenance, and software updates.
Most importantly for me, we learned about Joos’ history, had the opportunity to meet all the team and had long discussions about wider commercial strategy. This helped me gain confidence and trust in the process. The Joos HQ team were super transparent and friendly about all the challenges they’ve faced along their own journey.
Joos: The meeting in London seems pivotal. Can you elaborate on its significance?
Marek: The London meeting was crucial, and it completely transformed our whole experience with the franchising process. It gave us first-hand experience with the hardware, insights into maintenance, and software updates, and an understanding of Joos’ team structure. This gave us the blueprint of how we can expect to grow our own franchise.
Joos: Were there specific challenges during the setup and launch of the partnership?
Marek: Of course. Financing posed a challenge for us initially but with help from the Joos team, my colleague, Miroslav, and our Financial Director, Daniela, we were quickly able to overcome this. My general advice to anyone starting a franchise is that you need to learn to improvise and navigate unforeseen circumstances. You can prepare for some things, but others require on-the-spot problem-solving.
Joos: Talking about finances, what were the main costs associated with starting this partnership?
Marek: The primary costs involved purchasing the product, and maintaining a financial reserve for miscellaneous expenses such as accountants, customs fees, and taxes. Shipping costs were also a consideration.
Joos: I am sure it was not all plain sailing – have there been any major challenges? And if so, how did you navigate them?
Marek: The main challenge we encountered was around shipping, although we expected this due to Brexit. The Joos HQ team arranged everything for us through their trusted shipping partner, who helped guide us through the process. The shipping only took around one week, however unfortunately there were customs issues on the Slovakian side. We worked closely with Joos HQ, who promptly provided the additional documents that were requested. Their support and patience were crucial in overcoming these challenges. Moving forward, the Joos team has now established a European entity, as well as a warehouse in Europe, so when we buy our next batch of products it should be much easier.
Joos: As a franchisee, what kind of support do you receive from Joos’ tech team?
Marek: Our main point of contact is the UK product manager, who assists with software updates, hardware issues, and software usage and communicates with the wider technology team for the relevant issue. They are quick to respond to any problems, providing valuable support for us.
Joos: What skills do you think are crucial for someone considering becoming a franchisee?
Marek: There are many skills that come to my mind. First and foremost, I believe, effective selling and communication skills, particularly in building relationships with venue managers, are crucial. Being able to highlight the value proposition of the franchise and build trust with potential partners is key to success in this role.
Moreover, the ability to improvise and adapt to unforeseen challenges is equally important, and having this skill has helped our business get off the ground & establish valuable partnerships with clients from a number of different industries. Franchisees who possess this skill can navigate obstacles more effectively and capitalise on opportunities as they arise
These skills have been instrumental in launching our business and cultivating valuable partnerships across diverse industries.
Joos: What do you believe is your top skill contributing to this partnership?
Marek: Building strong relationships with venue personnel is a strength of mine. Maintaining friendly connections ensures that any issues with our product are promptly addressed. Additionally, as we navigated the complexities of the franchising process, I found that my adeptness at improvisation played a significant role in our success. The ability to think on my feet and adapt quickly to changing circumstances has proven invaluable in overcoming obstacles and seizing opportunities throughout this venture. This combination of relationship-building and improvisational skills has been instrumental in driving the growth of our partnership.
Joos: Thanks a lot for the insights, Marek! To wrap things up, could you give our readers a sneak peek into what is on the horizon for Joos Slovakia?
Marek: Well, the start of this year looks very exciting for us! We are set to launch in 2 major shopping centres in Bratislava in the coming weeks. We are also in talks with strategic partners to make Joos more accessible throughout venues in Bratislava alongside other cities in Slovakia and Czech Republic later this year.
Does Marek’s story inspire your inner entrepreneur? If the idea of launching an innovative sharing economy concept excites you, we’d love to hear from you! Marek’s success story is an excellent example of how Joos backs budding business owners to introduce our revolutionary charging solution to global markets.