By: Jessica Verhey, former College Pro Entrepreneur


The first week of running my College Pro franchise was stressful to say the least.

One day, I was running a few minutes late from the paint store.

I was meeting a new crew at 8 a.m. and we were planning to paint lower windows, doors and frames on the exterior of a house.

The previous paint on the home was oil based, so I got new oil paint to put over the top.

I drove up to the house and my new painters were waiting outside. I got out of my van and opened up the side door.

Two cans of paint fell out of the van and one exploded on the driveway.

If this had been latex paint, there would have been a simple solution: Get a hose and water down the spill.

Oil paint is a whole other story. You need dirt to soak up the paint and then paint thinner to remove everything else.Crisis Management - Customers, Painters and Spills

I ran around the van to get paint thinner and instantly smacked my head on a ladder. I didn’t see it hanging over the back of the van.

All this happened in front of three new employees. They all looked more shocked then I was.

Does this type of day sound familiar? Welcome to the growing pains of running your first business!

I remember thinking, what did I get myself into? Now I have a spill to clean, painters to train and a customer to speak with.

Over the years working with College Pro, I learned new experiences are always an opportunity for learning.

The way you react to a situation can have a huge impact on the result.

For example, if I decided to leave the jobsite or give up cleaning the spill, I would have had a much more negative result.

Instead, I cleaned the spill and took the opportunity to train my new painters on how to do so.

Staying calm is difficult, but if you are in a crisis, it is your most valuable attribute.

Take time to process through your options and always ask for help when needed.

If I was having a miscommunication with a painter or customer, I contacted my general manager for advice.

He would help think through the situation and create a plan. From there, I took the time I needed to think and then respond.

For those of you running a new franchise, challenging situations may come up.

Remember, it’s all right to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Part of what I loved about College Pro is that I would wake up in the morning and not know entirely what the day had in store.

There was never a dull moment when running my business and I became a better person because of each challenging experience.

Related: 2013 Days of Summer at College Pro – Album


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