Big Sky Franchise has three values that guide everything they do. From their clients, staff, consultants and suppliers, they live and work by three ideals: win-win relationships, professional excellence, and continuous improvement.
Their leadership has been helping owners franchise their businesses for more than 15 years. They believe why they do business is just as important as how and what they do to help entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business leaders be their best by growing and expanding through franchising.
As a result of their focus, effort, and determination, they have won some awards and recognition, including the Best Franchise Consultancy in the U.S. in 2018 and 2019.
Tom DuFore is the CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team, where he is responsible for the company strategy, vision, and growth.
And grow they did – to the point where he realized he needed to duplicate himself with the support of someone dedicated to helping him operate and run the business.
So he sought the help of a Virtual Assistant with BELAY.
The end, right? Well, not quite.
“It just was not a good fit – and it kind of fell apart in the first six weeks,” he says. “It really was noticeable. I tried pushing through, but it wasn’t working. I needed a right hand, and help with not just administrative duties but a mix of everything.”
But Tom admits he was unsure about trying again.
“I was hesitant about going back through the process again but at the coaching of my Client Success Consultant, I decided to trust the process,” he shares. “It would have taken me more time and money to try on my own.”
He also knew that he needed a very specific someone.
“There are times I’m [having] very high-level conversations with large business executives,” he explains. “And then there are times where you’re making copies. So, we needed someone that could work within that dynamic.”
So BELAY went back to the drawing board knowing what didn’t work the first time around and, well, the rest is history.
Enter: BELAY VA #2 Evonne.
“She’s just been fantastic, absolutely amazing,” Tom gushes. “It’s a perfect fit for our needs. She is entrepreneurial-minded, she’s marketing-focused, customer service-oriented – all of the things that are important to me and our values. “She fits in so, so well with us. And so it’s been really, really great, and she’s made a big, big difference for me.”
The cultural fit? Perfection. Now, what about the administrative fit?
“One of the first things that we did was identify my pain points – the things that I just don’t like to do,” he explains. “And for me, there are a few items that I just dread doing, like accounting and billing, so those were some of the first things we offset.”
But, as mentioned earlier, Tom doesn’t like to gather moss, so in addition to his role as CEO of Big Sky Franchise, he also owns a small restoration company.
“We have a great staff and one of our long-term employees – she won the administrative professional of the year award from corporate a couple of years ago – but she was at a point in her life where she was ready to retire,” he says.
But he didn’t know how to fill her shoes.
“So we went back to BELAY and to our assistant Evonne and said, ‘Is this something that you can do?’” he shared. “And she said absolutely.”
Then, when the need for a bookkeeper arose, Tom came to BELAY once again, thanks in large part to how well Evonne – and the BELAY team – supported him.
The transition of Sam taking over the books for both businesses and Evonne for his restoration business proved seamless.
“Now, [Evonne] runs most of the administrative processes – billing, collections, general administrative support and hiring,” he says. “She’s been great at picking that up right away. And it was perfect because she was already dialed into our culture, already knew our preferences working together, and then did the same thing with our [BELAY] bookkeeper, Sam.”
“Evonne, Sam and BELAY – we’ve got this whole support system for these companies we’re running and managing together.”
“She definitely was part of the reason that 2018 to 2019, we doubled our growth and the year after had a 50-percent growth rate,” Tom says. “There’s no doubt she was a big part of that, helping to clear some of those things out of my mind to jump into it.”
Music to our ears.
“It’s really been a great experience,” he shares. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to endorse BELAY and be able to share my experience because it’s been great. The customer service has been great. Responsiveness has been great. The work conducted by representatives has been top-notch. I have a high personal standard and for those that I work with – and BELAY has met and exceeded those expectations.”