Pakistan native finds fulfilling career, work-life balance with CMIT Solutions franchise
Babar Farooqi, a native of Pakistan, opened his CMIT Solutions office in a small town about 20 miles southwest of Newark off Interstate 78, in a state with 13 CMIT locations. Farooqi, an experienced programmer and executive, grew tired of endless acquisitions and long hours, so he decided to put his skills to use in his own business.
How long have you been a CMIT Solutions franchise partner?
Since September 2011. I heard about CMIT Solutions through a business consultant; the company I was working for got acquired, and one of my options was to start my own business. So I went to a consultant, we talked about it, I looked at a couple of different franchise models. CMIT was the right fit for me because I had a technology background. I had worked with businesses, helping them with technology projects.
What is your background in technology?
I consider myself a hardcore programmer. As I went up through the ranks in the corporate world, I became a manager of multiple organizations. I used to work for a really large Fortune 500 company, Computer Associates, one of the largest software developers in the world, and that allowed me to experience a huge array of technologies and different types of computers, mainframes, etc. It allowed me to get exposed to different types of business challenges, and as part of that, I got into professional services. I was asked to go work with the customers … figure out what their problems were and develop solutions. Eventually, I moved from a Fortune 500 to start-up companies, acted as head of technology, making sure software was developed and supported. I got recruited into a startup, which got acquired by Oracle, then I moved to a couple of other, smaller organizations … I went through so many acquisitions and company restructures, I felt it was time for me to start with something of my own.
What made you decide to buy a CMIT Solutions franchise?
At the start of my search, I looked at several different types of franchises. For me, coming from the corporate world, franchising was the right move because I didn’t feel comfortable that I could start a business from scratch. With a franchise, I felt that there would be a system in place that would support and help me in building my business. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. What I brought to the table was my business expertise, my technology expertise, and I thought that if I found the right franchise system that can help me use my expertise, that’s what I want to do.
There were two main IT franchises that I looked at, and I felt more comfortable with CMIT because of the responsiveness I got from the home office as part of my due diligence and research. I had a slew of questions … and I felt there was a really, really strong network of franchisees and that there’s a huge amount of information that’s being shared with them. And that’s been my experience. There’s a huge amount of camaraderie, a huge amount of information-sharing and support within the franchise system that has helped me through my initial start-up stages.
What do you like most about CMIT Solutions’ franchise opportunity?
Frankly, I think it’s the interactions between the franchise partners. I’m in an area in which I’m blessed with a number of really, really good franchise partners, so as a brand-new franchisee, I get a huge amount of support from my area developer and the local franchisees. That includes guidance on what I need to do in the beginning, answering my questions, answering simple things like, “How do I network?” “What are the things I have to do to build the business?” Questions about hiring technicians, operations, how to build a proposal in sales — just a slew of things that as a new business owner you have to deal with, and if I had not had that support, I would have had to figure that out myself somehow. Now, whenever I have a question, we have almost 140 franchisees, so within minutes I get a response, some advice, a hint that I can use, and it helps me make a good decision.
What kind of lifestyle does CMIT Solutions franchise ownership allow you to live?
I’m in the very early stages of my business … What I would like to see, what I would expect to see, is because of the nature of CMIT’s business, I will be able to have, eventually, a better work-life setup for myself. I would be able to spend more time with my family. There are other franchises, other businesses, where you are required to work 12-hour days, and you cannot leave. If you have a retail shop, you start at 9 o’clock in the morning and leave there at 9 o’clock in the evening, and you have to constantly be there. With the CMIT business, there’s a better balance of work and life. I can work 9 to 5, and I have the flexibility to work long hours if I like, weekends if I like, and if I choose not to, I’m able to do that. If I want to go to my son’s soccer game, I can do that. If I need to run an errand for my wife, I can do that. If I want to take an educational course in the middle of the day, I can do that … that flexibility was one of the biggest things for me when I decided to become a CMIT franchise partner.
What kind of person makes a good CMIT Solutions franchise partner?
They have to be very flexible. They have to be able to adapt to different challenges they come across on a daily basis. They also have to be able to adjust to the different activities required to run a business. As a franchise partner, you have to work on marketing, sales and operations. The good thing is that you get support for all three, and you may be able to focus on what you’re really good at over time and have other support or personnel who can focus on things you’re not so good at. But the flexibility and adaptability are very, very important.
Why would you recommend a CMIT Solutions franchise to someone thinking about starting a business?
It is a very, very good franchise system with very good support from the franchisor and the other franchisees. For me, it was also very important to have the right work-life balance. You have the capability to control the time you spend on your work and with your family and other interests. If it’s a person who’s interested in building a business, and is looking for a business you don’t have to build from scratch, the franchise model gives them a very good opportunity … I think businesses serving the small and medium-sized businesses is one of the largest growing opportunities in the United States today, mainly because there is huge growth in small and medium-sized businesses, and all those businesses need computers, need technology, need to set up networks, need to have support for their growing stable of employees. If an individual is targeting that market, they will have a very, very good business, and with CMIT, it targets an underserved market … Right now, from the research we have done, the majority of small to medium-sized businesses do not use professional help to service their technology. They try to do it themselves, or they have a friend or relative who comes in and tries to do it, and pretty soon they come to a point where they need to go out and find a professional to help. That’s where CMIT comes in. Just like small businesses need accountants and lawyers, they need a technology expert to come in and advise them on how technology can help them grow.
Want to know more about CMIT Solutions’ unique and growing franchise opportunity? Visit us at www.cmitfranchise.com.