You’re probably tired of reading this in every single article on the internet, but 2020 has been one crazy year. The COVID-19 pandemic required a number of restaurants, bars, and other public gathering spaces to shut down back in March, with a number of businesses being forced to close their doors permanently.
Eight months later, we still have yet to get back to normal life as we knew it in the “Before Times,” and business has slowed way down for restaurants, who are operating on a limited basis with takeout, delivery, and minimal dine-in service, though this has been significantly reduced as a result of social distancing guidelines.
Sounds like a pretty terrible time for an investor to add a restaurant franchise to their portfolio, right? Actually, for franchise investors who are looking at the bigger picture, there may never have been a better time in history to start a food service business than right now!
It’s true, according to franchise industry expert and Raintree CEO Brent Dowling. In a recent LinkedIn piece, Dowling explained why savvy franchise investors should strike now while the iron is hot, and how this dumpster fire of a year may have actually created the perfect storm for an entrepreneur to get a new business off the ground.
One Restaurant’s Failure is Another Food Franchise Owner’s Fortune
Matteo Rachocki, co-Founder of Raintree partner brand Voodoo Brewery, is optimistic about the future of his beer and food franchise.
Though it sounds depressing to say so, the rash of restaurants and retail businesses that have been forced to close permanently may actually be good news for budding entrepreneurs, in that prime real estate is now more affordable than it has been in over a decade, a phenomenon Dowling has witnessed firsthand through the eyes of Raintree’s restaurant partner brands’ newest Franchise Owners.
“For the folks we’ve placed into a restaurant franchise in the last couple months, the feedback has been excellent. The common sentiment is ‘We’re getting ‘A’ real estate sites for ’B’ or even ‘C’ pricing,’” he reports. “Throw on top of that the fact the we are seeing historically low interest rates on small business loans, and you have the perfect storm for business owners over the next 10 years.”
Additionally, all signs are already beginning to point to the fact that we may be in for a wave of post-pandemic consumer spending once we’re able to get down to business as usual. Food franchises such as McDonald’s (MCD) have already seen an uptick in sales, with 3.5 out of 5 McDonald’s Franchise Owners reporting higher sales and overall optimism about their 6-month business outlook, which is nearing an all-time high from February 2004.
Similarly, Jill Nelson, Dunkin Brands’ VP of Marketing Strategy reported to CNBC that the beloved donut-and-coffee franchise is seeing the impact of people “treating themselves” to food and beverages they can’t replicate at home.
And, as Dowling pointed out in his LinkedIn piece, “that’s just the opportunity we see from a consumer standpoint to see the bigger picture. As a business owner, the opportunity is perhaps even greater.”
Dowling listed what he perceived to be the top four factors indicating a roaring post-COVID comeback for franchise sales, particularly in the food service, retail, or experiential sectors. These factors include:
Pent-up consumer demand
Access to prime real estate
Lack of competition due to closures of mom-and-pop businesses
Playing the Food Franchise Long Game
By thinking long-term, Dowling asserts, business owners who invest now can capitalize on future franchise success.
“You buy a franchise agreement as a 10 year-plus investment (that can be renewed for decades after that if successful),” he says, adding that “(m)ost franchises take at least 2-3 years to mature to desired profitability levels.”
For a franchise investor looking to play the long game, this translates to historically-cheap commercial real estate prices now, due to restaurants and retail shops that have unfortunately gone out of business in recent months, with a higher potential for ROI once the world gets back to normal and people start spending like they did pre-pandemic.
“By many accounts, we will likely see a ‘return to normal,’ whether that means an effective vaccine or not, in 1-2 years,” Dowling points out. “Some say a heck of a lot sooner.”
It’s true- with this week’s reports of Pfizer’s highly-encouraging vaccine breakthrough dominating the news, it looks like we may finally be seeing some light at the end of this long, dark tunnel, and top scientists indicate that we may be anticipating a return to pre-pandemic life within a year.
Which brings us to our next point- after a year of sitting at home, doing nothing, seeing nobody, and going nowhere, it seems likely that people will be turning out in droves to get out and spend money on sorely-missed activities like dining out as soon as the vaccine makes it possible to do so. Dowling agrees, noting that the recent surge in home services businesses may level off as soon as staying home is no longer the only available option.
He asks, “When the world opens up, do we think people are going to want to continue to invest in their homes at the rate they are now? Or do you think any disposable income might be redirected to other options that were not really options during a pandemic?”
For Food Franchise Owners, the Future is Bright!
So, what’s the bottom line? While service franchises, such as painting, flooring, and other skills-based businesses, may look tempting now- particularly since they’ve been largely untouched by the pandemic and are in fact seeing a surge in business- food and retail franchises may be a savvy investor’s best bet in the long run.
It’s difficult to remember this at times, but the COVID-19 pandemic won’t last forever. Things will someday be back to normal, and it’s beginning to look like that is going to happen sooner rather than later. By taking a look at the bigger picture and seeing the overwhelming, unmet need there will be for restaurants and retail stores post-pandemic, a franchise investor can easily score a business deal of a lifetime now and look forward to amazing profitability potential when we are once again able to resume life as we know it.
Over his past 5 years as a Franchise Consultant, Carl Grossman has developed a deep knowledge and insight into this industry. From his mindset, his motivation, his intentions, and his passion, it is clear to see why he is in Business Alliance Inc.’s President’s Circle (meaning he is in the top 10% of all Certified Franchise Consultants in the network!) With an innate love for guiding others to become the best version of themselves, Carl’s genuine approach to consulting shines through with each client.
So, where did Carl’s journey begin?
Carl’s Road to Franchise Consulting
Carl spent his formative years performing turnarounds for large companies. In other words, he went into companies that were struggling and repaired them. He experienced great success with this business and became highly skilled at going into distressed situations to provide guidance and resolution to get companies back on their feet.
During the financial crisis of 2008, the concept of turnarounds started dying down as private equities took over. No one wanted to fix anything anymore. Everyone was just looking for the next billion-dollar start-up.
“Two million miles and two million hotel rooms later, I decided I wasn’t going to do it anymore,” Carl said. He spent a year trying to buy a business but had no luck. When he stumbled into an old friend and explained his situation, his friend suggested he look into franchise consulting. Carl was immediately intrigued. He began conducting some research, specifically on Business Alliance, Inc. Coming from a job where he was constantly on the road, he was drawn to the idea that franchise consulting would allow him to work on his own time and from wherever he wanted. The more he learned about franchising, the more fascinated he became. In 2015, he joined BAI and the rest is history!
What Does Carl Love Most About Franchise Consulting?
Mentoring and Relationships
Carl loves working with people who are in a career transition for any reason, whether because they are tired of working for someone else, approaching retirement, seeking diversification within their portfolio…whatever the case may be. As a former corporate CEO, he has a unique perspective he can bring to his clients, and as a lifelong mentor, consulting is another avenue for him to practice mentoring individuals. He builds meaningful relationships with his clients, getting to know them on a deeper level so he can guide them in the right direction that will benefit them the most in the long run. While some people may be hesitant to have someone they do not know holding their hand through the discovery process, Carl has not found much resistance at all. This is likely due much in part to his genuine interest in getting to know his clients, making them feel like a friend from the first call.
Speaking of the first call, this will always be one of Carl’s favorite parts of the business. “I still love it! I love getting on that first call with them and getting them excited about their path,” Carl explains.
In addition to the relationships he has made with his clients, Carl has come to love the community he has built with other Consultants and the entire BAI organization. He was asked to be a part of BAI’s inaugural group, which he willingly accepted. He appreciates the fact that they consistently ask for feedback, and much of what is suggested is not only taken into consideration but adopted and implemented.
He loves working with other consultants, bouncing ideas off of one another, and helping each other. He has found that they are all facing similar struggles and are happy to share how they have overcome them in the past. They are not in competition with one another – they are on the same team and share similar goals and interests, which is another refreshing and unique aspect of being a Franchise Consultant.
What is Carl’s #1 Tip For Consultants?
BE INVOLVED AND EDUCATED FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE END, AND BEYOND!
Carl emphasizes that this is a partnership business, so it is extremely important to be there as a partner to your client as well as to the Franchisor from beginning to end.
Carl is highly invested in the success of his clients from the very start. Once he passes them on to a Franchisor, he is very involved as they move through the education process. He is always on the first call because this can oftentimes be very overwhelming to candidates as they are presented with a great deal of new information. He makes the introduction of his client to the Franchisor, then mutes himself, and is a fly on the wall for the remainder of the conversation.
This not only gives him a sneak peek into a brand’s process and educates him on the brand, but he also calls his client immediately after to go over anything they did not understand, answer any questions, and ease any stress. He then circles that feedback right back to the Franchisor. “I learn so much about the brand with every call I am on,”Carl said. “The more educated I am on the brand, the more I can help.”
Carl does not limit himself to being on the initial call. He continues to be there for every step of the process. He will often perform an FDD review with his client before the brand does, just to prepare them for the call since this can be quite a daunting document. He is there to prepare for validation calls, evaluate the Discovery Day, and, of course, when it comes to decision time, he is there as moral support.
Not only that, but Carl continues to keep in touch with his clients after they have been awarded a franchise, and considers many of them lifelong friends. Beyond that, he also gets firsthand validation on the concept that he can speak to when presenting the brand later down the line.
Congratulations, Carl, on being Raintree’s November Consultant of the Month! We look forward to our continued partnership as we change lives together one franchise at a time!
We’re extending a big, warm welcome to our Raintree family. We are so excited to introduce you to our team of experts who are eager to hear your story and share it in a compelling way to others. Growing franchises is our passion, and we are good at it.
What Makes Raintree Franchise Sales Different
Raintree Franchise Sales is a performance-driven business. We rely on hard data and key performance indicators. We understand the franchise industry, know how to generate, qualify, and close leads, we know metrics, and we succeed only when we produce tangible results for our clients, which our numbers prove.
We understand the importance of digital marketing, a considerable driver of lead generation today—both for the Franchisor and the Franchise Owner. We then put our specialized knowledge to work for you as we create a customized strategic marketing plan based on historical data and current research that reaches and appeals to your target audience. Your plan may cover various approaches from social media to your landing page and website, trade shows, brokers, and more. We will track the effectiveness of your campaign in real-time, communicate with you regularly as we partner together, and produce results with our four pillars of franchise marketing:
Content and Design
Franchise Lead Generation
How We Help You Grow Franchises
Our omnichannel approach relies heavily on digital marketing, a robust lead generation driver, churns quality leads, and higher close rates per lead. Unfortunately, many Franchisers and franchise marketing companies miss the boat when it comes to this opportunity.
Each search engine and social media platform have relatively secretive algorithms. What is clear across channels, however, is that relevancy to keyword phrases is critical. On some platforms, such as LinkedIn, you get an added boost by being served up at a prioritized rate with your first and second-generation connections.
What Does “Relevancy to Keyword Phrases” Mean?
Historically, the emphasis was placed on keywords as opposed to phrases and their intended results. Take the word “cats” and assume you have a successful business focusing on cat toys. If you use “cats” as a keyword, you are casting too wide a net. A quick Google search reveals that the number one result for that keyword is the Broadway musical/movie among a list of nearly four billion results, most of which never seen.
A consumer searching for cat toys will enter a keyword phrase, such as “cat toys for mature cats,” which yields a fraction of the results for “cats” and are far more relevant. The trick is knowing what phrases your target audience will search for and delivering results (quality content) that specifically relate (this includes specific pages other than the home page on your website).
Your content displays organically without expensive franchise advertising (think pay per click and Adwords). While this might make logical sense, it’s not as easy to achieve as you might think, which is where we come in. Here are some of the things that help position you at the top of the search results:
Post frequent content that provides useful, accurate. and researched information
Update your pages and old blogs to be relevant
Use headlines effectively and include keywords and phrases.
Create shareable posts and conversation starters
Include infographics, images, and videos
Post at the time during peak traffic
Ensure your pages incorporate responsive design
How We Help Your Franchises Grow
Here at Raintree, we stay current with industry leaders and use SEO/SEM tools, like Yoast and Moz, which provide real-time feedback and suggestions for improving the optimization. Some of our clients’ sites have upwards of 50% organic traffic, and you can leverage these tactics, too.
We also recommend free certification courses like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and WordPress training to develop an in-depth understanding. You can also utilize retargeting and geofencing to continue to drill down to franchisee target audiences. Finally, Franchisors can support Franchise Owners by leveraging the advertising fund to train them and position them for success.
Staying current with the latest trends in SEO will give you a competitive advantage and help you succeed. We look forward to talking about areas of franchise development, marketing, and content creation and development with you.
If you have been in the franchise industry for a while, or even if you are new, we’re sure you already know the name Patrick Elsner! But do you know Patrick’s story? How he started in the business, or how many people he has helped over the years? Well, you’re in luck because we sat down and asked Patrick to share all of his secrets!
How Did It All Start?
Prior to franchise consulting, Patrick was the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals radio network. Sounds like a cool job, right? So, what was the pain point that made him start looking at other opportunities? It is the same pain point we hear a lot at Raintree- “I was managing 28 salespeople and I couldn’t stand it. I was sick of herding cats!”
During his time with the radio network, Patrick was introduced to the franchising world as he found himself selling sports sponsorships to local Franchise Owners. The more he learned about franchising the more intrigued he was to start his own business.
Like a lot of people, when Patrick started to look into franchising he decided to work with a franchise consultant, someone to give him guidance and provide an expert opinion. Originally, Patrick was interested in a tax franchise, but through time what ended up happening was that he took over the business that had belonged to his own franchise consultant upon his retirement. Patrick saw it as an ideal opportunity, primarily because it meant no employees!
Now, 18 years later Patrick still enjoys what he does every single day.
What Does Patrick Look For in the Brands he Presents?
Being in the industry for 18 years, Patrick has seen many trends and franchise concepts come and go. Because of this, he has a specific idea of what he looks for in brands that he presents to his clients. He explains, “The brands I show must have a unique selling proposition. They need to put a different spin on a common model.”
In order to find these brands, Patrick usually sticks with emerging concepts because they are new and exciting. One of the reasons Patrick loves working with Raintree is our focus on emerging brands and our dedication to only working with unique options in the marketplace.
One of the Raintree brands Patrick has had success with recently is Footprints Floors, placing two new Owners this year: one in Atlanta, Georgia, and the other in Asheville, North Carolina. He says, “My advice to consultants thinking about showing Footprints Floors is, don’t! I want to keep the brand all to myself. But in all seriousness, at the end of the day, every consultant is looking to show a concept that validates well, has strong profitability, and a team that can sell. Footprints Floors has all of this and more.”
500 Placements Later…
That is not a made-up number! Over the past 18 years, Patrick has helped 500 entrepreneurs. The number is probably higher, but Patrick wanted to remain conservative. “I feel like I have found a lot of success as a franchise consultant because I understand the industry and I know what makes Franchise Owners tick,” he says.
For example, Patrick regularly picks the brain of a close friend of his who is the largest Stanley Steemer Franchise Owner in St. Louis to find out what will draw someone toward pursuing business ownership.
Outside of this knowledge and intuition, Patrick breaks down his success very simply, saying, “There isn’t a magic formula to being successful. It comes from hard work, dedication, and wanting to put the effort in. I have 75-plus people in my pipeline at any given time so I do my admin work at night or on the weekends to keep my days open for calls. I have made franchise consulting a full-time career as it should be. Consulting is not something someone should do on the side. The dedication to my clients is really what has allowed me to differentiate myself from the other 99% out there. Also, as the youngest of 10 children, I am competitive and I want to crush other consultants!”
Congratulations, Patrick, on being our October Consultant of the Month! Here at Raintree we are all motivated by your hard work and success in the industry and look forward to working closely together in the future.
2020 is proving to be a volatile year for the economy, job market, politics, and more. Potential entrepreneurs looking for their next investment are wise to explore franchise opportunities since they are sometimes virtually immune to recessions.
Is now the right time for you to explore buying a franchise? Read through this piece to see if it’s the right business option for you.
Clear investment expectation in terms of cash requirement and the potential return on investment
The benefit of built-in brand awareness
Training and operational processes, procedures, and policies are pre-defined.
Now, you may be looking for a step-by-step process for how to buy a franchise. As with most things, you should know that purchasing a franchise includes nuance, so you should leave space for that. The nitty-gritty details are where Raintree flourishes in our niche. That being said, there are some components you should consider as factors for success.
Below is a list of helpful hints and tips for entrepreneurs who want to open a franchise.
1. Perform Due Diligence
It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many people take what is presented to them at face value. When buying a franchise, you don’t want to be “sold.” You want to enter into a business deal with a full scope of understanding and disclosure as a partner. You can enlist the help of others who have been through the process or who specialize in the buying and selling of franchises, and we’ll dive into that more later. You should do your part to review the documentation provided to you and pursue and identify information accessible on the internet, which is in abundance in this day and age.
Between online research, the assistance of a supportive person or team, and requests for information you make directly to the Franchisor, you should be able to identify any potential red flags and accurately assess the financial health of the business opportunity you are researching.
2. Know Thyself
Plato may not have been talking about owning a franchise when he coined the phrase “Know thyself,” but it applies here nonetheless. Not everyone is capable of entrepreneurship, and not every entrepreneur makes a good Franchise Owner. Try to think through some of these personal reflection questions to determine whether this is right for you.
Have you delivered results as an entrepreneur?
Have multiple people told you they see you as entrepreneurial?
Do you have the cash required to launch a franchise, not to mention the appropriate level of risk tolerance?
What sort of business works with your lifestyle?
What model suits your skills and interests while also aligning with market opportunity?
Let’s say you are presented with an opportunity to buy a franchise that seems like a great opportunity, but it requires more scheduling flexibility and expertise than you have. Do you take the plunge and try to plan for contingencies, or do you strategically research opportunities that meet your requirements? We would not recommend asking questions about franchise opportunities if you haven’t asked them first.
3. Understand Why You Buy
Okay, this one dovetails slightly from our previous point, but we think it needs to be addressed directly in more depth. Having the desire to be a business owner, and identifying companies that fall in your price range is only a small piece of the puzzle. As we said, you should know yourself well enough to know what unique value you bring to the table in owning a franchise, and this knowledge extends to a strategic market position.
For instance, did you know women are increasing in number as Franchise Owners? Why not leverage the position by looking for financing opportunities that might be unique to women-owned businesses? Further, what if you researched a company whose market is women but is owned by a man? What could you bring to the table as a woman buying franchises that could give you and your business an edge?
4. Interview Other Franchise Owners
What better way to gain an in-depth understanding of what Franchise Ownership looks like than to speak to a Franchise Owner? We recommend spending some time accumulating general knowledge about owning a franchise from a current Franchise Owner, even if it is in a different industry. These conversations can yield helpful, generalized information about Franchise Ownership, lessons learned, and expectations.
If possible, we strongly encourage you to have a conversation with a current or former Franchise Owner of the company you’re considering purchasing. While some geographic market factors may leave room for nuance, they will provide a depth of insight that you can’t get anywhere else. Franchise Owners are a great source of information. Use this time to ask pointed, direct questions about their experience, recommendations, satisfaction, and success level.
5. Perform a Cost Analysis
State and federal laws vary as to the requirements of specific franchise contracts, so you will want to thoroughly understand what is required on your part in terms of financial contribution, capital investments, and varying costs and fees. Be sure everything is laid out and carefully defined in any written agreement you sign. Franchise fees can vary widely depending on the brand and what is included in the franchise package. Couple this with operational investments and ongoing costs, and you’ll need to ensure you have the cash outlay necessary to get up and running.
6. Enlist the Help of a Professional
As knowledgeable as you may be, enlisting the help of a professional agency can provide supplemental expertise and manage some details, which frees you up to focus on your strengths. Raintree has an extensive network of brokers, in-house sales, consultants, and marketing experts who are well-rounded professionals in the franchise space. You will be working hard and spending vast amounts of time and money in the initial start-up phase. Allow Raintree to research and speak into the nuance of segmented market availability and strategic digital marketing.
Let’s Recap, Shall We?
As you know, there are no free lunches and very few guarantees in life. The level of return you may see when buying a franchise is contingent upon your knowledge, skill, entrepreneurial spirit, cash flow, due diligence, and ability to put forth the time to make it a successful endeavor.
Franchisors have an interest in your success, which makes the agreement mutually beneficial. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to understand one another, the business model, the opportunity, how it aligns with your contribution, and engage support when you need it.
Franchises are historically successful at least partially because they have a profitable model and process that is repeatable, which requires a spirit of entrepreneurship tempered with the desire to repeat what already works.
You’ll still need to bring your business acumen and grit to the endeavor. If you’re ready to do that, it’s time to move to the next step. Call Raintree at 720.295.2744 today!
Our September pick for Franchise Consultant of the Month, Scott Diener, is a 30+ year veteran in franchising and franchise ownership. From building multiple brands from scratch beginning in 1989, when he helped launch the Unocal76 gas station brand into franchising, to starting a franchise concept, Scooter’s Jungle, with his family, Scott shares his unique point of view from the Franchisor’s needs to the multi-unit owner’s requirements and continues to run his franchise consulting business today.
Scott’s Journey of Franchise Ownership, Education, and Consulting
As Project Manager with Unocal76, Scott was instrumental in overseeing everything from strategy, design, ground-up real estate, and launch of franchise operations. During this time, Scott also received his MBA from USC in Entrepreneurial Studies, where he still volunteers as an advisor to students. After accomplishing the goal of 200 new open Unocal76 locations in two years, the company’s retail division was sold to Circle K. This was Scott’s first introduction to franchising and building brands. From there, he moved on to work in franchise business development for Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, and Quiznos, focusing on the corporate side of things and nurturing the people management skills that proved instrumental in building his current career as a franchise consultant.
While Scott enjoyed working with Franchise Owners, he found that his “corporate road warrior” role with each company came at a cost, keeping Scott away from his family. After years of helping others start a business, Scott got bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. Together with his wife, Sharon, Scott founded a private birthday party concept called Scooter’s Jungle in 2002. The business was a major success, opening three corporate locations. Even with all this activity, being an entrepreneur offered Scott the opportunity to transform his old business travel into longer trips abroad with his family.
After six years of building a replicable business model, Scott transformed the business into a franchise offering for the Southern California market. The insights he had gained by working with Franchise Owners were invaluable from his new perspective as a corporate owner.
After spending years mentoring MBA students and working with Scooter’s Jungle Franchise Owners, Scott wanted to get back into the business of helping others connect with their ideal business dreams. Scott further developed his “why,” and franchise coaching was the natural fit. He could use the experience in all aspects of franchising, business development, and ownership, and pair them with his desire to guide and mentor others toward achieving their goals. In 2014, he joined The You Network and International Franchise Professionals Group and has thoroughly enjoyed developing relationships and helping people ever since.
Scott’s Recipe for Success as a Franchise Consultant
Scott attributes his success in relating to his clients as someone who has walked in their shoes and speaks from both firsthand experiences and the heart. He is transparent with his clients and can talk knowledgeably about the hard work and dedication needed to be successful as a Franchise Owner, setting realistic expectations without sugar-coating anything. Transparency builds trust that is imperative for fostering the deep client relationships necessary to help them discover the perfect opportunity. He asks the tough questions and makes sure that they understand this will be a profound lifestyle change for them and their family.
Scott emphasizes getting to know his clients by allowing the client to share their journey, their background, and their “why” that prompted them to begin their search. By diving deep, Scott can help his clients accurately identify the pains they are experiencing and how they can be solved. As a franchise consultant, he understands it’s essential to be agile to adjust to clients’ changing needs.
Finally, Scott recommends joining peer groups with seasoned consultants who challenge each other to grow. At times, it’s easy to become complacent or even lazy, getting into a routine of doing the same thing every day. Surrounding yourself with inspirational consultants with varying opinions who are doing it right is incredibly beneficial. They are the best resources!
What Does Scott Look For in a Franchise Concept to Present?
First, it must be the right fit for the client! Scott also breaks it down into two main categories:
1. Development Team
“I am handing over my client whom I have just invested a significant amount of time building a relationship with over to a reputable development team that I must trust to take care of my client. Raintree is a great example where I have high confidence in the professionalism of the education process of any of the Raintree brands. I appreciate extra communication from the development team to ensure consistently updated on my client’s progress and honesty. If I send over someone who is not a great fit, tell me and why! We all learn and not waste an individual’s time.”
2. Leadership Team & Validation
“Having been a multi-unit owner, I understand the significance of a great leadership team and strong franchisee validation. Current franchise owner satisfaction build’s the brand’s story, the track record of success, and the ability to speak to the franchisee support received from corporate. The training program, launch, and ongoing support from leadership is vital to the long term success of the business as well.”
Congratulations, Scott Diener, on being recognized as Raintree’s September Franchise Consultant of the month! Thank you for letting us share your story.