Article by Justin Wick 1851 Franchise Contributor
Pennsylvania-based franchisees Mary Guarino and Allison McWilliams are reaping the benefits of semi-absentee ownership and have led their business out of pandemic-related limitations.
Mary Guarino and Allison McWilliams are owners of a BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Center franchise in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, providing stress and weight loss management guidance to greater Philadelphia and helping a growing audience of clients achieve their wellness goals. After establishing the franchise and developing a presence throughout a bustling market, both Guarino and McWilliams have earned the luxuries of semi-absentee franchise ownership.
In 2020, the BeBalanced franchise in Blue Bell earned $422,970 in sales, the fourth-highest earning total out of all 25 franchise locations. According to David Cutillo, the brand’s CEO, the resounding success is a testament to the diligence of both Guarino, McWilliams and the constructive lines of communication they have developed and fostered with the brand’s corporate team.
“One of the most enticing things about franchising with our brand is that our business model can sell itself once a franchisee develops an initial presence,” Cutillo said. “Both Mary and Allison have committed themselves from the beginning. All that hard work has put them in a great position to enjoy the fruits of their labor, all while still delivering on the BeBalanced promise to their clients.”
The Franchise Has Been Proven by the Owners Itself
Guarino and McWilliams became BeBalanced owners more than six years ago. They pursued a solution to traditional weight loss incentives, looking to find a business that would separate itself from traditional offerings. Both tried the program on their own and saw results, furthering their interest for franchise development and providing them with invaluable background insights to carry to their clients.
They discovered the BeBalanced brand before it had any franchisees. “Back in the beginning, not many people came to the program based on brand recognition,” Guarino said. “Now six years later, with the community we built and other franchise owners nearby, we get some people who heard about it from other locations.”
Both Guarino and McWilliams first heard about a BeBalanced location in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that got them interested in franchising with the brand. “Even when the brand wasn’t franchising yet, the company was on a mission to really help people,” Guarino said.
The Brand Is Changing a Perspective on Weight Loss Programs
“Women in general struggle with weight loss, and there are so many programs out there offering solutions,” Guarino said. “We really fell in love with everything BeBalanced represented.”
Guarino and McWilliams have informed their community that BeBalanced is not a hormonal replacement service, and is instead a wellness-based business model that helps people who are looking for successful weight loss and relief from PMS/Menopause symptoms. “Once we started getting that brand awareness out there, we started to see the number of clients grow and see more referrals,” Guarino said. “Now, the number one way people are coming to us is through referrals. We’re starting to grow even in the pandemic.”
After Six Years, This BeBalanced Franchise Is Only Growing Further
The BeBalanced franchise in Blue Bell is now operated with a separate general manager, allowing both Guarino and McWilliams to manage day-to-day operations without the previous rigors they were accustomed to. By monitoring their business with an outside perspective, they are able to entertain new strategies for brand growth and promotion.
“Post-pandemic, we prioritized putting the right people in the right positions. I used to be full force as an owner, but now I’m semi-absentee,” Guarino said.
Guarino says the transition has been favorable for all employees. “Honestly, it was the best 12 months we’ve ever had,” she said. “We’re committed to keeping the right people in the right positions and are taking the right marketing steps.”
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