“As Americans, we all dream of owning a business and doing our own thing. It’s just a matter of finding your niche,” said United States Air Force Veteran, Mario Rivers.
The former Senior Airman discovered how difficult that niche is to find. After working in education for 17 years, it was pure happenstance and a colleague’s phone conversation that encouraged him to finally make the call to Coverall’s Charlotte Support Center and start the journey of business ownership.
“I heard of Coverall a few years back but never pursued the opportunity,” said Mario. “It wasn’t until I overheard a colleague on the phone that I realized he was a Coverall Franchised Business Owner. It was then that I decided to ask him about the opportunity.”
It might have been the coincidence of that phone conversation which sparked Mario to begin thinking about a franchised business opportunity with Coverall. But, it was the commercial cleaning industry itself that gave him the confidence to get started. After all, offices, medical facilities, childcare centers, and other businesses will always require a cleaning service of some kind. Such a need wasn’t the only factor. In addition, he would be able to maintain his job while starting and growing his own business at his own pace. This helped alleviate the risk of going “all in” that many other business owners face when first starting out.
There was another element to his inspiration -- something he realized after reading an article in a Coverall newsletter during his visit to the Charlotte Support Center. The article highlighted the story of a Coverall Franchised Business Owner who employs members of the community and provides them with a job opportunity. From that moment on, he was all in.
Today, as the owner of C.E.R. Enterprises, LLC, based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, Mario builds his business in pursuit of his personal and professional goals. He started his Coverall Franchised Business in March of this year and already has plans to expand so, he can offer jobs to those who need them.
“I’m extremely happy that I’m doing this,” Mario reflects. “Not only do I have an opportunity to be a business owner, I can help others by employing them too. Best of all, this is something I hope to pass on to my son one day.”
Q&A with Mario:
Q: How has your military background been of service to you as a business owner?
A: Besides the discipline and structure, it’s the interaction with my employees and my customers that has been the greatest influence from my time in the U.S. Air Force. In the military, we work with each other and the way you treat the folks working around you goes a long way to accomplishing what you set out to achieve.
Q: What advice would you give a fellow Veteran just starting their business?
A: Learn your customers. You can do everything you think is right, and maybe you are right, but it’s the customer who is putting food on your table. You’ve got to take the time to focus on what makes your customers tick and make the necessary adjustments to keep them happy.
Q: Would you recommend a Coverall franchised business to your fellow Veterans? Why?
A: Had I known about Coverall when I transitioned out of the military, I would’ve done it immediately. Starting a business is a great option for a Veteran, especially one just making the transition to civilian life. No matter how specialized or prominent your position was in the military, it can be difficult to integrate those skills into the working world, which makes for a tough path to finding a way of life and a way to survive.