“Nick-Anthony Zamucen” the President & CEO of Bio-One Inc. The first and only successful franchised crime scene cleaning company. Nick-Anthony has done for the “crime & trauma scene cleaning industry” what Mark Zuckerberg has done for social media. He is also a published author, business strategist, and an award winning serial entrepreneur that has had tremendous success in various business ventures. He has recently been named to the list of “Top 40 Under 40 CEO’s” and has lead the Bio-One franchise organization to three national franchise awards in the last year.
Bio-One Inc. is the first and only successful crime and trauma scene clean-up franchise. Our franchises are in 10 different states and we are by far, the leader in bio-recovery worldwide. Bio-One’s marketing campaigns are industry specific, innovative and have proven successful year after year.
MO: How did you come up with the concept for Bio-One?
Nick-Anthony: First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to interview me. It is a real honor. I came up with the idea to franchise Bio-One because of the inconsistencies and fragmented market. Every crime scene cleaning company seemed to be doing things differently. Most failed within their first six months to a year of opening. I’ve opened many small businesses and never failed, what made me so different? I’m not special, or am I?
There have been a few failed attempts to franchise a crime scene cleaning company before me, but these individuals really had no business sense. Being able to run a successful crime scene cleaning company, or even training people to work as cleaners does not correlate into being able to run a million dollar franchised organization. Their failures and missteps are not surprising to me at all. People in this industry are not known to be savvy in business. Thank goodness I am, because if not, this would have been an expensive gamble. Starting a franchise organization can’t and shouldn’t be done on the cheap. Starting any business undercapitalized is mistake number one.
I was told by more than a few “respected” people in the industry, franchising crime scene cleaning companies won’t work. It’s a waste of time and my money. Yes, these were some of the same folks who tried it, and failed miserably shortly after offering their franchise concept. When they said it couldn’t be done, I said, “Oh yeah? Let me show you what I can do.”
MO: Can you talk a bit about the developing your idea and turning it into a successful franchise? What were some of the early challenges that you faced and how did you overcome them?
Nick-Anthony: The development seemed to be the easy part. The marketing, business strategy, and competition assessment, are all aspects I have vast experience with, which makes the foundation of each franchise uniformed. However, like every person, every franchise is a bit different, so we are able toy around a bit with strategies as long as 80% is kept formatted to our franchise model.
One challenge I had was timing. I wanted to start offering franchises once I had completed the business side of things, but we also needed to write our FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document), Franchise Agreements and Operations Manual. These things are not and can not be boiler plate. This was a task and a legal nightmare. There were concerns about what I could write and what I shouldn’t. Do we add an Article 19? These and several other matters were just some of the initial considerations we had to address early on. The legal fees and the time it all took was unexpected on my part, but do things right the first time, or I assure you, you’ll have to do them again. There are no shortcuts to success.
MO: What makes your marketing campaigns such a success?
Nick-Anthony: Bio-One is very specific. We don’t paint with broad strokes to our franchisees when training and say, “it’s something like that”, or “this might work in your area”. We’ve scouted their area before they invest in a franchise, we know who the players are, how long their competition has been around, who they specifically need to market to, what time, on what day. People have asked me, “do you really tell them what day is better then not to market?” Yes we do. That’s what makes us different, we don’t guess here, we don’t throw things against a wall to see what sticks. We’re professionals who know what the heck they are doing. We don’t teach failure, it’s not an option at Bio-One.
MO: What are some of the challenges facing the crime & trauma scene cleaning industry?
Nick-Anthony: I touched on this earlier in the interview, but I’m glad you brought it back up. As I said, this industry is fragmented, and there are a bunch of cowboys out there slinging and getting away with things that are not only harmful to the people they are trying to help, but their tactics are harmful to themselves. Part of our industry is highly regulated, part of it is not. This is what causes confusion and the lack of standards with smaller “mom & pop” companies.
People tend to get into this industry for the wrong reasons. They think, “Hey, I have a strong stomach, I can clean blood, I want to make money, so why not, I’ll give it a shot. How hard can it be?” It’s extremely hard to break into, but this is the exact reason why I turn down the majority of candidates who ask to be part of Bio-One. You have to want to help, first and foremost. Helping must be on your mind from the minute the phone rings. We are dealing with people in the worst part or the worst day of their lives, and we need to have empathy for the situation. You need to like people, to care about people, and you need to have more than just a strong stomach. This business isn’t for everyone.
MO: Can anyone buy into the Bio-One Inc. franchise? What questions should a potential franchisee be asking to see if this could be the right fit for them and their future?
Nick-Anthony: No, I accept perhaps 1 out of every 20 people who feel they’re qualified for a Bio-One franchise. I’m extremely picky about who I let into the company. This is my baby, my brand, if you don’t fit our mold, you’ll never get in. People are under the impression that if they can afford the fees and have a strong stomach, they’re in. Couldn’t be more wrong. I usually know if we’ll be offering a franchise with 5 minutes of speaking to the candidate.
They need to ask themselves:
Do I like people?
Do I want to help others?
Do I really want to be an entrepreneur or does it just sound cool?
Can I follow a game plan and see a bigger picture?
These are the type of questions people should be asking themselves for most any business venture not just Bio-one Inc.
MO: What are you doing to prepare for international expansion?
Nick-Anthony: Legal, legal, legal. There is so much red tape in franchising. It is such a protected industry. Every country has its own rules. I can’t say, “I’m going to open in Canada, it’s a nice place”. Canada has their own set of regulations, their own form of an FDD and what your franchise agreement can and can’t say.
In addition, I’m divided on offering Master Franchises as people have suggested and encouraged. This is where a franchisee buys a group of franchises and can sell them to other people. One of my main concerns is finding the right folks with the same vision, helping first and doing the business second. I’ve been a firm believer my whole life, the more I help, the more I’m helped. I live by that motto daily.