Aisles of product in a Batteries Plus store

Conversation With Batteries Plus Franchise Owner Ralph Badtram

Ralph Badtram opened his first Batteries Plus location in Waco, Texas in 2007. Since then, he has gone on to open an additional two stores and take over one more. He also serves on the National Marketing Fund Committee, which helps guide other franchisees on how to get the best return of investment on their marketing dollars. We recently spoke with Ralph about his management style, how he gives back to the community and what advice he would offer to prospective owners.

 

What is your background prior to becoming a franchise owner?

I worked at different companies as an engineer and a manager. I enjoyed the work, but both my wife and I were looking for a change in our jobs, something where we could work together and build for our future retirement. I had always wanted to be my own boss and run a business of my own, so franchising seemed like a perfect way to do both.

What is the most rewarding part about being an owner?

For me, it’s having the freedom and flexibility to make decisions for myself and be my own boss. It is also good to know that we are providing jobs for people and giving back to the community.

How have you contributed to the communities where your stores are located?

Besides employing local people, we try to give back by contributing to a number of different charities like The American Cancer Society and different volunteer fire departments. We’ve also been involved for the past eight years with the Waco Household Hazardous Waste Day, which is an annual city recycling day here in Waco.

What have you done to create the right culture within your stores?

It takes a lot of patience to be a leader. I try to involve my staff by laying out what has to be done and then allowing them to manage the details of how they accomplish the tasks. You want them to be involved. Our son started working for us at a young age and was very shy. He later became one of our managers before leaving to enlist in the Air Force, which made us very proud. He said working for us helped him to grow as a better person and was thankful for the experience.

When it comes to clients, good customer service is everything. We work hard to help solve any customer issues. You do that, chances are they’ll come back next time they need something.

What is an example of how the training and support provided by Batteries Plus have helped you solve a problem or win a customer?

Their training at the beginning was very helpful in getting us up and running. My advice? If you are not 100% sure about something, ask questions. That’s something I try to encourage with my staff too. As an owner/manager, it is much easier to answer lots of questions than it is to fix a lot of mistakes.

Corporate has also helped a lot with commercial business. At times they’ve provided better pricing on products to help us win a new commercial client. We also have a Commercial Sales Manager on staff. She is actively engaged in going after commercial business and has even been recognized for her sales efforts within the company.

Why is it important to you to be a part of the National Marketing Fund Committee (NMFC)?

I like helping people. Just like giving back to the community, I felt it was important to give back to the franchisee community by serving on a committee. I know that the better and larger we can grow the franchise system, the better it will be for all of us, with better pricing and more opportunities.

The NMFC meetings have also contributed to my own business by helping me make better contacts with other owners and corporate people. That’s some more advice for new franchisees. Reaching out to other owners was a big help when we were starting out.

What would you say to someone who is considering purchasing a Batteries Plus franchise?

Being a small business owner has given us a lot of flexibility in our work schedule. It has been a good business for us and I think it offers many good opportunities for the future. Batteries are becoming more and more prevalent in our society and smartphones are not going away. We plan on being here for a long time.

If you can share one secret to success in business, what would it be?

There is no secret. Work hard. Try to treat both your employees and customers right. You do those two things, you’re off to a good start.

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