I notice an interesting parallel week this week.  In addition to delivering the opening training session in our training class for 18 new Mosquito Squad franchisees, I have been preparing some remarks for a commencement address that I been asked to deliver this week to fall 2009 graduates of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business

In addition to my role as President & CEO of Outdoor Living Brands, I serve on the VCU Business Society Board of Directors, the alumni board for the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University. I was initially reluctant to accept the invitation to speak to these new graduates. I wasn’t sure what “profound wisdom” that I would be able to offer to these new graduates as they begin their careers in the midst of a recessionary economy and high unemployment.

However, I found it interesting that some of the same themes in my commencement remarks – (1) putting everything you have, all of your passion and energy, into your career; (2) being flexible, being willing to adapt to change in order to take advantage of unexpected business opportunities; and (3) having extreme optimism – were key parts of my advice to new graduates and to new franchisees. 

Then I realized that there are some tremendous similarities.  Both new franchisees and new college graduates are reaching important milestones in their lives. Both are excited, yet have a bit of fear and concern for the future, as they start the next chapter of their lives and careers. Both are proud (and rightly so) at having taken steps to take control of their lives and futures.

Congratulations – both to the December 2009 class of new Mosquito Squad franchisees and the graduates of the VCU School of Business!