After two decades climbing the corporate ladder at tobacco conglomerate Philip Morris, Lisa Locker needed a change. She cherished her time there and learned how to lead a strong team, but she also found the environment to be limiting and, at times, unsupportive of working mothers like herself. The self-described fitness junkie tried out jobs in real estate and cannabis before taking a leap of faith and signing on as a CycleBar franchisee in 2017, purchasing six territories throughout the Denver metropolitan area. Now she operates two thriving studios, with plans to open a third this summer. And while she entered franchisee life with plenty of business acumen, she learned that running a local, service-based business required a new mindset.
Was it difficult to transition from the corporate world to business ownership?
When we first joined CycleBar, we took over two existing locations and were told we were inheriting one of the best managers in the nation—and the day we signed our agreement, she quit. Just never showed up again. So: Yes, it was challenging! I had no access codes, no systems, no passwords. It was a harsh entry.
That must have quickly forced you to think about how you’d build your team moving forward.
I came from an environment where I was h