Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. At Anago, we are proud of all our Franchise Owners and staff and are honored to highlight Master Franchise Owner, Korli Kamara. In September of 2018, Korli took a chance at being the captain of his own ship (and destiny) and opened the Anago of Houston office. Since then, Korli has created franchise opportunities for 23-unit Franchise Owners, with several more expecting to open. He staffs three full-time employees and is in an excellent position of growth throughout the Houston metroplex.
In celebration and recognition of Black History Month, we caught up with Korli to learn more about him, his passion for franchise ownership and the inspiration he finds by studying black history.
“Before I sign with my franchisees, I ask them what their dreams are and together we identify how Anago can help them achieve those dreams. Maybe most importantly, we celebrate their successes and help them to hold themselves accountable to their stated dream.”
–Korli Kamara, Anago Houston
What inspired you to start your own business?
The opportunity to build a business on my own and to create a work culture based on merit and respect. I also wanted control to build wealth for myself and help others do the same. Essentially to be the captain of my own ship.
Who is your most admired historical figure that may have influenced you to reach beyond your dreams?
Tough question because there are many that are all connected in one way or another! A lot of names come to mind based on where I was in my life, what I needed, and what they gave. But I think the most influential was the author Alex Haley. He indirectly introduced me to black history at an early age. Growing up, you didn’t get much black history taught in schools, but when I was about 13 and read his book ‘Roots’ which chronicled his family history from Gambia to slavery era South, and later ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’, I got hooked on black history and the black experience leading up to my time. I proceeded to learn about people like Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. Du Bois, Claude Brown, and several others that all had amazing stories of overcoming extreme challenges and have influenced generations. When I get frustrated with something in my life that’s not going as well as I would like, I’ve got plenty of inspiration to draw from.
What attracted you to Anago?
A good business model, good people, and really the right opportunity at the right time and place. I had thought about leaving corporate America several times, but just didn’t find the right opportunity and honestly wasn’t ready. When I reached that point when I was, Anago was there.
How long have you been an Anago Master Franchise and tell me how your business has grown?
I opened my office on September 1st, 2018. Initially it took me a bit to get going, but I feel very positive about my growth rate now and am excited about the future. I currently have 23 Franchisees and another two scheduled to sign this month. I have three full-time staff – brand operations manager, office manager, and outside sales. I’m positioned well for growth.
How do you inspire your unit franchisees to be the best they can be?
Before I sign with my franchisees, I ask them what their dreams are and together we identify how Anago can help them achieve those dreams. Then we make sure every day that they have no doubt that we are committed to their best interests. We demonstrate that by providing all types of support and counsel. Maybe most importantly, we celebrate their successes and help them to hold themselves accountable to their stated dream.
What is your favorite Anago memory so far?
Hands down telling one of my franchisees (a young couple with two small children) that we got a big account we had been working on and hearing them cheer on the other end of the line. That was a good day!