Before I share my thoughts and ideas on how franchisees can change the franchise world, it’s important for you to understand where my
Crown head is at…where I’m coming from.
It comes with me wherever I go. Your baggage comes with you too, although you may not be aware of it.
By “baggage” I mean the things I’ve experienced. In this post on How To Change The World As A Franchisee, I’m only going to talk about my franchise baggage…the things I’ve experienced in franchise management, as a franchisee, as a franchise broker, and finally, in my current role as a franchise advisor. Makes sense, right?
Franchise Management Baggage
I worked for an idiot. Actually, I used to work with a lot of idiots, but I’m only going to talk about one.
The last idiot I worked for…which turned out to be the last person I ever worked for, was not a good businessman. His operation (s) were all a mess, and all of them were run the same way; by intimidation.
The owner of the business I worked in hired a hot-headed, not very nice person to run his operation…to be his General Manager. This GM was a yeller…a screamer. It didn’t help that he was screamed at himself by the big boss, but nonetheless, he was a jerk, and the entire situation was ugly.
It was dysfunctional beyond belief.
I got fired from that job.
From my About Page:
“My last official, ‘job’ was so dysfunctional, it still hurts my brain even thinking about it. Heck, Dr. Phil could have brought his entire crew in to tape a full week of episodes without even scratching the surface of all the sickness that was taking place at the automotive franchise that I was attempting to manage. It was bad. After I got downsized, (fired) from the franchise mentioned above, I set my GPS on ‘No Idea Where The Heck I’m Going,’ and landed in my Dad’s franchise consulting business. Now, I didn’t wake up one morning saying to myself, ‘I want to work with my Dad and be the part-owner of his business.’ But, before I joined him, I did wake up every morning with the thought that things did have to change. I ended up taking over my Dad’s local franchise consulting business (which just so happened to be a franchise), and during the next 10 years, I succeeded in helping a lot of people start their own franchise businesses in my role as a franchise consultant- franchise broker. “
So, my firing was a blessing in disguise, although I wasn’t feeling very confident about the future as I walked out the door of that dysfunctional franchise operation, briefcase and my little girl’s car seat in hand.
(My little girl, a little before I was fired)
The baggage from that experience comes with me wherever I go.
Franchisee-Franchise Broker Baggage
This is where it gets interesting.
A few months after getting fired from the franchise automotive dealership I helped manage, I joined my father’s franchise consulting business. And, I didn’t even really want to at first. But, he convinced me, and I’m grateful he did.
The franchise brokerage group he was a part of was a franchise…at least that’s what he told me. My dad said it had all the necessary criteria to be a franchise business, but that it just wasn’t registered with any of the 50 states in the U.S.
(Eventually…right before I left that brokerage, the new owners lawyer-ed up and registered the company as a franchise.)
For a while-a few years as a matter of fact, I enjoyed my role as a franchise broker. The money was good, (it was great, actually) and it turned out to be an almost perfect fit for my skillsets and personal traits. (Sales, relationship-building and public speaking)
But, something happened. A couple of things, actually.
I was sick of paying for marketing (paying into a franchise marketing fund) that wasn’t working.
I took it upon myself to learn about the internet-and its possibilities. As a matter of fact, the blog you’re on right now is a product of learning about online marketing. The Franchise King Blog (as far as I can tell) was the 1st-ever blog on franchising. Am I proud of that fact?
This blog has been-and continues to be, a game-changer for my business. Heck, it helped me secure a book deal! Not bad for a guy who didn’t even make it through a year of college.
I found out that I was better at marketing than my franchisor. That was one of the factors that lead to me leaving the franchise brokerage I was with and going out on my own.
(There were other factors, but I’m not going to relive the past today. I have too many good things going on in my life to expend any negative energy on some of the people in that organization who I truly dislike and really aren’t worthy of my time. )
The Other Thing That Happened
As a franchise broker, I was able to help a good number of people get into franchise businesses. My candidates (notice I didn’t say clients) wanted to be their own bosses-for lots of different reasons, and I helped facilitate it for them. Great. Dandy.
Until it wasn’t so dandy.
A few of the people I played franchise matchmaker to, started to struggle with their businesses. Then, a few more started to struggle. And, a few more. Until…
They lost their businesses.
Major guilt set in.
- Was it my fault?
- Did some of those $15,000 commissions get in the way?
- Did I put people in harm’s way, financially?
- Were some of the franchisors that our franchise brokerage group had on contract lousy franchise concepts?
I was angry. Sad, too.
Some of my candidates were experiencing serious financial and emotional pain. Did I help cause it?
Was it all my fault?
Of course not.
My Short-Lived Career As An Independent Broker
As I wrote up above, I ended up leaving the franchise brokerage to go out on my own. I became an “Independent” franchise broker. I had my own stable of franchisors. I had complete control over my business. I didn’t have to pay marketing fees or royalties anymore. I had a lot of freedom. Except, I just wasn’t “feeling it.”
I was still bummed out about the people I helped get into business who had lost their businesses-and their money.
That, combined with the fact that there was a huge influx of brand new franchise brokers entering the field (almost all of them coming in with no previous experience in franchising), which made it way to crowded for my comfort, led to what I’m doing now-and what I’ve been doing for the past few years.
A Franchise Advisor
I decided to change my business model.
As crazy as it sounds, I walked away from a six-figure income as a franchise broker to become a franchise advisor…a term I coined to describe my new role.
Instead of getting paid by my clients-the franchisors, for matching people up to their franchise opportunities, I decided that it was time for me to step up and impact the people who needed help the most: Would-be franchise owners. They became my clients. They started paying me for my expertise…for the things I learned in my franchise management role, and in my role as a franchisee and a franchise broker.
I knew I would be taking a massive hit, income-wise. But, I knew in my heart that I had to do it.
I wanted to help people lower their financial risk.
I wanted to help increase their chance of success.
It’s working, as is my business model.
I’m not where I want it to be yet. But, I’m inching closer, a day at a time.
I love what I do. I love the comments I receive from people who almost made huge mistakes.
Until they talked to me, of course. And, got some much-needed answers and advice.
Now, listen, people: I’m not some type of franchise “genius.” But, I do know franchising, and I’ve helped a lot of people get clarity concerning what they were about to do.
The advice I offer comes from my real-life experiences in franchise management, as a franchisee, and as a franchise broker. But, there’s something else that makes me stand apart from 99% of the others who try to “help” future franchise owners. It’s this:
There isn’t a $15,000-$40,000 commission waiting for me from a franchisor when I conduct my franchise ownership advisory sessions.
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It’s a clean deal. I’m unbiased. If my clients buy a franchise, great. If they don’t, that’s great, too.
In other words, the size of my wallet doesn’t increase if they buy a franchise.
I work for my clients. I teach them. I advocate for them. I offer them a money-back guarantee. I refer them to some great franchise attorneys and lenders. I don’t push them to do anything they don’t want to do. I give them lots of space. As a matter of fact, some of my clients probably think I have poor follow-up skills.
They’re wrong. It’s just that I don’t have any $$$$ skin in the game.
If they need me, all they have to do is call or drop me an email. I respond quickly.
Now You Know
So now you know a little more about me, and about some of the baggage I bring with me wherever I go. I hope getting pretty personal with you helped you understand where I’m coming from. Especially after you read some of things I’ve written in the past that aren’t very popular with the franchise community as a whole.
Some Prime Examples
Please take some time to read my past How To Change The Franchise World articles, now. You’ll see what I mean about my “popularity” within the franchising community-or lack thereof…sometimes.
How To Change The Franchise World As A Franchisee
It’s going to be on you to do the changing.
Yes you; The franchisee.
You: The one who invested a lot of money in order to be the boss.
You: Who wanted to get some control back in your life.
In order to avoid this.
Or, maybe one it was one of these reasons as to why you became a franchisee.
The point is that it’s really going to be up to you to change some of the things in franchising that need to be changed.
What Needs To Be Changed In Franchising?
1. There Needs To Be More Transparency
It’s getting better. More and more franchisors are becoming open to revealing more about their businesses.
Tip: If you’re a franchisor, it’s okay to share both strengths and weaknesses in your products, services…even in your organizations. Doing so isn’t a bad thing. It’s a human thing. Be one. Potential franchisees will appreciate your candor. They’re adults; they can handle it.
If you’re not yet a franchisee, insist on getting all the information from the franchisors. Ask for the positives and the negatives concerning their opportunity. You’ll be helping to change the franchise world just by doing that. Don’t be shy. Ask for the information you’re entitled to know about.
2. More Franchisee Associations Are Needed
If you’re looking at a franchise…and are starting to get serious about buying it, find out if there is a franchisee association. If not, ask why there isn’t one? There may just not be one, yet.
Part of the way you can help change the franchise world is by offering to help get one going.
Even if you’re the new kid on the block.
You bring your experiences with you. Baggage? Yes. Business experiences? You bet. Use them. Use your smarts and your persuasive powers to help start a franchisee association. Unless…
There already is a franchisee association.
If there’s an association in place, join it! Period. Get involved. Help make needed-changes to benefit all. That’s right; all. Everyone.
The franchisees and the franchisor.
If everybody wins everybody wins.
So, if you’re a new franchisee, join the franchisee association if there is one. If there isn’t, get together with some other franchisees-maybe the ones you got to know during the amazing franchise research you did, and set one up. You can do it. Be part of the change. It’s sure beats sitting around and bitching about all that’s wrong. Right?
3. Franchise Employee Wages
This is a sticky one. So what?
If you’re a franchisor-especially one who’s been thinking of adding your opportunity to this website which I own and operate, you probably won’t like the next sentence.
The minimum wage needs to go up. A lot.
You need to meet with your franchisees and figure this out.
People can’t live on $8 an hour. At least not for long.
I’m not suggesting an instant $7 bump all the way up to $15 an hour-like what happened in this city.
But, I am suggesting an increase.
If you’re a franchisee, and you’re starting to feel some heat from your employees, find a way to pay them more. I know it sounds counter-productive. After all, you risked a lot of money in order to be your own boss; you’d like to get it back-and more. I want you to. I want you to create wealth for yourself and your family. But, you have to pay your employees a living wage.
Don’t fall into any political traps on this issue. You know in your heart that you yourself couldn’t live on $8 an hour, and I don’t think you’d be sleeping very well at night if your kids-or their kids, were making that kind of money and struggling to make ends meet.
There are people working for $8 an hour who can’t afford to go to a grocery store to buy food for their kids.
Change the franchise world. Pay them more. You can do it.
One more thing: Ask your franchisor to get involved.
They need to work with you on this issue. It’s not going away. It can’t.
Think about it: If there are more people making less money, it’s going to affect your business, sooner or later.
The more people have to spend the more they’ll spend.
Wouldn’t you like them to spend it with you?
More Changes In Franchising Needed
What other changes in the world of franchising need to take place?
Without bashing anyone, share what’s wrong in franchising today?
What can be made right, just by changing a few things?
Do you have any ideas?
Can you help change the franchise world?