Many Crosworks clients are interested in learning about industries outside their own. So, each month we will feature insight from a different industry, using connections with clients to helps others learn about various opportunities available to them. Our first spotlight is on Franchising. We picked Franchising for those clients who have expressed interest in business ownership. Franchising is one way to be an entrepreneur and a great option for those who benefit from proven systems and structure.

We asked a couple experts for their opinions. Meet Matt Stevens and Ted Fireman, two Franchise Consultants based out of Ohio. Matt is a consultant for FranChoice, and Ted works for FranNet. We asked some questions to both… Check out their advice and insight below!

What is your role in the Franchising industry?

(Ted) I am a business matchmaker — like Match.com. but with a higher success rate! There is no cost to my clients. I work a lot like an executive recruiter except that I am matching clients with a business that meets their goals and budget, rather than a job. I begin with an assessment to help each client decide whether business ownership is right for them at this time. Next, we meet in person to review the business ownership assessment and we spend a few hours to help me begin to understand their experience, their goals, and their interests — all before I ever mention a single franchise. I try to diagnose before I prescribe.
 
Being locally based and committed to our community, I can also make valuable introductions to other needed services such as a franchise attorney, financial advisers, a realtor, or even a sign maker. I guide my clients through a structured and efficient research process to empower them to make evidence-based decisions that are right for them. Because of this extensive research and the proven business systems of a great franchise; my client’s success rate far exceeds that of independent businesses: 92% after 5 years vs. less than 40% for independent businesses.

 

How do you see the industry’s role in today’s society and economy, and how do you think it is changing?

(Matt) Good franchise programs provide franchisees with a roadmap, or a paint-by-numbers approach to business building and expansion. The true entrepreneur who wants to go it alone without boundaries or direction will likely be uncomfortable with a franchise business model, however there is a large market of interest for what franchising brings to entrepreneurial pursuits and the achievement of personal objectives that many people haven’t fully enjoyed even during decades of employment. The franchise industry has always responded to society’s changing needs. According to Statistica.com, the franchise industry employs more than 8 million people in nearly 80 industries. Known in the early half of the 20thcentury as consisting of mostly storefronts, restaurants and hotels, franchise wealth-building models have expanded well into the non-retail, fitness, personal services and property services industries over the last several decades. Today, the small majority of new franchisees consist of downsized corporate executives and managers who possess numerous interpersonal skills but who are minimized during the hiring process due to covert age discrimination.

Do you think luck plays a part in your job? How do you see the relationship between luck and hard work?

(Ted) “Luck” can be defined in many ways but it isn’t much of a strategy. In franchising, you get a proven road map. Those who implement the franchisor’s proven systems consistently and bring their own creativity and work ethic vastly increase their opportunity to succeed.

(Matt) Like him or not, where would Tom Brady (6-time Super Bowl Champion) be today if Drew Bledsoe slid just two steps earlier to avoid a hit that affected him every bit as much as if he’d been in a car crash? That hit on Bledsoe gave TB12 half a season to prove himself, resulting in Bledsoe and his largest-contract-in-the-NFL shuttling off to another team. Every great success is the result of both hard work and some measure of fortunate circumstance, positioning, or luck. Preparedness without opportunity is as unproductive as having a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity without being prepared for it. To fully achieve success, you must position yourself where the opportunity exists while having readied yourself with the skills necessary to capitalize on it at the very moment it’s available to you!

What is your favorite part about your job/the industry?

(Matt) I love what I do because I help people realize their dreams! The feedback and referrals that I receive from people I’ve placed into franchises nourishes me constantly. I enjoy all of that while leveraging my growing experiences in the industry to which I’ve added daily since 1988, and I get to do that while eating breakfast with my youngest daughter before school and greeting her at day’s end. It’s a wonderful life!

(Ted) Working one-to-one with people who are at a critical moment in their lives as they consider business ownership, whether full time or part-time. Often we have great conversations about finding a profitable franchise that also provides a sense of purpose and even legacy. Many clients have been worn out by the demands and insecurity of corporate jobs. They see business ownership as an opportunity to take back control of their schedules and their financial future. One of my recent clients told me that he lays awake at night worried that he hasn’t built a big enough nest egg to take care of his wife after he is gone. He has read all of the facts about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that each of us will spend just on health care as we age. Taking care of his wife and family is one of his main motivations for leaving corporate life behind and starting his own franchise business.

 

If you could give any advice to someone considering entering the field, what would it be?

(Matt) I got into business at age 20, and I tell everyone what I’ve learned, “Sooner is better than later, allowing you to capitalize on your knowledge and experience for a longer period while expanding your seat at the table.” When you master business operation and growth at a younger age, you don’t need luck to leverage it forever; you need only will. Meanwhile, at some point in an employee’s career, their experience is so invaluable that many employers no longer want to compensate them for it, or they work hard, sacrifice and scheme to reach a point on the ladder where there are similar numbers of people but far fewer rungs available. My placements who’ve enjoyed franchise business success share only two regrets with me: 1) “I wish I did this many years ago”, and 2) “I wish I purchased more territory/licenses when I had the chance.” In the end, they’re each happy to have gotten into ownership of a good franchise at all, and many of them have done this while keeping their day job or career.

(Ted) Connect with your inner 4-year old self when you asked questions about everything. Your job is to ask questions to people who know. Work with a locally based franchise consultant who can help you find a great match and cares about your success. Avoid online or out of town franchise consultants or brokers who have no accountability and do not understand the local market. Don’t waste your time on the internet where every business looks easy and successful. 
 
Keep an open mind as often clients find that the best fit is a business that they had never imagined before they began their discovery process. Most people think franchise means fast food. They aren’t aware that there are franchise options in most business sectors including healthcare, education, pet services, automotive, manufacturing, fitness, specialty foods and retail, home services, B2B services, and dozens more. The key is finding the right fit for each individual. A great choice for one person could be a disaster for someone else.
 
None of us can be experts at everything. Franchising enables the owner to play to their strength while getting the training and support they need both from the franchisor and from hundreds of other franchise owners. When one starts an independent business from scratch or buys an existing business, they don’t have these support systems.

 

 

Look forward to hearing about next month’s industry: Logistics! And, if you have any questions or interest in Franchising, reach out Ted and Matt!