Franchising has flourished as a unique and popular business model for more than 150 years, beginning with the first Singer Sewing Machine franchise in 1851. Franchise systems tout their advantages, processes, and systems as they seek to grow new franchise owners. The processes and systems are what differentiate great franchise brands from the pack but there are far more impactful ways that take a brand from good to great.
I use the words “the true beauty of franchising” often when I share my thoughts on becoming a franchise owner with candidates who are seeking to start a new business. And I always follow those words with – “is the family of franchisees you are joining.” Franchise owners have a true advantage that goes beyond business coaching, purchasing power, software systems, training, and marketing resources. That advantage is the large group of fellow franchise owners operating the exact same business model as you are.
A Diverse Franchising Family
Peer networking is crucially important for franchise owners in any system. No other small business owner faced with an unfamiliar challenge can pick up a phone and talk candidly with other business owners who have overcome that particular challenge and get crucial insights or a direct solution.
The family of franchise owners operating a brand and adapting it to all of the varied markets across the country is an invaluable resource and one that I believe franchise owners should seek to take advantage of in a greater way. I call it a family because a group of franchise owners closely mirrors the diversity that I find in my own family. I have four children and their personalities vary widely, from the strong leader and the witty intellectual to the outgoing striver and the introverted hard worker. I have found the same dynamics in the franchise brands I have worked with throughout my career. Some franchise owners take the lead in connecting to other owners throughout the network to help one another individually, while some work independently, rarely making contact with other owners.
As a matter of note, I should disclose that I am a franchise owner of America’s Swimming Pool (ASP) Co. and I have a son as a partner who operates the business. He attended training “pool school” and has unbelievably strong support from operations to marketing, and the entire ASP team. However, my son has learned so much about achieving success in his business and managing it more efficiently from spending time with other franchise owners. He learned key nuances to managing customer expectations, fine-tuning sales skills, and better understood how to control his costs from these relationships. There are always fellow franchise owners who are willing to help.
Franchising’s Built-In Support System
It is also a unique trait of Authority Brands that many of the support personnel are franchise owners themselves. The Cleaning Authority long ago saw the value of franchise owners working together and leveraged that into a support structure led by experienced franchise owners with businesses large enough to support management teams allowing them to step away from their business and directly support fellow owners. This resulted in a system that enjoys substantially higher revenue per location than any of its competitors.
A network of franchise owners also represents an entirely different kind of resource as well. We find that a large percentage of business sales transactions are from one franchise owner selling their business to another franchise owner. It is only in a network of franchise owners where you can find a pool of interested buyers for your business who have an intimate knowledge of the business and understand the intricate drivers of value. It has been my experience that these transactions are much smoother and less prone to disagreements when they take place. A fellow franchise owner understands the value of your business because they understand the value of their business, and there is a less inherent risk in the valuation calculation from someone who knows the business the way you do. This alone can be a primary driver of value and a great reason to be a part of your franchise brand.
Culture within the family of franchise owners is crucially important as well. Franchise owners who are committed to positively supporting one another and work together as a group tend to form strong bonds with the corporate operations team. Brand leadership also enjoys significant advantages and growth of the entire system of individually owned businesses. This is accomplished by constant communication, commitment to our collective success, and an open and honest effort to inspire our fellow franchise owners to strive for greatness.
My desire for every franchise owner is to make sure you are enjoying all of the benefits of being a part of the brand or brands that you have invested so much in. Make sure you make additional investment in being part of a great team through support, by reaching out, asking questions, seeking advice, and offering your help where you can. You will find a certain beauty in that experience. At Authority Brands our mission statement is “to positively impact the quality of life of our Franchise Owners by giving them the tools they need to operate successful businesses and achieve their personal goals.” We can collectively make this our personal mission as we enjoy the benefits of being part of a franchise family.