Reflections on 12+ years of franchise growth and building a brand across 3 countries

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It has been a year since my exit and the launch of our franchise consulting company. Let me be specific: my full exit. Five years ago, I took the first step – selling a small stake of our company to a strategic partner. So, I had my first taste of what it’s like to “sell” back then, but it has now been one year since my FULL exit.

100% out.

100% done.

(And it’s the best feeling in the world, if you wanted to know!)

Many entrepreneurs have a bittersweet moment when they sell the business they have been building for years and years, but not me. My mantra had become “the best business is a sold business” for years leading up to the sale of the brand I spent so many years building. So once the transaction was done, I was done as well. No emotions, no attachment, just on to the next phase of an entrepreneur – life after selling!

Do I miss some parts? Sure. I miss our franchise partners. During my time at the company, we had built deep, powerful relationships with our Partners, and a caring culture fueled by purpose and core values. I saw Franchise Partners make their dreams a reality; I saw their kids’ education being funded; I saw them live the lives they wanted to live. Many of these business owners I still call friends today, leading to the source of one of Hartify Franchise Consulting’s core values: “A Friend in Every City.”

But I will say this: there is not much in business more satisfying than waking up and not having to worry about a business problem. After 18 years of pressure, demands, growth, big decisions that could make or break things, and problem after problem (because, as an early mentor so eloquently pointed out to me “business equals problems, problems equal business. No business? No problems. No problems? No business!” it is a relief for once, to help solve other people’s problems instead of my own.

I could write a long book of reflections on my franchising career so far, but I will write this blog instead, and it is the reason I launched a franchise consulting company.

Scaling Impact

At Hartify Franchise Consulting, we work primarily with emerging franchise brands with promise and big dreams, to scale their impact across the country and world. But as we all know, and the numbers tell the story perfectly, this is harder than it seems.  In the USA, less than 5% of brands will ever scale past 100 units, and in Canada, this number is far less.  We don’t have a start up problem in this country, we have a scale up problem.

To succeed in building a franchise system to scale, it comes down to three primary things:

  1. The unit economics and the business model
  2. Franchise sales mastery
  3. The art of the franchisor/franchise partner relationship

Now, I could write 750 pages about each of these three topics (and is why we started a franchise consulting company). But in essence, if you can master these three areas of your franchise business, you will scale with success.

As I say to every franchise brand I meet, the answer is out there. You just need to be hungry enough to go find it and either execute on it yourself, or hire the right franchise consultant to help execute it for you. It is pretty simple, actually.  And hopefully this blog is a good starting point. 

Compiled from our collective experience starting, building and running multiple franchise brands, from 15 years spent immersing ourselves in all things franchising and learning how to build a world-class organization, we have created our “Top 10 Habits of Best-in-Class Franchisors” to help you. Free download below.

The 10 Habits of Best in Class Franchisors

The Only Framework You Need To Scale Your Franchise System

Mockup

John built one of the fastest growing and best operated franchise systems in the country before he exited in 2019 by being highly disciplined in using Verne Harnish’s Rockefeller Habits checklist. Through his experience and his learnings from other best in class franchisors, he adapted this list specifically for the franchise industry. 

The Top 10 Habits checklist provides the 10 most important functions that should be on autopilot for your franchise business to grow and scale predictably  and smoothly.

The 10 Habits of Best in Class Franchisors

The Only Framework You Need To Scale Your Franchise System

John built one of the fastest growing and best operated franchise systems in the country before he exited in 2019 by being highly disciplined in using Verne Harnish’s Rockefeller Habits checklist. Through his experience and his learnings from other best in class franchisors, he adapted this list specifically for the franchise industry. 

Mockup

The Top 10 Habits checklist provides the 10 most important functions that should be on autopilot for your franchise business to grow and scale predictably and smoothly.