Shifting Gears: What Franchising Taught Me About Business
Dominic is the franchisor of FocalPoint Business Coaching, the world’s premier business coaching and development franchise company, in partnership with Brian Tracy. Dominic has been an EO member since 2003. You can contact him at
Life has a funny way of changing your long-standing plans. After I sold my last company, I made it a point to take a much-needed break. I just wanted to kick back, relax and enjoy my life. Before I knew it, the business bug bit me again. I could feel the entrepreneurial juices flowing, and I began to think about my next business venture.
I wanted to try something new, so I bought a business coaching franchisor. The decision to switch gears and take up franchising was an educational one, to say the least. Franchising is an extreme form of entrepreneurship. It is a high-touch, high-energy, high-return, high-stimulation and high-visibility approach to business. Here is what I learned about franchising and how it compares to the ground-up approach to business building:
I am no longer an individual business coach. My responsibility as a franchisor is to train and support business coaches using a perfected system. Being a franchisor means I am in the business of selling, training and supporting successful business owners. I get to see business from a completely different angle now, which is rewarding.
My passions are often tested. I really love the business I’m in. Still, my passions are tested when a franchise partner is unable—or unwilling—to follow our franchising system. Unlike running my own business, growth is contingent on the drive of the partner. I have to be patient and supportive so that they can find success.
It’s OK for the system to change. Our franchise partners are very smart, and they make their opinions and ideas known. I often have to check my ego at the door and listen to their input (and then be willing to act on it.) It can be a hard pill to swallow, but in my experience, it often makes the best sense.
Many people get paid before I do. It appears that the money in franchising goes to lawyers, accountants, auditors and government agencies first. It may be different in other countries, but we have to re-file our entire legal and financial documentation every year, as if we
were just starting up. My mom was right: I should have been a lawyer.
I have to keep learning. Every interaction with my franchise partners is a learning opportunity. One of my corporate goals is to drive massive value to our team at every interaction. This keeps me working hard for my team’s business success, and it has paid dividends. My business has been recognized in industry magazines as a top franchise concept.
I love recurring revenues. It is very comforting to have stable revenue on a monthly basis. It takes the kinks out of my projections. However, it comes at the price of intimate contact and support with each and every franchise location. Communicating with my franchises can be time consuming, but it’s worth it knowing I’m generating wealth in the process.
Structure is everything. There are two common franchise structures: The area-developer model—where you grant bulk rights to a top-level franchise partner who helps develop, train and support a smaller sub area—and the head-office model. I adopted a blended model, where we have some area developers and corporate locations. The decision to choose an appropriate model is a big one for a franchisor, as it directly relates to income, expenses, ongoing training and support.
I owe favors to other franchisors. I didn’t realize how small and close the franchise world is. I’ve asked for guidance and advice at times and have always received it. I also make it a point to help others when I can. Knowing that I have people to rely on for assistance has helped me achieve my goals as a franchisor.