For those of us in franchising, it seems that we all have interesting stories on how we got here. Did we seek out the industry or did the opportunity just happen to fall into our laps? For Thomas Gibbs, it was a little more complex than that.
From Golf Coaching to Franchise Coaching
Thomas’ franchising journey started seven years ago when he took a golf coaching position for a company called GOLFTECH. Though Thomas was already feeling content and fulfilled as a golf instructor, an unexpected opportunity arose that interested him a great deal: his boss, who was the Franchise Owner of the GOLFTECH location where he worked, decided to sell his business. Not one to shy away from opportunity, Thomas decided to purchase the existing franchise.
As Thomas settled into the groove of owning his own GOLFTECH, he saw that the area would benefit from another location and scaled the business accordingly by adding another territory to his portfolio. Ultimately, after a few years, he sold the businesses and began looking for his next adventure. That search led him to franchise consulting and specifically the network, Business Alliance Inc. also known as BAI. Now, with three years of franchise consulting under his belt, Thomas discusses his favorite parts of his job and his personal recipe for success.
Guiding Entrepreneurs Toward Their Goals
Ultimately, Thomas sees himself as an educator who has the privilege of walking individuals through franchising and business ownership. Thomas has found that most people don’t know what they want when it comes to owning a business and that talking them through different industries and opportunities helps people to sort their own thoughts and have a clearer direction. “A lot of people feel fearful about taking the leap or drastically changing their lives and the lives of their family, but I feel lucky that I am able to walk them through different options and help them navigate the best fit,” he says. “I’m not afraid to tell my clients the good, the bad, and the ugly of business ownership or different brands, and that’s why they come to me, for an expert opinion.”
A Labor of Love
Thomas believes that loving what he does every day is the key to his success. He believes being a franchise consultant aligns well with his personal values of helping others and positively impacting the community. He says, “I’ve found success as a franchise consultant because I love what I do! I could make no money and I would be just as happy. I like the idea of adding value to others and having an impact on the community.”
Because of this stance, Thomas is less focused on earning commission and more on finding the best franchising fit for his clients, saying, “I will advertise brands when I know I won’t make a ton in commission, but if I like the brand and think it could be a good fit for the individual I am working with, that’s the main priority.” His first step is usually helping his clients find the right industry. From there, they investigate different brands together based on their financial situation and personal goals.
Thomas’ Thoughts On Raintree
As it happens, a number of Thomas’ favorite concepts to present are Raintree brands! Thomas mentioned how our vibrant culture and sharp focus on building and fostering strong relationships with our partner brands has made him stand up and take notice of our franchise development company. “Everyone at Raintree is great!” he says. “Culture is a big deal to me and I can see how Raintree chooses to represent brands that match their culture. I’ve worked with a lot of development companies and Raintree seems to be the most focused on creating and building relationships rather than focusing only on the business aspect of awarding franchises. Honestly, there is no franchise development company I think of more highly than Raintree.”
Franchise Consulting Tips From Thomas
When asked for tips to pass along to other franchise consultants Thomas sincerely feels that relationships with the development team are key. “Consultants need to work closely with the sales team to learn the brand, how to present it, who they are looking for, who will be successful in the system, and make sure that all aligns with your client.” He continues, “By working with multiple brands and development people you will start to realize who you work best with and who is best at their role, these are the brands you want to continue to show.”
Congratulations, Thomas, for being Raintree’s June Consultant of the Month. We truly appreciate your partnership and are excited to continue changing lives together!
How can franchise brands successfully use segmented market availability to their advantage? Raintree CEO Brent Dowling shared his thoughts and expertise with Cristina Merrill in this 1851 Franchise spotlight article. Read on to learn more about Raintree’s unique philosophy and tactics that have been proven to help drive franchise hypergrowth across multiple industries.
It’s safe to say that every franchise brand wants to achieve significant growth, but what happens when a brand has officially crossed the line into “established” territory? When you’re a large brand, there’s usually only so much more room in which to grow.
Fortunately, there are many ways for established franchise brands to successfully approach segmented market availability and use it to their advantage, according to Raintree co-founder and CEO Brent Dowling. Raintree is a franchise sales organization that provides brands with services such as lead generation, content management and more. Raintree currently works with 17 franchise brands, including Anago Cleaning Systems, Cheba Hut, Footprints Floors and songs for seeds.
Established franchise brands with limited market availability have plenty of options when it comes to strategic growth, Dowling said.
“Facebook targeting reigns and would be our first choice as a marketing channel when heavy geo-targeting is required,” Dowling said. “Ultimately, though, we are advocates for national growth in most situations. Given that the brands we work with have specific supply chain challenges, we have strong geo-targeting campaigns in place to help. But for most brands, we look to national growth.”
When it comes to approaching segmented market availability, Dowling believes franchise brands should consider growing in available markets through their current operators.
“As a franchise, it’s far more efficient to support one owner with 10 locations than 10 owners who each only own one location,” he said.
Some established franchise brands might consider opening corporate shops and then selling those to Franchise Owners.
“It really depends on the brand and their infrastructure,” Dowling said. “We have some brands with only one location or territory. Then we have brands such as Nekter Juice Bar, which successfully runs 50 corporate units while doing a great job supporting 120 franchise units. Ultimately, if we see that a brand’s new franchisee growth is outpacing its support infrastructure and that the cash flow is tight, offloading a corporate location or two onto a franchisee is a great strategy to ensure you have the necessary capital to support your franchise growth.”
Of course, some established brands might want to grow within a market in which they already have a presence. If that’s the case, the brands will need strong testimonials from the successful owners within those markets, Dowling said.
“From a franchisee-franchisor relationship perspective, I suggest reaching out to the franchise owner in that market as the very first step and clearly communicating the intention to grow,” Dowling said. “Ensure that the franchisee is aware of the strategy and give them the opportunity to purchase the territory first. Doing so can prevent conflict.”
And brands should nix the idea that growing close to company headquarters will yield significantly better results.
“While understanding that many brands want to grow close to home, we no longer see the advantages in that strategy,” Dowling said. “At Raintree, across 17 brands, we see no correlation between franchisees who are close to a brand’s corporate headquarters in terms of financial performance, as opposed to those in markets geographically far from them. As a franchisor myself, I’ve realized it’s far better to find the right franchise owner then the right market. That strategy continues to pay dividends for us as we grow.”
Just because a franchise brand is officially an established one with many, many locations doesn’t mean there isn’t room for further growth. Franchise brands simply need to continue focusing on what they’ve always done: finding the right franchise owner, whether that is an existing franchisee or a new addition to the system, and making sure they are entering a viable market.
Raintree has been helping franchise brands achieve exponential growth through our proven, multi-faceted franchise development program that is second-to-none in the franchising industry. To find out more about how Raintree can help your franchise brand experience significant potential growth, visit us at raintreesales.com.
How many people get to do what they love every day? As co-Founders of The Franchise Insiders, husband-and-wife franchise consultant duo Jack and Jill Johnson have designed a business that allows them to follow their true passion: guiding prospective entrepreneurs to find success through franchise ownership. Since their company’s inception, The Franchise Insiders have created such a name for themselves in the franchise world that one would be surprised to learn that their company was founded only three short years ago.
How Jack and Jill Discovered Franchising
In 2002, Jack was working at a company called Home Care Assistance, offering in-home care for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
As the business started to grow, the Owners decided to franchise their concept and asked Jack if he would head their franchise sales department. In 2008, Jack became Vice President of Franchise Sales. As someone who loves a challenge and isn’t afraid to put forth maximum effort into everything he does, he was excited about this new endeavor and committed himself fully to his new role.
Jack grew Home Care Assistance from a small business with little brand recognition to a top international franchise in just two years, continuing to award 30+ franchises per year for almost 10 years!
During this time, Jack spent a great deal of time working with many franchise consultants and became fascinated with this aspect of the business. While he did enjoy developing one specific franchise brand at Home Care Assistance, the idea of having an inventory of franchise brands to choose from, and connecting prospective entrepreneurs with their ideal franchise opportunity, resonated with him. He also was intrigued by the idea of starting his own company with his wife, Jill and taking control of his own destiny.
One thing Jack discovered during his time helping hundreds of prospective franchisees realize their dream with Home Care Assistance was that he wanted the same freedom and schedule flexibility for himself and his family. At the time, Jill was working for IBM, a career that kept her very busy and constantly on the road. On top of that, they both craved a more flexible schedule to be able to spend time with their young son.
Both Jack and Jill had a passion for helping people find success and could not think of a better business to start together than a franchise consulting company. In 2017, they launched The Franchise Insiders, with a mission of utilizing their franchising expertise to find freedom for their clients through business ownership and maintaining a laser focus on the happiness of their clients.
The Johnsons decided to place their first ad in Southwest Magazine, the in-flight periodical offered to passengers on Southwest Airlines, to get the word out about their new company. Little did they know at the time, this ad would build their business. In the second month the ad ran, a Southwest Airlines Captain who was in search of a lifestyle change gave them a call and ended up investing in a franchise. And that was just the beginning.
This first placement propelled their business toward success. Since then, Jack and Jill have helped hundreds of people become Franchise Owners.
The Secret to Jack and Jill’s Success
So, how have the Johnsons found such success in their franchise consulting business? They attribute it to a few things:
- Through The Franchise Insiders, Jack and Jill have built their own brand identity founded upon honesty and integrity, client satisfaction, and a passion for helping people. The Johnsons understand the importance of building their own personal brand and have conveyed their voice through a highly professional website with a plethora of information, client success stories, and videos, among other things.
- Jack and Jill are driven to be the best at everything they do. “We are never satisfied,” said Jack. “We wake up every morning with both fear and excitement in our belly, ready to take on the day doing what we love most – helping people pursue their dreams!” They possess a hunger to succeed and are constantly seeking innovative ways to improve their business model.
- The Franchise Insiders are also extremely client-focused and are available for their clients any day, any time. Their quick response time is usually under 10 minutes, and their clients are extremely grateful for their timely responses. Getting back to clients’ concerns and answering questions quickly not only increases their level of trust but also demonstrates that Jack and Jill truly care about them.
- Last but not least, Jack and Jill are constantly researching brands and updating their franchise consulting inventory with those that are doing it right. By having a number of exemplary brands under their umbrella, they are more likely to find the perfect match for their clients. The Franchise Insiders look for certain qualities in the brands they present, including scalability, the opportunity to build an empire, and backing by a third-party company, like Raintree. These attributes give them the added confidence that a brand’s FDD is sound, the concept is smart, and there is a proven sales process with an established company behind it.
Through franchise consulting, Jack and Jill Johnson have not only transformed the lives of their hundreds of clients, but they have also achieved their own goals of freedom through entrepreneurship, controlling their own destiny, and being purveyors of the American Dream! They have the opportunity to speak to potential entrepreneurs with infectious energy each and every day and feed off of the drive and excitement of everyone they meet. As Jack says, “It is good for the soul!”
Congratulations, Jack and Jill, for being Raintree’s May Consultant of the Month. We truly appreciate your partnership and we look forward to continuing working with you to enhance more lives through the gift of entrepreneurship!
Unlike the majority of us, franchise consultant Adrienne Leigh is spending her quarantine days aboard a boat in the Florida Keys. Adrienne, her husband, and in-laws set out on an incredible adventure to circle the eastern third of the United States over the next two years but only made it as far as Florida before the stay-at-home orders developed. Even though Adrienne’s new office is the back deck of a boat in paradise, she is still 100% focused on finding her clients their ideal business, which is not new to Adrienne at all!
With over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience as a licensee, Franchise Owner, independent business owner, and working on the corporate side of franchising, Adrienne is well versed in the business world. It is hard to believe that years ago when Adrienne was working as a career transition consultant, she didn’t even like the idea of franchising! In that specific role, she found herself confusing franchising with “from the ground-up” entrepreneurship.
She didn’t yet realize the support Franchise Owners receive from Corporate, as well as the support from other franchisees and the truth to the statement that you are really “in business for yourself….but not by yourself”. So at the time, she jokes, she was actually one of those “ambushes” that happen to our clients steering them to work on their resumes rather than continue franchise exploration.The whole story changed when she fell into franchise consulting as a career herself, which she did by researching the possibility of a job in a franchise corporate office and instead found the role of franchise brokerage.
In 2003, Adrienne decided to join FranNet and start her career as a franchise consultant. She stayed with the network until 2008 when she joined the franchise Murphy Business & Financial (both franchise and business brokerage), but when that 10-year term expired, she became independent in 2017 as Success Franchising to focus solely on her first love which is franchise brokerage. She is a proud member of both the IFPG and Franchise Brokers’ Association, of which she is also a member of their Advisory Board.
Since becoming a franchise consultant in 2003, Adrienne’s purpose has not changed. She loves working with people and helping those in career transition, which she believes is one of the hardest times in a person’s life.
With an M.B.A. from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA and a Masters in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, Adrienne is able to use all of her skill sets in what she calls the “puzzle” of figuring out exactly what her clients are looking for. When it comes to franchise consulting,
Adrienne also loves that two days are never the same and that she is constantly learning. It also doesn’t hurt that she is able to work from anywhere in the world and that her business associate is her daughter, Kathryn Hetzendorfer. “Kathryn has made franchise consulting with Success Franchising her full-time career and I could not be more proud,” says Adrienne. “She was actually one of my motivating factors to find a flexible career and now we have created a family business!”
When it comes to the brands Adrienne chooses to present, she has a long list of “must-haves” in order to prove the validity of the model. First, she looks at the turnover rate as well as whether the brand has a proven track record. All in all, she needs to see something that will make her feel comfortable with the success of the system and her placement. What are Adrienne’s favorite kinds of brands to present? The “sleepers” that her clients would never find on their own. The one thing she hears most often from clients is, “Wow, I’m so glad we met because I never would have found this franchise without you, but it fits me perfectly!” Adrienne is always looking for those “hidden gems” which are typically service concepts or those that do not require a retail brick and mortar location.
Adrienne mentions that she also enjoys working with brands that she knows have been vetted by a franchise development company such as Raintree. She says, “The additional layer of due diligence that I know Raintree has done on their brands means I’ve got a certain confidence level from the beginning. I know they are brands with solid support and infrastructure in place.”
After 17 years, Adrienne feels she has found success as a franchise consultant because she listens to her clients and is able to use her psychology degree to dig deep and figure out what her clients are looking for, even when they don’t know themselves. She also emphasizes the importance of staying up-to-date on brand information and staying informed of any changes or updates.
Adrienne also makes it a point to participate in a mastermind group with other franchise consultants to share best practices, tips, and discuss different brands. More than anything, she works on her consulting business full-time and works hard! “Mostly, I work my ass off!” Adrienne jokes when asked why she has been so successful. “As a Franchise Consultant, we are paid to understand what makes a good concept for someone and to facilitate the process from start to finish. We need to know the brand reps and build strong relationships with them, so we are always on the same page to get the clients across the finish line. We have a tremendous responsibility when we are working with people in making what is probably one of the most important investments of their lives….and we need to take that seriously!”
Congratulations, Adrienne, for being the very first Raintree Consultant of the Month, and thank you for your continued support and partnership. Everyone at Raintree looks forward to working with you in the future!
One of the fundamental things we pride ourselves on here at Raintree is partnering with brands that bring something special to the customers they serve. We strive to only join forces with franchisors who are committed to giving back to their community, making a difference, and generally making a positive contribution to their industry. Our partner brand Hounds Town USA is a shining example of the type of franchise we’re always looking to add to our roster. Over the past few weeks, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Hounds Town USA has gone above and beyond to not only show gratitude and appreciation for their customers and community members but also to help their Franchise Owners stay ahead of the situation with thoughtful, creative marketing initiatives and a level of world-class support that comes from being truly invested in each of their personal and professional lives.
Raintree’s resident Franchise Consultant Educator and Hounds Town Brand Manager, Charlotte Wagner, recently published a LinkedIn article detailing Founder Mike Gould and President Jackie Bondanza’s amazing efforts at turning this giant sack of lemons into gallons of lemonade thanks to a winning blend of experience, business savvy, and genuine care and concern for every Franchise Owner, Team Member, and community member that Hounds Town USA serves in its 11 locations across the country. You can read the entire piece here, but here are some of the key takeaways:
- Hounds Town USA’s Executive Team has been busy visiting locations, putting together a 45-day marketing plan with marketing materials, and simply being available to discuss, strategize, and assist Owners in any way needed.
- Since pet care is considered essential, all Hounds Town locations have remained open, and those that are following the COVID-19 45-day marketing plan are operating at 60%-70% capacity!
- Hounds Town’s marketing initiatives during this time include a program for healthcare workers in need of pet care right now, offering discounted daycare.
- In an effort to support local businesses in the communities they serve, Hounds Town is rolling out two programs to support restaurants that have been forced to close: in addition to ordering lunch for staff members from locally-owned restaurants, they are matching up to $50 in Hounds Town Bucks (store credit) for customers who purchase gift cards to local eateries.
- Open since 2001, Hounds Town has navigated through 9/11, the 2008 stock market crash, swine flu, numerous natural disasters, and the 2017-2018 flu season.
- Pet care has proven to be a recession-resilient industry, as people tend to prioritize pets during times of economic downturn.
- Hounds Town’s business model was formulated to operate with limited overhead costs to survive economic circumstances just like this!
- The novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease does not affect dogs, so Hounds Town Franchise Owners and Team Members can continue enjoying those belly rubs and doggie kisses, and customers can feel safe and happy knowing their beloved pups are getting the exercise and attention they need.
Raintree is proud to partner with Hounds Town USA and will continue sharing inspiring stories of our partner brands’ triumphs over the challenging and unprecedented times we are currently navigating. For more information on Hounds Town USA’s available franchise opportunities, please visit www.houndstownfranchise.com.