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Christopher Conner

Episode 38: Franchise Marketing: How to Market Your Franchise with Marketing System, with Christopher Conner

Christopher Conner has been in the franchise industry since 2002 working with several hundred different franchise systems in management, franchise sales, and franchise development work. His experience ranges across all fields of franchise expertise with a focus in franchise marketing and franchise sales but includes work in franchise strategic planning, franchise research, and franchise operations consulting.

Chris Conner has worked with multiple International franchises and licensed organizations throughout the United States, Middle East, India and Europe. In these International expansion programs, he played a pivotal role in developing the program, putting together documentation and marketing franchises to Domestic and International buyers.

Chris’s company, Franchise Marketing Systems, is currently working with several International companies in developing and managing independent distribution channels throughout the globe.

Chris Conner has worked with many diverse independent distribution systems including service franchises, sales franchise systems, retail franchise concepts, restaurant franchise systems, fitness franchise companies and multiple International franchise organizations.

After almost a decade in the franchise development field, Mr. Conner saw an opportunity to change the way franchise systems were taken to market by offering a performance-based franchise development strategy. When Franchise Marketing Systems came to the market, the franchise development model was unique to the industry in that the business model relied heavily on a performance basis to market and sell the brands that were developed.

Mr. Conner’s firm, Franchise Marketing Systems has been involved in over 2,000 franchise sales for new and existing franchise brands since 2009. The targeted approach of Franchise Marketing Systems to provide outside franchise sales support and sales services has proven effective enough to launch over 200 new franchise brands in the U.S. and abroad.

Since the company’s launch, FMS has been involved in over one hundred first franchise sales on new brands with no pre-existing franchise units. The franchise consulting model was proven to be uniquely positioned to offer a significantly higher rate of success than traditional franchise development mediums.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Chris helps owners turn their businesses into franchises (and buy franchises, but that’s a topic for another episode)
  • Why processes and systems need to be present and written down in a business in order for it to be franchised
  • Teaching franchise systems with photos and video “manuals”
  • Why Chris uses Michael Gerber’s “The E-myth” in teaching franchising
  • How to build the franchise business plan for both the franchisor and the franchisee
  • Why franchising is inherently less risky than other business ventures
  • The importance of being very critical of who owns a franchise of your business
  • How long it takes to set an owner up as a franchisor
  • Why it takes a variable amount of time for franchisees to get up and running
  • Why any business in any industry can be franchised

Ways to contact Chris:

Podcast eBooks:

The Power of Two

Episodes 1, 2 and 3 collide to bring you summary of lessons learned and systems created around Vision and Key Initiatives that help drive success to companies and businesses.

The Transition to Automation

In Episode 25, Vera talks with Heidi Rasmussen, CEO and Co-Founder of one of Inc 5000’s fastest growing companies in America – freshbenies. This eBook highlights part of the conversation to bring out the best lesson in automation and on-boarding for startups.

Transcript:

Welcome to System Execution, the strategy and system behind today’s successful companies. Systems can make or break your company, but here, we’ll solve your physical, technological and psychological systems issues by connecting you with experts that have succeeded in overcoming those challenges in their own business, and providing you the guidelines and tools you need to implement those same strategies for immediate results. Now, here’s your host Vera Fischer.

Vera Fischer: Today’s episode is sponsored by 97 Degrees West, the brand marketing agency, located in Austin Texas. 97 Degrees West serves regional and national companies in the healthcare, finance, energy, and manufacturing industries. 97 Degrees West believes that an integrated approach to marketing, that involves traditional and digital strategies that fit your customer’s buying journey, yields the greatest impact on your bottom line. Go to www.97dwest.com to learn more.

Welcome to System Execution, a podcast devoted to using processes and systems to drive to a better outcome for your business. I’m Vera Fischer, your host. All businesses, no matter the size, relies on systems. Some of these are physical systems, such as a factory. Some are technological, like project management software, and others are psychological systems, such as checklists and organizational charts. Many of these systems will overlap in your business.

Today’s guest, Christopher Conner, is the president of Franchise Marketing Systems. Chris has been in the franchise industry since 2002, working with several hundred different franchise systems in management, franchise sales and franchise marketing and development work. He’s got a wide array of experience across fields of franchise expertise, with a focus in franchise marketing, franchise sales, and also includes work in strategic planning, research and franchise operations consulting.

After about a decade in the franchise development field, Chris saw an opportunity to change the way franchise systems were taken to market, by offering a performance-based franchise development strategy.

When his company, Franchise Marketing Systems, came to the market, the franchise development model was unique to the industry, and that the business model relied heavily on a performance basis to market and sell the brands that were developed. Mr. Conner’s firm, Franchise Marketing Systems, has been involved in more than 2,000 franchise sales for new and existing franchise brands since 2009.

Welcome to System Execution, Chris.

Chris Conner: Thank you, Vera. It’s so nice to be here.

More On Chris’s Background

Vera Fischer: Chris, I’m really excited that you’re here to talk to my listeners about the Franchise Marketing System and the various processes within. You are the first that we’ve had to speak to this field of expertise, so I, for one, am looking forward to our conversation.

Before we get it started, why don’t you tell us more about you, experience and your story?

Chris Conner: Well, what an opportunity. Thank you for having me again. My background is, I think maybe like a lot of entrepreneurs. It wasn’t necessarily planned. I started out coming out of college, of undergrad, and searching for what I found passion in, and worked for a couple of large companies as an entry level position in those companies.

What I quickly discovered, I worked in technology, I worked in sporting goods, I had a position in selling to retail stores. I realized that the majority of employees in these larger organizations just didn’t have any real emotional connection to what they did every day. To me, that just translated to not an overly innovative or exciting environment to work in every day, and spend my time.

I happened to fall into a job, a position with a franchise consulting firm in Chicago, and began to experience what it was like to work with small business owners, and people that had their blood, sweat, and tears invested in what they did every day, and I fell in love. It just was the most exciting thing I had ever imagined I would do professionally, and a lot of it just has to do with who entrepreneurs are.

Every bit of every day is emotionally charged. It’s exciting. It’s innovative. There are turns and twists, and that’s what franchising is really all about. It’s taking that entrepreneurial vision, and teaching it, and packaging it so it can be replicated.

My work in franchise marketing was a lot like a traditional consultant’s role, where I would be a project lead for a company, and we would write business plans, we would help come in and create operational manuals, and documentation, and training programs.

Where I longed to have more of a connection, and where I was really interested in taking my career and energy, was to help these companies actually execute. The traditional model was helping a company become a franchise, and here you go. Here is your plan and your program, and your strategy and your structure. Call us if you need anything. Call us if you need help, and that was more or less the end of engagement.

My concept when I started Franchise Marketing Systems in 2009 was to be involved after the setup, after the development, and actually in the day to day execution of the model, and what was the big instigator for me was I saw a lot of franchise systems who had great brands, who had great business models, they were great people, and they just didn’t have success in franchising. To me, the reality was there wasn’t enough time.

Someone who is running their own business and now becomes a franchise, they have a whole set of responsibilities and time, and things that they now need additional bandwidth to deal with, and that’s where my whole concept came to play, was we would be those people. We would provide that time, that energy, and a lot of our compensation could be based on the results of the franchise.

We were very fortunate early on to line up with some great brands. Some really, really special entrepreneurs who helped take their brand forward, and in doing so, validated our concept. Now for eight years, we’ve been up and running, and had a whole bunch of successful brands that we’ve had the opportunity to work with.

How Chris Helps Clients Franchise their Businesses

Vera Fischer: Chris, I want to make sure that I’m understanding where you are interjecting yourself in that entrepreneur’s journey, so as well for our listeners. Let’s say that listeners you’re out there and in your city, and there’s a really great brand. It could be a retail. It could be a gym. It could be whatever.

Chris, I’m assuming you would come in, and the business owner would be like, “Hey, I want to franchise my business. It’s such a great model. It works. I think, other people can make it work in other locations.” Then you come in and help them set up how to do that. Is that right?

Chris Conner: Exactly right, and we have two different clients that we work with. One is exactly what you just described there. It’s someone who has a business. Generally, they’ve been in business for anywhere from three to four years on average.

Sometimes way longer, and they’re just deciding to flip the switch and begin to scale, and sometimes sooner, earlier. They’ve got a concept and it’s really innovative. It’s really new, and they want to go to market faster and quicker, but the norm is three or four years of track record. They’ve got a good solid business. They’ve got something that is proven to work.

There’s a lot of excitement about it from a consumer standpoint, and at some point the owner realizes, “Hey, I can’t satisfy all this market demand.” It might be after they opened up a second location or a third, or maybe they’ve just maxed out their business at one corporate location, and they’re starting to realize, “I need to get third parties involved in this. I need to open up more locations, cover more ground, and begin to scale what I do,” and that’s when we start our conversations with them.

The other side, the other client that we deal with is we would talk with the person that is looking at buying a franchise, and help them evaluate the market, help them make hopefully a better educated and informed decision on which franchises to look at. We have an inside perspective working in the market, knowing the numbers, knowing the financials of the different franchises out there, so we’ll also play a role as a coach to people like that, that are trying to figure out the best investment.

Chris’ Franchise Marketing System

Vera Fischer: That is awesome, because I love that clarification. I wasn’t aware that if let’s say I wanted to go buy a franchise, that there was that coaching, if you will, that was available out there. That’s really good information.

For our discussion today, which part of that fence do you want to be on as far as the franchise marketing system? It’s your call, and I will tell everyone right away that we will have you back to talk about the other side, so it’s not … You can pick one now, and then we’ll talk later about the other side.

Chris Conner: That’s great. Well, let’s talk about the franchise on your business side, and then we’ll talk about taking brands to market.

Vera Fischer: Alright, so let’s talk about that system. I’m excited, because I’m going to learn something new today. Let’s start with step one.

Chris Conner: Step one that we go through with someone, and let’s go back to your example. There’s a great business. There’s something that is working, and that idea comes to mind. The business owner says, “I think, there is an opportunity to franchise this model.”

Many times what drives that is the customer, a vendor, a friend, a family member coming in and saying, “Hey, I like what you to do. Can you teach me how to do this?” That sort of interaction is many times the first point of this whole idea. In reality, that interest is a potential franchise buyer. It’s someone who wants to learn how to run the day-to-day business. They want to be part of the company. They like to gain from your expertise and intellectual property.

Someone has the idea. They come to us, and they want to know the feasibility of the model as a franchise. We do it through a consultation process. Usually, it’s over the phone. Following a phone discussion, we then would go to a location and visit it, and try the food, and see the operation, and try to get a feeling of how well founded the systems are, and the processes, and the procedures.

How unique the differentiators are of the model. What do we bring to the market that is special? What sort of attributes do we have that might interesting and attractive to a franchisee? How we’ll nail down as our brand, and these are a lot of things where you can have Joe’s Pizza, who makes the best pizza on the planet, and he has no clue how to present his brand.

He might not have a website. He might not have a logo. He might not have signage on the front of the building, and the customers in his market, that works fine. It doesn’t matter, but when you start promoting to a third party franchise investor, they want to see branding. They want to see a defined color scheme, and imaging, and website.

All these things have to be in place to make it feasible for us to convert someone. Once we’ve determined that someone is capable of franchising the model, then we would start moving into the actual development work with them, and producing the franchise concept.

Why it’s Important to Have the Right Systems & Processes in Place with a Franchise

Vera Fischer: Chris, I want to stop you right there for just a second, because you said something that I think is really important. It was at the beginning of that first step, and that was making sure that they had processes and systems in place. I know that a lot of smaller entrepreneurs simply don’t write anything down.

How do you make X? How do you escalate a customer service problem? Usually, it’s a gut feel, and it’s a right-at-the-moment decision, but there are no standard procedures, and I think the importance of writing it down and at least showing some type of workflow around a situation or a recipe or whatever, is critical to even having that first conversation.

What happens if they don’t have any of that, in addition to the franchise marketing and branding materials?

Chris Conner: It’s a long road, and you do need to have as many parts of your processes and intellectual property down on paper. There are cases that we’ve worked with companies where they literally had nothing. Everything is held in the entrepreneur or manager’s head, and like you said, make decisions on the spot. They just know here’s what you do when this happens, and here’s how we address this, and here’s the recipe.

One of the really effective and beneficial things of today’s current landscape for systems and documentation procedures, is the advent of technology, video, pictures, cloud-based software that you can use now to document, makes it so much easier. Not only to put it ‘on paper’, but also for someone to receive that intellectual property and gain from it. A lot of the training manuals now that we do for franchise systems are almost entirely video and images.

Vera Fischer: No kidding.

Chris Conner: Yeah, just how a lot of people learn today.

Vera Fischer: Really? I won’t get off, too far off our topic. Chris, how do companies … Do they have iPads laying around, or do they just on their own have to go look at those videos or those images? Help me out here, want to understand that.

Chris Conner: It depends on the model, but if we go back to a restaurant concept, because I think we started out with that line of thinking here, a restaurant model, there always has to be some physical onsite connection. Both at corporate, so if I’m Joe’s Pizza and I’m offering my franchise, typically, the franchisee will come in for anywhere from two to four weeks. Learning the processes, making the food, interacting with the customers, in a lot of ways working like an employee within the location, and learning all facets of the business. The franchisor would then go to their location, and work with them at their new site, usually a week before opening and a week after. Just making sure they have processes down, and that they’re comfortable, and they can help put out fires.

The videos and the materials that I’m referencing here would be used in teaching the franchisee the basics, and they would have some flow as in a curriculum and an agenda that would be used throughout training, but they’d also be used by the franchisee on their own once they’re in the field and they’re working.

One of the big problems I guess you’d say in franchising was years ago, no one ever opened up the manual. It was a 200, 300, 500 page document, and it was not the most exciting read, and a franchisee would make an investment and have questions, and has never even looked at the materials or resources that were available.

People are much more willing to go into a video library, which most of the content we would upload to a private intranet, and this is something that we recommend that a new franchisor builds, and the franchisee has a password.

They log in, and here’s what I do when there is a customer complaint. Download the video. Address the situation like this. Ask these questions. Say this. It’s much easier for the franchisee to benefit from that expertise and that support, and again, the beauty of it is if the franchisee is using those tools, there is no phone call. The franchisor, it’s kind of automated for them, so it really is efficient.

Vera Fischer: Then the franchisee can also have their employees, new employees look at those videos as well?

Chris Conner: Absolutely.

Vera Fischer: Great.

Chris Conner: They can leverage those too. Train the trainer, and help them become efficient as an owner. One point there, you mentioned earlier one thing that I am preaching endlessly, when I talk to any business owners and I talk to people about business.

I’m a big fan of the E-Myth, and I always ask people right upfront have you ever read the E-Myth or heard of the E-Myth?

The whole concept is you can’t build a business if you’re stuck in it, and franchising is the epitome of that. When you have the ability to get out of your business enough, where you can teach other people how to replicate every aspect of what you do, that’s when you’ve achieved the pinnacle of leadership and true business ownership. Where when you’re stuck in it you have a job, and you might own it, but you’re a slave to it in some ways.

The Development Work Behind the Franchise Marketing System

Vera Fischer: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more, so I will get us back on track, and we’ve gone through … Let’s assume that the processes, systems are documented. We’ve recognized that they have some type of brand, et cetera. Then you had said that we segue into part two, where we start to build the franchise system itself. Is that right?

Chris Conner: Correct, so when we actually start we call this the development work, and the development work is defining what the franchise concept will look like, what our strategy is, what the financial side of the model looks like, how we train, how we support, what sort of resources are needed as the system grows?

In the end, we call it a strategic plan, but it’s a glorified franchise business plan. Then we also build a business plan for the buyer, the franchisee. Now, the franchisor version of this plan defines some of the key metrics, one being franchise fee.

Franchise fee is the dollar some that the franchisee pays the franchisor for the rights to the intellectual property. They pay this number, they pay this fee anywhere from 20 to $50,000 for the rights to the brand, for the rights to the trademark, for the rights to the training and support, and that initial setup. They then, after they’re setup, will usually pay a royalty, and a royalty is typically a percentage of gross revenues.

Usually that is anywhere from 5% to 12% of gross, and that range will depend on the industry, it will depend on profitability of the business, it will depend on what the franchisor is delivering to the franchisee, and all of these things we need to define. We need to structure. We need to make sure that they have good reasoning behind them.

The territory question is always a huge item in franchising, and again, going back to our Joe’s Pizza example, if there’s one location or two locations territory is not really an issue, but when we start opening up independently on businesses it’s a very big issue, because everyone is concerned about being crowded and cannibalizing business.

We have to plan where locations can go, make sure they’re not too far apart, because when we lose some of that ability to benefit from multiple units marketing and cooperative marketing, we certainly don’t want them too close together, where we would lose business between them.

In this plan, as the system grows, and usually the way that a franchise will grow is it’s very much in concentric circles, where you have … Let’s use Austin as an example, and we have a couple of locations that open up in Austin. A lot of the growth would usually fall into places like San Antonio, Houston, markets that have some connection to the area. That a customer might have come in and tried the product, or experienced the brand and now they’re excited. Maybe someone met us at a trade show, but the brand validates, because they’ve heard of it. Usually there’ll be regional growth, and then it will continue to expand beyond that. Outside those borders.

When a system first starts, we usually see that there’s something like two to six franchises that were able to recruit in that first year. Not a big number, and it’s not otherworldly growth. At the same time, I don’t recommend to a franchisor that they grow faster, because you as the franchisor, the company has to learn how to become a franchisor. Has to get to know what it’s like to interact with franchisees, and teach and coach and mentor, and the dynamics of that relationship are different, than an employer and an employee.

Vera Fischer: You also get so many different types of people that want to be a business owner, so it’s different levels of communication, or handholding, or explanations.

Chris Conner: It’s all over the board, and I’ve joked about it before, but I’ve had franchises where we’ve sold to an ex plumber and an ex Coca Cola executive, who had an MBA in … Couldn’t be farther apart. If you tried to categorize them on paper, if you tried them, and they both bought the same franchise, so it’s definitely all walks of life and all different personalities, and the best franchisors absolutely have an ability to be diverse in how they communicate, and mold to whatever that personality is of each buyer. To keep a whole bunch of different types of people happy.

Vera Fischer: Interesting. Do you ever get franchisors or those original business owners that get too nervous and bail?

Chris Conner: For sure, and unfortunately, that’s part of business. Certainly part of small business. I myself have invested in franchises. I believe in this concept and I believe in this model, and I think that I am shooting four for six. I’ve had two of my franchises fail, so even me in the industry, in the market, can’t always pick them right.

The reality of it is that there is a risk that comes with starting a business, and it’s always that risk versus reward sort of relationship. You have to take a risk to get the reward of business ownership.

What franchising does for an investor is it allows them to take smart risk, and if you do this right, the most successful franchisees that I’ve worked with and that I’ve come across are phenomenal at taking the data and the information that’s available to them, and making good, educated decisions so they can minimize the risk.

The people that I see that have jumped into franchising and haven’t made it, they just don’t take the time to do the due diligence. They don’t use the information that’s available for them. That the primary benefit to franchising is that other people have done what you’re getting into, and legally, the franchisor has to present that data to you.

They not only have to give you the failure rates. They have to give you names and phone numbers of everyone who is in the system, and everyone who has failed. That has to be in the disclosure, and the good franchisees are using that. They’re spending the time. They’re not making quick emotional decisions when they invest in something. It’s methodical. It’s well thought out. They’re investing time and money and doing that research, and if you do that the failure rate of franchising is significantly less, than if someone goes to start a business on their own, which is a pretty high failure rate.

That all comes down to how the franchisee approaches this entire scenario, and where I’ve seen people get into trouble. They walk into a sandwich shop. The sandwich tastes great, and they decide to open up a sandwich franchise, and there’s so little time and effort put into the actual business evaluation.

Trying to understand the market, and that’s one thing I always will recommend to a franchisor, a client as we’re working here. Is there a big enough market for what we do to justify offering a franchise? Is the consumer market large enough, is it expanding? Do we see regionality to this? If what we do only works in Austin, probably not a great idea to franchise this, but if what we’re doing is growing, if we’re seeing an expansion on the consumer side, the franchise model follows that, so it’s part of what we need to validate before we go to market.

Some of the Challenges when Franchising a Business

Vera Fischer: Chris, whenever you were coming up with this system for business owners who were thinking about franchising their business, what were some of the stumbling blocks that you came up on, as you’re working through? Each scenario is different, just like each business is different. That these failure blocks, just and you had to course correct a little bit.

I’m very curious at the very beginning of this, nine, 10, 15 years ago, what were some of those roadblocks for you?

Chris Conner: I think you hit the nail on the head, when you asked about franchisees who have invested and failed, and how do you avoid that and talking about that topic? One of the things that I found early on when I got into the business was there is a natural push to sell franchises when you first take your franchise to market. Nine times out of 10, the people that you sell to early on are the wrong people, and it’s because the franchisor is so driven, so focused and so trying to prove that their concept can be duplicated.

A lot of times they don’t do the proper evaluation, and the proper screening, and the proper qualification, and a lot of times the people who buy franchises and don’t succeed, should never have been allowed to buy that franchise. The franchisor should have said no. You don’t have the qualifications, you don’t have the money, you don’t have the right market, or you don’t have the right personality characteristics to do this, and the good franchise systems are very critical of buyers.

They interview them much like you’d interview an employee, and the same sort of questions and digging and analysis are done, because from a franchisor’s perspective it’s a lot easier to say no upfront than it is after the fact, when you’ve got someone who’s failing and the franchisor doesn’t want a failed location.

They don’t want the blemish of units closing, but after they’re in it’s a difficult scenario, so one thing that I learned from doing this over time was make sure that we’re critical of who we sell to, we evaluate closely, and we don’t sell to everyone. We give them a legitimate screening before they’re allowed in.

The other thing that I learned over time, and this took a little bit longer, was that some people are not great at being a franchisor, and there’s a skillset that you have as an entrepreneur that doesn’t necessarily always translate to being great as a franchisor. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that, but what I found was that entrepreneurs many times I always equate them to warriors. They are fighters.

Everyone in their life and every circumstance, many times has told them that they’re going to lose, and they fight, scratch, claw, bite, do whatever they have to do to make it win, and in reality a franchisee is not that person. They’re not an entrepreneur. They’re people that have worked for a living in a large corporation. They’ve been a W2 employee. The reason they buy the franchise is because they want to be like the entrepreneur.

They respect the entrepreneur, but they don’t have that same sort of personality, and now you have this person who’s wired like this warrior, trying to coach and mentor and teach this person that might be wired more like a farmer, and the dynamics I found were difficult.

One thing that I now scrutinize companies on is if you’re not this person, if you don’t have the patience and the willingness to work with people, and you don’t understand the time and energy that has to go into keeping a franchisee happy, and helping them to be successful, let’s look at bringing someone into the organization.

Let’s hire someone, let’s find someone, before we start getting franchisees in and you get upset, they get upset. If we have the right personality, those dynamics, we can make that a positive dynamic, and people could be happy and you can scale.

How Long the Process Takes

Vera Fischer: Chris, how long does this take? If from start to finish, let’s say that the business owner meets your criteria for franchise, being a franchisor, and you’re moving along. How long does that whole process take?

Chris Conner: From start to finish, from the day that we begin to the day that we launch takes about four months. We do four different phases. Strategic planning, we work with outside legal council to put together the disclosure documents. That’s a big part of franchising. We write the operating and the training manuals.

We have people come on site, and basically write out all of the things that you need to do in the business to teach it, and then we do things like build websites, create collateral materials to find the sales process. In four months, in most cases we should be ready to then go out to market and sell, and usually when we start to market we’re looking at something like a three to four month timeframe from that four months, where we would have our first person who is engaged. They bought as a franchise. Now they’re needing to get trained, and supported, and all those things that come with it.

Vera Fischer: How long would it take for once they bought, that their location opens up? I know it varies depending on what it is, but typically.

Chris Conner: The biggest variable on that is really going to depend on whether there’s a physical location, and I have location based concepts in southern California where it’s taken them a year to find a space, and that’s just because that happens to be a very competitive market for high profile commercial real estate. I have service models that we can get a franchise open in 30 days.

Two, three weeks, so it completely depends on the business model, but that’s part of what we would define in that strategic planning, so that when we sell the franchise we can tell them here’s your expectation. This is what you should be expecting for you to have your doors open, and be ready to go out and generate revenue.

Vera Fischer: That four step franchise marketing process that you mentioned, about you take those business owners methodically, feels very comfortable and very safe. Do you get that feedback from the folks that you work with?

Chris Conner: I appreciate that. We try to make this as comfortable and streamlined as possible, and again, going back to my whole reasoning for doing this. I really wanted to create a relationship that was positive, and enjoyable and fun for the entrepreneur. They’re the key to this whole thing, and they’re always busy. They’re always being pulled in a lot of directions. If we don’t fit into their process and fit into their schedule, it’s tough to make this whole thing work, so we really try to mold people … Come part of the organization, as opposed to making them fit into our structure and our schedule.

Vera Fischer: Interesting, yeah. That approach is … When it’s that humanistic approach first and foremost, I think the results absolutely follow every time, and not all business is good business, so it’s best to know that as quickly as possible. I think your franchise marketing system absolutely identifies that early on.

Chris Conner: Thank you.

What’s Next for Chris

Vera Fischer: Chris, I definitely want to have you back, to talk about the other side of the fence. I’m just really curious myself, but this … I’m going to dub it at this point more of a franchisor marketing system, helping them understand that their business is franchisable, and if it’s a good fit for their long term business strategy. To wrap up our discussion today, what’s next for you? What’s your next challenge for your business?

Chris Conner: That’s a great question. The funny thing is I am always bumping up against a lot of the same challenges that my clients are, and we today have 18 people on our team. We’re spread out around the country and around the US. Got a lot of different great people in our business, and one of the things I’ve had trouble figuring out how to do is how to let things go.

I still do a lot of the day to day responsibilities in my business. I still find myself going back to that get out of your business so you can work on it paradigm. I wish that I could say I’ve accomplished that. I have not, so I’m still in it every day, and I enjoy the work and I’m passionate about it, but I’m always working on better systems and better processes, so that I can scale what I do, and find ways to build it and grow it and replicate it.

Today, we’re about a $3 million business, and we work with anywhere between 30 and 40 companies a year that we help take into franchising. We help them grow with this model. I know there’s more out there. I know there’s more opportunity, and I’m not able to address it all with my own two hands, so I guess one of my biggest challenges is how do I scale what I do?

Vera Fischer: Right. Exactly. That’s a tough question, and it’s very difficult when you’re trying to work on the business instead of in it, and I totally get that, and I’m sure my listeners will understand that perspective as well.

Chris, you’ve shown us such a great insight into this whole world of franchise marketing and businesses, ownership, taking your business to a franchising system, et cetera, and I know that our listeners really appreciate the insights that you have shared with us, but before we go let’s close out today with any final advice you want to share. Anything that I missed by not asking you, and then tell us the best way we can connect with you.

Chris Conner: That’s great, so I think the overall theme that I’d like to leave this franchise marketing discussion with is franchising maybe gets compartmentalized by a lot of people who are not in it, in just food. Food and retail, that’s what we all think of when we think of franchising, and I can assure you that if I went through the different types of companies that we’ve worked with, anyone would be amazed at how broad of a range, and the different industry segments that we’ve touched in franchising.

Really, we’ve probably seen more that are in things like professional services, construction, entertainment, sales, accounting. There’s been all these different categories where franchising has really proven itself as a viable distribution channel, so the one thing that I always tell any business owner or person I’m talking to about the whole concept, is that franchising truly can be for any business. Any industry segment, so I would not rule it out. I would absolutely consider it. When anyone is in a position where they’re trying to figure out how to grow and scale.

The ways that we can be reached, one is our website. It’s just franchisemarketingsystems.com all spelled out, and then we’re on LinkedIn, we’re on Twitter, we’re on Facebook. Our 800 number is 1-(800) 610-0292. We love to talk to people, we love to have open discussions, and just help people look and consider this entire concept of franchising, so again, Vera, thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to be here. This has been great.

Vera Fischer: System Execution fans, no matter how many notes you took or how often you re-listened to this episode, the key is every successful business uses systems to drive to a better outcome. You are very welcome Chris, and I hope to talk with you again very soon.

Chris Conner: Thank you.

We hope you found this episode of System Execution enlightening. For free examples, case studies, eBooks and more, be sure to visit systemexecution.com/resources. Contribute to the conversation by reaching out to Vera directly on email, at vera@systemexecution.com. Until our next episode, thank you for the privilege of your time.

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