Franchise Development

21 04, 2023

Challenges of Scaling to Over 50 Units – The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #35

By |April 21st, 2023|Franchise Development, Franchise Recruitment, Franchisee Onboarding and Training, Podcast|Comments Off on Challenges of Scaling to Over 50 Units – The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #35

My Podner in this episode is Tom Wells and he’s going to talk with us today about the challenges of scaling a brand over 50 units. It’s a moving target and things change, and he’s going to share some REALLY COOL stuff with us today.

Time Stamps

Tom Wells Intro 00:00:31
Segment 1 00:02:13
Get to know Tom Wells
Segment 2 00:27:05
Topic Segment: Scaling your brand to over 50 units
Segment 3 01:06:27
Topic Segment: Quick Draw Questions


  • This ultimately comes down to People, Process, and Prioritization. Many entrepreneurs didn’t become entrepreneurs to focus on process and structure – the most successful ones hire around this need.
    • People: have to get the best team and figure out where to hire over time. Requires culture of accountability which sounds easy but is difficult to implement. Additionally, the founder(s) need to manage their people, but also give them authority to execute.
    • Process: what works at 10 units or 20 units, doesn’t work at 50+ units. A leader or team can run around putting fires out at 10 units, but you can’t do this at 50+ units. Many organizations never think about what process is needed to make better decisions over time. Additionally, need to want to get and understand the right data which is hard with limited resources.
    • Prioritization: Everyone has a day job; can only take on a few big strategic initiatives at a time. Most founders have a list of 20 major initiatives they want their team to do at any time. Some get done, some don’t – all of them are not done at the highest level. We spend a lot of time focusing each year on what are the main ones to provide the biggest benefit to the business (this is very hard) and then helping the teams focus on these items. Do this repeatedly and the business constantly evolves nicely.
  • Being Ready to Grow: To grow from the concept stage, you need the below but I always start with “If it’s a great investment for the franchisee, the brand will generally do very well”:
    • Great unit economics. This is almost impossible to fix along the way. If the concept doesn’t work from the start, it’s unlikely to have better unit economics along the way. Our view is 3 year or better payback is top 25%. Anything better is best in class. We also look at store level margin as it provides insight into cushion for franchisee performance (ie: very low margin has limited room for error).
    • Differentiation: It’s important to have something that sets a brand apart from its competitors. This applies to all concepts regardless of industry. Tons of competition in restaurants, how are we getting a competitor to pick us vs their 100 other options (product, service, experience, technology). In services, there are tons of local companies that can do plumbing, why pick a franchise (marketing, service, answer phones, clean looking techs, technology, etc.)
    • Structure / Process / Re: different from the process above. This is being able to sign franchise agreements knowing that you are growing a repeatable concept (ops manuals and guides, trade design, product, branding). You don’t want different menus at different locations, different store designs, etc. Key to have something where there is benefit of scale and franchising.
  • How brands scale: most grow without a lot of thought of who the franchisee is and where they are growing. Need to be thoughtful here.
    • Who the franchisee is: over the first 10 or 20 locations, you really figure out who is the best operator for a brand. Additionally, you learn who is not a fit. These need to be addressed thoughtfully otherwise a brand will struggle with bad franchisees as it gets larger.
    • Where you grow: It’s easy to sign franchise agreements with interested franchisees that are far away. This depends on complexity of the concept. For example, restaurants require distributions centers and are hard for corporate to help with when far away. Generally easier to go concentrically with restaurants, especially with brand loyalty.
    • How you develop: Growth is great, but ultimately the franchisee needs to succeed. It’s better to make sure you have the right operator and right site, rather than compromising just to grow. We see so many brands that are great, but have struggling units where they compromised early – this doesn’t show up for a few years.

Tom Wells
10 Point Capital

Kit Vinson
214-736-3939 x 101

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You can find a transcription of this podcast here.

16 09, 2022

Franchisor Pitfalls – The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #34

By |September 16th, 2022|Franchise Development, Franchise Recruitment, Franchisee Onboarding and Training, Podcast|Comments Off on Franchisor Pitfalls – The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #34

My Podner in this episode is Michael Peterson and he’s going to talk with us today about the mistakes that new franchisors typically make during their first year of operation. Some of these mistakes can be quite expensive, while others can lead to the death of your entire system. If you are a newly minted franchisor, or if you are about to start your journey, this is one that you won’t want to miss.

Time Stamps

Michael Peterson Intro 00:00:31
Segment 1 00:02:37
Get to know Michael Peterson
Segment 2 00:18:22
Topic Segment: New Franchisor Pitfalls
Segment 3 01:03:05
Topic Segment: Quick Draw Questions


Key areas franchisors miss in their first year:


  • Not getting the FDD to fully capture the business model. This leads to something so prevalent that I came up with a name for it; the 2nd year re-write. So many franchisors make massive changes to their second year FDD either because they didn’t capture the existing model in the first year, or they didn’t have someone walk them through the thought processes they should be going through on every item before they commit it to paper.
  • Having “to be implemented” clauses in their agreements. The most common one I have seen here is a national ad fund, though I have seen tech fees quite a few times as well. When your franchisee #1 or #2 has been operating for 3 years, paying you your royalty only, and suddenly you decide your system is big enough to justify the advertising fund of 1-3%, believe me they will not be happy. Start taking this from day one, even if you turn around and spend it in their market.
  • Cutting corners or coming in underfunded. This is probably the #1 cause of failure of young franchisors. Deciding to write an operations manual in-house, find the cheapest franchise attorney possible (or, worse yet, trying to do an FDD without a franchise attorney), not having quality marketing materials, not having funds set aside for franchise sales; these are so self-defeating.
    • A bad operating manual can lead to system problems and even litigation.
    • If you succeed as a franchisor you will end up using a good franchise attorney, if you start out with inexperienced or ineffective counsel, you’ll just pay in negotiation, litigation, or just headaches before you switch to better counsel.
    • Your marketing materials are your first impression, you have to make them count.
    • Franchise sales cost money, period. If you don’t have a good marketing budget, you will struggle to grow. Think about this. Each year, you are going to spend between $6,000 and $25,000 on renewal, depending on how many registration states you go into and how complicated your audit is. I would guess the average is close to $12,000. If your lead generation spend results in one sale, then you have an extra $12,000 in costs for that sale. If you have a robust budget and someone solid handling franchise sales, and you award 3 franchisees, then the renewal is only adding $4,000 cost-per-close. Big difference.

Post Launch

  • Hands down, the biggest mistake a franchisor can make is bringing in the wrong franchisee. If you have been doing all the ‘right’ things, spending money, having a professional franchise salesperson either in-house or outsourced, reaching out to brokers to talk about your brand, and 6 or 12 or even 18 months in you don’t have a franchise sale, that can be frustrating. It also might happen; the first franchisees are the hardest to find (lets delve into that). I have seen this situation cause many franchisors to award a franchise to someone they shouldn’t and regret it for years to come.
  • Not having a culture of compliance from day 1 is another seemly small issue that will come back to haunt you. If your FA calls for quarterly or annual financials from your franchisees, get them even if you don’t know what to do with them! If your franchisees have a required add spend, monitor it from day one. Or better yet, engage with them and help them spend it correctly, but either way make sure they are spending it. If there is a clause you are not enforcing from day one, throw it out.
  • A problem many new franchisors think they wish they had; growing too fast. I have been in this position. I am talking about 4 stores open in January and 120 open that December fast! Trust me, you don’t want this kind of growth out of the gate.
  • Compromising to get a deal. . . I put this one last because it very well may be something you need to do. As I mentioned, first franchisee is HARD! It may be  reasonable, appropriate, or even necessary to ‘give’ on the first franchisee, maybe even on the first few. But be careful. If you are giving a bigger territory, are you really setting that franchisee up so that there is no chance of you putting someone into the same market and putting local brand awareness 100% on their shoulders? Are you offering a refund clause that you can’t really afford, from a capital cost of onboarding stance? Make sure your attorney is involved here and be careful. And again, don’t be afraid to say no and walk away.

Michael Peterson
Franchise Beacon

Kit Vinson
214-736-3939 x 101

Books Mentioned in the Episode

Think Like a Freak
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

The Memory Illusion
By Julia Shaw

Eye of the World
Robert Jordan

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You can find a transcription of this podcast here.

14 04, 2022

Maximizing the Franchise Expo – The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #33

By |April 14th, 2022|Franchise Development, Franchise Recruitment, Podcast|Comments Off on Maximizing the Franchise Expo – The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #33

My Podner in this episode is Tom Portesy and he’s going to talk with us today about how to maximize the return on your investment at a franchise expo, how to avoid the pitfalls, and best practices that will help you represent your brand in the best light.

Time Stamps

Tom Portesy Intro 00:00:27
Segment 1 00:03:41
Get to know Tom Portesy
Segment 2 00:18:22
Topic Segment: Maximizing the Franchise Expo
Segment 3 01:03:42
Topic Segment: Quick Draw Questions


  • What is a franchise expo
  • Short history of the expo
  • How to manage realistic expectations of an expo
  • Know your objective
  • DOs and DON’Ts at an expo
  • Take advantage of the free training offered by MFV
  • Spend time developing your opening line
  • Know the value of a lead
  • Control how much time you spend with each person
  • Which industries do better at an expo

Tom Portesy
MFV Expositions

Kit Vinson
214-736-3939 x 101

Books Mentioned in the Episode

Good to Great
The Fog of Life

Find this podcast on:


You can find a transcription of this podcast here.

22 08, 2018

The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #18 – Franchise Development 101 (Sales)

By |August 22nd, 2018|Franchise Development, Franchise Lead Management, Franchise Recruitment, Podcast, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #18 – Franchise Development 101 (Sales)

Mike Pollock give us tips on how to build a franchise development system for your franchise. But it was more than just that because we also talked about how to take a warm lead through the process to close the deal.

Time Stamp
Mike Pollock Intro – 00:00:40

Segment 1 – 00:03:15
Get to know Get to know Mike

Segment 2 – 00:22:10
Topic Segment – Franchise Development 101 (Sales)

Segment 3 – 01:18:40
Quickdraw Questions

Topics discussed in this episode:

How to set up an efficient process for franchise development

  • Brand Overview Presentation (45 minutes to 1 hour long)
  • Develop a solid franchise prospect application that focuses on:
    • Background
    • Financial situation
  • Have the Unit Economics Call
    • FDD introduction call (15 minutes)
    • Unit Economics (45 minutes)
    • Receive signed Item 23 (Proof of receipt of FDD)
    • Password
    • Validation instructions
  • Validation Debriefing Call
  • Discovery Day
    • Brand Overview Review
    • Meet the Team
    • Lunch and dinner are the best opportunity to visit with prospects
    • Field Visits
  • Voting Pro