Ha! I get asked the question “why did I start a franchise consulting company?” all of the time.
When I sold my stake in our company, I didn’t have my next step planned out. I knew that I wanted a break, but I also knew that my mind can only sit idle for so long. I’ve been in this spot a few times in my life now, and realized that if I didn’t put up some guard rails, then I would launch myself 110% into my next venture. This time I didn’t want to do that.
Then COVID-19 struck. I found myself fielding calls from CEOs and founders on a daily basis, helping them sort through the carnage going on around them. And before I knew it, I was getting to a point where from a strategic perspective, I was going pretty deep inside a few brands. Although I never saw myself as a franchise consultant, It was so refreshing to solve other people’s problems, and I could approach the challenges with so much clarity, and so little emotion. I loved problem-solving for clients. But I also knew that if I was going to spend this much of my time and energy on other people’s businesses, I had better come up with a business model around it.
So, Travis Tinning, an old friend and an experienced multi-unit franchisee, began helping out a few brands with me. These companies were all on a mission to reach the coveted 100-unit mark with a focus on scale. (Who better to help franchise brands out then a successful, multi-unit franchisee?) As we worked with these brands, we found that they all hit similar sticking points along the way. What got a franchise brand to 10 units, needed to change to get them to 25 units, and what got them to 25 units, had to change to get them to 50 units. These were the same issues we faced in growing our own brands, and were also the same challenges that I saw during my time as Chair of the Canadian Franchise Association. So, when we launched Hartify Franchise Consulting, we launched with a singular focus: to design products that helped steer franchisors past these sticking points. With that, I had a new business purpose that would really engage me.
The Science of Scale
Fast forward to the present, about 12 months later. We still haven’t officially “launched” yet, but have a full roster of clients who we have been helping to grow, and we have built a team of deep experts in the franchise field. But what is more exciting for me, is that over the course of the past 12 months, we have begun to design the system and the product base for the Science of Scale for franchisors.
Where will this go? I don’t really know. I do know that we are learning a TON and I love learning. It is fun to be a thought leader and change agent in a space we know so well (and a space that needs innovation). And it is becoming more and more clear to us where exactly gaps exist and opportunities lie to help ambitious franchise brands. All of that makes what we are embarking on pretty fun. So, the Science of Scale keeps evolving.
Maybe at some point we will buy and scale our own brand again. Who knows? For now, we are having a blast helping other franchise brands scale their impact in the world. Our customers are enjoying growing (the right way) and we are making franchising fun again.
P.S. I think I will do both (surf and build a franchise consulting company).
If you want to discover the “Top Habits of Best in Class Franchisors”, see below.