How did you fall into franchising?
My first career out of school was working as a Fundraising Consultant for a wide variety of non-profit organizations throughout the east coast. I spent most of my time on the road and was looking for an opportunity to work in one location so I could spend time with my young son. A friend of mine served as the HR coordinator at Outdoor Living Brands (a local franchise company in Richmond). I had interviewed for a accounting support position and after 5 interviews was offered a role in their franchise development team. After a year I received my first promotion and, by the end of my 4th year, I was overseeing marketing, lead generation and development activities for all five brands.
I was approached by the CEO of sweetFrog almost 2 years ago who was looking for a strong development background to join the team. After 6 months with the company, I was given the opportunity to lead the development team and named the Director of Franchise Development.
What makes you love franchising?
Helping new prospective franchisees learn about franchising and assisting them as they venture forward with a franchise opportunity. There is no better feeling than seeing them grow and enjoy the benefits of owning their own business. I love when my candidates send me pictures of their first day in business, and the smiles they have are so rewarding. It is also rewarding to know that I had a small hand in helping them achieve their personal and professional goals in the years ahead. My candidates quickly become family, and it is such a rewarding experience.
What do you wish would change in franchising?
I wish there was a way to make the funding process stress free! It seems that this has been the most stressful process for many of my candidates, and it would be amazing if there was an easier way to handle this aspect for them.
What makes a great franchisee?
I have a special spot in my heart for veteran franchisees. I have spent a lot of my career developing veteran awareness programs (including discounts and incentives for them as owners as well as creating educational programs and working with military bases and resources to help educate military men and women on the opportunities available).
I believe that anyone who believes in the brand they are investing in, believes in the processes and procedures that are in place to help them achieve maximum success while bringing passion and excitement into their businesses set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.
What’s the No. 1 thing that sells franchisees?
Personally, I believe it’s the people. The people that are in place to support the franchisees as well as those who they are joining as franchisees. The brand is important but ultimately, as I was taught long ago by one of my former VP’s, franchising is like marriage. If you don’t take the time to get to know your soon to be in-laws, you are doomed for failure.