Scott Oaks, current vice president of franchise development for BrightStar Care got his start in franchising in the summer of 2003. Since that time, he has helped hundreds of would-be entrepreneurs start their own businesses as franchisees. After spending time with a home service and retail franchise, he has spent the last three years at BrightStar Care, a leading home health care company, doing both direct franchise sales and managing the domestic franchise development team. During that time, he and his team have revamped the franchise development process at BrightStar, developed a franchise resale program to help transitioning owners sell their existing businesses, and put together a team that expects to add 50 new franchises in 2016 for the already fast-growing brand. In addition, Oaks has continued to manage his own territory that he is responsible for developing as well.
Why do you love franchising?
I have a tremendous amount of respect for the people that have the ambition and drive to start their own business. Franchising can be the perfect blueprint for someone to follow to be successful. The amount of systems, training, and support that franchising provides an entrepreneur really gives them the extra advantage to know where the potholes are in the road, and how to avoid those mistakes. When you are starting a business, mistakes typically cost you time and cost you money - both of which you can ill-afford to lose at the beginning. Franchising gives confidence to candidates that there are business systems and support behind a brand with a proven track record of success. If you are willing to follow the model, and put in the time, you can be successful. One of the greatest things I love is talking with people whom I worked with five to seven years ago and seeing where they are today, and how owning and operating a franchise has changed their lives.
What is the top challenge facing young people in franchising?
Having realistic expectations. Understanding that when starting your business, the overnight success stories are few and far between. The success stories you see and hear when talking to business owners came with a lot of hard work and hours put in, not just pushing buttons. Having a clear understanding of the effort it’s going to take in order to avoid frustrations, because sometimes things may not happen as fast as they want it to.
What is your dream position/goal?
I really believe there is a right way and a wrong way to do franchise development. Doing it the wrong way can give franchising, in general, a bad reputation. Even more importantly, doing it the wrong way can really hurt prospective franchisees and people who become franchisees that maybe never should have been one. A goal I have is to try to help as many people in franchise development to do things the right way. By the right way, I mean having a healthy respect for the financial and lifestyle commitment that comes with becoming a franchise operator, and an understanding of the risk and dedication needed to make dreams come true. In franchise sales, we need to be buttoned up and make sure we are awarding the franchise to the right people for the brand, and not just “selling them.” To make sure you are matching the concept with someone who has the skill sets and abilities to be successful, and not someone who can sign and pay the fee. I truly believe that you can have good, quality growth that benefits the franchisor and franchisee by setting up your awarding processes and developing a culture of quality franchisees.