Franchise Development Players: Keith Dziki
Franchise Development Players: Keith Dziki

1851 Franchise connects with Wireless Zone Director of Development Keith Dziki to hear more about how he fell into franchising.

Getting into the franchising sector is something that business professionals plan for years and years. For others, it happens by accident. Wireless Zone’s Director of Development Keith Dziki fell into by franchising by accident, but it didn’t take much to convince him to stay.

After being introduced to the franchising world through Contours Express, Dziki opened his eyes to the possibility of a franchise model when backed by strong franchise validators and a targeted growth plan. Now, 1851 Franchise recognizes Dziki as a Franchise Development Player after dedicating his time to the franchise space for over ten years, making him one to watch when it comes to franchise growth.

How did you fall into franchising?

I actually fell into franchising by mistake.  I was working in the corporate world as a recruiter in the accounting industry, and my wife’s uncle approached me about a sales position with a women’s fitness center concept that he and a longtime friend developed and were expanding across the country.  At that time, I had no idea that the concept was a franchise and to be honest, I was a little hesitant to learn more about the business.  My wife and I discussed the opportunity a little further, and being that the position would be based in an area of the country that we ultimately wanted to live in, I took the plunge and went in for an interview and accepted the position the next day.  That was almost 15 years ago now and there is not a day that goes by that I do not relish the decision I made for myself and my family. 

What makes you love franchising?

I love franchising because it allows individuals to live the American Dream, with the same qualities of exactly what our country was founded on. Individuals who sought to make a better living for themselves and their families, making their communities more attractive, have always helped our country thrive. Franchising today gives individuals and partnerships the opportunity take the path that is a proven model of success.  Franchising allows these people to have the opportunity to leave whatever unsatisfactory position or lifestyle they were in and do something meaningful instead.

What do you wish you could change in franchising?

There is actually not much that I would wish to change in franchising.  I know and understand the fight that we as franchisors are going through with the Federal Government with regard to national minimum wages, being joint employers with our franchisees, etc.  Ultimately, that is mostly out of our hands and up to the lawyers and congressmen to hash out.

The only change that I would like to see would deal with the holding and/or cooling of time periods of FDD and franchise agreements.  Not so much with new franchise owners, but with existing owners that are expanding into new locations.  New prospective franchisees need to fulfill their franchise due diligence obligation to the franchise and franchisor.  Existing franchisees have already done so in the past and these elongated periods of ‘down-time’ when closing on a new franchised location can drastically impact the franchisee and/or the franchised location itself under certain circumstances.  I wish that there would be some conversations had about adjusting the holding and/or cooling off time periods for existing franchisees that are expanding into new locations.  

What makes a great franchisee?

Franchisees come from many diverse and distinctive backgrounds, have different levels of education, and have experiences in all walks of life.  Their personalities differ, they have different dreams, strengths and weaknesses vary, their objectives or end games are unique.  However, regardless of these differences, I have found that many of them share a common bond; they are determined, resolute and courageous people.  These common bonds make great franchisees that are hardworking, have high standards for themselves and business, are team players, contribute to their communities, and most importantly, choose to make a difference every day in their world by serving customers.

What’s the number one thing that sells franchises?

Over the years, I have used just about every trick of the trade to sell a franchise.  Franchise websites, portals, brokers, mailers, trade shows, development teams, discovery days, in-town meetings, etc., etc., etc.  In my personal opinion, no matter where the franchise candidate derives from initially, it all comes down to franchisee validation.  Both existing and/or former franchisees can make or break a franchise sale.  They have walked in the same shoes as the franchise candidate that the franchisor is trying to sell.  Franchise candidates need to and want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly about the franchisor and the system.  This can only be accomplished through strong franchisee validation where the franchise candidate is receiving genuine, first-hand feedback from franchisees, that is clear and concise about the level of training and ongoing support to expect, how owning the franchise has benefited them personally and professionally, the amount of work-life balance to expect when owning a franchised business, the value adds that the franchisor bring to them through strategic vendor relationships and partnerships.