Franchise Development Players: Mark Mele of Lightbridge Academy
Franchise Development Players: Mark Mele of Lightbridge Academy

A long-time franchising veteran, Mele shows his passion for helping others realize their franchise dreams every day.

Mark Mele serves as Senior Vice President of Franchise Sales for early education and child care franchise Lightbridge Academy. A long-time franchising veteran, Mele shows his passion for helping others realize their franchise dreams every day. 1851 spoke with Mele to get the details on how he joined the franchise world and what makes his approach to franchise sales so successful:

How did you fall into franchising?

Mele: I started my career in franchising with Century 21 Real Estate Corporation in 1985 after leaving my father’s company to venture out on my own.  It’s been over 30 years, and I still get excited about franchising every day.

What makes you love franchising?

Mele: I always liked the business model of franchising primarily because it allows new franchisees to run on a proven track: there’s no “reinventing of the wheel.” 

Successful franchisors have built a sustainable model for the end user, “the customer,” and have allowed that model to be replicated by franchising.  Seeing the results of success from ordinary people who become franchisees in a successful system has been very rewarding.    

What do you wish would change in franchising?

Mele: I would like to see less startups going into franchising before they have proved out their model. Franchising only works when the system is proven and successful.

What makes a great franchisee?

Mele: It may sound simple, but the best franchisee is someone who follows the system.  Someone that uses the tools the franchisor has created to get, keep, and grow customers is what we look for to further the Lightbridge Academy brand.

What’s the No. 1 thing that sells franchisees?

Mele: It has got to be a business that the prospect is passionate about, and it has to be a decision that will increase the quality of their life. On the franchisor’s end, you also need excellent follow up to stay with the candidate until they are ready to change their life and sign on.

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