The Chief Development Officer of Solcioty Fitness talks about how he fell into franchising and why he loves it
With 25 years of experience and active in in franchising since the early 2000s, David Wheeler serves as Chief Development Officer to Solcioty Fitness, a heart rate monitored high-intensity interval training emerging concept. 1851 connected with David on why this lawyer turned to franchising.
1851 Franchise: How did you fall into franchising?
Wheeler: I studied franchising some in college and law school. After law school, I moved to Dallas to work as an attorney with a private equity firm that purchased a sales driven company. After the company filed bankruptcy, I decided to venture on my own and start my own food specialty company based in shopping malls. Immediately people requested franchise information. Although I knew a little about franchising, I threw myself into it so I would understand the business model. A year after opening the first location, I began franchising the concept. We opened three other locations just that year. I wore every hat in developing and marketing the brand. It really gave me a hands-on, comprehensive understanding of what is required to run a franchise brand. I have been in the franchise industry for over 20 years.
1851 Franchise: What do you love about franchising?
Wheeler: The thing I love most about franchising is collaboration. I’m working with an experienced team to help franchisees grow their business while also seeing the brand expand into new markets. Everyone is a professional at what they do. When everyone comes together bringing their unique talents and experience, our operation runs like a well-oiled machine.
1851 Franchise: What makes a great franchisee?
Wheeler: Aside from a successful brand and a successful team, what makes a franchisee thrive is someone that really understands the brand and has a passion for it. They want to see the brand grow and are consistently coming up with new ideas on how to do so, working with the franchisor to make the system better by being involved. They realize that it’s not only about growing their own business but also working with other franchisees to help them be successful. It’s also important to be business savvy, have a finger on the pulse of the market they wish to develop in and participate in the operation of their franchise.
1851 Franchise: What’s the most important thing that drives a prospective franchisee to sign up?
Wheeler: For me on the development side, when I’m working with candidates, the number one thing that pushes them over the edge is meeting with a successful, growing franchisee. These owners can communicate a lot more information than the franchisor can because we’re bound by the FDD. A franchisee can be deliberate because they’re on the front line, understanding what it’s like working with the franchisor. I love introducing candidates to engaged and passionate franchisees.