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FranDev Players: Adam Goldman, CEO of

Adam Goldman went from successful franchisee to franchise coach. 1851 caught up with the industry vet to talk about the keys to consistent franchise growth.

Adam Goldman never fit in with the corporate world. 

Like many corporate high achievers, Goldman went to business school, but he was already an accomplished entrepreneur at that point. After the market crash in 2008, Goldman invested his time and money into a few savvy real estate projects that carried him for a few years.

But when the time came to pick a full-time occupation for himself, he landed in franchising as an owner of a Vanguard Cleaning location. Fast forward to the present, and Goldman has more than a decade of experience in franchising, but he sold his successful Vanguard franchise long ago.

Instead, he ventured into the world of franchise coaching with his own firm,, where he leads other young entrepreneurs to success through his curated portfolio of brands. 

1851 caught up with Goldman to learn about his story and where franchise development falls on the list of priorities for any up-and-coming brand. 

1851 Franchise: Tell us about your company.

Adam Goldman: The biggest thing that I have going for me at FranchiseCoach is that it’s all about the process. What I mean by that is, people have two choices. One option is they can go through the Franchise 500 and Entrepreneur magazine or go to a show — a virtual show these days — and come up with the right option. 

And the second option is they work with me and I’ll narrow down their options to the three best fits. I have 161 brands in 75 categories, and they are all prescreened for quality. 

What I do first is have an initial conversation with prospective franchisees followed by a more in-depth conversation where I get to know them better. The better I know them, the better matches I can make for them. Based on that longer conversation, I create a model that’s a two-to-three page document. I’m not writing about the actual brand, but characteristics of brands. Is it semi-absentee? How many employees? Investment model? And then I connect them with the brands I think match them best. 

1851: How did you get into franchising?

Goldman: I’m someone that never really fit into Corporate America, for whatever reason. I did go to business school, but I already had a business up and running at that point. I invested in houses after the crash in 2008, but I was starting to run low on inventory.

I’m pretty good at following a system, but bad at creating a system from scratch. So I talked to a consultant and they hooked me up with Vanguard Cleaning in Houston, Texas. I did that for eight years. Went to full time consulting after I sold the business to a strategic buyer. 

1851: Are there any keys to consistent franchise growth?

Goldman: I would say that the big thing is really validation. I know that sounds quite simple, but it’s a little complicated. You can have the best sales development in the world, but if you’re growing too quickly, you’re not gonna have any validation. 

To get validation, you have to constantly work at it by keeping existing franchisees happy. Do this by not overselling territory, not getting ahead of your skis. I had one person with 15 support people in the back office before they sold the first franchise. They didn’t have validation up front but they manufactured it. 

1851: What are the biggest hurdles to successful franchise growth right now?

Goldman: I think that the challenge going forward is that in certain states there are certain regulatory challenges. We’re worried about what’s going to happen with labor laws —  whether employees of franchisees are considered employees or contractors. 

1851: How did the COVID-19 crisis affect franchise growth opportunities?

Goldman: I think in many ways COVID-19 has been good for the industry. There’s a lot more demand for franchises right now. I look at my deal volume in the second half of 2020 vs. 2019, and I had a lot more consultations. People are not trusting corporate America now, and franchisors did a great job of adapting. They created virtual discovery days within weeks. 

1851: Are there any common mistakes you see franchisors making when trying to grow?

Goldman: Again, one of the biggest challenges to growth is the best franchisors are support and operations first, and development second. I’ve seen plenty of franchisors that are development first and support second. I don’t think that’s a viable long-term strategy to build a brand. 

1851: What are your biggest goals or plans for 2021?

Goldman: My own personal belief is I’m going to have a lot more deals this year than in 2020. People are more interested in franchises, but they’re interested in specific franchises now. They’re interested in essential services. Once COVID comes in the rear view, health and wellness are going to be doing really well. There’s a bottled up demand for that. I think we're on the cusp of a boom, and 2021 will be a record year for franchising and franchise coaching.