Young Ones: Scott Sutton
Young Ones: Scott Sutton

Name: Scott Sutton

Rank: 5

Age: 41

Position: Vice President of Franchise Development

Company: Safeguard 

One of the first things you will notice about Scott Sutton is how deeply personal he makes his career. He deeply cares about those who interface with him – whether co-worker, sup.....


Name: Scott Sutton
Rank: 5
Age: 41
Position: Vice President of Franchise Development
Company: Safeguard 
One of the first things you will notice about Scott Sutton is how deeply personal he makes his career. He deeply cares about those who interface with him – whether co-worker, supplier, franchise executive or franchisee (Safeguard calls them distributors). The drive to help people succeed has worked well for Sutton, who has become a highly regarded franchise executive known for producing great results. In addition to helping Safeguard achieve record numbers in acquisitions last year, Sutton has been busy helping other franchisors find greatness – as Chairman of the Emerging Franchisor Conference.
I GOT INTO FRANCHISING: While enrolled in college at the University of Oklahoma, I had the opportunity to work at the headquarters of a fast food franchisor based in Oklahoma City.
I LOVE FRANCHSIING: Like many college graduates, my prior experience helped crack open the door to my future career. And with experience working within a franchise organization, I had the opportunity to step into a concept development and launch role in the petroleum industry. While I never thought I would dedicate my life’s professional work to franchising, it became clear to me that the franchise space was unique in being able to help individuals achieve the dream of business ownership in the United States and abroad.
I recall negotiating my first franchise transaction. The energy, passion and excitement that came from two passionate new franchisees became the genesis for my dedication to the franchise community. In short, our work (in the franchise community) is making a difference in the lives of business owners, their families, employees and collective communities. Being a part of something that special is both an amazing opportunity, and an equally amazing responsibility.
IN THE FUTURE:  What comes to mind in association with the future is the term “Pay it Forward.” What I’ve noticed over an 18 year career is that franchise leaders and professionals comprise a family-like group. Each is willing to help others understand franchising, what’s worked for them, what’s failed and what each would change if the reset button could be pushed in their respective brands.
So for me, it’s easy to say that over time I fully expect to lead a franchise organization toward significant and successful growth just as I have in the past, but at the same time I’m focused on the actual journey toward that end game – and the fulfillment that comes with sharing with others the knowledge I’ve gained through the interaction with leaders and professionals that helped shape my early years in the business of franchising. Part of my future plans and goals are to work diligently to ensure that the fraternity of franchise professionals remains at least as open, helpful and willing as it is today.
DO YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE OPPORTUNITY:  It’s an interesting question and when I attend franchise-related events, I see significant youth and energy. That’s exciting to see and something that bodes well for the future of franchising. I believe our trade association leadership, and those leading other related groups, need to work diligently to include these young, innovative and energetic minds into the associations and organizations dedicated to the franchise industry, and, where possible, at a leadership level.
Right now, I don’t see a lot of that and there is a great and immediate opportunity for these associations and organizations to diversify their leadership, committees and participation through reaching-out to younger members of the franchise community.
FUTURE FRANCHISORS SHOULD:  Recognize that the business of franchising is a separate business altogether compared to the business being franchised. If you’re in the pizza business and choose to franchise, you have to build an organizational structure and business focus around franchising to really make it work in a great way. This can be a difficult step for a business owner to take as it’s natural and compelling to want to see franchising as simply an extension of the business being franchised. And to a small degree, it may be. But framing franchise growth from the perspective of accepting that one is in the franchise business is a progression of thinking that more easily leads to success.
FUTURE FRANCHISEES SHOULD: Well, I’ll start with the franchisee as a prospect. As a prospect, look for and choose a brand that has a strong track record inside an industry or market niche for which you have great passion. You have to like what you do. Period. If you don’t, you won’t be happy. And if you’re not happy, it shows….to your employees, customers, family and friends.
I’ve always said to prospects, create your “Top 10” reasons for becoming a franchisee and what that will mean for you, your family and your future. Hand write that list on a piece of paper, laminate it and stick it to your bathroom mirror. Look at that list every day and never forget why you chose to get into franchising. Finally, as a franchisee, recognize you are part of a network. And each and every member of that network wants you to succeed, as your success begets the success of the franchisor, the brand and its other franchisees. Use this network to gain ideas, help and guidance. Like most things in life, you’ll get out of the franchise what you put into it.
 
 

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