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Young Ones to Watch: Corey Elias, Founder of Franchise Captain

1851 Franchise interviewed the young franchise broker about how he got into franchising, what advice he has for up-and-coming business owners and more.

Corey Elias is the founder of Franchise Captain, a franchise consultancy that helps prospective franchisees find franchisors that align with their goals and values. The business also connects clients with legal, funding and accounting support. 

In addition to Franchise Captain, Elias also owns two other businesses: a residential and commercial property management company and a ballet studio that he runs with his wife.

Elias was named Rookie of the Year by the Franchise Broker Association in 2018. In 2019, he made the association’s top 10 brokers list. This year, he broke the top three.

We spoke with Elias about what he loves about the franchise industry, how the industry has reacted to COVID and more.

1851 Franchise: How did you get into franchising?

Corey Elias: I own three small businesses, and I truly enjoy the flexibility and financial independence this has afforded me and my family. I spent many years in corporate America making a lot of money for other people. Franchising gave me the ability to control my own destiny.

My Aunt, Pam Vias, has been a pioneer and trendsetter in the franchising industry. She introduced me to Sabrina Wall, CEO of the Franchise Brokers Association, and that was truly life-changing for me. That’s what got me started in this amazing industry. My aunt and Sabrina have taught me the value of ensuring the right fit and doing the research to assess the best franchise systems and business opportunities. 

1851: What do you love about the industry?

Elias: I love the flexible lifestyle, meeting like-minded individuals and being my own boss. Don’t get me wrong, business ownership is tough. I saw a study from Vistaprint that said 62% of Americans dream of business ownership but only 13% actually own a business. Why? Because many people are fearful of taking this risk, but joining a great franchise system that shares your values can help take a bit of the risk out of the equation.

1851: What makes someone a good fit for the franchise industry? Are there traits that are shared by the most successful franchise professionals you know?

Elias: One of the surprising things I have discovered about the franchise industry is the lack of similar traits among successful franchisees. There’s a quote I like from the Franchise Brokers Association that goes, “We believe anyone can be a successful business owner when they discover the right opportunity.” This philosophy corresponds with what I have seen in the industry, with many different personality types excelling when given the right match and opportunity. 

I studied psychology in school, and I’m intrigued by people’s motivations, strengths and weaknesses. I also provide my clients with a Zorakle assessment, which is a scientific business profile based on studies of thousands of franchisees. I love the challenge and strategy behind finding that franchise match. I spend many hours with a client before I ever introduce specific franchise systems. Normally, when we look at a franchise it is something they never considered, but they can see how it achieves their life goals.

1851: How do you feel about the industry's response to the coronavirus crisis so far? Are there challenges or opportunities that the industry still needs to address?

Elias: One of the most difficult aspects of this crisis is the uncertainty, but we have seen the industry come together during this unpredictable time. Early on, it seemed there were calls every day with industry experts ensuring that everyone had information to help make decisions. There is still a lot of uncertainty out there that is going to need a team effort to overcome. 

There looks to be a growing affinity for small businesses among consumers right now, and I am optimistic there will be great growth once this crisis is under control. People’s dedication to supporting small businesses combined with lower job security should lead to a great environment for startups.

1851: What advice do you have for other young up-and-comers in the space?

Elias: My advice is twofold: first, make an effort to understand as many different systems and models as you can. Second, I have seen so much success from those who truly care and have a servant mindset. Business ownership is a huge life decision on so many levels. Never forget that when speaking with anyone who is interested in starting their own business.