My name is Lisa Linkowsky…I am addicted to franchising. As a third-generation business owner, one might have expected that my destiny was to own a business. Working in corporate America, nothing could have been further from my mind. The closest that I came was twenty years ago when I flirted with starting my own website development company. I had a client, wrote up a proposal and even had a company name, but life got in the way and my fleeting thought of entrepreneurship vanished into thin air.
That was many years ago. Fast forward to today, I am part of the franchise industry, working in my own business as a franchise consultant. Yes, I am addicted to franchising… but it’s a healthy addiction. I get to help people through my work. Like many others in franchising, I will talk about franchising at length, any time and anywhere. I am passionate about all the possibilities and opportunities in this booming industry, and I learn something new about it every day. I simply can’t get enough. My franchising journey started by chance, but from that moment, I was hooked.
In June 2013, franchising landed in my lap by way of a direct mail marketing piece that arrived in my mailbox. It targeted me directly and featured promotional gift cards to upscale area restaurants, boutiques, and spas. As a marketer, this piece spoke to me instantly and I dusted off my resume and reached out about employment. I was informed that they were not hiring but were going to become a franchise. “Was I interested?” The concept crept into the very essence of my being and in May 2014, I became a franchisee and ran the third-largest territory for seven years.
I’m free to do what I want
What caused my leap for something I was not even actively pursuing? FREEDOM! Working from home for ten years gave me the realization that I did not need a team office atmosphere and furthermore I did not need anyone looking over my shoulder to determine what I was doing and when. At the time, I had young children. Since the business model offered flexible hours, I was able to be the mom I wanted to be as well as a business owner. I could finally have it all!
Seat at the table
As one of the first owners of an emerging franchise, I had a direct line to the executive team. I was able to convey suggestions as well as concerns and they listened. We may not have always agreed, but they would take my constructive points seriously and then provide input as to how action items would be implemented or provide reasons for why they may not be addressed.
I immediately created a Facebook group for all of the other franchise owners to communicate with each other and then held monthly meetings. As a result, we were able to share questions, triumphs, and concerns that could then be brought to the franchisor. A brain trust had been created where people from all over the country came together with extensive business backgrounds. It was impossible to walk away from a meeting and not learn something new that could be applied to your business.
No one ever said it would be easy
Owning a business is hard. Creating a lasting unique concept that can generate strong profits is even more difficult. When you purchase a franchise, you pay for the blood, sweat, and tears that someone else went through to make that business replicable — not just in their hometown but across the country. In turn, they hand you the recipe for their proven success.
We have all heard the low odds about businesses getting past their first year. With franchising, your odds increase simply because you are given in-depth training, operational guidance, real estate assistance for brick-and-mortar locations, and marketing expertise, including creating social media platforms. Unfortunately, because of Covid, my franchisor went out of business. But the experience gave me a unique look at the industry and a passion for franchising. Yes, I am addicted to franchising, but now I get to satisfy my addiction by helping others find opportunities in this booming industry.
The role of a franchise consultant
Truly learning about my candidates helps create a framework. What are their passions? What is not being met in their current situation? Why are they considering business ownership? Will their current financial position allow them to meet their objectives? Once all information has been reviewed thoroughly between myself and my candidate, then the match-making process begins. The process of narrowing down franchise concepts can be daunting, but it is exciting as well. As a franchise consultant, I have a systematic approach.
Meeting with both the candidate and the franchisor throughout the process ensures a proper pace and provides a sounding board for a candidate’s preferences. Guiding candidates through what a Franchise Disclosure Document is all about and breaking it down section by section, as well as prepping candidates for speaking with franchise owners during validation, ensures a well-prepared potential franchisee. As part of the franchise consulting process, I guide candidates through every step, including introducing them to lenders who will offer a wide array of choices for making this dream a reality. I also introduce other professionals such as franchise attorneys who will do a deep dive on the legal aspects so the candidate knows exactly what is involved.
I love the process of helping people find the perfect franchise and offering comfort and guidance when making such a significant decision… that’s why I am addicted to franchising!
The franchise addiction
I was fortunate to have had such an intimate involvement with my franchisor. It now allows me to convey stories or examples to my candidates and encourage them to be an active part of the brain trust in their system and if one does not exist to create it. To not do so would be foolish. Why work in a silo when you do not have to? When you take full advantage of all that a franchise system offers it only guarantees you more of a chance for great success and then, you too, will be addicted!
“When I’m old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say ‘wow, that was an adventure,’ not ‘wow, I sure felt safe.’” – Tom Preston-Werner