I was feeling pretty good as a franchisee in my first location. I had followed the franchisor’s instructions explicitly. I mastered the training materials, memorized our USPs, dove deep into the CRM capabilities and leveraged all of its bells and whistles, and marketed my tail off.
And… it worked! I was profitable in just three months and ready to hire my first employees.
I vividly remember standing in my fitness center, thinking about our expansion when it hit me like a ton of bricks - I could not be in two places at once.
Obviously, this revelation wasn't a surprise, but in that moment, I couldn’t imagine the fresh-faced high schoolers I just hired bringing the same magic I did to my business. After-all, it was my passion, expertise, and relationship building skills that were the foundation of our success. From this thought, a firestorm of questions bombarded my mind, highlighting everything still missing from my business arsenal.
Suddenly one answer floated to the surface of my psyche… There was a huge void in my knowledge and experience labeled “Everything I don’t know that I don’t know.”
I asked my franchisor for help, but my frustration grew when I was redirected to the lessons I had already mastered or when the franchise business coach (who was straight out of college and had never owned a business before) made the same basic marketing suggestion I had heard a hundred times.
I felt unseen, unheard, and as if I no longer mattered to the franchisor.
So, I decided I would have to figure it out on my own.
I found the experts with track records showing they knew something I didn’t know and invested in learning from them – not in a 3-day workshop that gave me a glimpse into their methods - by working with them consistently to see behind-the-scenes, to discover how each dot connected to the next.
It was like stepping into another business dimension where I unlocked a new perspective that changed the way I viewed my franchising journey.
When I entered into franchising, on some level I knew that the skills a person uses to become a six-figure business owner were different than the skills they brought with them from their experience as high-achieving employees. That’s why I invested in a franchise – to learn those new skills and leapfrog to success faster than I could opening a business on my own. But, what I hadn’t considered was that the skills needed to become a 7-figure business owner were different than those that took me to a 6-figure owner. And that the skills I would use to become an 8-figure business owner were different still.
This simple ah-ha moment redesigned the way I viewed my conversations with my franchisor. I realized that my franchisor had promised to provide me with a proven fitness model – the branding, product and basic processes that allowed me to transition from a high-achieving employee into a 6-figure business owner, which they did. But, if I wanted more than that, it was my responsibility to bring the next-level mindset, perspective and business knowledge to the table to compliment the franchise model.
Since that time, I have mentored hundreds of franchisees that find themselves where I was - inside the Franchise Gap - the space between the franchise model and the success a franchisee envisions for themselves. To reach the other side, it is the franchisee's responsibility to fill the gap, and a great franchisor will show them the way.
We will explore the role of the franchisee and franchisor in filling the Franchise Gap in Parts 2 and 3 of this article. To be continued...