Jason Kealey is the President and CEO of FranchiseBlast, a software development firm producing an integrated software solution for the franchise space. Jason co-founded the company back in 2007, building it from the ground up. A fully-licensed software engineer specializing in business processes and software requirements engineering, he has a masters degree in computer science from the University of Ottawa. He makes his home in Gatineau, Quebec.
What does FranchiseBlast offer the franchising community?
Our solution helps franchisors take control of their operations. Our tools, accessible from mobile and desktop, empower franchisors to run a successful business with easy-to-use operational software. With this, they can manage day-to-day issues with franchisees, see everything happening in real-time, and increase the level of control that they have over their franchise business – all the while seeing performance metrics at a glance.
What was your original idea when you founded it?
During my studies in software engineering, I worked with a local franchise with just two units and built a number of software applications for them, ranging from in-store interactive kiosks and integrated point of sale to a higher-level ERP. The solution helped them manage their supply chain from China to Europe, Mexico or domestically. By the time I graduated from my Master’s in 2007, that franchise client had grown to 40 units. We saw an opportunity within the emerging segment of franchising and launched FranchiseBlast to address it.
How did you set up and grow the company?
After that first client, I started to attend franchising shows such as the International Franchise Association (IFA). There I discovered several franchisors who were experiencing the same problems we had solved but were (rightfully) slow and reticent to changing the operational software their franchisees were using on a daily basis. I discovered prospective customers were more receptive to our franchisor-level operational tools such as our franchisee field auditing app and franchisee benchmarking solution. It was in this space that I found the sweet spot for franchising. Now, we have over 12,500 units from 90 brands, many of them household names.
What attracted you to franchising?
What I find interesting about franchising is the potential to learn about many different industries which all utilize the franchise model to expand their business. Each industry focuses on different KPIs and learning to dive deeper into the operational efficiencies for these industries has kept me learning and improved my versatility.
What affords you most satisfaction about your work?
I am passionate about making franchise operations the best that they can be. I think this is the best model in the world and there’s so much potential. I also love the people in franchising – this is a space that is all about relationships, and I am happy to have so many long-time friends in the community.
What aspect of your work offers the greatest challenges?
I think the most challenging portion of our work is that improving unit-level economics is such a diverse and multi-faceted challenge. There are endless paths our software could pursue and determining the most impactful paths we should address is a great challenge.
How do you think other people would describe you?
I am known to be driven and passionate about what I do. I am also a pragmatist – I like to set the bar high, but I balance it out with down-to-earth logic when I am managing my teams at FranchiseBlast. My friends also know that I have an unusual sense of humor!
If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
I don’t think I would change much. Things have not been perfect, but I have learned a lot along the way, and met a ton of great people.
How do you relax?
I love industrial music and having fun with smart and interesting people. I relax by learning about random things so I enjoy picking their brains, reading on Quora or watching odd documentaries on Netflix.
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