Global Franchise talks to Robert Stidham, founder of Franchise Dynamics, ‘the largest franchise sales outsourcing company in the world’.
Tell me something about your background
I’ve been in franchising for nearly 30 years and during my corporate career I have had the wonderful experience of building two of the 25 largest service franchisors in the world and to be the Founder of Franchise Dynamics, the largest franchise sales outsourcing company in the world.
How did you become involved in franchising?
I got involved in franchising by accident. I worked for a technology consulting company and had previously worked with an established franchising client that needed someone to help them grow their franchise company. They had less than 300 franchisees when I got there – and eight years later we were operating 1,100 units in markets globally. I learned a lot about people and franchising while I was there.
What is Franchise Dynamics?
Franchise Dynamics is the world’s largest franchise sales outsourcing company. We are not franchise brokers. We displace the entire franchise sales staff and function inside of companies of all sizes and in every segment of franchising. We’ve been incredibly successful with the business through the last 13 years.
What services does it provide?
We do everything from creating an actionable franchise sales and lead generation marketing plan to providing the dedicated staff to taking candidates all the way through the process of acquiring a franchise, including supporting them in financing and their business planning.
What was the original conception?
The idea for the company came from experiences that I had 15 years previously, when I would speak to franchisors about their franchise sales growth. Companies that grow often have access to the best sales people, marketing, resources and technology but also offer some unique spin on the business in their category. My belief was that you could fractionalize a lot of the infrastructure, technology and certain other costs and spread them among many franchisors sufficiently to create high efficiency. That same leverage would allow you to hire better sales people and use them differently than a franchisor would be able to on their own.
What are the most important factors which a would-be franchisor must get right?
In my experience, franchisors of all sizes need to get two things absolutely right. The first, is providing good and consistent franchise unit economics for the franchisee and, second, they have to correctly support and provide related services for the franchisee – we will call that the relentless pursuit of operational excellence.
What do you do to promote the cause of franchising?
I’ve been very fortunate during my franchising career. My contributions principally come through involvement with the International Franchise Association (IFA), sitting on principal association committees and lobbying, along with trying to knowledge share with writing articles and through the speaking in seminar engagements I do every year. I’m excited to be finishing my upcoming book.
What do you see as the challenges facing franchising right now?
Franchising faces several challenges currently. The first is an increasingly strident and more difficult regulatory environment in markets all over the world. Second, there’s a generational shift in how ‘Gen X’, ‘Gen Y’ and ‘ Millennials’ engage in franchise ownership. This makes identifying attracting and selling to a prospective franchisee more difficult than I’ve seen in several years.
Is the public sufficiently educated about franchising?
Unfortunately, the public still is not sufficiently educated about the tremendous benefits of franchising to people in the community. Franchisees are independent business people who hire, pay taxes, take care of their families and serve their local community. As a global industry, we need to continue to work to better educate the public that franchisees are independent, local business people. Franchisees are not huge corporations.
If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
If I had to do this all over again I absolutely would. However, I have some really distinct ideas about a new business for the industry that would serve the franchisor more holistically and support them more extensively in growing their brand and their franchise business.
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