“Franchising is like a drug addiction. After a while with it, we wonder why we are there. After a while without it, we miss it and want it back”
Paul Segreto is a recognized entrepreneur, franchise and small business professional. Recognized in 2014 and 2105 as a Top 100 Champion Small Business Influencer by Small Business Trends and Small Biz Technology, Paul’s areas of expertise include franchise startup and development, franchise candidate marketing and social media, branding, and business planning and turnarounds. In addition, Paul is a popular blogger and podcaster, and is frequently called upon as a subject matter expert for articles, training programs, workshops and panel discussions.
What was your route into franchising?
I started in franchising in 1982, working as a manager for my father-in-law who was a franchisee in the automotive aftermarket. I entered the corporate side of franchising seven years later and worked with various regional and national franchisors from 1989 to 1995 in progressive senior leadership roles.
Why specialise in the franchising industry?
Just like many who work in franchising today, I did not set out to specialize in franchising. However, once I learned about franchising and franchise relationships I was hooked. A good friend and colleague once said to me as he had left franchising, and was looking to return: “Franchising is like a drug addiction. After a while with it, we wonder why we are there. After a while without it, we miss it and want it back. We know, at times it may not be right for us, but we love the manic highs and even the painful lows as we work around them. You were made for it!”
What did you want to achieve with Franchise Foundry?
My focus with Franchise Foundry is on emerging franchise brands. My goal is to help successful businesses enter franchising the correct way and assist them to move towards building a sustainable franchise system with an excellent business model that should translate into excellent unit economics for its franchisees. I have a similar focus for emerging franchise brands that enter franchising and either lose their way or most likely, really weren’t ready to franchise, for a number of reasons. In all instances, my focus is on taking them to the correct starting point and moving forward methodically and according to plan.
What services do you provide for people in the franchise industry?
We provide a hybrid approach of consulting and coaching to founders and senior management of emerging franchise brands, primarily in franchise management, development and candidate marketing. Our services include driving franchise growth by developing and launching aggressive candidate attraction strategies and then managing the franchise sales process from inquiry to award. Often, we’re very involved in providing founders with advisory and mentoring services that help them navigate through developing and launching their franchise system, and especially through their first 15-25 franchisees.
What affords you most satisfaction about your work?
That’s easy… seeing early-stage success for those that truly want to be a model franchisor. When a founder becomes a student of franchising and come to fully understand the interdependency of the franchise relationship, then I’m beaming a huge smile. I know they’re on their way to building the right culture for the long haul.
What aspect of your work offers the greatest challenges?
My greatest personal challenge is to combat, or effectively channel, the burning desire to jump in and take on a leadership role in the organization. That said, the greatest challenge is getting founders to realize they’ve taken on a whole new role when they’ve entered franchising, that of a franchisor, and to help them understand that they need to embrace and perfect that role as quickly as possible. Keeping them on course is an extension of that challenge.
How do you think would other people describe you?
I believe most would describe me as someone that is always willing to help and is always there for them in time of need. I’m sure that the startup founders I work with would also describe me as motivating at all times, always helping them see the positive in any situation while learning from the experience.
What’s the next step in your career?
The next step is no different than the previous steps except with even more focus on helping emerging franchise brands get started into this great, great thing we call franchising. In addition, I believe it’s about time I also spent more time writing – blog, articles, maybe a book – and doing more as a podcaster (January 2018 marked nine years as a podcaster!)
If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
If I had to start over I would initially focus more on restaurant franchising. I say that because this industry segment is always on the leading edge! Plus, there always seems to be something new on the horizon and of course, there is the thrill of private equity.
How do you relax?
I love spending time with my family – my wife, children and grandchildren are all dear to me and I’m most relaxed when we’re all together. Reading is also very relaxing. I routinely spend 15-25 hours per week (mostly very early morning or late at night) combing through entrepreneurship, franchise, restaurant and small business blogs, magazines, etc. always looking to educate myself for the benefit of my clients.
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