Q&A with John Blair, Director of Marketing, FranNet
By BEN HEINEMANN
The economy may have officially hit broken record status; every report or news story on the topic continues to state that it’s sluggish and isn’t picking up momentum anytime soon. However, what’s the same old news for everyone else means big business for the franchise industry and related companies. Coming on the heels of the news that FranNet, a franchise broker that matches people to the best franchise opportunities, made a gross revenue of 44 percent above its earnings for 2011, we sat down with the company’s Director of Marketing, John Blair, to learn more about why a sour economy means sweet success for FranNet.
1851: Why has franchising continued to be a job creator despite the rough economy?
Blair: It’s because of the rough economy that franchising has continued to be a job creator, and perhaps more importantly, a dream enabler. Corporate America remains at a standstill in terms of viable job creation; good paying, mid-management level and above positions. Plus, some companies continue to downsize in search of the proper balance of corporate overhead and profitability. That has left a vacuum of very experienced, seasoned business veterans searching for their next opportunity. Franchising presents that opportunity for them as it combines their entrepreneurial ambition with the structural support that franchisors provide. These former corporate folks are realizing that the best investment they can make is in themselves.
1851: You mention the vacuum left by companies downsizing. Do you find a lot of new potential franchisees or your clients are turning to the industry because they have been laid off from high-profile positions in traditional positions?
Blair: That’s exactly what we’re finding. This isn’t your parents’ or your grandparents’ corporate America anymore, and the executive workforce is responding to that. There are fewer and fewer opportunities in corporate America. And even in those opportunities that are still out there, the lifespan of a corporate executive is becoming shorter, now believed to be below three years on average. So logically, those executives are looking ahead and asking themselves, “I may have to go through job transition again within the next three years?” That’s a tough reality to think through, especially when you figure families and children into their decisions. Franchising affords them the opportunity to take control of their future.
1851: How does the success of the franchising industry equal more revenue for FranNet?
Blair: FranNet is the premier franchise consulting firm in North America. With the help of our proprietary profiling of our clients, we guide and counsel our clients toward franchising concepts that perfectly match their goals, strengths and budget. We work incredibly hard to ensure we find a great fit for that person, as well as for our franchisors. We work with so many well-respected, dynamic brands that are looking for their next top-performing franchisees. As the franchising industry grows and the secret gets out of the bag about all the opportunities in franchising, FranNet sits in a perfect position to assist individuals in finding the best franchise for them. Understand though, franchising can be a pretty overwhelming industry if one was to simply begin looking on their own due to the incredible range of opportunities available. We help focus that search , and in the meantime, provide excellent candidates to the franchisors for their growth.
1851: FranNet turns down about 200 franchisors per year who want to be represented. How do you decide on what franchises to represent?
Blair: We look for rock solid companies – financially, operationally and structurally. We demand a lot of our franchisor partners because we respect the relationships we have with our clients so much. FranNet is being given an incredible amount of responsibility in helping our clients find great fits for them, and that’s a responsibility we take very seriously. Just like our clients, we want to make sure our franchisor partners are set up for long-term success. We’re constantly vetting our franchise partners to ensure that we’re representing the best interests of our clients, as well as the best interests of our franchisors