From small-business owner to franchise CEO: expanding the brand while keeping the pulse of day-to-day operations.

Author:Vernon, Stewart C.

As the leader of a growing franchise organization, your role is ever changing. Many hats will be worn over time as the brand is built.

Considering franchising your operation? Most small businesses that begin to experience a level of success will consider franchising as a route of growing their brand and their overall organization.

Franchising is a tried and true method for accelerated growth; however, going from being a small-business owner to serving as the CEO of a multi-unit franchise brand is no easy transition. The initial decision to make the leap to franchise a brand is not one to be taken lightly and requires great planning and foresight prior to launching. Without this, the impact on the original location and the early adopters of a franchise system can be detrimental.


Becoming a franchisor is a lot like becoming a parent. Most of us think we know how hard it will be, and we think we are prepared, but in reality neither is true. Franchising a brand is much the same. The most important element to consider is the health of the current operation. Is the business, as it operates today, ready to be put on autopilot? Can the business, as it operates today, handle being left out in the cold from time to time?

These questions must be answered on the front end, because very soon, there will be "newborn" business owners (the early franchisees). In order for them to be successful, the early franchisees will require a level of attention that one possibly did not anticipate.


The only way that a franchise organization can be built is by new franchise owners coming on board. The only way new franchise owners are going to come on board early is by seeing the success of the initial franchisees that have launched. It is quite a slippery slope in the early stages of launching a franchise brand, therefore, the first few owners must see success.

These franchise owners must be able to vouch for the value of the brand and the value of you and your team. In the beginning, however, most newly franchised brands do not have the infrastructure, the support systems, the technology, or the resources to handle this demand that is so critical.

That is where you, the owner of the brand, come in to play. Much like a parent dealing with a newborn, the demands are endless and all-encompassing in the beginning. There is no clock to punch and no "how-to" book on launching a new brand. Emerging CEOs must find a...

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