As the keynote speaker for more than a hundred franchise conventions and meetings over the past decade, I’ve finally figured out the biggest reason for the huge chasm between those franchisees who are getting wealthy and those who are barely hanging on.

While the economy, geography, and increased competition are big factors in a franchisee’s success, they are out of their control. But even in the most challenging market conditions, it’s astounding how some franchisees are able to thrive and prosper while their peers operating the same brand in the same (or similar) market continually struggle, or worse, go under.


Every franchisee goes into their business fully expecting a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. After all, they’ve invested in a concept and system that somebody else has created and made profitable and it’s a business that others have cloned with success. So they decide to jump in expecting that they, too, will find gold.

But regardless of the franchise concept, the industry it’s in, the brand’s history, or even the strength of its financial backing, success in franchising is never guaranteed.

From my vantage point, I’ve discovered that those franchise partners who experience the greatest rewards year after year know that their success is not actually a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but rather a 3-legged stool they must continually strengthen.


  • BRAND – When it comes to their brand, successful franchisees are “all in.” They wear the team colors with pride and are loyal to the concept, the system, the training, the marketing, the product, and the franchise agreement – to a fault. When issues and problems arise, they don’t panic and rebel against the brand. Instead, they roll up their shirt sleeves and work cooperatively with the brand to bring forth mutually beneficial results. After all, it is a partnership.
  • COMMUNITY – Successful franchisees put back as much into their community as they take out. They sponsor little league teams, 5K runs, and high school musicals. But the support they give is more than financial. They’ll take a turn at the dunking booth at the county fair and volunteer to speak on career day. They’ll coach a soccer team and go door-to-door to collect cans for the local food drive. Instead of relying solely on paid advertising to bring business their way, they continually build their reputation as a solid uplifting partner of the community that’s always ready to lend a hand. Along the way, they emerge as their community’s #1 choice for the products and services they offer. But that is the byproduct of their commitment to the community, not the driving force behind it.
  • EMPLOYEES – The most successful franchisees I’ve encountered all share a common love – one that prizes their people above all else. They don’t pay the minimum wage because they want above-average people and they know those people are in demand elsewhere. They take hiring seriously and they don’t make snap decisions. They train their people at every level and do so relentlessly, even if that means building them to the point they’ll leave for greener pastures. Great franchisees know their people outside of their job titles and they care about their families, their secret dreams and career goals, and even their hobbies and special interests. The franchisees that grow the richest are those that grow their people the tallest.

ON POINT – Franchising is a widely proven business model that has worked for millions of people all over the world. But those that believe that they can simply buy a franchise, hire a manager, and then shift their business into cruise control while the dollars flow in are fools in the making.