Role of Mentors in the Franchise Industry

Jessica SarterFranchise Finance

Judges Panel - XXX, Shelly Sun, and David Barr

By: Mike Rozman

Conferences are a fixture in the franchise industry. Beyond meeting with clients, new and future, I’m looking for new perspectives to help my business, BoeFly, and those businesses we serve. I just attended Springboard, a conference designed by Lane Fisher and Brad Fishman to help emerging brands (a fancy term for startups) plot their franchise growth course. It was my first Springboard and I was impressed by the quality of the programing. What impacted me more, however, was the mentoring offered by franchise leaders.

Mike Rozman, Springboard 2015 Conference

Mike Rozman, Springboard 2015 Conference

First, consider Lane and Brad. Lane (with legal) and Brad (with PR) are leaders in their fields. And although they rightly earned some amazing marketing during the conference, I suspect their short term ROI wasn’t compelling. Put simply, they are highly valued franchise experts and their time is valuable; spending it with a room dominated by brands with limited investment capital isn’t compelling in dollars and cents. But instead of short term ROI, they benefited from the positive feeling achieved by helping others. Even more compelling, they created a lasting platform that helps their peers – other franchise leaders – give back, too. Brand and Lane’s advice: Someone has helped you, remember to help someone else.

Consider Shelly Sun, CEO and Co-Founder of BrightStar Care. When she’s not busy appearing on Undercover Boss, she is running her fast-growing senior care business. Shelly’s advice: get access to the right advisors, either on your board or through vendor selection, to help you avoid traps they’ve seen in the past.

Consider John Teza, Chief Development Officer for Jersey Mike’s. John leads Jersey Mike’s franchise sales and led an organization that has achieved consistently strong growth to where it is now approaching 1000 open units. John’s advice: remain focused, or as he put it in one workshop, “don’t get wrapped around the axle.”

Consider David Barr, Chairman of Your Pie, Private Equity Investor, multiple company Board Member (including BrightStar Care and Del Friscos). David started his career in public accounting and transitioned to executive roles at Pizza Hut, Great American Cookie and more. David’s advice: not all revenue is the same (e.g.: franchise fees, corporate owned sales and royalties are all very different).

These specific tips from proven industry leaders are valuable but perhaps not as much as the core theme of Springboard: mentorship is a two way street, we all should strive to be students and teachers.