Last week was historic for franchising: Dealmakers’ Summit was launched. I was privileged to be a part of it and to learn.
Dealmakers’ Summit is the brainchild of Susan Black-Beth, COO of Super Wash Car Washes, and it was designed to match equity funds with franchise systems looking to expand, improve or sell. As an event it was successful, as a lesson for effective franchising it was an eye opener.
Here is how Dealmakers’ Summit was a model for good franchising.
Vision is the key. In her keynote address, Black-Beth told of this idea appearing in her imagination as a fully formed vision. Her father told her, “Never ignore a vision.” It was successful because she stayed true to the vision and persevered.
You don’t know everything. No matter what the endeavor, you need outside expertise. Susan got it and Dealmakers’ Summit benefited from insider tips and expertise that addressed the needs of all parties. Your system can grow with fewer missteps when you ask for expert help.
Choose well. Dealmakers’ Summit was exclusive. Susan kept the event to fewer than 100 people, which could have been financial suicide, but was right for the event. As a franchisor, know what you are looking for and stay true to that search. In the end, the relationship and what it produces will be more productive for all. This event was a success.
Know what’s needed. Dealmaker’s Summit had to satisfy two very different sets of needs (not unlike those of the franchisor/franchisees). The capital partners needed information and the franchisors needed confidentiality. She listened to both sides, got advice and input, then using a unique system Black-Beth was able to accommodate both. You have to maintain a balanced system or it can’t grow effectively. Listen to your franchisees and your staff.
Offer respect and care. The Summit was all about service, respect and care. From choosing a hotel known for its service to stocking her attendees’ favorite beverages, it demonstrated the depth of the personal relationships and the respect for the business that came from them. Know your franchisees and never forget what they do for you. Don’t forget they are people, not commodities.
Get feedback. During the event Susan sat with attendees, asked for honest feedback and really listened. She also followed up with surveys individualized for the different attendee groups. Here, as in franchising, you can’t expand when the “players” aren’t getting what they need. Don’t assume – ask, even if the answers are hard to hear.
I’ll never know if Dealmakers’ Summit was a success because of Susan’s franchising background, or if Super Wash is a success because of the personal values she brings to it, but I do know we can all learn from this groundbreaking event and grow better franchise systems and companies by applying these lessons.
Congratulations to Susan Black-Beth, her sponsors and the franchisors who made critical connections. I hope this is the first of many Dealmakers’ Summits. It’s good for franchising.