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A Franchise is a Team

I have been involved in franchising and licensing now since 1989 which is more than three decades, WOW. Time flies by.

In the late ’80’s and early ’90’s I was a licensee of three Gold’s Gym locations. At that time, Gold’s was “licensing” out their brand name rather than full on franchising of a system of operations. I really enjoyed being an owner of Gold’s Gym locations, and still love to take trips out to the original Gold’s known as the Mecca of Bodybuilding in Venice, CA. I always say that if you can’t get motivated in that gym, then you just can’t be motivated.

I still love that brand, but a business cannot stand on its name alone. One of the reasons that I moved on from ownership of Gold’s Gym was due to their lack of system standards at that time and the lack of uniformity amongst their licensees. The brand is most important, but the biggest advantage of franchise ownership is access to a proven operating system. A great system can catapult the brand to stratospheric levels.

After three decades of franchising, I can tell you that a franchise system MUST be viewed as a team. Teamwork is the only way that a franchise can thrive and succeed in the marketplace. Franchising is a difficult business model when compared to all company owned organizations such as Starbucks where each location is fully controlled by the corporate headquarters and can mandate uniformity from the top down with compliance held in place by employees who want to keep their employment. Franchising is more difficult because it relies on expansion through a federation of independent business owners connected together by a document known as the franchise agreement. Uniformity of the brand relies on adherence to that document and can at times be testy when brand standards are not met. The best way to keep the uniformity in a franchise organization is to view it as a team effort.

Patton said “an army is a team.” A franchise is a team too!

When you view franchising as a team the entire organization makes perfect sense. The way I look at it is the franchisor as the coaching staff and each franchise location as a player on the team. For HOTWORX and our sister brand Planet Beach it works very well as viewed in that paradigm. A paradigm is not just how you look at something, though, it is also how you think about something. With the franchising model, it must be viewed as a team but always thought of as a team too. Franchising is truly a team with coaches and players striving to outperform each other and to surpass competitors from other brands.

For a fitness franchise like HOTWORX, “teamthink” resonates. Fitness and athletics go well together. Actually, fitness and any form of team competition from football to a scavenger hunt go well together. Teamthink is always more powerful than an individual thinking alone.  One great idea from one person has no power until it is manifested through action with a group of people. They say great minds think alike, and when multitudes of great minds begin to think and act for a team to build a special brand for everyone, magic begins to happen. The result is something extraordinary for the franchisor, the franchisee, and ultimately for the customer.

Stephen P. Smith, MA
CEO and Creator of HOTWORX, Author, Former National Collegiate Bodybuilding Champion and Arena Football Player, Certified Professional Trainer