Small businesses often need help—an outside perspective from skilled advisors, mentors, or paid consultants. Finding that right person is key. But first, you have to be willing and receptive to the idea.
In 2005, my company, i9 Sports, was losing money because our overhead was too high. This was mostly due to employee salaries, marketing for franchise sales, and operating expenses.
Admitting my need for help here was what saved me. Out of desperation to turn things around quickly, I attended a franchisor conference in Hollywood, Florida, hoping to learn anything I could to get us back on track.
The seminar’s moderator, Joe Mathews, was the founder of the Franchise Performance Group and an expert in franchise sales and recruitment. His impressive résumé included leadership roles at Subway, Blimpie, MotoPhoto, and the Entrepreneur’s Source franchise companies. He had been fully involved in Subway during its meteoric rise back in the 1990s.
After hearing Joe talk with such authority, I sprang into action and introduced myself to him. “Joe,” I began, “I need your help. I’m going out of business fast!” He listened intently as I gave him the ugly truth: Our company was in dire financial straits, possibly only six months from collapse; we had an erratic management team, and dozens of failing franchisees had not amassed enough for us to survive on royalties.
Joe agreed to help, and two weeks later he flew back to Florida to meet Nadine and me for dinner in Brandon, Florida. Joe’s opinion was that our business model was strong, but we were deficient in some fundamentals. We would need to revamp our operations manual, retrain the staff, tighten up franchisee support, and fine-tune every aspect of our operation—“blocking and tackling,” as he described it. He offered to assemble an expert team to get i9 turned around. It sounded like the lifeline that Nadine and I needed.
Thanks to Joe, the year 2006 was an incredible one for us. We were now selling franchises like crazy, at a rate of thirty-five per year. And unlike 2004 and 2005—when i9 Sports had a cumulative loss of $850,000—we made $300,000 in net profit. The quality of franchisee candidates had much improved—vetted to more stringent standards, thanks in part to our new sales team.
As I thought about it later, having the courage to ask for help from others is an often-overlooked secret weapon in business success. You have to put down your pride and know when you need someone else’s expertise outside your skillset. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
Have you ever wondered how it REALLY feels to make it as an entrepreneur?
In Frank’s book, Running With My Head Down, he shares the inside story of how he built i9 Sports from the ground up. It’s a story of perseverance and constant evolution – both for him personally and his business. Frank is grateful that he found and followed his purpose, and his hope is that his story can ignite a spark inside you to find the courage to do the same.