Starting a Business, Franchises, and the Power of Ownership with Jon Ostenson

Jon Ostenson is one of the foremost Franchise Consultants in the US. He is also an owner/investor, author, and international speaker specializing in the area of non-food franchising. 

He is the founder and CEO of FranBridge Consulting where educates clients about non-food franchises and helps them start businesses that fit their goals. He has vast experience in the industry, drawing expertise from his previous professional roles as both the president of an Inc. 500 franchise system and as a multi-brand franchise owner.

Jon is also the author of ‘Non-Food Franchising’ and ‘The Franchise Path’. He is also a frequent contributor on franchising for publications such as Forbes and The Franchise Journal.


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In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What Jon does
  • Getting into business ownership and franchise investments
  • Investments and risks: nothing is ever de-risked
  • The franchise system
  • Entrepreneurship: playing by the book
  • Leadership and partnering
  • The golden handcuffs
  • Leaving things behind and transitioning
  • Assessing risk-levels and systems in place
  • Kinds of non-food franchises
  • Encouraging varied types of businesses and scaling them
  • Complementing and diversifying business strategies
  • Jon’s business investments and ownerships
  • The path to owning franchises
  • Common pitfalls to watch out for when moving to own franchises

Resources Mentioned:

Jon’s website

Jon’s LinkedIn

Jon’s Facebook

Software Generated Transcription:

Dan

Jon, thank you so much for joining me. Welcome to the Meaning Movement podcast. So great to have you here.

Jon

Thanks, Dan. I appreciate you having me on. I love the show and look forward to a great conversation.

Dan

Love it. The question I like to begin with is how do you begin to talk about the work that you do?

Jon

Yeah, really? At the end of the day, I help people get into business ownership.

Dan

I love that. So crisp, so concise, I guess the follow up question is how did you get into business ownership? And then, of course, into helping others get into business ownership. It’s like meta, right? You’re kind of zooming out another layer there. So let’s start hearing some of that story.

Jon

Yeah. Dan, like so many of your listeners, I’ve always thought about business ownership and wanted to be an entrepreneur and never knew exactly what that looked like. So I had a really good run in the corporate world and did the whole climb the ladder thing, had some neat opportunities along the way. But about six years ago, I stepped away from public company life, which was a big decision. Golden handcuffs, all of that, but made a big step over to the private company world. So I kind of side stepped into what I’m doing today and had the opportunity to serve as President of Shelf Genie Franchise system. It’s an ink 500 company. We had some great growth and had the opportunity to really support our franchise owners across North America from a day in, day out, off standpoint. And that really opened up my eyes to this world that I now have dubbed non food franchising. So long story short, ended up partnering with a few others, and we’ve invested in franchises ourselves. It’s the franchisee side. So I’ve been on both sides of the table, and now for the most part, we’ve got good people running those for us.

Jon

It only takes up about 10% of my time and creates passive revenue streams, allows me to spend 90% of my time helping others do the same. So we work with about 500 franchise brands across a wide array of industries. I call it nonfood franchising because we work in all these industries outside of food, and oftentimes people don’t have those on their radar until we introduce them to them. And yet that’s where most people are interested. So have the opportunity to take people through a very streamlined process and play matchmaker, introducing them to the best opportunities that fit their set up and what we see resonating with others around the country.

Dan

I love it. Very cool. So it sounds like you’re in the corporate world climb that corporate ladder, and then it feels like maybe a bit of a lateral move into Shelf Genie. So you’re still very much a big company there, but then allows you to kind of get that exposure to other side of business, I guess you could say is that a good interpretation of your journey.

Jon

Absolutely. And of course, when you’re in the thick of things, everything is relative. And so for me, I was with a multi billion dollar business, and it wasn’t at the very top, but had risen through the ranks and could have stayed there forever, like the team around us. But ultimately, I had that entrepreneurial itch that I think so many people have and chose to scratch it, though, again, I didn’t jump full on into business ownership. I kind of stumbled my way into it through a really neat opportunity to help lead other business owners on a day to day basis.

Dan

So even that, I guess from your perspective, with a step to a smaller company, from my perspective, that’s a big company. And then that’s another big company. As a small business owner, like they’re all big. But I see what you’re saying. We’re talking about billions to less than that. So that makes a lot of sense. Well, I have so many questions. I’m an entrepreneur myself. Of course, this podcast and the Meaning Movement software companies have a little bit of real estate. I hear a lot of people talk about local businesses buying businesses. I’ve been bootstrapping all of my businesses. And I’ve always been really curious about the franchise world because it seems from the outside like either a great way to solve many of the problems that I have, going from zero to having that initial momentum, like the initial momentum problem seems like could be solved through a franchise model. But then two, it feels like really risky to put up a lot of money and effort into something that someone owns a part of. And yeah, I just wanted to put that on the table saying where I’m entering into this conversation. And I’m curious how both of those ideas land with you as someone who’s very versed in this world.

Jon

Yeah, absolutely. A couple of thoughts around that. First, I’d say nothing is ever entirely de-risked. However, with franchise, we look at the success rates of over 90% versus probably 10% for non franchise. Part of that is because you have a lot more information going in. You have what’s called the item 19 of the FDA, the franchise disclosure document. Every franchise system has one. So you get an eyes wide open view of how all the other owners are performing within the franchise system. In addition, you get to do what we call validation. You get to talk to other owners before you make your purchase decision. So you do have a lot of data sets coming in. And I’d say Franchising really does derisk the equation. I mean, ultimately it still comes down to executing, but you’re given a playbook that’s been proven out. You’re not questioning product market fit. You know, the path to profitability on day one. It’s time to go execute against it. You’ve got a coach on the sidelines that franchise or the better you do, the better they do. So they’re supporting you. You’ve got other owners in other markets that are going through the same things you are that are testing different marketing vehicles.

Jon

You’re figuring out the best places to find great talent, you’re exchanging best practices, learning from each other. And so you’re not to be too cliche. You’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself. And so it really does fit people well. And oftentimes it goes overlooked. But you’re building an asset that you’re going to be able to have an exit with down the road as long as you build it halfway decent. And there was a study done recently by the Rinker School of Business that looked at 2000 business transactions that took place over a ten year period. And they found that when comparing franchise versus non franchise and like kind industry, the franchise businesses traded at a multiple of one and a half times the non franchise. So there is no value from a resale standpoint down the road. To all that being said, Franchising is not right for everyone. Some people are too entrepreneurial. I’m a member of the entrepreneurial organization and sometimes I have clients come from there that you have to tell me you want to put your thumbprints all over everything. You would not do well staying within the line. However, in turn, I also have a lot of business owner clients to say, hey, I’ve been there, done that.

Jon

I don’t want to recreate the wheel. I’d much rather step into something and execute on a given business. So a couple of quick thoughts around that.

Dan

So all of that just resonates so much with me. I think both before stepping into, I guess, the entrepreneurial world myself, how much I struggled with. I’m a pretty gracious and kind person externally. But internally, sometimes I just really don’t want to be told what to do. And so I could hear. I imagine some people, they just wouldn’t want to play by the playbook, if you will. And if you’re not playing by the playbook, you’re not going to be successful.

Jon

I imagine it’s true when I was a franchise or shelf Genie on that side of the table, I had the opportunity to work with hundreds of owners across North America and I really could see what separated the best from the average. And it was those that followed the system. And that sounds again, sounds cliche. But it was so true that those that follow the playbook where our top performing and often when they first enter the franchise system, they would say, wait a minute, you guys are running the marketing for us. You’re answering the phones with your call center, you’re supporting us with product development and technology and coaching us. What are we supposed to do day in, day out? And my answer is always it comes down to the people in the local market be able to hire and retain top talent, make tough calls when needed and then getting involved at the grassroots level, whether it be getting involved in the Chamber of Commerce or sponsoring the Little League baseball team, one of our businesses. We just painted up a NASCAR recently for a big race. I’m not a NASCAR guy, but had so much fun taking my ten year old son down to the pit and said things like that.

Jon

We’re getting ready to donate. We’ve got a driveway recoding business and fix cracks and everything. We’re getting ready to do some nonprofit work in the local community, really be able to get back into it. Builds great marketing, too, but business ownership opens up this opportunity to do some fun things along the way.

Dan

Yeah. And so even when you’re playing by the playbook, there’s still plenty of opportunity for creativity and how you engage with your marketing plan and advertising.

Jon

Absolutely. Every franchise system is different, but yeah, that’s one of the things we talk about with our clients. Let’s find a franchise that give you that leeway. I mean, the franchise or in the case of the Driveway company, we actually co-sponsor the car with us and even blink when we ask them. So it comes down to people having good people in leadership and partnering with them.

Dan

I love it. You mentioned earlier the golden handcuffs. I have so many questions about franchise. I want to keep going there, but I want to just talk about that piece of what it was like for you to leave something. Well, first, how do you define golden handcuffs? I know that’s a business term that I’m familiar with. I know not all listeners are familiar with you don’t need to disclose details about that. But just conceptually, what is that when you refer to it? And then I think from there, I’d love to just get into, like, that decision of how do you leave something like that? And just the emotional. Yeah, the emotions that go into it. I feel like a lot of anxiety and fear could be on the other side of that. So I want to kind of just focus in on that piece of your transition, because I know a lot of people listening might be in similar situations, whether or not they use that term where they’re thinking about a big change and really afraid of giving up what they’ve built up until that point. Maybe they have degrees, maybe they have legacy, maybe they have tenure, those kinds of things.

Dan

Like when you use that word golden handcuff. What did you mean by that? Conceptually?

Jon

Yeah, I got out of grad school back in 2005, my MBA and went with Carter’s Oshkosh Bagash, big clothing company for children. Never thought I’d be in that industry, but had some really neat roles within working for the President. And over time, the company was very good to me and allowing me to take on additional responsibility and build out teams and additional clients and ten years in that’s when I made the jump, and I started thinking about it years in advance of that. But the tough thing was what I referred to with the golden handcuffs, it was I had stock options invested on a four year basis every year. I had more lined up that I could potentially earn. And so at some point, you have to cut the cord if you’re going to walk away, but just all the benefits that were provided and bonuses. Technically, I had a corner office, even though I wasn’t the CEO, but I had a corner office overlooking Buckhead, and in 5 minutes from my home, very comfortable, and I could have stayed. But once I made that decision to leave, I never looked back, never once looked back in the past six years and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Jon

And at this stage, I really can’t see myself ever working for someone again. I absolutely love being an entrepreneur. It’s not right for everybody. But what I found in time and time again is so many good people have that desire internally, and they question, do I have what it takes? Where do I start? I want to be a business owner. I have friends who are business owners. Some have done great, some haven’t done so great. But I think I got what it takes. But where do I start? And that’s why I just love meeting them at that intersection and helping them through the next steps.

Dan

That makes a lot of sense. That was a really big decision, a pivotal moment in your life, and it makes sense that that would be a really, I imagine, fulfilling place for you to be spending your time helping people who are in similar situations make that leap. Is that how you think about it? It is.

Jon

I mean, day in and day out, I get to have conversations with great people all across the country, and we’ve done it long enough that we’ve been able to see the success stories. I mean, almost every one of our clients has come back and bought additional locations after launch. I mean, just great validation. I’ve only had one client where it didn’t work out, and they live 3 hours outside their market, and there’s a whole circumstance that’s kind of led to that. But every one of my other clients has thrived, and it’s been so much fun to see and a lot of times life changing for them.

Dan

I love that. Yeah. How do you think about just imagine people who are in that job? I’m in Seattle, where I know there’s a lot of high earners who are working at the big tech companies here, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Adobe, etc. For, but they dream about the kind of thing that you’re talking about. So I think in a lot of ways, they’re in a similar place to where you were, but it’s from the outside, it’s easy to say that it’s too risky and that the safer the safest thing to do is to just stay the course and do your work, which I have some thoughts about that, but I want to hear your thoughts just about that risk level. And is it as risky as it feels? I guess one and two is staying as safe as we might tell ourselves?

Jon

Yeah. Ultimately, the numbers don’t lie, and the data would show that over 92% of franchises are still in business five years later. So there’s some data for you versus the startup. I mean, we all know the success rate of those is significantly lower. I think you hit on a great point. Sometimes working for others is less safe, and I think my clients come around to the idea, wait a minute, I’m working for someone else at their Whim, being told what to do. And so for my situation, we’d built up where when I made the plunge and took the step and never looked back, we weren’t living paycheck to paycheck. I mean, we had some savings, and we were able to I do encourage people to make sure that you’ve got some savings. I mean, you don’t want to risk everything, but our average investment is between 125 and 300. That’s where 75% of our deals fall. And for a lot of people, whether they choose to fund it out of pocket or they choose to finance it through an SBA loan, there are a lot of mechanisms, even to self director IRA and 401K. We have a program that can tap into that.

Jon

So for some of those that have been with the company for a while and Dan, I’d also point out that half of our clients are looking to make the full time jump. Half are looking to stay in their current jobs, and they think of this as like a side hustle. Quite a few franchises lend themselves to that semi absentee or executive model. Now, that being said, nothing is easy. It still takes some work, but this is what we do. My partners and I. And then I’ve got plenty of client case studies to show where you can put a general manager in place from day one and let them run the day to day operations. And as long as you find a good person, which is a big if, and then you align your incentives correctly and set them up for success, you can build out a portfolio of investments in business ownership to help diversify from your stock portfolio, from your real estate holdings, from everything else, and they really play well together.

Dan

I love that. I’m super curious about that. But before we get further into that, I’m curious about just the concept of non food franchises. I think it’d be helpful for us for listeners to know a little bit more of what types of businesses we’re talking about, because typically we think of probably food franchise. I think that’s why you define it that way. We think of McDonald’s and Chickfila or Subway, you know, whatever might be. I don’t know if there’s categories or how you want to answer that question, but like what should people be thinking about when you say non food franchises? What kinds of businesses are these?

Jon

Absolutely. So for perspective, there are about 4000 franchise brands in the US. Roughly half of those are in non food categories. And what I found is over 95% of my clients want nothing to do with food. Now 5% love food. 95% would agree with me that there are easier ways to make money that might require smaller teams or a little less capital intensive at the beginning, possibly just don’t require inventory. Some of the things that you don’t want to deal with and the types of industries that we see people gravitating towards. Home and property services is a great example. 600 billion dollar market. Nothing has been hotter since Covid. I mean, lots of interest there in all these different niches within that automotive. We’ve got some great concepts in automotive that just are very much in my absentee. Health and wellness and fitness, anything related to kids, pets, the aging population, things that people are willing to spend money on even in a recession. Essential type services like for instance, during COVID, a lot of these businesses were still operating, whereas a lot of food guys were not. And then also what’s Amazon resistant to kind of speak Seattle language.

Jon

What won’t be disrupted but what has the potential to disrupt? And so oftentimes what you see is white collar approaches within blue collar industries. You’re bringing in the technology. I mean, we have a couple of clients, franchise or clients that have patented technology that they’ve infused, say into the property services space. I was sharing an example, a couple of non sexy franchises this morning with a client and I’ve been joking that non sexy new sexy people love the understandable businesses. I had a client that bought a roll of Dumpster franchise back in the fall and he’s now expanding that. I’m just killing it. It’s blown out his plan. In the past month or two, we’ve been doing deals like serve pro type businesses. Those are never going out of style. We had three clients. One had an insurance background, one had a corporate marketing background and one was a former Wall Street attorney. All three of these in very different markets bought into a gutter business. The 600 billion dollar industry you don’t really think of top of mind, but amazing financials all an investment for them was between 152 hundred, including working capital. And these businesses are averaging 1.2 million in revenue with a 31% EBITDA margin or net profit into the day.

Jon

So they’re making 350 plus on the bottom line. That’s the average across all their owners in the country. Some are doing better than that. So once people realize these types of opportunities, that over 90% of my clients end up in a business with a company, oftentimes in an industry that was never on their radar over 90%. So I have so much fun kind of turning the light bulb on for them.

Dan

So you said $150 to $200, $100,000 investment, and then that company is grossing over a million, and then the owner net is in the 300 range. Did I hear you right on that.

Jon

Renters and they’re billing stuff for one day, they’ll be able to have an exit on that business, too. And as you know, as a business owner, you can write off expenses. You can’t as a W two employee. It’s kind of the triple effect, the cash flow, the business write offs, and then the exit.

Dan

I love that. It’s amazing. And then how much do you encourage owners? I’m thinking again, I know from gym models and restaurant models that there’s this economy of scale that happens when you have one location, then you have another location. But then some of these service based businesses are less location dependent, but especially if you’re going out to customers, clients, homes like you don’t have a physical location that people are coming to. How much is there a multiplication effect when you have more than one business, or do you recommend, like for home services, for example, someone has a gutter business. Maybe they should also have something in lawn care or like the next Lane over to kind of get that multiplication. I’m curious, how does someone scale or is it just they just do one and done and they just keep going? What do you recommend?

Jon

That’s a great question. So I’d say our average deal size would be three locations, whether that be a physical retail customer facing location or whether it be in a service based business like we’re talking about, where they define a territory as maybe 300,000 in population or a number of addressable businesses or households with these demographics. Oftentimes either one of those people will buy three, they’ll open up one and then start building towards those other ones. It gives them that path to scale. I mean, sometimes we have clients. I just had a client do a ten unit oil change deal. They’re not opening up all ten on day one. But we do have some bigger deals, and I do have some clients that go with just one out of the gate. But those are two strategies we talked about one — five years from now, do you want to be super deep and really own the market on one business that you know inside and out? Or would you rather, let’s say, even if you bought three territories, like in the home services space, maybe you’ve got an insulation business, you’re already in the customer’s home, you’re working with builders.

Jon

What other services would be a natural extension, pool cleaning businesses? We’ve got a great fencing franchise. Well, that would be a natural extension. Yes. Those two are mosquito type business. What I find is there’s a strategy around complementing where maybe you can have some shared services, shared personnel, shared marketing, lower that customer acquisition costs on the front end. The other side would be diversifying. I have a client. He’s 39 years old, largest franchisee of two men and a truck moving service and operates in ten markets, $30 million plus business. Well, he and I’ve done a couple of deals together the past few years where the businesses that he bought had nothing to do with that core business. But what he did was he had an organization now of young folks that he was able to promote internally into these other opportunities and create these paths. And then in his case, he actually gives them some equity. They have skin in the game. They’ve proven themselves out. He set them up for success. And in every case, he’s come back and bought additional locations after we’ve done that deal.

Dan

I love it.

Jon

Yeah. And we just have case study after case study like that.

Dan

That’s really great. Personally, with the businesses that you’re involved in, how many if this is not something you’re not wanting to discuss, that’s totally fine. How many businesses do you have some ownership stake in?

Jon

So within the franchising realm, I’ve got six that I’ve got ownership in. I’d say two or three. I’m a little more active in than the other ones. Others are truly passive, like you, I invest in real estate. I invest in. But buying real estate, lending. And I find that those play together really well. Over half of my clients have real estate investments, whether it’s from a portfolio, diversification play, or whether it’s a complimentary type business. We see both of those.

Dan

Yeah. In those six businesses, are you the owner or are you an investor with other owners and maybe even outside of your personal experience? I’m just curious what are all the different roles that at the seats at the table? I guess you could say whether those are in deals that you’re involved in personally, as an owner or as an adviser or whatever. I’m just curious, what does it all look like? What does it typically look like?

Jon

There are three that I was an owner operator and with two others, and we had a GM that reported into it. I was pretty active in those. I eventually sold my equity interest in the majority of my equity interest to my partners. And so now I have a smaller piece. So I’m more passive there the other ones, I am more active than I just got off the call. We do a weekly call, we do a monthly happy hour, and then we do a little one on ways to support. But that was one where I owned half the business and we brought in some other partners, bought out my existing partner, and then we just bought two other franchise locations ourselves within the same system so franchising can lend itself to a natural exit, whether you’re looking to exit or whether you’re looking to build and acquire others that already have some brand awareness in the market. So it just opens up the opportunity. And we do see private equity and franchising in a massive way. I get calls every other day from private equity firms saying, hey, what are you seeing out there? Typically at the franchise or level.

Jon

They’ve been buying a lot of franchises at the franchise or level, investing money and growing those. But occasionally you’ll see a roll up of Orange theory or like Pods, the movable stores. That’s one where they came in and they bought up their franchisees, turned them into corporate locations, but provided a great exit for the franchisees.

Dan

Wow. That’s super cool. For someone who’s listening, who’s super curious about this. What is the path? But they don’t have the capital. Right? So they don’t have $100,000 plus in the bank. What are the paths toward ownership? And I know you mentioned SBA, and the SBA program has some really generous, surprisingly generous numbers, at least when I first encountered them. But then also maybe from a skills standpoint of skills acquisition, how could someone be preparing right now? They’re like, I want to in five years own a franchise beyond the path? Well, down the path towards owning franchises. What are some things that they could be doing right now to equip themselves both financially and skills wise?

Jon

If I’d say start tracking with the market, I think really, we’ve got a book coming out in Q3 that’s really going to be swept and nuts on all things franchising. And if anyone wants to sign up for our newsletter on our website at franbridge consulting, we have some great content that comes out every month. But we’ll also get a copy to all of your listeners to sign up or both. They’ll be coming out and taking steps like that. But I’d say roughly half of my clients use the SBA loan, and you still have to be able to put a down payment in 25%, 25, 30%. And I’d say if your net worth is below 125, 150 today, then work towards building up those savings. It’s probably not the best time to buy a business, but you really don’t have to be much more than those numbers, because if you were to use an SBA loan again, there are different ways with the IRA self directing their portfolio loans. Or sometimes we can find some lenders as well. They’ll participate in other programs. But the great thing about our process, it is entirely free to our clients.

Jon

We get paid by the franchise orders on the back end. None of that can be tapped on in any form to our clients. So it’s a very clean model. We work with over 500 brands. And what I tell people is if you want to do more research, you can certainly go out there, Google around. But what you’re going to find is every brand is putting their best foot forward. You’re going to see all their marketing pitches. We have the relationships on the back end. We know what’s going on. We know who has the momentum, we know who has the best leadership teams, what their backgrounds are. So we kind of get that behind the scenes look. That way we’re able to really help guide our clients versus, again, they’re paying, not paying any difference.

Dan

That’s super cool. That’s surprising to me. I know some people who in the private equity world are doing something somewhat similar to what you’re doing, helping people find businesses to buy. But they’re focused on local businesses and especially online business, but they’re typically you’re taking either some sort of retainer or even like ownership some state in the company. But what you’re saying is working with you is funded by the franchises themselves, and so the franchisee has no risk, I guess, from working with you and your team.

Jon

It allows us to be very consultative. We’ll never take a sales approach.

Dan

Yeah, that’s awesome. Maybe just to play Devil’s advocate here. How do I know that I could trust that you’re being incentivized equally to my best interests if I’m interested in working with you?

Jon

Yeah. No, we’re affiliated with the largest brokerage in the US, and so it gives us access to all the development groups, all the brands, and it’s a very consistent kind of base on the back end. So that really never factors into our thinking.

Dan

Great.

Jon

It’s rounding that never comes into play. That’s really a great model, and I love it. I feel like having been a franchise or as well as a franchisee, sets us up well provide perspectives with our clients as we introduce opportunities to them, and then we take them through the discovery process and service accounting board for them, and we have a lot of fun doing it.

Dan

That’s super cool. What are the common pitfalls for people who are going down this path that would result in them either choosing poorly, choosing, not making the right choice for their skills, their interests, their personality, and then also, as far as operations, what are the pitfalls that they should watch out for?

Jon

Yeah, I’d say in the world of our clients, again, we’ve only had one over the years that hasn’t worked out for, and there were some really good reasons as to why it didn’t. They were unforeseen, but by and large, we had success with our clients. But when I look at franchising in total, I’d say, I think not doing the due diligence ahead of time. I also think partnerships are great till they’re not. Not every partnership I’ve ever been a part of and glorious. And sometimes you just have to make sure that the contracts, the operating agreement with your partners is drawn up the right way. I would say it can be more of a people issue on that front. Also, if you’re terrible with people, you probably shouldn’t be in business ownership. I think your ability to work well with both clients and customers as well as your team, but also knowing your strengths. Do you enjoy being at the front end, that sales and marketing type person that wants to get a brand established, and if so, maybe your first hire is more on the operations side. If you’re more back office and you’ve always been an accountant and you’ve never wanted to get out there, let’s just say, and be on the sales side, maybe your first hire as a salesperson.

Jon

So I think it takes some inventory of your strength. Again, what we do is we try to match clients with opportunities that we see resonating to others with background similar to theirs have had success, and what do they want that day to day role to be in the business?

Dan

That’s great. I think even in that, I hear some good takeaways for people who are thinking of going down this path of developing your people skills, developing your management skills and operations skills, and just increasing your self awareness, which I know can sound really soft and hard to kind of put a finger on. But I think there are ways to do that and to be putting yourself in a context where you’re getting feedback on how you’re impacting people around you. And yeah, I think therapy and group therapy in particular are ways that come to mind that are really helpful for getting that data, that feedback, which then can help you be a better leader, better organizer, better manager, all of those things. So that’s I think some good takeaways as well. I’m curious, when people hit play on this podcast, they’re typically looking for more meaning, purpose in their life, whether that be a total career change or they just don’t know exactly what it looks like, but they’re just trying to figure it out for themselves. Related to that, my first question is how do you think about that in your work? How do you think about meaning, purpose, and whether that be you use words like calling or vocation or any direction sits with you.

Dan

But I’m just curious how you think about that. Yeah.

Jon

No, I think first off, I tell everyone be encouraged know that you’re not alone. There are a lot of people I get the benefit of having these conversations across the country every day. There are so many common threads that I’ve seen. And I think COVID has caused a lot of people to really question the path they’re on and do some introspective digging. And what I find is most good people have a desire to do something big. They want to not necessarily make a name for themselves, but they want to make sure that they’re not leaving anything on the table. They want to fulfill their talents. I think recognizing that others are in the same boat on the same path, some have gone there a little bit faster, figure things out. Others are still searching. And so I would just encourage them, first off, that to continue down, continue asking questions, continue having conversations. But for me, what we do, one of my mantras in life is how much is given, much is expected, and I try to steward resources, steward my time, steward whether it relates to my family or my clients or my community.

Jon

But we really take an interest in our clients, and their success is our success. There’s nothing that I love more than getting referrals from past clients or to see them opening up new locations. And I track with them. I love those successes. It’s very meaningful. The rewards that we could see from the fruits of our labor and just life changing situation after life changing situation in a lot of cases and some we’re talking about another investment. It’s not always crazy, but it is incredibly rewarding, even if it is for someone rounding out their portfolio and allowing them to give themselves a little more time in five years when they get stepped back because the business is full time humming and they take a sabbatical or what have you.

Dan

I love it. It’s so great. Yeah. I could see it being really fun to be a part of the transition and helping people find the freedom and achieve the goals and build the thing that they’re wanting to build.

Jon

It’s really you’re creating jobs, you’re expanding your influence as a business and getting involved in the community. Like I mentioned, some of the nonprofit things that we’re going to do around here. And so where do you want to be ten years, 15 years down the road? We want to be one that’s mentoring other new entrepreneurs. Everyone’s wired a little bit different, but it is encouraging to see these common themes. And if you’re an American like I am, I’m bullish on the US. I see negative news headlines every single day. But these conversations on the ground that we’re having and the spirit of entrepreneurism, it’s alive and well, and we are seeing firsthand.

Dan

That’s cool. I really feel like there is a movement happening towards business ownership, and maybe it’s just the world that the people that I’m listening to paying attention as an entrepreneur. But I’ve just seen more and more people talking about especially buying businesses, whether it be franchise or otherwise. And I think that there’s a big change that’s going to be happening in the next ten years or starting now of people who are kind of aging out of their business and maybe they don’t have family members or someone else to pass it off too. And so then they’re going to be looking to exit in many of those being franchises. So I think it’s a really interesting space to pay attention to as this transition is happening. Do you see that happening from your side?

Jon

Absolutely. We have 10,000 people turning 65 every day a lot of them are exiting businesses. It’s interesting. I have a lot of clients say, hey, I love this idea of acquisition through entrepreneurship through acquisition, which has been popularized out there. Now, I think that sounds great. But once you dig in, oftentimes you look under the hood and the owner’s discretionary income line can be a little misleading. And so oftentimes I find clients that they’re looking at existing businesses and we definitely do some resales. It’s probably 10% of what we do. But very often times they circle back and say, hey, the grass wasn’t necessarily greener. I really liked that. Starting fresh in a market with a brand that’s proven out, that has the playbook where I can be in business for myself, but not by myself. I’ve got these great support systems from day one. But no, I totally agree with you. We’re seeing an all time record level of interest in business ownership from where we the data that we look at and the business starts and applications from the US Census in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Absolutely pointing that direction. I think that people are realizing, hey, if I’m not building an Empire for myself and my family, I’m helping someone else build there.

Jon

I’m working for someone else to build there. It’s kind of like, why not now? And so I think there are a lot of positive tailwinds supporting this direction.

Dan

I love it. Well, this just is such a fun conversation. I’m super interested. As I said, I have a couple of bootstrap startups, invest in some real estate, but especially what you’re saying about like, you can do franchises, more of a side hustle or I’ve never thought of like that could be something that could be added into the portfolio to create additional income to diversify. All of that sounds really fun and exciting and interesting to me. So I’m definitely going to dig in and learn more. I know you mentioned that you have a book from that I’m excited to dig into, but for folks who want to follow along, learn more. What action steps do you have for folks?

Jon

As I mentioned, come out to our website for franbridgeconsulting.com and sign up for a monthly newsletter. That would be an easy first step. We have some great content coming out every month. We’ll make sure that all of your listeners get a copy of our book as well when it’s released in Q three, if you sign up on our website. And then secondly, if this is an area that you’re really interested in, let’s hop on a quick ten or 15 minutes call and just have a brief chat and talk about what next steps might look like. And certainly happy to share resources along the way as well and help you guide you in that thinking. But yeah, we’d love to engage and help out wherever we can.

Dan

I love it. Fantastic. Well, don’t be surprised if you hear from me personally in that regard, but hopefully some of our listeners too would jump in

Jon

And I’d also say the most popular social media platform that we’re on is LinkedIn. We stay pretty active out there putting on content five or six days a week so that’d be another good Avenue to just kind of start dipping your toe in the water.

Dan

Perfect and I’ll make sure you’re LinkedIn and FranBridge consulting on the show notes so people can click on through. John, this has been so fun. Thank you so much just for indulging me and all my curiosity around franchises and for sharing so much of your story with us. I really appreciate having you on the.

Jon

Show so absolutely Dan enjoyed it. Look forward to talking more.

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