Top 10 American Franchises

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The Passionate Franchisee (and Why It’s Important for You)


Great leaders possess passion and keep it fresh. Defined by Webster’s as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.” It is a core fiber of the culture of any successful organization including your franchise. How a leader’s passion appears to others varies greatly depending on their personality. One successful franchisee may exude passion subtly. Another may choose grand gestures so everyone sees their passion. Be authentic. Your underlying “enthusiasm or excitement” is always present…or not.


The key for successful franchisees is figuring out how to be passionate about the process of leading their employees. Those you work with want to make a difference. That difference can be as focused as helping a co-worker get a child to school or as broad as saving the whales. Developing and displaying your passion authentically inspires those around you to extraordinary achievements.

There is a balance between invigorating passion to fuel your franchise success and unhealthy obsession leading to catastrophic burnout. Ask yourself these 4 questions:

  • Do you enjoy the process of leading your company?
  • Do you grind out each day and end up mentally spent?
  • Do your daily to-do’s pile up with no end in sight?
  • Are you able to unplug from your franchise 2 weeks on a vacation? Exception for new franchisees developing their business from scratch.

This is a spectrum. The questions help you determine where you may fall.

Your passion fosters an inspirational culture. These 3 activities are critical to keep your employees enthusiastic at work:

  1. Encourage your associates to explore.
  • How can your franchise make an impact on the industry in general or your franchisor specifically as well as your clients? ImageFIRST – Cincinnati was the first franchisee of the franchisor. There were some differences in the operations manual and the realities of our facilities. My crews helped identify and communicate those differences to the franchisor. This aided subsequent franchise locations overcome locational obstacles more efficiently.
  • Professional development fuels enthusiasm. Consistently challenge your associates to take “one more step” in their development. Added training to fortify current skills or adding new ones keeps your franchise moving forward. Training the Terrace Park Firefighters beyond the volunteer requirements opened the door to working with other departments on whom we depended.
  • Internal communications systems encouraging cross-departmental networking are beneficial for your franchise. Best practices are shared. Forming teams to overcome significant performance challenges is more natural. Camaraderie is enhanced. And wins are celebrated.
  1. Create systems that allow experimentation to challenge “this is the way it’s always done.”
  • An internal feedback system focusing on behaviors rather than feelings, helps your employees identify and improve areas needing help. And establishes a vehicle to recognize wins.
  • Shared, cross-functional work spaces help establish cohesion to focus on the overall organizational goals. Insulating functional groups is counter-productive to exploit inter-departmental synergies.
  • Management must support experimentation with resources, actions and systems. Those systems reward low-risk experimentation even if the outcome is different than the hypothesis. Proving a new process isn’t as efficient provides insights not previously known.
  1. Establish your franchise’s performance path following the key priorities from your strategic plan. Communicate these objectives. Set intermediate successes and celebrate when achieved. Ensure daily activities are aligned with your long-term objectives.

“Don’t build a team that will fuel your ‘ego’. Build a team that has the skills, desire & passion for fueling the ‘vision’.” — Yvonne Pierre

Feed YOUR passion.

Your initial enthusiasm starting your franchise will fade with time, unless you take positive action. Keeping your passion strong is critical for long-term success for 3 reasons:

  • Your employees watch you to make sure your actions align with your words. Show them what passion looks like. A well-trained group of individuals passionate about meeting performance goals, creates an unstoppable organization.
  • A successful franchisee challenges themselves daily. YOU must stay engaged. Keep your franchise moving forward each day.
  • Feeding your passion is the key to developing new leadership skills. You also build on and perfect the skills you have. 

These 4 daily habits are the prime rib buffet to feed your passion.

  • Read about leadership, your industry trends, your franchisor, etc., at least 30 minutes daily. It’s the third thing I do every morning before the rest of the house wakes. In case you’re wondering, a visit to the “head” is the first and making coffee second.
  • Write at least an hour each day. Put your processes and systems in writing, create a new training opportunity for your crews or keep a daily log. Do something daily keeping you practiced to articulate your knowledge and showcase your employees.
  • Teach others what you know. The franchisor and other franchisees can gain valuable lessons from what you’re doing. As the first franchisee of ImageFIRST, we stayed in constant contact with the franchisor. We tweaked the operations manual the first few years and subsequent franchisees benefited. 
  • Your network is valuable. Let me say that again, YOUR NETWORK IS VALUABLE. Take actions to keep your current network close and never stop growing your circle. Be a part of an industry specific association as well as those focused on franchising. Join a local Business Networking International (BNI) chapter or your local Kiwanis. Keep up to date with franchising trends in general.

Great leaders are passionate about their industry, their company and, most importantly, their associates’ success. You can take steps today to foster passion in those working with you. Even better, you now have the tools to re-establish the passion you felt when you first started your franchise. Your employees and clients and colleagues are watching you.



Luke Frey improves franchise owners’ businesses where corporate support alone fails. He brings 26+ years of varied professional experiences including 20 years as a franchise owner of ImageFIRST Cincinnati, 6 years as an industrial engineer for a Fortune 250 company (3 while living in Honduras, C.A.) and 19 years as a volunteer firefighter. All of these experiences, in addition to his drive to learn, have brought him to be a positive driving force for other franchise owners’ successes. Luke is currently a member of the Center for Executive Coaching and is in the final publishing phase of his first children’s book. To learn more about Luke and how Bella Vista Executive Advisors can help, please click HERE