By Armando O. Bartolome; President, GMB Franchise Developers Inc
I read an article years ago that a default work after employment is Consultancy. The article continues to say that many former employees offer themselves as consultants.
So, this is the reason why individual franchise consultants are in the market now. They have no business entities but approach business owners and offer their former employment as their track record. While there is no judgment on the merits of this consultancy type, business owners just must ensure that they can deliver business expansion thru franchising. I believe a true consultant should have a reservoir of varied experiences to draw from to provide business intervention to clients. You can only give what you have.
Franchise Consultancy has been in our blood and the air we breathe for 32 years.
No one knew about business franchising when I incorporated GMB Franchise Developers in 1991. Funny, because some approached me asking about getting a taxi franchise. After my stint for over six years with Shakey’s International as International Franchise Director in the early ’80s for Asia and the Middle East, I knew that franchising is a better way to expand a business. Thus, even if I was a lone voice in the wilderness, I started to talk to small and medium entrepreneurs about franchising as an enhanced route to business growth. It was an uphill climb, but eventually, entrepreneurs realized the value of franchising. Some of our clients, to name a few: Goto King, Kodak Express, Lots A Pizza, Potato Corner, Fiorgelato, Mang Inasal, Bayad Center, Figaro Coffee Company, Ysa Skin Care, Sacred Heart School, Julies Bakeshop, Binalot, Generika, Lay Bare, Banapple and a host of other companies.
While our primary goal was for clients to multiply branches nationwide, we also saw an excellent opportunity for clients to position themselves globally. As early as 2008, we assisted Figaro Coffee Company open franchised stores in Hong Kong, Dubai, and China. Interest in expansion to the global markets became the dream of other entrepreneurs. We witnessed Potato Corner put their stake in the international markets, Maxi Mango, Aqua Suisse, and Famous Waffle Sandwich in the United States, Marta’s Cakes in Saudi Arabia and Julies Bakeshop in Indonesia and Canada Those experiences showed us that our home-grown franchisors have a fighting chance to be positioned not just in the Filipino communities but more so in the mainstream markets of the world.
Our greatest fulfillment is what franchising has done for entrepreneurs and businesses. In our work, what cannot be paid by fees is the extreme joy when clients invite us to witness the inauguration of their four-story building from a small, rented apartment when they started. It is when we saw teary-eyed owners look at their very first store in the United States. It is when a CEO informed us that the 3rd generation manages their franchise system. In 1998, the matriarch insisted on franchising her business for her grandchildren to partake of its benefits. It has happened in 2019. It was when the Board of Directors had their first international meeting in a plush hotel in Hong Kong. The outpouring of emotions on business accomplishments was indeed a Wow happening. Or, when we witnessed an entrepreneur being bought over by a giant food chain, considering he started with two small branches in the province. In all of these, beyond the fees is the joy of witnessing dreams turning to realities with commitment and continued hard work.
Also, an essential aspect of our work is how our clients have become responsible franchisors. Their continuing devotion to the success of their franchisees is the reason for their sustainability. We feel great satisfaction in talking to franchisees who have been in the system for over ten or even 20 years. With franchisees that have invested not only in 2 or three stores but ten or even 30 stores. To us, this is the accurate measure of a franchise system’s success, the success of the franchisees. So, franchising has not only enhanced the franchisors and their businesses, but we look how it has enriched lives of hundred franchisees. I put my Company’s name behind that of our clients. We look at their performance as a reflection of how we have transferred franchising knowledge and how they have embedded their responsibilities as franchisors. Clients consider us as the wind behind their wings.
Ponder too on the multiplier effect on the supply chain franchisors use in their systems and the number of jobs these suppliers generate. Viewing from a macro perspective, our clients have opened more than 5,000 branches, and if each branch employs an average of 5 employees, that is employment of 25,000. Think about the quality of food and services our customers enjoy since they patronize franchise systems with operational standards. Thus, if one were to look at franchising, the bottom line is that it has made people’s lives much better.
Franchise development consultancy for us goes beyond the peso sign or the number of clients; there are actual results that, as Exupery in the Little Prince says, it is only with the heart that one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eyes. We consider our work an advocacy to better lives and an apostolate to spread beneficial franchise news. We are doing our part to make our world a better place to live in with a good heart and putting people as top most value.