When you hear the term “franchising,” most people tend to think of McDonald’s or other large food corporations. Although these types of establishments fall under this category, the word “franchise” has a lot of misconception behind it. Businesses such as McDonald’s have created an illusion that the opportunity to franchise only comes with a large expense and a lot of experience. For one individual, what started as a novel business idea in his 20s led to the purchase of his own franchise business venture.
Before Blake Martin was familiar with the world of franchising, he helped a colleague launch his own private senior homecare company in the 90s. Through trial and error, Martin learned the ins and outs of business management. When the company decided to franchise, Martin helped build the business to a point where others could purchase their own location and use the original to study that community’s market.
The initial franchise was a success, and in time, Martin was recruited to Omaha by worldwide senior homecare corporation Right at Home. The company was seeking people like Martin, who went from little experience in fostering business growth to launching a successful franchise system, as mentors to their budding franchise owners. Martin assumed he’d be in the role for only a short time but stayed with Right at Home for 11 years.
After years of guiding aspiring business owners through the strategic steps behind franchising, Martin realized he, too, wanted his own franchise. When news broke that Right at Home was to be sold, Martin recognized he would be out of a job and began the search for his own franchise. When he discovered FranNet of the Heartland, he found a business that helps people decide if franchising is the right route, and if so, what kind of franchise is the right fit through proper research.
Interested, Martin learned about the franchising process: the importance of involving everyone when making decisions, how priorities change, and why people come to these career choices. Through his educational expedition, Martin concluded that FranNet would be the perfect fit: he wanted to own a business and continue coaching people through major life decisions. “I thought I understood what franchising was until I really started digging into it,” he said. “It’s deeper and wider than I ever imagined. There are hundreds of categories.”
Martin’s tagline, “the Match.com for local entrepreneurs”, stems from the company’s mission to help people determine if entering or expanding business ownership through franchising is the best fit. As a local franchise owner himself, Martin guides those interested through the franchising system and discusses the success rate and importance of maintaining healthy relationships. Before beginning the match-making process, he first learns what individuals are looking for in their ideal business.
There are three options when looking into business ownership–build from the ground up, buy an existing company, or join a franchise. Martin said the educational aspect is crucial to ensure an informed decision is made about which option makes the most sense based on goals and priorities. One of Martin’s previous clients was a former senior executive for a Fortune 500 company who was ready for a new challenge taking on an existing business. The client wanted to take on a business that was already built and work to take control. The client approached Martin settled on a pizza franchise due to familiarity with the concept and a sentimental connection to the industry.
To avoid buyer’s remorse, Martin walked his client through the FranNet process and uncovered the client’s greater priorities beyond working in the pizza industry. These factors included working in a semi-absentee role, leading a solution-based business with consistent revenue growth, and scaling a company with a small team. Ensuring all priorities were best matched with the right industry, Martin’s client moved forward with a portable moving and storage container franchise. “You don’t go into business ownership thinking this will be easy,” Martin said. “It can be extremely rewarding if you choose the right one that provides opportunities you look for.”
In an effort to provide a self-directed alternative to franchising education, Martin began his Heartland Franchise Guy podcast. Aside from educating about FranNet, he also features guest entrepreneurs who discuss their passions for business. Martin said he hopes hearing the stories of other people’s successful and challenging journeys will help listeners better understand franchising.
Franchises are made up of local business owners who take on their
own sustainable niche and help successfully grow their communities. Whether you’re looking to hang your own shingle, purchase an existing
business, or join the world of franchising, Martin is motivated to help
people find what best fits their needs. To listen to his podcast, go to