Q&A with Dale Carnegie Training Multi-Unit Franchisee Brittany Schmid
Name: Brittany Schmid
Title: Multi-unit franchisee
Brand: Dale Carnegie Training
Units: 5 (North Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Bay Area)
Years in franchising: 6.5
Why did you choose to franchise with a service brand?
I worked in the corporate world in a variety of different positions for most of my professional life and felt that I came to the crossroads of my career in 2015. I could continue on the corporate path, or I could follow my own entrepreneurial dreams with the franchise model. However, initially I wasn’t sure what franchising would look like for someone with my background in management and sales. All I really knew about franchising came from the stigma of the well-known food and restaurant concepts.
When I took the time to look deeper into my options in the franchise space, I found there were actually a large variety of concepts to choose from. I thought that my skill set and past experience as a corporate trainer and sales manager would translate well into a service brand like Dale Carnegie. I decided to sign for multiple units with the brand because I wanted to be able to grow the business across the network, rather than focus on succeeding with a single location. Being a multi-unit owner also allows me to promote and help others within my business achieve the upward career mobility they desire too.
How did you choose the sector and brand you did?
Although I enjoyed my time in the corporate world, it was time for a change. My workload had overrun the work/life balance I desired, and I wanted an opportunity that allowed me to take more ownership of my accomplishments. I found that in franchising, while being constantly challenged to grow as a professional in this role.
I was first exposed to Dale Carnegie as a child. Both of my parents were graduates of the program and my dad gave me How to Win Friends and Influence People as a graduation gift after college. I was raised with the principles at heart, so I felt that the concept aligned well with both my skill set and personal values.
Often when you offer a service, like the leadership training that Dale Carnegie provides its clients, you must be licensed. I saw an opportunity with Dale Carnegie to own a business that also owned its unique training licensure program. The brand has a reputable, global network of trainers and graduates behind it. I was greeted with positivity and encouragement by other system members, and it really reinforced the reason I wanted to become a part of the brand.
What different skill sets are required for service brand franchising?
When you’re the owner of a business it’s important to be able to do every job in the company. This skill allows you to develop a deeper understanding, humility, and empathy for all facets of the job. You’re able to become a better leader if you understand how each person in your business experiences work from day to day.
As a business owner, you must also cultivate a growth mindset. Many aspects play into being an entrepreneur. You’ll have to learn how to do things that might not be part of your initial expertise, such as taxes and operational management. It’s important to find joy or curiosity within yourself to take an active role in learning these things.
Another thing I believe is crucial to becoming a business owner is to embrace your own vulnerability. Surround yourself with a leadership team that is good at all the things you might not be. There are some amazing business communities out there with other industry leaders who present as untapped resources. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help or advice when you need it.
Furthermore, it takes a lot out of you to run a business. Having a strong sense of self is key to running a successful franchise. Trust yourself to make the best decisions you can and work to educate yourself on things you’re unsure of.
Finally, to be successful at anything, you must have a strong support system around you. As a franchisee, when I have the chance to pick my kids up from school and spend time with my family, I take it. My family means everything to me, especially in light of this past year with the Covid-19 pandemic.
What are the advantages to choosing a service brand?
It’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of an organization that has made such a difference in others’ lives and organizations. I can’t tell you the number of times that a client comes to me and says, “This program changed my life, so I want my whole team to go through it.” With Dale Carnegie, the leadership training we provide gives others something really special by helping them both internally and externally.
It’s also a very positive environment to work in. People who come to our locations are very excited and enthusiastic to start or continue through the program. I truly consider the services that we provide as products. When you hire Dale Carnegie or other leadership training services, you are looking to eventually see a performance change or business outcome tied to your experience. I love to see the impact our product has on individuals and company networks, and I get to see our clients improving and applying their new skills in real time.
What would you recommend to anyone considering a service brand?
One thing I would recommend is that you talk to multiple franchisees with all 10 years of ownership at the service brand you’re looking to franchise with. Connect with people in your position or even with those with vast geographical differences, because the best way to learn more about what your role in the network will be is from their wealth of experience.
Another thing I recommend, if you haven’t already, is to join several business development groups. I’m a part of a group called the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which has multiple different chapters across the U.S. and beyond. I believe this organization in particular has a revenue requirement, but it provided me with a network of owners who have incredible advice and long-lasting friendships I can count on.
My final piece of advice is that service brands do well when you’re passionate about the service yourself. Something I believe differentiates service brand concepts is the owners who have a passion for their service and are dedicated to providing it in either the short or long term. That genuine excitement really makes a difference with your clients.
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