Rapid-fire change fuels franchise search business

The franchise community landscape was dramatically different for executive search 20 years ago. When we began servicing the hiring needs of franchisors in 1983, the franchisor population was in the hundreds, with almost all franchisees, owners of individual locations. A very small number of U.S. franchisors had any international presence.

We relied heavily on direct mail, advertising, IFA trade shows, and personal interaction to build our database and to service clients. When we worked on search assignments, our primary contact was the president, who in many cases had personally founded the franchise system. They understood every facet of their business and spoke a language easy for us to relate to. Only a small number of franchisors that we worked with had a formalized human resources department. Very few companies had grown through acquisitions. The most sought-after candidates were experienced franchise sales people and franchise generalists (candidates who had both sales and operations backgrounds).

Fast forward to today: There are several thousand franchisors throughout the world. Master franchising and area development have allowed franchisors to grow at a speed never thought possible domestically and globally. Technology has permeated every facet of our business. Email has changed the way we communicate. Our company today is structured dramatically differently to service the highly specific, specialized staffing needs of franchisors of all different sizes. We use a customized database of thousands and a sophisticated computer system to in many cases pinpoint exact franchisor criteria with the stroke of a few keys. Today, placing international executives all over the globe is no different than placing franchise executives in Philadelphia or Miami.

Our franchisor hiring official’s platform has expanded to include master franchisors, and franchisees, investment firms, who have acquired franchise systems, as well as several new and emerging franchise systems. Each of the phases we have experienced over the past 25 years has been unique and incredibly enriching. Can’t wait for the next 20 years!

Doug Kushell is founder and president of Franchise Search, Inc., a franchise recruitment firm in Nyack, N.Y.

Published: October 30th, 2007

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