In a recent article on Entrepreneur.com, a founder of the hugely successful moving franchise, Two Men and a Truck®, opened up about the critical missteps he, his brother and mother made when they were first starting out. “We were not prepared at all for franchising,” Brig Sorber, the franchise’s CEO, concedes. “Absolutely everything went wrong.”
Thankfully, that kind of uncertainty and upheaval is a thing of the distant past.
Today, the award-winning and nationally-ranked Two Men and a Truck® has grown to include nearly 250 locations and 1,400 trucks across the country and abroad since offering its first franchise in 1989 and its creation four years earlier. Providing a full range of home and business moving services as well as a complete line of boxes and packing supplies, the company’s brand recognition is one of the strongest in the industry.
With what is now decades of hard-earned experience behind him, Sorber tells a cautionary tale about franchising a business. It’s one that other entrepreneurs who are seeking to do just that can learn from, and it offers up three key guidelines for success.
Here they are:
1. Focus on your home territory initially—Scattering franchises all over the map when you’re first starting out is a mistake. “Spending money on advertising is useless if it’s spread all over the place,” Sorber says. It is smarter to build your brand locally so that your resources are not spread too thin. “It helps to become a small, regional chain first.”
2. Know what you’re doing so you can identify who should be doing it—You’ve got to figure out your own “secret recipe” for success, Sorber says, a systematic codification of everything it takes to start and grow a business of the kind you are selling, if you will. And then you need to be prepared to provide all of the support your prospective franchisees need to make it. If you don’t have a clear understanding of what it is you do enough that it can be translated for and assimilated by others step by step, then you can’t possibly identify the right candidates to join your team. We made the mistake of “thinking anybody who wanted a franchise would be a good franchisee,” Sorber says. “We had to figure out the desirable attributes of our potential franchisees and tell some of them no.”
3. Create and adhere to your mission statement—Citing the fact that many people think a mission statement is really nothing more than a load of “BS,” Sorber says nothing could be further from the truth. “When something goes wrong or there’s a decision to be made, your mission statement has to be strong enough to help you say yes or no,” he says. It “expresses the core values that tie franchisee and franchisor together.”
Finally, contrary to what many may think, that mission is about a whole lot more than money, according to Sorber. “Franchisees are not the franchisor’s customers,” he asserts. Rather, the two together must form a “strategic partnership” where the profits they make are a byproduct of the service they provide to their customers.
More about the Two Men and a Truck® Franchise Opportunity:
Two Men and a Truck® is a customer-centric franchise opportunity that offers a comprehensive training program and a proven operating system, including user-friendly management software. Its franchisees are supported at each stage of their business’ startup and development with everything from performance management tools and sophisticated marketing programs to a dynamic website and franchise intranet.
The company’s franchisees come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds, yet share a number of key traits in common, including excellent communication skills and a penchant for working within systems. Ultimately, they all aspire to grow a business to its fullest potential and are seeking a franchise opportunity that provides everything they need to attain their goals.