The World Of Franchise Ownership, With Giuseppe Grammatico
Are you tired of feeling stuck working on a corporate job just to make others rich? Now is the time for you to change things around! Today, Giuseppe Grammatico, the author of Franchise Freedom: A New Manifesto for Your Financial and Time Freedom, opens the portal for you to enter into the world of franchise ownership. Sharing insights on the different business models of franchising, the myths of franchising, and mistakes most people make in this space, this episode provides a guide for everyone to detach themselves from the corporate trap and transcend into the freedom of franchise ownership brings to their lives. For Giuseppe, franchising is a powerful vehicle for success, which can also be yours! So tune in to this conversation and enter the world of franchising to discover how it can deliver you freedom and success.
Check out the full series of “Career Sessions, Career Lessons” podcasts here or visit pathwise.io/podcast/. A full written transcript of this episode is also available at https://pathwise.io/podcast/giuseppe-grammatico.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
The World Of Franchise Ownership, With Giuseppe Grammatico
Franchising Advisor And Author
My guest is Giuseppe Grammatico. Giuseppe is a franchising advisor who has owned a number of master franchise licenses and has enjoyed a successful franchise and career guiding over 200 individuals through business ownership, many for the first time. In addition to decades in franchising, he also has twenty years of sales marketing and management experience.
He’s assisted over 1,000 individuals in businesses with their investments. He takes the overwhelming guesswork out of the franchise process, listening and teaching along the way, learning about the candidate’s specific goals for their business, and guiding them as needed. Those bold enough to take action on their own are the ones who realize the freedom that boldness can deliver.
Giuseppe started his career working in his family’s Italian restaurant in Somerset, New Jersey. He then spent several years in financial services working for AllianceBernstein and JP Morgan. At that point, he jumped into the master franchise business, and he hasn’t looked back since. In addition to his consulting work, Giuseppe hosts a podcast of his own called The Franchise Freedom. He’s also codified the learnings from the franchise world into a book also called Franchise Freedom. He has a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Rider University, and he lives in the greater New York City area. Giuseppe, welcome. Thanks for joining me.
Thanks. I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for the invite.
I’m glad we were able to get connected. Let’s start with the basics. You are in the franchise world. For people who aren’t familiar with what franchises are all about, give us an overview of how the business model works.
We can call it a business in a box or a business on training wheels. It’s a proven business model where individuals come in, figure out the best way of going about doing business via trial and error, and put together that system or guide for an individual to follow. You are not reinventing the wheel. You are going in with a model that’s been proven, and it helps to speed up the process. We call it an unfair advantage.
You are a master franchisor. How is that different from being a franchise owner?
What a master franchise owner is you are owning a market. For example, we are in the United States. I’m in the state of New Jersey. You could purchase a section of New Jersey, a territory. What you would do on behalf of the franchisors is would develop that area. You would find other franchisees in that area. Due to that arrangement, you would split, however the split is, the franchise fee. You would split the royalty payments since you would also be the support person for the people in the state of New Jersey. The franchise company wants to expand rapidly. They sell to people like myself who would develop the entire state and would find the franchise owners within that state.
Describe the people that you work with who are looking to enter the franchise world. I would imagine for a lot of them, it’s explicitly about getting out of the corporate world and getting themselves into something that they own for themselves.
For the most part. I will start with the different types. You have the individuals who are looking at franchising and business ownership as an investment strategy. They are looking to diversify their investments. They are looking to convert their business or change their business. You may have someone who owns a local painting company and wants to say, “I want to buy this franchise and convert my smaller mom-and-pop into the franchise so that I can leverage and take advantage of the economies of scale,” the price of painting products, the access to this community of hundreds of other franchisees, the marketing, the call center, and all that.
The bulk is going to be corporate executives who are looking to make a switch. A lot of them are looking to leave corporate. They don’t like the hierarchy. They don’t like Corporate America where a lot of politics. They don’t see a future for themselves. They are doing well. They have made a few bucks. They realize that having a job isn’t right for them. They contacted me. We offer a free service where we help individuals figure out if a franchise is a good fit, and we show them a way of keeping their job and running this side business or this franchise on the side up until they are ready to maybe leave their corporate job. It could be six months. It could be a couple of years down the road, but showing them once you match the income of your W-2 job, that’s the time to make that transition.
We do a lot of education and show people how it’s done. People, for the most part, have no idea that you can keep your job and have a franchise on the side. What we also educate people on is these are ways of figuring out franchise companies that will help you and support you via a call center and online marketing. There are certain franchises that don’t allow that, that want you full-time day one. It’s part of the education process. We have helped quite a few people both find these side businesses and help them with the funding process as well.
What types of things do you get them into? What type of franchise businesses?
Every person’s situation is different. What they are looking for seems to be very similar. They are looking for more freedom. There’s Dan Sullivan from The Strategic Coach talks about the five freedoms. The two that come up most often are time and financial freedom. They are looking to make more money and not have a cap and they are looking for that time flexibility. What we have seen since COVID is a lot of people geared toward service businesses, something where they can run from home.
What does that mean? It means keeping the investment lower, keeping the employee count lower, and allowing you to go to training and be up and running in as little as 30 to 90 days. We have seen a lot of stuff and a lot of people looking at home services. That covers dog waste removal. That covers roofing and siding. There’s a coating business. There are painting businesses and the list goes on. We have seen a lot there as opposed to franchises that are low-cost and are easy to open and truly scalable in the long run.
What are some of the different franchise models that you commonly see from an economic standpoint in terms of how they are structured?
Go back to the master franchise concept. You don’t see that as often, as you did in the past. For whatever reason, it’s not as popular. There are three types of franchise ownership. You have the full-time model where you are in the business. It’s mandatory to be in there full-time, getting it up and running until you can hire that general manager. The second model is semi-absentee, one of the more popular ones where you have a job and run the business on the side, and then the third, which is a new model was created based on demand. It’s a semi-passive model. Very few options and still pretty new, but it’s similar to the hotel business model where you have a management company, and these businesses that typically fall in the home service space will have you pay an additional fee.
It’s a flat percentage of your revenue and management. The franchisor will run the day-to-day for you. Your involvement is minimal, still checking in via Zoom, making sure you are approving the general manager and reviewing the KPIs with your main point of contact. That’s more of a semi-passive. It’s something new and there’s been a lot of interest there, but those are the three types of franchise ownership models. In the world of franchising, it’s split into retail and brick and mortar, strip malls, standalone buildings, and then the other side is home-based or something you can run from home or that may require a small office.
From the perspective of the franchisee, what makes a franchise opportunity a good one or a bad one? What are the things that differentiate them?
First, you have to understand the value proposition of any franchise is that you are investing in a franchise not to recreate the wheel. You are buying a franchise for the systems in place. I always say the business is built for them, then a franchise could be a good fit. As far as picking the right franchise, that’s where we spend a lot of time in this area. It’s simply all about reverse engineering the process and figuring out what you want. As basic as that sounds, there’s not much more to it than figuring out what you would like. Not what will yield you the highest return because we want this to be sustainable, but what would you enjoy doing? I will ask questions such as, if you had the perfect business, are you home doing Zoom calls, or are you going to a physical location?
Do you have zero employees or maybe a small number of employees, or do you have a larger number of employees? The territory, where you are located? Some franchise allows you to live anywhere in the world and run them remotely. It’s about finding the right fit and the right match for that individual. Yes, financials are important and that’s part of the due diligence process, but I always say, “Let’s figure out ideally what it looks like,” keeping a job with a business on the side in Atlanta, Georgia, with few employees that require a smaller investment so something I can run from home.
That’s a great starting point because, from there, we can say, “We have a great starting point.” You don’t need a lot of experience in a specific industry like replacing a roof of a home or painting. What you need is a skillset that matches the ideal franchise avatar. That skillset may be someone who’s very extroverted and who’s going out there networking at the Chamber of Commerce events every week. The franchise franchisor is looking for that specific skillset.
That’s what we also hone in on. What is your skillset? What do you enjoy doing? What does an average day look like? Sometimes we find the right franchise, but the territory sold, so we want to make sure there’s availability, and the skillsets match and everything else, and that’s when we present typically on our third call, 2 or 3 brands so that the individual can continue the due diligence process.
I would imagine a lot of people sit at their cubicle desks and fantasize about leaving the corporate world and buying a franchise. What are some of the misperceptions that you have to disavow them of when they are coming into the process fresh?
A franchise is a business and there is a risk. You can lose your investment. You can lose money. There’s no guarantee. People come to me saying, “It is guaranteed to make money.” No, you are guaranteed to get support, but at the end of the day, there’s always going to be a risk. That’s myth number one.
The second is you don’t own the business. You own 100% of your LLC or S corporation. Yes, you may pay a flat royalty fee to the franchise, but that’s an exchange for support, coaching, and things like that. Own 100%. There’s going to be a risk involved. I always say the top two reasons for franchise failure, not following the system and then buying the wrong franchise. I see too many people don’t look at the role. They look at, “I love this product. I love this service. How cool would it be if I owned that business?” You don’t have to own that business to benefit from it. You don’t have to buy the coffee franchise or a specific franchise. You can be a customer. Focusing on the role and the skillset is big.
You buy it and the businesses run for you. That’s not the case, even businesses that are semi-absentee will require significantly less time. There’s still a startup, especially if you are a first-time business owner. It’s learning about business ownership. There’s the accounting. There’s the initial training and what that all looks like. No matter what franchise you buy, there’s a lot of work to get the business up and running. With that being said, via my education and showing people how to do all this, the grass can be greener but understand that there’s a risk, investment, and a lot of time and sacrifice, especially the first year. Keep all that in mind. If you want a vehicle to yield you, hopefully, extra money, yield you extra time, and flexibility of business, a franchise could be a great fit.
Do you find when you are having these conversations with people that you get into a little bit of a career guidance discussion with them about whether they should do this, stick with a corporate job, or go find a different corporate job if they are unfulfilled or unhappy for some reason, out of those conversations typically play out?
It’s figuring out where are you at. Why are we speaking now? That alone opens it up because now they are telling me, “This is the job. This is what I’m making and these are my roles. I have explored franchises because I’d like to be my boss. That’s great and all, but I’m not fulfilled and I don’t like my job.” It’s me taking a step back and seeing where they are at. I gave them the straight truth about the risks of business ownership, but I also changed things up a little bit. When someone says, “There are so many risks to owning a business,” I say, “Yes, there could be risks, but no risk, no reward.” For example, people always expect me to say how much money I have made, but no one shares what they make or ranges.There are risks to owning a business, but without a risk, there's no reward. Click To Tweet
My biggest success is I have never missed a soccer game. People go right to the financial and forget about the time freedom. I go back to when I became a coach and I coached both my kids’ soccer teams when my daughter played one season. I got to coach both of them. I don’t coach anymore, but I get to go to all the games and know some of those games are 3:00 in the afternoon. There’s a lot to do. It is always figuring out and saying, “Is the business the vehicle or is it just you are in the wrong job?” We start to break it down and figure out that maybe a business isn’t the right fit.
We have other individuals that can help you with your resume. Maybe it’s a job. Maybe the timing isn’t right, so we go down the reasons why the differences. Going back to the risk of having a job, I tell people who insist a business is risky. It is. A job, you are investing time in. In a business, you are investing time and money. With a job, you look at one source of income. Your future is based on your manager’s opinion if they recommend you for a promotion.
I worked on Wall Street for many years, but we blindly invest our money or additional money in a 401(k) that we don’t manage and have zero control over. If you are taking on these risks, why not bet on yourself? At bare minimum, if anyone has one takeaway, if you have that job and we have seen layoff after layoff, why not create a safety net? It doesn’t have to be a $1 million franchise. There are plenty of franchises that are in the $100,000 range or less, but why not bet on yourself and create that safety net in the event you were to lose your job? At least you have a business and some income coming in that you can transition into part-time, full-time, or whatever works best for you.
For people who decide to make that jump, what are the things that you advise them that they have got to get right once they are committed to the franchise world and trying to get something up and running?
It is that they got to get right. Number one, get your finances in order. Liquidity and net worth, put everything down on paper. You are going to need some type of funding at some point, and each franchise company is going to ask you at a bare minimum. Initially, your liquidity and your net worth. Why? They want to make sure you can afford it. Like buying a home, they want to make sure you can afford the franchise, you understand the total investment, and that you have that buffer because some businesses take a while to get up and running. Others may work with insurance companies that take you 30 to 60 days to get paid. Financials have to be in order. Secondly, I talk about this in my book. Let everyone know what the heck is going on.
Whoever is going to be involved in the process, let them know because that first year, there’s going to be an investment involved. There are going to be extra hours being put in, especially if you have a job and are running the business. Let everyone know that you are going to be busy, even if you have kids, “Mom and dad are both doing this because we want to create a legacy. We want to leave something to you. We also want the extra time and freedom to go on more vacations to make sure we join a PTO,” like my wife was the president of the PTO for many years and go to all the soccer games.
Get everyone involved, and then get very clear on what life looks like in a couple of years. Your first year of any business, franchise or not, there’s a learning curve. Figure out what you want your life to look like and always reverse engineer and work in reverse and see if that franchise fits the grand plan of where you want to be.
For example, I was always to work from home, go from a five-hour commute into New York City to zero working from home, and check those off one at a time. If you get organized and figure out what the ideal day looks like, it makes the process a lot easier. This is a process of working with the franchisor. If you have a hard time following the process of the franchisor, maybe franchising isn’t the best fit because everything is a process. Everything is a system, and that’s what you get with the franchise.
What are some of the mistakes that you see them making in that first year other than not following the process or the system?
Maybe they didn’t get the funding right, the numbers they put together. They didn’t put that buffer in the event. The economy goes south or for whatever reason, it takes you a little bit longer or initially have that buffer, that 3 to 6 months living expense and you used it up because you needed a new vehicle or you wanted to go on this vacation. I see that people don’t have the actual liquid funding on hand. Liquidity means emergency funds. They should not be invested in equities in my opinion. There should be some money in a money market. I’m not saying take it all out, but have somewhat of a buffer. They try to do everything themselves to cut expenses, which is a mistake I made.
I was 27 years old, married, bought a house, and baby on the way, and I was trying to cut expenses not realizing that cutting the expenses was easy to gauge. I saved a couple of thousand dollars doing this on my end, but what did I give up? What was the opportunity cost of me not spending maybe more time in sales? Yes, I saved $2,000, but I also sacrificed potentially 5 sales calls. Follow the system. You can’t do it all. Hire good people and incentivize them to stay on board. It’s very difficult to bring on new people who need to be retrained due to turnover. Treat your staff great, compensate them very fairly, and follow the system, and you should be great. You should do well.
How does your business model work? Do you charge them a fixed fee for your support or is it revenue-based?
Our model is similar to a real estate agent. Our fees are paid directly from the franchise company. Franchise companies pay us a fee if you purchase a franchise. The people that we work with don’t pay us anything. There are no fees and no contracts. The only thing I ask of everyone is we are going to need at least an hour a week initially for the first couple weeks, and then after that, an investment of 30 to 60 minutes a week. I will help guide them through the process. The due diligence is on you. You have to do your due diligence, but we can guide you and let you know some additional questions you should be asking or compare and contrast a B2B versus a B2C business. There’s no fee whatsoever for our services to the people looking at franchises.
You have put all of your wisdom into a book called Franchise Freedom to help guide these people. Talk a little bit about your book and how people can access it.
It’s a very simple read. It’s 48 pages, a quick 30-minute read. I went through this same process back in 2006. I worked with a franchise coach and consultant. They helped me through the process. I said, “How can I get everything out of my head everything I experienced, and put it all down on paper?” Not just about finding a franchise, but we talk about building teams and having a financial advisor, a CPA, or an attorney.
It is having this team that can communicate with one another to make sure they are looking out for your best interests involving your family and things like that. I put this together. I give the book away for free right on the website, which is my initials. GGTheFranchiseGuide.com/book. You can download a free copy or go to Amazon for a hard copy. It’s a quick little read. If you are not certain if franchising is a good fit, you can read the book or go right on the same website and book a call. Within twenty minutes we will figure it out together. That’s my guarantee. We will figure out together if a franchise could be a good fit for you. I do video chats and answer anyone’s questions on that call.
For somebody who’s thinking about this other than getting the book and setting up that initial consultation with you, what other things would you advise them on in terms of where they should start?
Look at your situation. What are you not happy with? Like myself, I was making great income so I was happy there, but I didn’t like the commute. In order for me to have more time freedom, I had to move to New York City, and that’s not cheap in any way. In your situation, figure out what’s not working and what you want changed. On a second piece of paper, figure out what your ideal situation looks like from what you are doing daily. What are the hours?
Someone said to me, “I want to work Monday to Thursday and have a three-day weekend.” Great. Write that down. It may not be like that initially, but we can work towards that. Get that down on paper. Involve everyone that’s going to be involved in the decision-making process and set aside time. Set aside some time for your workouts. Set aside time to work with someone like myself to do your research.
I would discourage you from blindly looking at every fast-food franchise because that’s typically what people look at. There’s a franchise in every industry. That becomes overwhelming and we don’t want to settle. We want to look at what the ideal situation looks like and then find the franchises that match. It is about getting clear, reading the book, and doing some soul-searching of what you want life to be. Are you looking to start a family? What does that look like? Get very clear. The clearer you can get, the better. Writing this stuff down. Call it a brain dump. I learned that from a friend of mine.
For every question and every concern you have, write it all out and then check them off. Talk to people. It could be me. It could be a business coach. That’s what creates this anxiety. We create this, “There’s too much going on. I don’t have time.” We all have time. It’s just you become anxious. If you can go down the list and leverage, “I got these questions,” instead of me trying to figure out the how, “How am I going to go about creating more time? How am I going to go about doing this and going that list?” figure out the who. Figure out the person who can exponentially help you grow, the person who can go about and say, “A business could fix all these issues. This is what it looks like and this is going to be the time commitment.”
That way you are not spending hours on the how. How are you going to do this? How are you going to do that? Figure out what you want your life to look like and then figure out the person that can help you get there. If that person, we start talking and we figure out a franchise isn’t a good fit, but there are other opportunities, then I as the who in this equation can also put you in touch with my network of friends, podcast guests, and things like that. Leverage the who in your relationships and that will speed up the process.Leverage the WHO in your relationships, and it'll speed up the process towards success. Click To Tweet
One question, and I probably should have asked you this earlier, but what are the kinds of things that you can start in a part-time way versus the ones where they insist that you are in it full-time right from the beginning?
It’s going to vary. In some industries, you are in the same industry. Some will require you to be full-time and some will require you to be part-time. To give you a perfect example, we have a business. They are in the coatings business and that business could restore your siding, roofing, and cabinets without having to replace them.
It is a big plus in that. We are not replacing. It’s going to save the homeowner money, but how is that business semi-absentee compared to another business in the same space? The franchisor will be very clear on the general manager you need, where to go about it to find that manager, and how to incentivize them to keep them on board. It’s also the support and services the franchise company offers, such as full training for that general manager, and then they add on turnkey marketing.
This turnkey marketing is done by the franchisor at their headquarters. You don’t need to hire the staff. You don’t have to worry about turnover and you don’t need office space for these additional employees. You then take it one step further. Those leads don’t even come to your office because you may be out in the field working. If you don’t pick up that phone, they are going to go to the second listing on Google.
What they will do is the marketing center will send those leads to a call center, and that call center may grab your info. They may upsell, schedule, and take payment. It’s going to vary from one business to the next. Now they have this whole call center, maybe 15 people supporting 50 franchise owners at the headquarters taking that off your plate. Yes, there is a fee for these services, but you don’t need the staff and the office.
Now you have this coatings business where that’s all been taken off your plate. Now you are looking, depending on your role in the business as maybe a salesperson. You take on a role as a part-time general manager and a couple of technicians that the franchisor will also train and get up and running. Whenever a company says they can be run part-time or semi-absentee, that’s great. The next question is always, “How? Can you give me a few examples?” I always tell everyone I work with, “Talk to them. Ask them how they can take things off your plate and make your life a lot easier.” Those are the questions you should be asking when initiating those conversations.
Switching gears, let’s talk a little bit about your career journey. You started working in your family’s Italian restaurant.
At a very young age, I was busing tables.
You are probably not getting paid for it at that age.
I did it for the experience and dinner. It was more to learn the business and help the family out.
You ultimately came to be managing pretty much all aspects of the business. What did that entail and what did you learn from that stuck with you since?
I didn’t appreciate it then. It is from busing tables to running the business with my family and the access to the experience, unlike working for a big company where you have that one job and you are doing marketing. In many cases, it’s one fraction. Maybe you are posting and utilizing Instagram. When you own a small business, I was helping with HR, hiring, firing, dealing with vendors, and negotiating pricing if we did so much in volume.
Also, customer service. The customer was happy or the customer was not happy. How do we update the website? What was SEO? I had no idea what SEO was back then, and I was learning about that. I learned a ton and people say, “Why did you leave that if you loved it?” I loved it, but the issue for me was the prime time for a restaurant. Nights, weekends, and holidays. In holidays, you’d have to get up early because we’d have catering orders.
I knew the business ownership was in my blood. I was the first one in my family to go to college. I said, “Let me try that.” I had a strong interest in investing. I started working as an intern at the age of 18 or 19 for Paine Webber, which was also another great experience. It is the experience versus reading about it online and doing it night and day. You get a feel of your skillset, what you like, and what you don’t like. I found out through a couple of Wall Street jobs and running a restaurant was I loved being my boss. I hated reporting to people.
More than the financials, I wanted the time flexibility. I got to experience that. It took me a while to figure all that out. Some people figure it out much sooner, but I love the investment world. I didn’t like the politics and the levels of hierarchy, 5 to 6 bosses above me. I always encourage anyone who’s looking at franchising or working for a small business, you get access to the CEO. You will get exposure to the bookkeeping, marketing, and sales. Maybe working with the technicians depending on what that business businesses. That’s the best way. Reading about it is great, but doing a summer internship is priceless.
What was your first franchise when you got into it?
We were in building service in commercial cleaning. We covered most of New Jersey. Not the whole state. We work with businesses of all sizes, and we try to specialize in healthcare, where we were terminal cleaning for surgery centers and things like that. It was somewhat of a recession-resistant business. Some of the economy went south and some offices closed, but surgery centers and healthcare always had to get cleaned.
What were some of the other things that you were involved in as a franchisee over the years?
I was in that business for many years, and that was it as far as my exposure on the franchise side. I networked and I didn’t have ownership with other franchisees in the area, sharing ideas and best practices. The franchise community is a small community. One of the advantages is that when you join a franchise, whether it’s with yours or networking with others, it’s almost like joining a mastermind where you are in the building service space.
The people that own the franchise, “I came from Wall Street and finance.” Others came from manufacturing. One came from entertainment. They work something with podcasts and radio. Everyone brings different experience levels and different ideas for marketing. It’s truly priceless when you can get 100 franchisees together at an annual event and then you get together again in a smaller group and share some ideas and best practices.
That, to me, is priceless. The information gathering and being able to hook up and work with other franchise owners and leverage your marketing and the things you are working on to obtain larger contracts is one of the major advantages of franchising. I only own one type of franchise, but I was able to work with others in various industries.
When did you get into the master franchise model?
2017. I got into that. I sold my franchise in April 2020 and doubled down on my consulting and coaching business. We launched the podcast. We launched our book in the same year. In Q1, we didn’t know COVID was coming. It worked out that way. It was a crazy year. In 2020, I said, “Let me double down.” From the sale of my business, I was able to reinvest in the podcast and in the book to get that up and running. It was a learning curve. I have never done any of this before. Towards this business, I’m looking at some other franchise opportunities as we speak and as we get to speak with founders on a daily basis. I’m dedicating myself to exploring a few franchises in the New Jersey market.
Do you have anything that you are particularly excited about that you can talk about?
I don’t want to get into the weeds, but the B2B. I enjoy that space. There are some advantages where you get to leverage relationships such as relationships with HVAC companies, property managers, and even plumbers and tech, where you can leverage those relationships into a much larger opportunity. The B2B space in the service sector working with other businesses is an area I’m excited about.
There are opportunities in coaching. There are opportunities in reducing expenses for small businesses, which is another opportunity we have explored where you are able to, for no cost, help businesses lower their expense and, in return, as far as compensation, do some type of split on the savings, which we have looked into as well. Those are some great opportunities while also helping small businesses within the community.
When you look back on the many different things that you have done over the years, what have been the consistent strengths that you have drawn on again and again?
Very basic stuff. We had a conversation with a colleague of mine. They said, “What’s your success due to and what did you do?” It took me a while. I couldn’t even answer on the spot. I took a step back and said, “It’s not much. I’m very personable in what I do. Follow-up is key.” I’m not talking about sales. I’m talking about keeping good relations. I don’t know the answer to a question. I need to get this issue resolved. I like to follow up. I’m very detail-oriented. I use a CRM and Google Calendar.
Those are my two secrets to staying organized. Also, being honest with people. We are not perfect. There’s going to be mistakes. The difference is how you go about fixing those mistakes and the follow-up. The follow-up is consistent there, putting that relationship first, and realizing this is a long-term deal. That’s been the key to my success. It’s not a sales training. It’s not techniques I learned over the years going through various courses. It’s the old-school basic stuff of doing right by people and you will be fine.
What have you had to work on developing?
In the very beginning, being a 27-year-old and being out on my own on the first business, it’s hiring people better than me. I didn’t grasp that concept. I felt like I had to be the best salesperson in the organization and the best marketer. I felt like I had to be educated and trained on everything before bringing on people. It took me a while to realize people told me this and being in it, you maybe don’t listen.
This is going back several years. There are great people out there and you want to hire people better than you in marketing and sales, and supporting them. I had that reversed. I admit that as a fault. I course corrected and brought on some great people that we have worked with over the years. Employees are the lifeblood of the business. Take care of them. Get great people with tons of experience and you will learn from them.Employees are the lifeblood of the business. Take care of them, get great people with tons of experience, and you'll learn from them. Click To Tweet
Have there been any particular challenges that stand out that you had to deal with over the years? If so, what did you do to overcome them?
I have never owned the franchise before, so I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge. It is having our own business that if you want to add to the menu, take off from the menu, and that type of thing. When dealing with a franchise, going from owning a restaurant to owning a franchise is having that advantage, but having that system in place and truly following it. I always have different ideas of how to market and I made a lot of the mistakes. I tell people not to do and these are the mistakes I made. It is being able to follow a system and that trust level of saying, “We figured it out. Follow A to Z and you will be okay.” It took me a little bit longer because I was doing whatever I wanted as a business owner in the restaurant business to owning that franchise.
There are always challenges. The learning curve and the learning about, and this is where I help people like you own a business. Five years into the business, I had someone ask, a colleague of mine, “What happens if you are run over by a car? Who’s running the business?” I said, “I have no idea. We have never put anything in place.” I wish that was put in place or part of a training or at least mentioned to me like a Business 101. I always advise people to do this. Have a living will. Have an estate plan put together, a successor plan where in the event something were to happen to you and you are running the business, who does the business go to? Meaning we are talking the money and ownership, and who’s running the day-to-day?
It may go to your spouse, but your spouse has never run the business. He or she may be employed. Maybe it’s your top employee. It’s your general manager that’s going to be running the day-to-day. Put all the legal in place because I have seen some nightmares with friends of mine where someone passed away, nothing was in order, and years later, they are trying to figure it all out.
It’s like a Business 101 basics that was put together and I always encourage people to look into these areas. What I did was I took it a step further and I recorded a show in estate planning. It’s not an A to Z everything you should need to know, but these are the basics. This is one person who can help you, and if you prefer to work with someone in your local market, google estate planning and find someone in that market.
What do you do to recharge your batteries?
First off, I took control years ago of my calendar, and that’s something I learned as well as a big takeaway. I have a Google calendar and I put all my stuff on there. Date night with my wife or lunch with all my kids’ games, events, and things like that, and I build a business around that. I want to be very clear there. That helps so that you are not feeling bad for missing all the events. For recharging, we do a lot of stuff with the family. We hit the beach. We try to vacation as much as we can and limit it. We have a cutoff for the day. After a certain time, we have dinners as a family. No cell phones. Maybe we do a family movie night, which was created as a result of COVID. There were a lot of family movie nights.
We are doing something and experiencing a new restaurant. We are big pizza fans. I have a pizza named after me where we live. We are trying restaurants, doing stuff with family and friends, and separating and saying, “It’s not business all the time.” Business is good. We all want to make money, but I also want to create time freedom. I cut my calendar off at a certain time and say, “If you don’t see availability, maybe we should chat tomorrow or the following week.” I don’t do calls on the weekends. I do a little bit of email. You need that buffer. You need to breathe with that buffer. You start to exude creativity. You start to come up with new ideas. When you are working all the time and under pressure, you are not 100%, and it comes across.
What advice would you give to somebody who’s early in their career? Think about your younger self perhaps in terms of how they should be thinking about their career journey.
Don’t have regrets. Everything happens for a reason. I used to say I regret not leaving my job sooner now. It was the experience from that job that helped me get to where I am now. Every experience is a building block to where you need to be. Learn from these experiences. Don’t make the same mistakes. If you don’t like Corporate America, maybe work for a small company. Maybe look at franchising or small business.
It’s never too soon to talk to someone. I’m talking to someone now who’s a senior in high school who’s exploring business ownership. He sent me an email. Not to say you should own a franchise, and maybe that person has the money for a franchise. Understand what’s out there and find some great mentors that you can ask questions to. Maybe go to their place of business.
Maybe in place of mentorship, you help that individual out for the day. Maybe you travel with them or you help them with their marketing or set up their office, whatever you need to get done. Get some great mentors. Learn from about all your experiences. Like I did, I have Google Docs and Google Sheets. I have two screens. I always have them up. Write down the goals and what you intend life to look at. I keep reading about this stuff and without getting into the weeds, but subconsciously, you start to attract certain things. Maybe if you attract a certain person who can move the ball forward a little bit, or a certain podcast, website, or whatever the case may be, if you constantly review that, eventually, things start coming to you.
It’s funny. I had this wishlist of certain things that I wanted. Pretty much, all of it came through. It took some time. It wasn’t an overnight thing, but your mind starts to attract or you start noticing certain things. For example, the franchise I found and the person that I spoke with to get me into franchise coaching and consulting. Eventually, you will start noticing different things and you will get to where you want to be sooner and enjoy the ride. You only live once and you will enjoy the experiences as you go through them.
There are lots of good advice there to close. Thanks for doing this. I appreciate your time and the intro to the franchising world. As I said at the outset, people have a rudimentary understanding of the franchise world but not a sense of how it works and the different options. You have done a good job of giving an overview. There’s your book that people can look at as well.
I encourage everyone. The info is there. I’m happy to chat with anyone. Even if it’s early stages or you have a question you want answered right away, you can book a call. GGTheFranchiseGuide.com. Book a call and I will be more than glad to chat for twenty minutes and help you the best I can.
Thank you and have a good rest of your day.
Thanks. I appreciate it. Nice meeting you. Take care.
I want to thank Giuseppe for joining me to discuss the world of franchising, his path into that world, and some of the things he’s learned along the way. If you are ready to take control of your career, franchising or otherwise, visit PathWise.io. If you’d like more regular career insights, you can become a PathWise member. It’s free. You can also sign up on the website for the PathWise Newsletter. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. Thanks and have a great day.
- Giuseppe Grammatico
- The Franchise Freedom
- Franchise Freedom
- LinkedIn – PathWise
- Twitter – PathWise
- Facebook – PathWise
- YouTube – PathWise
Aobut Giuseppe Grammatico
Giuseppe Grammatico is a franchising advisor who has owned a number of Master Franchise licenses and has enjoyed a successful franchising career, guiding over 200 individuals through business ownership, many for the first time. In addition to two decades in franchising, he also has 20 years of sales, marketing, and management experience.
He has assisted over 1000 individuals and businesses with their investments. He takes the overwhelming guess work out of the franchising process, listening and teaching along the way, learning about his candidates’ specific goals for their business and guiding them. Those bold enough to take action on their own are the ones that realize the freedom that boldness can deliver.
Giuseppe started his career working in his family’s Italian restaurant in Somerset, NJ. He then spent several years in financial services, working for Alliance Bernstein and JP Morgan. At that point, he jumped into the Master Franchise business, and he hasn’t looked back since. In addition to his consulting work, Giuseppe hosts a podcast of his own called Franchise Freedom. He has also codified his learnings from the franchise world into a book, also called Franchise Freedom. He has a Bachelors’ degree and MBA from Rider University and lives in the greater New York City area.