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6 Decades & 6 Insights of Success from Franchise Experts

district manager inspiration leadership multi-unit franchising planning Jul 27, 2022
6 Insights of Success from Franchise Experts

AFA 6th Anniversary Celebration

July 18 marked our sixth anniversary. Six years of great achievements not only for The American Franchise Academy (AFA) but also for the clients that have trusted us during this time to help them become successful franchise business owners. (Thank you for that!)

It's amazing how what started as a deviation from my sabbatical came to be this organization that for the last six years, has been serving franchisees and their leaders, giving them knowledge and information so that they can thrive with their businesses, reach financial and time freedom, and fulfill their dreams.

To commemorate this joyous occasion, I invited Curtis Moore, an ex-Dunkin Donuts franchisee, expert district manager, and also one of our AFA’s instructors, to a live broadcast on my YouTube Channel.

During this special session, Curtis and I shared some insights that have helped the Academy and its clients reach their goals. Here are six insights of success that we came up with to celebrate our six decades.


1. Find help. You are not alone!

The history of The Academy begins longer than six years ago. I decided to take a sabbatical after 25 years of corporate life, either in management, operations or within the headquarters. And in the middle of that year, I started getting phone calls from franchisees that I have met throughout my +30 years of career, to assist them with special projects. 

One of them actually asked for my help to make his franchise work and to compensate for what his franchise didn’t give him when he acquired the brand. He was the first client for The Academy and the beginning of it all. 

Learn more about the AFA history here and discover 12 steps to achieve your business and personal goals with the franchise you invested in.

This franchisee story happens very often. After the opening, once the support team left the new business owner, the feeling of fear and concern comes up. What did I just do? What am I doing? 

“It's the worst time because every problem you have, either dealing with your employees, having issues with customers, or maintenance or building facility problems, you are alone facing them and with no experience”, said Curtis. “With experience, fear kind of moves aside. But initially, it can be heart rendering”. 

I agree. For the first six months or even a year, you’ll encounter a lot of “first times”: the first time you get a customer concern, the first time you do inventory, the first time somebody slips and falls, the first time people don’t show up at work… 

Trying to figure out how to solve incidences like these that have nothing to do with the brand, the product, the service, the image, or the national marketing that you acquire when you invested in your franchise can be overwhelming. But you are not alone! Just as my first client did, you should reach out for help.


2. Surround yourself with great people

Whether you are looking for a business partner, a manager, or a leader to guide your operations, you must develop great magnets to attract and retain top talent to your organization. 

That was my magic weapon when I approached Curtis with the invitation to join our instructor's team. I knew I was aiming high: he had been a franchisee, a district manager, and a trainer, but he was enjoying the retirement life. He had even rejected several job offers for training and operations.

“When you first called me in and you told me I would be a great teacher in one of the core classes, I thought to myself I didn’t want to do that”, Curtis said to me. “But then, you send me the Multi-Unit Leadership Program material, and I was knocked out!” 

“I was impressed by it, and I told my wife this sounded good”, he continued. “If anybody I know could have done that, it had to be Aicha. This is the part that keeps me here, that the content of the program is so polished, so professional, and also that we are really helping business owners”.


3. Don’t underestimate the power of good training

Your leadership positions have to be properly trained and skillful to aim for the success of your company. Believe me, if this investment is not done, it can cost you greatly.

I was a consultant for a little while, helping franchisees and large brands with master franchise learning, knowledge, and support. But I noticed early on that while I was there implementing the knowledge, tools, and resources, everything was great. But once I rolled out, the expected results stopped because they didn't have that knowledge.

My goal is for my clients to be successful. But by consulting them, the information did not stick. I realized that I couldn’t do things on their behalf because it doesn’t work unless they see how it’s done and they understand the systems, processes, and procedures. Then, they’ll be able to follow up and implement the strategies in the long term.

This vision helped me develop what The Academy is today, what we teach, and how we teach it, considering implementation and accountability. The goal of our training programs is for the franchisees to learn the things that they knew they didn't know but also discover what they did not know they didn't know. And of course, that they can implement those learnings.

Curtis was involved in the creation of the District Manager Training Program because, as he pointed out during our broadcast, the way supervisors get trained is not the best and he knew that this kind of content is needed. 

“Their superiors just say to them ‘Just follow Bob, he'll show you what to do’. And that's it. If they're lucky, Bob is really good and they picked up a lot of good habits and tips. But whatever Bob didn't know or was weak at unfortunately gets transferred down the line”. 

“I always say that people you put as supervisors normally were really good managers. So you got a vested interest, how sad to not train them! If they fail, they’ll end up leaving the company more often than not. And then you've lost a supervisor and also a great manager”.

Discover here how to reduce turnover and improve your employee retention.


4. Take advantage of technology

Business owners have to keep up with the latest tech trends and be aware of how these tools can help them. For example, by simplifying how the managers oversee their operations and facilitate the administrative tasks for managers. 

Another benefit that tech can bring to your organization is employee management and engagement, especially if you are hiring people between 15 and 25 years old.

Don’t miss this decalogue that’ll help you to attract, retain and grow talent for your business.

Another great thing I’ve learned is that tech can make your life easier. Since I travel a lot, I've been using Zoom and other platforms for literally six years. The foundation of The Academy has been supported with a lot of technology. 

I wasn’t tech savvy but I had to learn and because of that, now we're able to deliver our materials and make it easy for facilitators like Curtis to join the group and share their knowledge and expertise, even when they are not physically here with us.

“You've got to use technology, let it work for you, and stop saying ‘I don't know how to do that’. I mean, you don't want to be a programmer, but you have to get in the game. I'm truly amazed at how well this virtual franchise training works!”, expressed Curtis.


5. Fight for your dream

Our goal is to help our clients create the future of their dreams. We do that by providing the knowledge, tools, resources, and support they need to be successful. We were very focused on sharing all of this valuable information and acquiring new customers, even outside the US to expand our horizons, and then COVID hit.

In 2020, we were forced to stop the expansion and refocus our efforts on the franchisee clients that we already had, to help them overcome those difficult months, from March through December. In those nine months, that was all we did: assist them, guide them, and fight to keep their dreams alive, alongside them.

The great news is that everybody made it and is still in business. That's something that we're very happy about.

We pull for you, we want you to thrive. We really mean it and hopefully, the sincerity of this feeling comes across”, mentioned Curtis.


6. Prepare for growth

Most of our clients are already in multi-unit franchises. Give and take, the US franchise industry is composed of around 790,000 franchised units, and the average franchisee has 1.3 units each. That means that the vast majority of franchises are single-unit. 

What they have done is acquire the rights for a job. “I used to say that they bought a job. I hope they like it”, joked Curtis.

Why is this? Because when you choose the multi-unit path and operate multiple locations, you become the owner of an enterprise that grows, you can delegate operations, and generate enough money to reach your financial and time freedom.

On the other hand, if you operate a single unit, the franchise becomes more like a job because you have to open and close your business and also manage it since you don’t have enough cash flow to hire a district manager and delegate the operations.

The good news is that many of these operators hope and dream of growing and having more units. Are you one of them? To obtain a positive outcome in the multi-unit model, you need to have the right systems, the right knowledge, and the right tools and processes to manage your business.


I hope these six insights of our sith anniversary were of value to you. Thanks for being part of this dream and for letting us become part of your success. Cheers to you!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and give us a thumbs up on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to get more resources and knowledge that will help you in your everyday business.


  • Do you have a mentor, coach, or family business owner that you ask for help? Where else can you expand your network of trust?
  • Have you considered the benefits that professional training will do for your business?
  • Are you taking all the advantages you can from technology?
  • How prepared are you for growth?