Published On: October 26, 2023

Venturing into Franchising: Lessons and Challenges with Chris Wilson

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My guest, Chris Wilson, walks you down memory lane, sharing how his journey began and the transferable skills he harnessed to run a successful Pilates franchise. His story shines a light on the power of marketing, inclusivity, and creating a comfortable environment for customers. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to be inspired and educated about the exciting world of franchising!

About Chris Wilson:
Chris has 20+ years of business experience in the Information Technology and Franchising industries. Chris started his franchising journey with a multi-unit franchisee of Club Pilates. Club Pilates is ranked #104 on the top 500 Franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine. Chris’ studio has performed as a top ten studio in the country out of 600+ locations. Chris sold both studios in December 2021.

Chris is dedicated to giving back through community service. He is an active member of the Gamma Delta Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. When he is not helping clients, Chris is spending time with his wife, two children, and two dogs or out riding his motorcycle.

Chris’ website and podcast:
LegacyFV.com | LegacyFV.com/Podcast

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Show Credits:
Richard Dodds (Host/Producer): @Doddsism
Show Music: @IAmTheDjBlue
Podcast Website: StillTalkingBlack.com

Still Talking Black is a production of Crowned Culture Media LLC. All rights reserved.

Richard Dodds:
0:00

This is Still Talking Black, a show where we discuss things affecting blackness from a black point of view. I'm your host, richard Dyes, and today I'm joined by Chris Wilson. Chris Wilson has 20 plus years of experience in the information technology and also franchising industries. We talk about the things that you need to know if you're considering opening up a franchise, because some of the stuff I didn't even know was crazy. I really want to open up a franchise, so this was very good information for me. Again, this episode is available on YouTube, but it's also available wherever you get your podcast, whether that's Apple Podcast or Spotify. So, without further ado, here's Chris.

Chris Wilson:
0:38

Hello, my name is Chris Wilson. I am a franchise investor and I also run a franchise consulting firm where I help people figure out the best franchise for them to invest in and show them how to get in and get out safely. Looking forward to the conversation today.

Richard Dodds:
0:52

Did you say get out safe, Yep get in and get out.

Chris Wilson:
0:55

That's the name of the game.

Richard Dodds:
0:57

That's awesome man, well welcome. Thanks for coming on the show. Appreciate you, man? What got you initially into franchises? What was your first franchise? Tell me about your first story.

Chris Wilson:
1:10

My first franchise story was I was 14 years old, getting ready to work for the first time, and I got my little minimum wage job at a company called Carvelle Ice Cream Bakery. They're real big in the Northeast ice cream store. So what was interesting, well, was that the guy that owned it, he was pretty young. He's about 25, 30 years old At 14, I didn't know that you could own a business that old Like I just thought that you had to be much older and richer, right. So I was trying to figure out how he got into business ownership at such a young age. And it turns out that his father was a very rich man and when his kids turned 25, he would gift them a business. Oh wow, he was about 10 times out of 10 of franchise, because he just liked how franchises run and you could take it and duplicate it and things like that. And so basically he told his kids listen, this is your shot. If you run this well, you can turn it into an empire. If you are silly and run it into the ground, well, I gave you your shot, right. So I thought that that was pretty cool. My father was not a rich man and he did not own a chain of jewelry stores, like this guy did, so I had to figure out another way to get involved in franchising, and that was my entrance to it at 14 years old.

Richard Dodds:
2:26

That's like way earlier than I thought that you say Like I mean maybe 20, like at the youngest, but you said 14. 14 years old, and it sounds like that one conversation, kind of like redirected maybe where you thought you were going.

Chris Wilson:
2:39

Yeah, so you know it was weird, because I was introduced to it but I didn't know how to get involved. I thought that you had to be a millionaire, and so my plan at the time was to go to college, get a good corporate job, work as hard as I can and save up a million dollars. Well, that never happened, as you could imagine. Right, like it just life is in set up that way. So, through conversations and networking, I came across some folks, and one of my mentors was actually in franchising, and I called him and said, hey, listen, I want to get in franchising, but I don't have a million dollars. Is it even worth us having a conversation? And at that point he just opened my eyes to all of the different industries, all of the different investment levels in franchising, and then, from there, like there was a little crack in the door, so I kicked it open.

Richard Dodds:
3:27

It's like. That seems like such a scary thing. So when you started your, when you started your first, or when you invested in your first franchise, how old were you at that time?

Chris Wilson:
3:37

So my first one, I was 35. So I waited a little bit past 14, right Okay?

Richard Dodds:
3:43

It's hard to get capital when you're 14.

Chris Wilson:
3:45

It's very hard to get capital, hard to convince a bank to loan you some money, hard to get a landlord to give you some space. So, yeah, yeah. So I was saying this. It's like so much about inclusion, right, I'm a black kid from Brooklyn. I knew literally nothing about Pilates, but was able to leverage transferable skills with a franchise that knew what the hell they were doing. So, but you know, I had to create a space where people who maybe were interested in it, heard about it, didn't know too much about it, felt okay to come in right, and that a lot of it starts with your marketing, right? If you have all marketing material that looks or caters to a certain demographic, how comfortable are people outside of that demographic going to feel right? And so I was able to work with the. I'll give you an example. Man, I had this at a marketing company that used to do my graphics on Instagram and things like that, and I remember I was being a sponsor for a HBCU and for a D9 fraternity, right, and I asked them to create a full page ad. I gave them the verbiage, asked them to throw some pictures in and make it look nice, and they came up with graphics of people that looked nothing like me, and this is going to go into a you know, souvenir journal for a historically black college and a historically black fraternity, right. And so that just didn't mesh, right, and so, okay, let's go back to the drawing board. Can we get some more inclusive pictures so that people feel like this caters to them, right? And so it's about having those conversations and just making sure that people are comfortable coming in and frequenting your establishment, even if it's not in their specific wheelhouse.

Richard Dodds:
5:31

Man, and that's why it's kind of great to work with people who look like you, because when you work with somebody that looks like you, they already know and I'm not saying exclusively by any means but when you do have people that look like you, they understand what your struggles are, what the pain points are. Sometimes they even understand what you're trying to accomplish. So it's so much easier for them to kind of get the vision. I do graphic design and I remember working on something and I always try to be inclusive, and I remember at one particular company I was working for, I had sent to design and I think it was either a mixed family or a black family and they were like ooh, can we? The word that they use was like can we make this more Anglo? I'm like what do you want me to give it to black people? Like you know what I mean. Like I'm trying to make sure that I'm inclusive and it's like everything that I'm putting out, nobody looks like me. So it's like, all right, I'm doing this, I'm gonna try to make, I'm gonna push and try to make at least one of the people look like me. And it was a pain point and they didn't get the problem, but it's like I understand you got to play towards your audience, but yeah.

Chris Wilson:
6:39

Well, I mean, and that's where, like, as we elevate and become like the thought leaders in certain spaces, that's where we have to be intentional with that. I hate to do it, but I got a plug. I can't remember his name, but he does these black illustrations list. If you just Google like black illustrations, it'll pop up, and so when you're doing like your PowerPoint presentation or designing your website, he has clip arts and graphics of people that look like us, right, and I think that that's important. You know, go out there and download a pack and help support that cause, because I think that that's awesome.

Richard Dodds:
7:11

Yeah, yeah, that's for sure. Thank you, I couldn't see them. So it's funny because, like you think about I guess it's like an assumption and I definitely don't wanna make assumptions, but I'm guessing the person who had the ice cream shop didn't necessarily look like they weren't our complexion, I'm guessing.

Chris Wilson:
7:31

They did not look like us. They were cool, they just didn't look like us.

Richard Dodds:
7:35

I mean cause. You know like I mean it happens. You know I hate to make the assumption it happens, but you know it's far less frequent than other cultures. I'll say Sure, and I know that we talked before and you said that it's not a ton of black people and franchising when you go to different events and whatnot. How do we get more black people into franchising? What do we need to do to get them into that push?

Chris Wilson:
8:02

Well, I think having conversations like this right, just having folks realize that it's obtainable, letting them know what the entrance strategy is, so that they know from a capital perspective what they need and that there are other people out there that look like them, that are doing it I think that's very therapeutic right for the conversation. So, in my opinion, it's not, you know we're gapped, but it's not because of anything significant. It's just we need to focus on, you know, some growth in that area and do conversations like this and other podcasts and other platforms. I think we can kind of close that gap over time.

Richard Dodds:
8:39

I think like the hardest thing is you start to think about traditionally where minorities rank in the kind of jobs that they can get, the kind of money that they have. A lot of times, people who look like us don't tend to have a bunch of disposable income to invest in things I mean, at the same time, we do have. We are known for going and getting like really expensive shoes and jewelry as soon as we get some money. Like, what is the thought process that needs to change to say like, instead of like maybe buying Jordans or like trying to get like a really expensive chain, like, what is the correlation? Like, is that money the same, you know? Like, is that the same kind of money that someone could invest into a franchise?

Chris Wilson:
9:22

Yeah, absolutely, I need a lot more Well, so it depends, right. Franchises probably go on the low end from 5,000 up to a couple million, so it's all about getting in a level that you're comfortable in, right? But Jordans, over time, are a lot of money, right? I mean, most people that wear Jordans don't just have one pair, right, and they will pay, you know, a premium amount for the specific pair that they like and the condition and the color that they like, and so you add that up over time and you could be looking at thousands of dollars in a shoe collection, right? Nothing wrong with that. Like, I'm not saying don't get Jordans. What I'm advocating for is for folks to maybe take some of that capital and invest it in something that's gonna bring you some additional cash flow in, and then if you wanna spend some money on discretionary income such as Jordans, then have at it, right?

Richard Dodds:
10:11

Yeah. So you saying like kind of hold that money up front, like save up and then invest in something that'll give you residual income Absolutely?

Chris Wilson:
10:21

yeah.

Richard Dodds:
10:21

I think that's kind of like the beauty in franchises. Like you kind of put that money down. You put it sometimes depending on the type of franchise, from, like what I know I don't know as much as you, obviously, but like from what I know, like from that initial investment and that initial you know elbow grease that you put in at the beginning, cause I know it varies depending on what kind of franchise you are. Like I think we've talked before about like Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-a wants you to have like a clean background. They want you to work there every day. Like your ownership is capped at a certain amount. You can only make a certain amount a year. Like that franchise is gonna be different than like a UPS store. So like how do you like what does a typical like investment looks like, look like for a franchise? I know it varies, but like what can we look into as far as money and as far as time investment?

Chris Wilson:
11:10

Yeah. So time investment is really gonna depend on the type or the business model that you choose. The first type is called owner operator, which means you are the business. So think of a landscaper or a hairdresser. If they're not at work, they're not making money, right? They are the business. You know they're the entity, right, that people are paying for Semi absentee's a little bit different. This is where you're gonna hire some folks to do the day to day operations. You're not gonna be the face of the business. You're gonna work in the background. Maybe you run payroll, do some marketing, you know, take care of the hiring and firing and some of the behind the scenes stuff, but that allows you to keep your job and have this additional stream of income. So that's semi absentee by definition. You're gonna be working anywhere from five to 20 hours a week on the business. I always tell people in the beginning it's gonna be more, right. And then over time you can kind of knock that number down to a comfortable range for you. And then the last example is like Shaq and LeBron James, those guys that own multiple franchises. I mean, those are multi-millionaires, right, so they have a team in place. I can assure you that Shaq doesn't go to each of his restaurants checking on them, right. He has people that does that for him. So it's really about getting in where you fit in. So, just like if we were looking for an apartment or looking for a house right to purchase, you know, if you have no children, you may need a one bedroom or two bedroom, right. If you have a bunch of kids, you're gonna need a five or six bedroom house, right. And so franchising or business ownership is the same thing. There's certain criteria about the business that makes sense for you, and what I tell my clients is come up with a non-breakable, unnecrotiable list, right? So these are things that the business absolutely has to have before you invest, and then you don't move forward until that list is met.

Richard Dodds:
13:01

That's good. It's always about listening to what you're getting into beforehand, Absolutely, and you say it like getting out. What do you? You help them get out. Yes, getting out.

Chris Wilson:
13:12

Getting and get out. And I don't mean like you're doing it overnight. This is not like we're flipping businesses, right. If you build a successful business over time, someone will pay you for that business, right? Because people don't wanna do all of the things that you did, all of that blood, sweat and tears. They just wanna buy a business that cash flows. So I think when we're thinking about a business, we should also think about a potential exit strategy. What does that look like For our people? I know a lot of us go into it thinking that we wanna give the business to their kids, which is a great mindset to have, but the numbers say that a lot of children don't want anything to do with their parents' business, right? So if your son or daughter grows up and says, hey, you've built a significant business, but it's just not for me. I wanna create my own path, you kinda have to respect that. You can't force them into it because it's gonna be a horrible experience for everybody. So I talked to my clients about what that looks like as far as exit strategy is concerned and being strategic with which businesses we invest in, because there's certain businesses that have a higher return when it comes to the sale of that business, and those are the ones that I like to focus on.

Richard Dodds:
14:22

You just reminded me of. I had a family friend over. Oda Geneman was throwing my I was having to go on the way part. She was moving and he owns a landscaping business and he's been doing this landscaping business for years and he's ready to retire. He is the business, he's hired people, he has a crew and now he's trying to sell his business and he started cutting back the days that he worked, like cut back the days of operation, and he said all that did was make it more busy. And he said people are like they don't wanna, like he hasn't been able to get anyone to buy his business and he wants to sell it. And he said he took the price down, he cut it in half, he's like he's just trying to get rid of it at this point. Like the thing that I've been hearing a lot is that it's a lot of people like him that are like maybe baby boomers, a little bit after that, that have built up these businesses but don't wanna, they don't wanna carry them on their kids don't wanna do them, they wanna retire, they wanna be done with the business, they just wanna go sit on the beach. How do we approach those kind of opportunities effectively?

Chris Wilson:
15:29

So I think making sure that you have something that someone wants to sell or has someone wants to buy, it's really dependent on how you built it right. And from the example that you just gave me, it sounds like whoever bought that business would have to take on his role of doing that work right, whereas with the franchise, if you know that you wanna sell it, you're gonna make it so that I'm not doing any of the labor. I'm not cutting the grass, I'm not edging those hedges and all of that stuff. I'm doing marketing, which you can outsource right. You can pay a marketing company to do that and the business will still survive. I'm running payroll. You can pay a payroll company to do that right, and the business will still survive. Or whoever takes on the business doesn't mind doing those tasks. So it's kinda like when you're building a house you really wanna be focused on the foundation. It's very similar in business ownership, right. The things, the tools and the infrastructure that you lay down in the beginning will determine, you know, the amount of success that you're gonna have in the future and what that exit strategy is moving forward.

Richard Dodds:
16:30

So two objections, like if I wanna sit, there's just an example. Like I just have two objections. I'm just curious how you get people over these objections. So I'll start out with the first one Middle class, middle class family. You know like we make a good amount of money but we not necessarily enough to be like we're rich, we're upper middle class, we can do stuff, we can go on vacation. You know we can buy nice shoes and we drive a nice car. I don't have the time for a franchise. Like how do I make time between soccer practice, taking the kids to soccer practice, basketball practice, ballet, whatever it might be working my nine to five? Do I need to quit my nine to five in order to run a franchise? How does this work? How do I transition from one step to the other?

Chris Wilson:
17:16

Yeah. So that's a big objection, right, because folks, they have to have to bandwidth to do it. It's not. You know, I always tell people we think you can just buy a franchise. You have to be awarded a franchise, which means the franchise company has to think that you not only have the money but you have to wear with all the run the business, right. So having some flexibility in your schedule is very important. That lends itself nicely for folks that work at home or have some like flexibility in their schedule, right? Maybe they have Fridays off or whatever it is. I mean semi absentee, again, 20 hours a week, even on the high end, that's only a couple hours a day, right. And if you put four or five of those hours on Saturday or Sunday, you're really only working an hour or two each day to get to those 10 to 20 hours. So it's totally doable. When they say that they're middle class, drive a nice car, go on vacation, but they're not, I mean, we're all trying to get to that next level, right, and the only way to get there, unfortunately, is to have an additional stream of income. So that's what's interesting about that semi-absentee piece You're not giving up that $150,000 salary that you mentioned. What you're doing is saying, hey, I'm gonna trade in some time and then hopefully can get another $150,000. And now you're looking at 300,000 in annual income as opposed to the 150. So that's why it's interesting.

Richard Dodds:
18:35

It's interesting to me and it kind of feeds right that. See, that works perfectly into my second objection, and this is fictional.

Chris Wilson:
18:42

This is not from me, Like that's just not my objection Asking for a friend.

Richard Dodds:
18:48

Completely lose from just. These are just scenarios. So, chris, everything you said sounds fantastic. You know I give a little time, a little bit of money, but it really sounds like magic. I think the thing about our culture is that it hasn't been enough financial leaders in our culture to really teach our people how money works as a large population. Not saying that those people don't exist. Like, obviously, like you said, you said a couple of them, like LeBron James, shaquille O'Neal, jay-z, like even just looking at some of the musicians and the basketball and football players, back in the day they would retire and go broke, and now they're starting to invest early and making sure that they have money for retirement. I feel like a lot of us don't always understand that the way that money works, like cause you know, like put money under the mattress, put money in the bank and like, but where does the bank put the money to be able to give you 0.0% a month off of what you made, which is actually losing money? If you really understand the way that money works, how do you get over the objection that like doing a franchise, like giving a little bit of money in a little bit of time, or actually start to lead to financial freedom. Like cause, it seems like magic, if you don't understand it, because I feel like the more I learn about finances personally, not, this is me the more I learn about finances, the more it seems like magic, like wow, everybody doesn't know this, it doesn't seem legal, it doesn't seem right. It seems like magic, like how does this work?

Chris Wilson:
20:24

Yeah, so let's unpack something that you said right, when you talk about these entertainers, let's take basketball players. They're making a lot of money, but they have a contract, right, and I ended that contract, which is, you know, for us retirement ages 65, it's well before that for your basketball and NFL players, right? Lest you time Brady, well, unless you're him right, I think he may come back. The Jets may get him over there. We'll see what happens. But what happens is it's not necessarily that they go broke. Some of them do go broke, but some of them just can't afford or refuse to go back to living without that money coming in. Right, so you'd have to. And what's funny is or not funny, what's unfortunate is the same thing happens to just regular working class folks like us. Right, you know you get retired and now you're not bringing home the money that you were making, but you may still have a mortgage, you may still have car notes, you may still want to take vacations right, like your kids may be going to college, or grandkids are going to college, and so, in my opinion, it's about having cash flow that comes in even when I'm not working. Right, my mentor and I call it mailbox money. Right, you wake up and there's a deposit in your account or there's a checks in your mailbox, right, like it's that passive income. Now, I hate using the term passive when it comes to franchising, because it's not magic. Like you said, there is a lot of work that goes into running a business, and so you know, you got to get better, you got to have your financial situation in order, and you have to always be seeking some knowledge, right? I try to read one book a month. I try to you know. If there are any terminologies that I come across in a meeting, I try to you know, make sure I understand those if they're new to me. And so that's where we can get ourselves out of trouble by understanding that these opportunities exist. I mean, think about what franchising is at its face. Someone has figured out that there's a need for a product or service. They've refined that product or service to the point where they have sold it and made some money off of it. And not only that, they took notes on how they did it and are willing to give you that secret formula if you pay them a little bit in royalties, right? So all of this like figuring out how to do it yourself. You can absolutely do it. It's just going to take you time and money, and so franchising, even though it's not magic, it reduces the time that it takes for success.

Richard Dodds:
22:42

So if somebody is listening to this right now and they're saying like Chris, I'm part of the way there, I'm so close, I'm so close but I'm not quite ready to jump in, what are the things they need to do to prepare themselves for maybe, like a year to five years down the line to? Maybe somebody's thinking about retiring, or there's some of our. A mom is gonna take a step back, raise some kids, but she wants to be able to do something with her spare time, or maybe a father's. I don't want to. A father could be doing the same thing. But whatever it is, it's like one to five years from now. I think that'll be my time. What do I need to do in that time period to prepare myself, to be able to understand how to run a franchise, how money works, how a cash flow works, all of that stuff?

Chris Wilson:
23:29

And so there's an old saying that, like, the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago and the second best time is today, right, like? So you know, there is no perfect time to open a business, because life is always lifeing Like. I can assure you that, no matter when you decide that there's gonna be some hurdle that comes up like because of it. It's just how life works. The interesting thing is, if you decide not to do it, that hurdle is still going to come up, right, so you're gonna have to deal with it. Anyway. I say a lot of it is about self-help just figuring out where you're gapped, you know, if you're not a real strong accountant, either hire someone or take some online courses on how to be better at that, how to understand, like, profit and loss statements and things like that, and then also selecting a good franchise that will fill in where you're gapped. Right, there are some franchises out there that'll teach you all of the stuff that you need to know from reporting and all the financial stuff. I always say every good business owner needs two people specifically on their team. The first is an accountant and the second is a really good attorney. Right, those are the people that are gonna number one, keep you out of jail. Number two, keep you from like having trouble with Uncle Sam and taxes. Right. So you need those people on your team. You know franchises. We don't look for people who have all of the answers. We look for people that have transferable business skills that they can bring to the table and couple that with some other people on their team.

Richard Dodds:
24:58

That's really. That's really good, that's really.

Chris Wilson:
25:01

Yeah, I can tell you you've been doing this for a while yeah, man, this is I live, breathe and eat this stuff, man.

Richard Dodds:
25:08

So franchises safer than starting your own business? Would you say that Is that a fair statement? It's a generalization, yes, I know. In general, would you say it's safer, if you're gonna make an investment, to invest in a franchise that's kind of proven or to invest in yourself?

Chris Wilson:
25:25

Yeah. So there's always risk, right? I don't want you to get this notion that franchises can't fail. They do right, they can fail. The level of failure is significantly lower when you're investing in a franchise because of a few reasons. Number one it's a proven commodity. It's worked someplace else. Now that doesn't mean that it's necessarily gonna work in the area that you bring it in, but there's certain things that are specific about demographics and how the product or service is marketed. That lends itself nicely to being able to replicate that effort. So it is a little safer. It's easier to get funding for a franchise than it is for a self-startup, right? Imagine, I don't know, let's just pick a business, that you're gonna start it and you're gonna sit in a bank tomorrow and say, hey, listen, I know this isn't what I've been doing for the last 10 or 20 years, but I want you to give me $200,000 so I could get this idea out of my head on paper. Most banks are gonna kick you out, right, say, dude, what are you talking about? Right? If you go to the same bank and say, hey, listen, I wanna team up with this franchise that's been doing this for 15 years. They have 200 or 300 locations across the country and if I bring my resources to the table with their expertise, this is what the projections look like. That's a totally different conversation, right? Think about a landlord If you need brick and mortar, if you're gonna be renting a space, if you're a landlord, who would you rather rent to Someone who's just trying to figure this out for the first time, or a franchise that has had some success over the last 10, 20 years, right? So there's a lot of layers to that onion. I tell people if you have a great idea and wanna work at it, go for it. Right? If you're like me and like great ideas are few and far between, franchising might be the right role. I love. We always talk about not reinventing the wheel, right? Someone has a great idea but, more importantly, perfected the process and the infrastructure behind it all of the systems and processes. That's what you're paying for. Like, you don't invest in McDonald's because they make the best burgers, right? We've all hopefully. I can't speak for you, I know I can make a burger better than McDonald's right Now. What I can't duplicate, because they're just light years ahead, is their real estate arm, their marketing arm, their accounting arm, their financing arm, their ability to leverage capital. That's what you're investing in. The burgers and fries are just kinda what they use, right, Like that's just a tool.

Richard Dodds:
27:57

Yeah, that's a great point Because, like it takes time to build up that, that brand recognition, to you. And you can have a great product and somebody not know the name of it and they don't want to try it, just because, yeah, I mean, take it to something simpler. I remember this is this is probably dating me but I remember when the zoom player was the thing Microsoft has on and they had a subscription service where you could listen to unlimited music. That was new, that was before Spotify, it was before Apple did it. It was like Microsoft did away back in the day. It was like it was like Rhapsody and then zoom, but it like kept recommending an artist to me. It was like you, like this guy Wale, you, you would love listening to this music. I'm like I'm not listening to no Wale. Like, who was this Wale guy? Well, who was this guy? And you know, just because I didn't know who he was or had never heard of him, I hadn't heard any features of him I was very reluctant to listen to his music and when I finally listened to it, he became one of my favorite artists ever. Like his first album was one of my favorite albums of all time. It's just like a classic. But like so it's just like that business. That business has spent that time building that brand recognition, having people trust, for good and bad, I mean, things can change, especially in today's age of social media. Something can change overnight. I remember also dating myself. Chichis was a Mexican restaurant you might like if you're younger than I am, you might remember you might see Chichis in the store and be like, oh, that Chichis sauce? Yeah, I've seen they have sauce and stuff. They used to have a franchise. They used to have restaurants all over the place and I watched Chichis close overnight, like one, like somebody died from eating at a Chichis and Chichis. This was before social media, the internet wasn't popping like that, like it. Just Chichis is close, yeah, so brand recognition is important and being able to have something as, like, you can duplicate is important too. Yeah, I mean when you talk about objections.

Chris Wilson:
29:59

That's one that I get a lot from clients, right, and I separate franchises into two things. So you have, like, your starter brands, like you know, just a startup company, they have less than 50 units across the country. And then you have your established brands and sometimes, when you talk about those, those startups, those startup brands, people are like, oh no, that you know. And I'm like, well, there is some additional red tape gift to go through for a startup brand. But remember, at one time McDonald's had one location and now look at it, right. So it's really important to look at trends and when you, you know, to me numbers don't lie, right Like, the metrics are what's important and that's, you know, that's a better idea than of going into business, because you can see year over year growth, as opposed to what I hear all the time. I like the Polynesian sauce, right Like that's a horrible reason to go into business and I like Chick-fil-A I'm not saying that they're a bad company, I'm just saying if you're going to invest, it should be for something other than the Polynesian sauce.

Richard Dodds:
30:58

Chick-fil-A has great marketing. I don't want to dunk on Chick-fil-A too much because I'm not necessarily a fan of some of their politics and some of their beliefs and whatnot. But you know, like that, that's from what I know about franchising that would not be the thing that I would want to. That's not the franchise that I want to go to, even though they have great marketing and it kind of goes back to that effort that you would want to put into it. They want you to put your life into owning your Chick-fil-A Right.

Chris Wilson:
31:25

40 to 60 hours and up right, that's what you're going to be doing. Most people I know want to work less, right? I don't come across too many people to say you know, I don't mind making good money, but I want to work a lot. Right, that's I just don't hear that too often.

Richard Dodds:
31:38

Now. But their franchising, their franchising setup is a little bit different, because they really, from what I remember, they assume all of the costs up front. They build the building and all of that. So it's like you don't necessarily even own the franchise, you kind of just run the franchise, correct?

Chris Wilson:
31:54

Yeah, they're paying you to run the business. Keep people motivated. Do the hiring, firing, follow their model on a local level. But you're right, like you're not spending money on the furniture, you're not spending money on any of the equipment that you need. You don't own the building, so you know it is what it is right. It's out there for someone who wants it.

Richard Dodds:
32:14

Yeah, so for those people who are already in there looking for the opportunity, what are some things that they should look for to find the opportunity that best fits them?

Chris Wilson:
32:25

So I have this tool and I could share it with you. It's created by some data scientists. It's very similar to like a personality assessment, but it's for entrepreneurship, and it'll tell you what type of companies that you're would be interested, based on your profile, right? So each of us are, you know, different. Like the business that would be perfect for me may be horrible for you, and vice versa. And what's interesting is that franchise companies use this data to figure out who their top performers are in the network, and then they go find more people like that, right? Because you know those are people that are going to drive revenue, and when you make money, the franchise makes money. It's a match made in heaven, right? So they want people that are going to come into the network and do well. Some things that I would particularly look for. I mean, I love recurring revenue. Those are my two favorite words in business. I like recession resistant businesses, and then up until what, three years ago? I now like pandemic resistant businesses, right? So that was a new word, but you know there are certain businesses that just meet that criteria, certain industries that just bode well, you know, as long as the earth is spinning, we're going to spend money on pets. We're going to spend money on our children. We're going to spend money on mom, dad, auntie, uncle or, you know, seasoned saints we used to call them in church. Right, you know we'll spend money on our homes and our cars. Right, like, when times get tough, instead of buying a new car, you'll put old tires on that. You'll put new tires on that old car and keep the party going, especially if you don't have a car. Note right, I always tell people when there is a hole in your roof, you're not shopping around too much. Right, like? Whoever can get there and get the job done. Like you know, I live in Florida. Right, when the AC goes out, there's not much conversation. Whoever can put that van in my driveway first and get my AC up and running?

Richard Dodds:
34:12

that's who I'm going with.

Chris Wilson:
34:13

So there's certain businesses that just lend itself nicely to those type of investments, and so it's just important for folks. I think the biggest nugget I will tell people is don't assume that the business is going to be wrapped in a nice little bowl the way you want it. Sometimes the business that you're looking for isn't packaged the way you thought it would be, and that's okay if it's a product or service that you don't mind selling Like. I'm not asking you to do anything. That's against your morals. And number two money is green, right. So if you're going to make money and it's a valuable benefit to the society, then why not?

Richard Dodds:
34:48

Have you found? Have you I mean, you can, really can compare it like, because you don't know what the other side is but have you found it? Have you found more obstacles, or has it seemed like there's been more obstacles for you as you started to want to invest in franchise being black, do you have you found any resistance? Has there been any franchises that have been like, hey, like you don't fit the profile of the kind of person we were wanting to run in Like, because franchises can reject you right.

Chris Wilson:
35:17

Absolutely. So I haven't come across that, in my experience at least, and if I have come across it, I haven't noticed it, but I won't say that it's not there, right? So that's a I mean, and that's something that we have to negotiate, like when I talk to other people that look like me that are into space. You know, like my buddy Nate, he and I we met at a discovery day for a franchise that we both decided to invest in didn't know each other from a can of paint, but you know, you walk in that room and there's 20 people in there and, as you and another brother, like naturally, you gravitate towards each other and try to figure out, like, amen, like you know, make sure this ain't like a get out situation, right To little teacup, right? So you know, the folks that I have been involved in and maybe I'm lucky, blessed, whatever you want to call it have been looking for not only just diversity when it comes to skin color, but also diversity of thought. So they're looking for people that come from different backgrounds, share different experiences, because, guess what, it doesn't matter what the ownership looks like, right, you have to cater to your clients and your particular demographic, right? And so, if there's certain nuance that the ownership doesn't know about. You know that's something that I can share with them if I'm at the table, right, and they will value my opinion because they'll be able to look in those reports and see how many people look like me are. You know their customers, right, their clients are paying, paying money, so they're going to want to get that expertise. So I haven't, you know, experienced any. You know, upfront, like you know, out in the face, racism, the covert stuff, is a little harder to uncover and, you know, sometimes you don't find out about that. So years later and that's normally in the case of like, maybe spending or paying more for a loan because the bank, you know, charge you a higher percentage rate or something like that, or could be a landlord asking for additional security deposit, right, I mean, there's a bunch of studies out there that show that it costs us just more to live life and run a business. But you know I haven't experienced anything that says, you know I got to get out of this thing because it just isn't for me.

Richard Dodds:
37:29

Hatch it makes me think of that movie. I can't remember the name of the movie, but it had Anthony Mackie and Samuel L Jackson and it's on Apple TV and they bought a bank.

Chris Wilson:
37:45

I remember I saw that movie back in the day and the black guy couldn't like be on the bank so they got a white guy to be the face of the bit. I remember that movie. I can't remember the name of it, yeah, yeah.

Richard Dodds:
37:54

I can't remember the name of it either, but I guess how you recommended it on Apple TV. Yeah, and like one of the things that was crazy was the guy on the apartment he was doing work on on the apartment and he said the police got called on him and like they're saying that you own the apartment, he's like I actually do. He's like I keep a I keep a extra copy of the D just you know, it doesn't mean misunderstanding, that's right. So you kind of think about that kind of stuff. I wonder if there's any objections to for some people that might be an objection, like I'm worried about trying to fit in, but I think, like what you said was perfect, that a lot of these companies they don't really care about anything but the green Green is the color that they care about. Right, and if you can't help them get green and they go, they're gonna love you to a point you know.

Chris Wilson:
38:40

Absolutely.

Richard Dodds:
38:43

So what's some of the best ways to learn more about franchising?

Chris Wilson:
38:49

I think podcasts just talking to people in the industry. You know I have a bunch of contacts and you know I'm not an expert in a lot of things, but I know who has the right answers and so I think that that's very important. I'm willing to share that with my clients and folks that I come across. But you know, if you're interested in it, there's so much content out there on and listen. It's the internet, so you can't believe everything you you can, but you know a lot of it is good. Just validate what you're getting. But their podcast, there are audio books, there are hardback books that you can read and I would just say talk to people that are in the industry because they have those experiences and those experiences are real.

Richard Dodds:
39:30

How do you get to people in the industry, like, can people reach out to you, like on your, on your website or anything like that?

Chris Wilson:
39:36

Absolutely, they can get to my website, my LinkedIn, you know, see me in the supermarket and we could talk about franchising If they can find you in the supermarket.

Richard Dodds:
39:47

What's it? What's it? You have a podcast. What's the name of your podcast?

Chris Wilson:
39:49

So my podcast is called a winning franchise formula. So it's on. You know Apple Music, spotify, all that good stuff, and we just talk about different franchises out there. We interview people that are in the space, not necessarily franchise owners, but maybe franchisors or attorneys, loan people. You know anything to help you just understand what that process is. So look up winning franchise formula and and give me a couple likes. I'd appreciate that.

Richard Dodds:
40:18

We trying to get them on, I'm trying to get them on YouTube. I'm like I'm trying to trying to get him to do the video. He had his background. Like, if you're listening to this and you're not seeing the visual, his background is already set up for it. So he might as well just go ahead and just take the plunge, like, do like I did just go ahead and put your video on YouTube.

Chris Wilson:
40:35

Yeah, and then when it comes to the editing, that's what I'm gonna be like. Why did I listen to Richard?

Richard Dodds:
40:42

Oh, the editing is easy.

Chris Wilson:
40:44

I told you right off the business expense how somebody edited for you.

Richard Dodds:
40:47

There you go, you're done and you help, you help. You're helping with the economy. You're giving somebody a job.

Chris Wilson:
40:52

You know that is true that is true hopefully I get to that point. I'm gonna keep grinding on this podcast and if we get to you know what? I'm gonna set a mark and say, okay, if I hit this, then we'll, we'll advance the video. So I'm only like 15 episodes in on the podcast.

Richard Dodds:
41:06

So I got you. It's still pretty early. We don't want you, we don't want you to potfay but we're not gonna do that.

Chris Wilson:
41:12

We.

Richard Dodds:
41:12

I got a couple in the clip already, so the thing the thing is is that with the kind of stuff that you're talking about, a lot of that stuff is evergreen. A lot of people are going to be able to use the information. You talk about transferable skills and you know being able to understand one. If you don't know what transferable skills are, it's being able to understand what transferable skill is is being like you worked, like my mom worked as a secretary for years and years and years and then it's like you know they don't a lot of times you don't have secretaries anymore, but her transferable skill is that she knew how to type. She could type really fast so she could take that, that and be a type stress. You know what I mean. So it's being able to take something like problem solving, like I do this thing and it's not a big deal, but you're doing it. When I was in college, I remember people were getting a lot of people got a psychology degrees and everybody was thinking like well, everybody with their objections were you're going to get a psychology degree. If you really want to do something with it, you need to get a master's. But what they didn't understand is that psychologists people hired them in marketing because they want to understand how the customer works, so it's like being able to analyze people. It's not just good to be a psychologist, it's good to be a marketer right.

Chris Wilson:
42:29

So it's being able to understand those skills you know, and when you talk about transferable skills, we like to make business more complex than it really is right. When it comes down to it, you need to make money and manage expenses right. And if you run a household whether you're single, married, kids, no kids you're doing the same thing in your personal life, right, you get a certain amount of money from work and you're allowed, or you have, to allocate money for living, money for a car, money for vacation, and so we're running our own individual businesses on a smaller scale. Right. But if you can do it for yourself, you can do it for you know, a business. When we have a job, we are running a business for someone else, right, like you might work in sales, so you're running that sales department or that call center, whatever it is, and so we like to over complicate it, but it it's really not that it's not easy, but it's not complicated.

Richard Dodds:
43:31

I think uh, I think some people run their their home business is better than others, like absolutely some people. Some people pay their bills late, whether they're forgetful. Sometimes you can't even pay your bills on time. So, right, you know like it is. It's something that I think it's. For some people it comes easier, like for me growing up, the way that I saw other people handle money and stuff like that. It made me want to understand how it works so I wouldn't have that blind spot, right, and it's like kind of like anything when you you got to spend time with it and I think you made this point earlier. It's like finding where your weaknesses are and then working on your weaknesses, not saying like, oh, just, that's just me, I'm just bad with money. It's like, no, like pick up a book about money, or if you don't want to read, pick get an audiobook, right, you know, just find something that'll help you learn how to become better at the thing that you're bad at, whether it's time management, whether it's like managing your funds, maybe. Maybe it's like you just like Starbucks a lot and you you got to give up like one of your Starbucks drinks a day. You know what I mean. Like whatever it is finding that spot right, I mean the thing is.

Chris Wilson:
44:42

I mean, you mentioned that some people are better at doing their personal finances than others and some people are better at running businesses than others. Right, I mean, there is no magic way to do things. Every each one of us has a certain like, kind of like the guy from taking a certain set of skills that right, like and um, you know. But I think what's important is finding out where you're gapped what you just mentioned and then, like, if there's something that I either don't find joy in or, um, it just is a chore for me to do it, then I outsource it. Right, I could cut my own grass. I don't. Right, like, I pay a lawnscape, a landscaper to do that. Right, and you know. So I think it's the same thing in business. I don't. I'm not my own accountant. Yeah, I could get quick books and and do all of my debits and credits.

Richard Dodds:
45:29

It doesn't bring me joy, I pay an accountant to do it that reminds me of something that I, uh, I like to say is that why would you spend time doing something that you're bad at if you have the extra capital to pay for it and you can spend more time doing the thing that you're good at, because you're going to be more efficient at the things that you're good at instead? of struggling through the things that you're bad at. If it you know, like if it takes a hour for a landscaper to do your lawn and it takes you two hours, but you got the extra capital, you can spend that two hours doing something that brings you more joy or more money, right, but like for me, like I cut my, I cut our lawn. I cut my family's lawn. I'm cutting it because I don't want to pay anybody to do it. Like I have a lawnmower, i'ma cut it like and plus, it gives me peace.

Chris Wilson:
46:14

It's a good exercise like you know, I mean walking through the line there you go good, 30, 40 minute exercise, you know what I'm saying.

Richard Dodds:
46:20

Then go trim the bushes, you know, but I mean to each their own, like, there's so many different ways. But I think, uh, I think, for me to always get over the over the hump, the thing that that, whether it's giving up something or whether it's going to do something, I think whenever you have you, sometimes a lot of times, we find ourselves out of crossroad and it's a, it's a like, oh, I'm tired of like, my thing is like oh, I don't want to, I want to lose some weight. So, like, in order to lose weight, that means I need to eat better and I need to work out more, and like, until the, the want for me to, to lose more weight it's stronger than the want for me not to work out and not to eat whatever I want to eat, then I'ma still be where I am. So it's like finding that tipping point that moves you from one end to the other, like, maybe giving up something, maybe starting to do something. I hate to read, but I need, I need that knowledge. So it's like I gotta find that motivation, like for me it was audiobooks. Like I hate to read, so it's like I go get an audiobook. Audiobook I can't. I can work and listen to the audiobook, maybe listen to a podcast. This is a way to kind of find because one size doesn't fit all, just like franchise, one size doesn't fit all, but it's like finding the thing that works for you.

Chris Wilson:
47:32

I think it's very important yeah, I think the other thing is, um, we think that, like, business moguls are made overnight, right at some point. You know, and we hear this all the time, you know, I've never run a business before. Yeah, well, bill Gates or you know, pick whatever business exec you want, at some point, this was their first business, right? So we all have to start somewhere, and I think that we don't take advantage of realizing how important incremental growth is, right. So and you're an example about want to lose weight, if you're doing nothing today and decide to walk for 10 minutes tomorrow, that is more beneficial than the nothing you did today, right. And if you can get consistent with it, at some point, those 10 minutes start to matter, right, like 10 minutes over the course of, whether it's a month, six months, a year, it starts to add up and then you start to see the difference, right. So same thing with business ownership, like, like you said, get a podcast, get an audiobook, there's so many ways to consume content. Now, I mean, back in the day, we had just an, just an encyclopedia, right, and that was it, right.

Richard Dodds:
48:38

Now, I mean, we've got just all this me listen, I remember them.

Chris Wilson:
48:44

Encyclopedia sales people coming to the crib and mom and dad saying yeah, we get the news. We already got one. Well, we get this, the new version, right that's updated that's right. This one is in color. So you know, now we have phones in our hands that have, like, all the information in the world, all the world. That's right. So you know, just get out there and do it. I say stop making excuses. But I get it right. I made excuses for many years. You brought up a good point, like when you talk about pain. You know, I had a mentor that used to say and he would break it down and say, you know, if you have a toothache but you're afraid to go to the dentist, you won't go to the dentist until the pain of that toothache is more than what you're going to experience at the dentist and that's where you'll go. And it's the same thing for business ownership. For me it took, you know, three layoffs before I was like, all right, you know, I got to, I got to do something right. You know, for some, some people that's getting passed over for a promotion at their job or just not feeling like they're getting compensated for the work that they're putting in. But that pain looks different to all of us and when it reaches a certain threshold, that's what we'll take action.

Richard Dodds:
49:54

And I even think about, like now, the fight for 15 and how, like you know, wages aren't really always livable, with inflation now, and like it's so many people striking you know, like UAW striking it's been countless nurses and doctors going on strike over the over the last few years. And I say UAW the writers, the actors, like everybody is striking because they're trying to get compensated. And you know, the fight for 15 is real. Like everybody should be, you should be able to work a job and have a livable wage. So it's important for us to be, if we have the ability, if we can, if we can do it, to at least try to make like extra income for us and our family. Because not only that, you bring a franchise into the community and successful. It gives you the opportunity to run a business better than you think other people are running. It gives you a chance to employ other people and try to make it so that they have a livable wage. So it's kind of like it's like not just talking about it, it's like it gives you an opportunity to actually do it and make a difference, and it's like a difference that you'll be able to see right away.

Chris Wilson:
51:03

You know, what's funny is I didn't really think about any of that. Going into business, I knew I wanted to bring a good product to the community. So my first franchise was a Pilates studio right, a boutique fitness. And so Pilates is healthy. Yes, we're going to help people get in shape, recover from injury and all of that stuff. Another unintended consequence was the staff people that I had right, I had 40 people between two locations Me taking that chance on business ownership, helped them put food on their table right, which I didn't take that lightly. I thought that that was awesome. Then you hear the stories about people who were, you know, husband passed away or there was a divorce and they used Pilates to feel better, like, whether it's physically, mentally, whatever it was. Those were awesome. But then the last one that I really didn't even pick up on was, as a business owner, you get to decide who works for you not necessarily staff, but your accountant, the person that cleans your facility, the exterminator right, all of these things. And I like to pick people that look like me, right. And so now I'm helping another small business owner, you know, bring in additional revenue and then do all of the things that I just mentioned in their world right. So that to me was just awesome, like when I love going to a place and seeing you know my attorney and you know my cleaning lady and all of that stuff. It just makes you feel good.

Richard Dodds:
52:30

You can definitely make a difference and you can definitely bring people with you. I just think about, like even it was a story that I heard on a I think it was on a podcast and he started like a rental car, like on, like a toro business. He bought like 40 cars, 20 cars or something like that. He said, oh, like, I bought these cars and then I had to figure out where I'm gonna storm. And then he said I had to like figure out how I'm gonna get them clean. And he said he starts to build relationships with other business owners and like being able to have like like carp launch, to be able to be like, oh, I want somebody who looks like me, someone like you know, that I can relate to, that relates to the understands, the struggles that I have. That's like, that's such a. I think that like, if anything like what is going to push me back, to motivate it, I'm gonna get ready for my franchise and I'm gonna call you my Christian, ready for my franchise.

Chris Wilson:
53:24

Let's go, I'm ready to open my franchise.

Richard Dodds:
53:26

It'd be like yes, I can help empower more people that look like me. Not only can I help empower other people, people like you think about like certain jobs, teenagers. One of the best ways to like encourage young black youth and I talked about this before is by doing it and seeing, like letting them see that you can do it. And that's like one of the reasons why I thought like, oh, it's a movie and you think, oh, it's just a movie. It's a movie. The original Black Panther was so important because it wasn't a black movie, it was a big budget superhero movie with everybody, except for a couple of people, look like us, right, and like the for the first time ever, like kids all over the world like that that were brown and black and they were like man, I can be a superhero. We didn't have that before. I mean, we had like Meteor man and stuff like that, but you know I didn't have the budget. I didn't have the budget. We had, I mean, blade. We had blade too, but you know it was. It was completely different, and I just think it's important to continue to like to help us to continue to grow together as a culture.

Chris Wilson:
54:35

Now one of my own girls from like third grade posted something on Instagram today where there was a black lady that sat in first class and she didn't think anything of it. She was traveling, getting to where she was going and a little black girl you know was walking through the plane and saw her in first class and just kind of gave her this look like was you know, okay, I see you, right? And you know, I think just showing up is so important, right, and just showing someone that, listen, I did it, you can do it. You know there's no I don't want to say there's no magic, but you know there's a formula that you can follow and if you get in front of the right people and do it the right way, then you can duplicate that success. So, yeah, I get it, man.

Richard Dodds:
55:17

Well, look, Chris, I had a great time talking to you. Thanks for all the information. I make sure I put all your information in the show knows appreciate you, man. So, again, I'd like to thank Chris for coming on the show. If you'd like to learn more about him and the things that he's doing, including his podcast, that information to be available in the show knows. Still talking black is a crown culture media LLC production. You can find out more about the show at stilltalkingblackcom. But until next time, keep talking.