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Author of How and Why to Franchise Your Business

Michael A. Peterson

Michael A. Peterson is the President, co-founder, and managing member of Franchise Beacon. He has been in the franchise industry since 2006, and is versed in every aspect of franchising. Additionally, Michael is an accomplished writer, speaker, and trainer, and a serial entrepreneur.

Pre-Franchising

Michael started working at a young age. He quickly learned that he had a knack for communication, which in turn became a skill in, and finally a passion for sales. By the young age of 17, he was managing a small sales and marketing company in Billings, Montana, and by the time he was 18 he had been vested as a partner and was running offices in Helena, Billings, and Great Falls Montana for the company.

Though he was on his way down a successful career path, he chose to put his sales career on hold to serve his country, and in October of 1998 signed up for the United States Army. Over his three-year tour of duty he served in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Fort Baumholder, Germany, and finally in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Attached to the 3rd ID, he was a crewman fort the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. After leaving the military, Michael owned (with various partners) wireless retail stores, a marketing company, and a security firm.

The Path to Franchise Expert

franchise Sales

In 2006, Michael, along with his partner Charles Franklin, were headhunted to join what at the time was a small startup franchisor in the retail video game space (Play N Trade), and develop and lead the franchise sales division. With no “expert” to turn to, they relied on each other to understand, document, and deploy the franchise sales process. Over the course of the first year in business, they grew the company from 4 units open and 4 more sold, to 30 units open and over almost 100 more sold. By the end of 2007, the company had had close to 150 units open, and where the fastest growing franchise in the country. In early 2008 they were declared the fastest growing company in Orange County, California, with a 2-year sales growth of 1,926%, and in excess of $6mil in annual revenue (Vizio, with revenues of $4Bil and growth of 500%, was #2 that year). They finished that year with over 240 stores operating in 3 countries.

To reach this kind of growth, Play N Trade was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per month on franchise sales, and Michael and Charles were leading a team of 6 people. Managing leadflow that sometimes exceeded 150 inquiries per day, personally generating 10-15 unit sales per month on average (Michael’s record is 22 individual franchisees in a single month), all while overseeing staff and budgeting, demanded the creation of flawless procedures, maximizing (and often customizing) CRM technology, and developing a process-driven sales process that left no lead untouched, no deal forgotten about, and no boxes unchecked.

Franchise Compliance

Unfortunately, the video game industry entered into a massive, industry-specific recession almost lock-step with the 2008 economic melt-down. This recession-within-a-recession was caused by the advent of the smartphone, and its almost immediate replacement of the video game console as the visual entertainment media of choice. The industry began to crumble. Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, two companies that had long been propped up by their video game store-within-a-store model (Gamerush and Game Crazy, respectively), began closing hundreds of stores and entered into bankruptcy. Similarly, Play N trade franchisees began going under. The company was facing several civil suits and a court case with the state of California. Realizing that their legal strategy also needed a business strategy, the owners of the company asked Michael to head up the legal department. Over the course of a 18 months, he managed 20 different franchisee lawsuits and 2 state injunctions. During this time Michael learned the nuances of franchise law, was exposed the the repercussions of minor franchise sales mistakes, and also had the opportunity to work closely with some of the leading franchise attorneys in the country. Finding a new passion, he began to study franchise and contract law, both through franchise-specific seminars, and through his studies at Harvard University’s Extension School.

Franchisee Training and Support

By 2010, Play N Trade had settled virtually all of its litigation, had lost approximately 1/3 of its franchised locations, and was at risk of losing more. Michael was promoted to Vice President of Training, Support, and Operations, overseeing a staff of 6 franchisee support personnel. In addition to supporting existing franchisees, he was responsible for the training and onboarding all new franchisees. Prior to Michael assuming leadership of Support, the department essentially functioned as an IT department for the POS system. Within 30 days of Michael assuming management, he had negotiated with the POS provider to take that service in-house, and then he implemented a proactive support system focusing on KPI’s at the store and individual employee level. Additionally, he worked with the President of the company to research, design, and implement an entirely new revenue stream for the franchisees; mobile device repair.

Franchisor Management

In 2012, Michael took over the top position in the company, as the Chief Administrative Officer. By this time the company had approximately 125 stores still open, and a staff of approximately 20. He held the position for approximately 9 months, before making the decision, with his business partner, to strike out on their own.

The final Piece, Franchise Startup

Franchise Beacon, under the leadership of Michael and Charles, has assisted 7 franchisors in the to-market process. For most, this included a franchise feasibility study, development of a go-to-market plan, first draft of the franchise documents, working as a liaison with their franchise counsel, developing a marketing budget and negotiating best rates with advertisers, preparing copy for print material, developing a sales process specific for the brand, and handling the franchise mutual evaluation process. During this time, Franchise Beacon also managed the franchise sales process for other, non-startup brands as well, and they continue to offer both services to this day.

Sharing the knowledge

After over a decade in the industry, Michael began to give back. First, he joined the International Franchise Professional’s Group’s Emerging Franchisor training team, on an as-needed, volunteer basis. In this role he gives classes in subjects as diverse as how to work a portal lead to how to prepare a retail store for the 4th quarter. He has hosted roundtables at the International Franchise Association’s annual conference, been a speaker at the Murphy Business Brokers’ conference, and held training sessions, both in person and online, for various franchise broker’s associations. Finally, as he saw a pattern emerge of the questions that would-be or young franchisors ask, he began to write about these subjects. He wrote on his own website about subjects like how to become a franchisor, best practices when working with franchise brokers, or how to manage franchisee validation. Then he began to branch out, Writing articles for Young, Fabulous and Self Employed about using social meda, AZ Central, part of the USA Today Network, about retail sales tracking, an article for the Houston Chronicle about financing a small business, among many others.

 

How and Why to Franchise Your Business

In December of 2016, Michael released the book How and Why to Franchise Your business. This was the culmination of over a decade of knowledge, working in the franchise space in virtually every possible industry and most organizational roles. At just over 100 pages, its a fairly short read, but it covers the entire process of becoming a franchisor. The book was well-received, with leading franchise attorney Kevin Hein saying:

This book contributes greatly to the literature outlining the road map that should be followed in order to establish a successful franchise system.

 

 

The initial launch went well, which led to How and Why to Franchise Your Business being the number one in-category new release on Amazon. It is still a go-to book for people considering entering the franchise space.

Michael continues to write, with significant publications both on LinkedIn and Quora,as well as speaking mentoring young franchisors who are not yet ready to take on a franchise sales consultant but need guidance and help.

Make sure you check out our About Us page, as well as our Franchise Sale Process and the Be First or Be Last Method to learn more about how Franchise Beacon operates.