franchise leadership

Medium’s Authority Magazine interviews Zoom Room CEO Mark Van Wye on the topic “5 Things You Should Do To Become a Thought Leader In Your Industry.” The article describes Zoom Room as “a revolutionary national dog training franchise” that under Van Wye’s leadership is “experiencing growth 4x the pet industry itself.”

Because franchise leadership is key for long-term vision and growth, Van Wye shares several strategies.

  • A leader’s stock in trade is their ability to inspire confidence and excellence.
  • The satisfaction of an employee has very little to do with the CEO. Their experience is most deeply affected by their immediate supervisor — their leader, regardless of her title.
  • A successful leader must be original, insightful, and able to predict future trends far better than others in their field.
  • In business, people will ask: What is your competitive advantage? What are your differentiators? Your responses must be genuine and genuinely fresh.
  • Reimagine and seize untapped resources. Franchise leadership knows where to look: not at the ribeye, but at the organ meats and hooves.
  • Expose yourself to fields outside your own through books, conferences, podcasts, journals.

Leading the Zoom Room Franchise

Van Wye shares his experiences at Zoom Room in the interview.

In Zoom Room I saw — and see — the rarest of business opportunities. The ability to own an entire category both in the U.S. and worldwide.

Although we are still an emerging brand today, Zoom Room already has more 5-star reviews than any other dog training business in America. We authored the best-selling book on puppy training. That allows us to reach households that do not yet have a nearby Zoom Room. To pen the definitive book in one’s field of expertise is beyond rare in the franchising — or any — world.

Connecting on an emotional level every day with passionate dog owners actively engaged with their pup among like-minded people is one key to this success. Another is providing the highest possible level of dog training expertise in puppy, obedience, and fast-paced agility classes as well as cutting-edge curricula and ongoing socialization events.

Reinventing the Pet Service Space

At the Zoom Room, we peeled away every trite convention of the traditional pet service space. There were no sacred cows.

In the past dog training was not too different than car maintenance. If your muffler rattles, you fix it. If your dog pees on the carpet, you fix it. Transforming the entire concept into a lifelong shared experience with your pet and with other like-minded dog owners in a convivial, active space — this breaks all prior models of typical client retention, lifetime revenue, loyalty, and community impact.

Since I became CEO of Zoom Room, our unit revenue has fully doubled, and continues to grow. We didn’t double the number of our clients, nor did we double our prices. Instead, we achieved this through a series of deliberate small tweaks and nudges.

  • Be audacious in your thinking, but also methodical.
  • Use incremental growth to attain seismic shifts.

5 Strategies for Franchise Leadership

  1. Know your field. How will you know your ideas are fresh if you’re not tapped into the innovations of your peers?
  2. Create. Consuming what others are up to is important, as long as you create something new each day.
  3. Train your brain. Almost every incubator begins by asking what problem you’re trying to solve. And so, solve problems! When work is frictionless, solve puzzles.
  4. Interrupt yourself. Leaders are often workaholics, but you’re not as sharp when you’re exhausted. Take breaks, and trust that you’ll pick up where you left off, refreshed and ready.
  5. Share. All that thinking is internal. To be a great leader, you must also be gregarious and generous. So share and communicate with your team.

Seeing the Future in Franchising

Effective Franchise Leadership Holds a Crystal Ball

What’s the one thing everyone wants? A crystal ball. You’re considering buying that house, investing in that stock, or you’re on your first date. If only you could predict the future…

This is what draws people to franchises. Others may have considered starting their own dog training business, for example. But how will they optimize pricing, site selection, retention? And how about diversity of product mix, hiring and staff management, marketing, branding? Not to mention partnerships, cash flow, competitive advantages, product sourcing, web development. Or social media planning, CRM, POS, facility architecture. I haven’t even mentioned curricula.

The answer is they won’t. They won’t be able to be master of all those domains. Instead, they will try their hand at some, and succeed or fail, it will be a long process of learning and retooling, all on their own dime. They will pay for the dubious privilege of reinventing a wheel.

So the smart money and the efficient mind turn to franchise leadership. This is where a franchisor ought to be positioned — as the pre-eminent thought leader in their field.

Thought leaders are the ones holding our species’ best approximation of that crystal ball. They have the data to back it up, because other franchisees have succeeded.