Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Sarah Van Aken

September 20, 2023 00:23:12
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Sarah Van Aken
All Things Considered Franchising Podcast
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Sarah Van Aken

Sep 20 2023 | 00:23:12

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Show Notes

Sarah Van Aken is the guest on Scotty Milas' podcast, “All Things Considered Podcast."  Scotty Milas is a successful franchise consultant and podcast host.

Sarah Van Aken is the Vice President of Franchise Development for BrandONE, a leading franchise sales organization. With a background in entrepreneurship and business ownership, Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role. She is passionate about helping individuals fulfill their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs and finding the right franchise opportunities for them.

Sarah discusses her journey into franchising and the unique opportunities offered by Brand One's portfolio of franchises. Sarah shares her insights on the benefits of franchising, the importance of finding the right fit, and the potential for wealth creation through franchise ownership.

Sarah tells Scotty, “Starting from scratch can mean a lot of extremely expensive learning curves.  I love franchising because you get an operating model with a predictable amount of success.” She highlights two of Brand One's standout brands, Seniors Helping Seniors and K9 Resorts, and explains how they cater to the growing demand for non-medical in-home care for seniors and luxury dog daycare and overnight care.

Sarah explains, “Seniors Helping Seniors is a lifeline for seniors in need, improving mental health, and an overall well-being.” She further adds, “K9 Resorts offers a luxury experience for dogs, providing their owners with peace of mind and a safe environment for pets.” Lastly, she emphasizes to Scotty the importance of aligning one's head and heart when considering franchise ownership and encourages listeners to explore the possibilities.

Key Takeaways:

 

Scotty Milas can be reached at [email protected] and at (860) 751-9126.

Sarah Van Aken can be reached at [email protected].

 

#allthingsconsidered #scottmilas #businessownership #franchiseopportunities #sarahvanaken #brandone #seniorshelpingseniors #canineresorts #expensivelearningcurves #investing

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:04 Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of All Things Considered Franchising, powered by Scott Milas franchise coach.com. I am your host, Scotty Milas. All Things Considered Franchising is a podcast channel dedicated to the entrepreneur people researching and exploring business ownership, and would like to get some information on franchising or business ownership in general. All things Considered franchising is, uh, all On is, is uploaded on all of your local, uh, podcast channels. Scott Milo franchise coach.com is a consulting organization that I founded many, many years ago that provides guidance, education, and counseling for people who are interested in exploring business ownership and matching up potential franchises or outside businesses that would be a best, best fit. Services that we provide are absolutely at no cost to the client. We are compensated by over 600 businesses that we represent. Today's guest is probably one of my favorite people to be working with in line with that whole brand one family. Uh, please welcome Sarah Van Kin to the show. Sarah, welcome. Thank Speaker 2 00:01:13 You. It's great to be here. I appreciate your time today. Speaker 1 00:01:16 Yeah, I've been waiting patiently to get you on the show. You've had a very, very busy summer. Um, but, uh, it, it sounds like you've, uh, kind of settled in a little bit, uh, as you said, you've moved west, as they say. And, uh, just wanted to circle in. Um, you have a unique background. Uh, you, you have a consultation type background working with people. Uh, you've been now with, uh, brand one who is a leader, F s o franchise sales organization with multiple franchises, brands in the portfolio. Tell us about your journey about what attracted you to franchising and, you know, how did you end up with Brand one? Speaker 2 00:01:55 Yeah. Uh, it's, it's a great question. I feel really lucky to be with Brand One. I, there's, uh, a really a group of, of the best and, and, uh, most integrity driven folks in franchising. But I sort of fell into franchising to be honest. Um, I've been an entrepreneur most of my career. I started really as an operator. So, um, started grown and, and exited a couple of businesses from a real estate brokerage, a fashion and manufacturing business, a social network. I'd then gone in-house as the president of a design firm where our core business was greeting cards of all things. We sold about 125,000 greeting cards every day. And I was really there to do a turnaround, grow the company and get it sold. And in that time period, a couple things happened. One, I learned that I not only liked helping brands grow, but I really liked helping people through transition. So I was helping this founder, you know, transition into her retirement. She needed to sell this business. And interestingly enough, helping someone sell a business is not all that different than some helping someone invest in or buy a business, right? Um, so in that, I, I also learned that I didn't really wanna operate a whole lot, any for a while at least <laugh>, you know, I'd had some pretty Speaker 1 00:03:01 Job <laugh> Speaker 2 00:03:02 And I had been introduced to Peter Barkman, who's one of the managing partners at, at Brand one, uh, several years prior through a mentor of mine, uh, and a guy who was a chairman of my fashion business. And they were, you know, the times was years ago at this point, just starting brand one. And at first I was like, franchising, I don't like to follow rules. I'm never gonna be good at franchising <laugh>. Um, and then, you know, I took some time off after the sale of that company. He's like, you know, you're not doing anything. Why don't you come to a, a Canine Resorts Discovery Day? And I did. And I was like, oh my gosh, this looks like just fun. Um, so it's pretty cool what I get to do every day, which is, is help people fulfill what is often a lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Speaker 1 00:03:44 Now you've been doing this for four years now. A little over four years. Yeah. And obviously you have an entrepreneur background, understand business ownership, what it takes. Um, so you've been on the independent side and now you're seeing the franchise side. Yep. And for those people that are listening to this or considering, uh, do I invest in a franchise? Do I look at an independent, do you have any kind of those words of wisdom, uh, that you can pass on? I mean, there, look, both options are wonderful. Business ownership, whether you're a franchise owner, a multi-brand, multi-unit, or just a single owner or owned a couple of independent businesses. Either one works, and it really depends on the m o of each person. But do you see anything that kind of pushes people or should help people push one way or another? I mean, any, any guidance you can share? Speaker 2 00:04:37 That's a really great question. 'cause you know, I have been in the shoes of every person who's exploring business ownership, you know, and, and none of the businesses that I started were franchises. So I, I think there's two key things, two key answers to your question. One is, I didn't know what I didn't know in those businesses, right? I made a lot of mistakes on my own dime. As an entrepreneur, you need to be prepared to stand in your own way a little bit, right? Wherever you go, there you are. So your stuff comes up, right? And, and so sometimes, um, starting from scratch can mean a lot of expensive learning curves. So I love franchising because you get an operating model with a predictable amount of success and a lot of support to help you be successful. And two, a lot of folks are doing this not just to get an ongoing paycheck, but to have transferable wealth. Speaker 2 00:05:21 And franchise businesses are more likely to transact and at a higher level because not only is there the industry range of multiple that dictates valuation, but it's the intangible assets, right? It's the brand value, the, you know, whether someone can just step in and take over the business. So there's not owner reliance or key man reliance. And in franchising, you get that built in already. So those are really the two things that I, I think are, you know, especially for folks who are nervous about, you know, they've got families, things, you know, people to support, there's a much clearer path to success in a business model. And that transferrable wealth through franchising than doing it on your own. Speaker 1 00:06:02 No, you're absolutely right. I think the best way somebody put it to me, uh, a few months ago was talking to somebody that, uh, the best way to, to look at a franchise when you're starting a franchise or investing in a franchise business is that you're starting on third base. Yeah. You know, to use a baseball analogy, as an independent, you're just getting up to bat unless you're buying an existing business, a resale, uh, and, and have some experience in that industry. But, you know, one last question on the on, on franchising versus independent. One of the common questions I get is, I wanna go into a franchise, but I don't like the idea of paying royalties. And I always address my clients and say, well, do you think you're not paying royalties if you own an independent business? And it really kind of makes people stop in their tracks, and you can kind of hear the, the wheels turning in the back of their head as they try to figure it out. What's your answer? Or how do you look at, or try to explain to some of the people, the people that you talk to day in and day out about the royalty stream? I mean, obviously I tell people it's a, it's the income source for the brand. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:07:09 And period. So I mean, how do you explain that? Paying royalties, not paying royalties? Speaker 2 00:07:15 Yeah. It's funny how people get, get really tied up in that. And, you know, being a business owner can be really lonely. You know, when you have challenges, when it's stressful. And, you know, the classic saying in franchising is, you're in business for yourself, not by yourself. Right? So when you have a challenge, there's an entire team of people to call. The other thing is, if you invest in a good brand, and this should be part of anyone's due diligence, is what is the brand doing to reinvest and refine and finesse and grow the system? Because a good franchise system is going to keep increasing the support, the services in, in making the operating model better. Whereas you as a small business owner wouldn't have the capital to do that individually. And you get, think about it like you as an individual business owner in, you know, here in, in my neighborhood in California, does not have the same power as a business that's nationwide. Speaker 1 00:08:10 Right, right, right. No, that, that, that, that, that's, uh, true. Let's talk about, uh, a couple of the brands that you're working with at Brand One because, um, you, you're dealing with two brands that really kind of fit, fit into a need, not a want mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but also have that technology, Amazon proof type model, and also are recession resistant in some ways, in a lot of ways, I shouldn't say that. And the first one is, uh, eight Ss s Ss, which is seniors Helping Seniors. And another favorite of mine, which I love the industry, the pet industry is Canine Resorts. Yep. And, uh, two, fascinating in, uh, uh, brands, uh, uh, brands that really, uh, started out fast out of the gate and now have brought a lot of national attention, national and expansion. Let's start out with seniors, helping seniors. Tell us a little bit about that model and the type of franchisee or person that you're seeing that's most interested or fits well and that investor characteristic that you're seeing Speaker 2 00:09:13 Yeah. Speaker 1 00:09:14 Characteristics I should say. Speaker 2 00:09:16 Yep. Um, so seniors, helping seniors has a really special place in my heart. And, and what we do is an array of non-medical in-home care for seniors. What's really unique about this business is its labor model, right? And, and it's who and how we hire. So there's a lot of competition in the in-home care space, and most of these folks are hiring young people who are still figuring out what they wanna do and who they wanna be in the world. They also send whoever's available on a shift, and that can be unnerving for seniors in need, because half of people over 80 are experiencing cognitive decline. And at seniors helping seniors, they hire mature adults, they understand the aging process, they match them one-to-one with clients and foster a relationship that really enables people to provide a higher quality of care through their business. And so it, you know, that relationship is a lifeline for the seniors in need. Speaker 2 00:10:05 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? It improves mental health, overall wellbeing. It's continuity of care. But the real other amazing thing from a business model perspective is that 10,000 people turn 65 every day. A lot of people can't afford to retire. They exit the workforce in their fifties. And the most common job available to them is being a Walmart reader. And with seniors helping seniors, they get a job that meets all of their needs and doing something meaningful, staying active, being involved in their communities, and making little extra money. And as a result, it, it's just a really, a, a very sweet, we, we, we, we like to say, you get to do well for yourself and do good in your community. So it's, it's a pretty amazing company. Also, the founder, uh, was the right hand of Mother Teresa, India for 15 years. Speaker 1 00:10:46 Wow. United States. That's interesting. Speaker 2 00:10:48 I mean, it's got this incredible, incredible origin story, you know? Um, but for the folks who I, your question wa also was, um, who are the folks that are the right fit for this brand? Right? I think, and when people say, have this desire to do something meaningful and do something, you know, a lot of folks are leaving corporate America. They felt like they weren't living their purpose. And that's by far the, the common thread. So we have placed folks who are successful, who are former lawyers, former architects, HR executives, um, marketing executives, a wide range of backgrounds, but the common thread is that they are relationship builders and they wanna do something good in their communities. Speaker 1 00:11:32 That's interesting. Now, the other brand that, uh, well, one other question on s h s, uh, seniors helping seniors is, is that the services that hss h ha seniors helping seniors provide, a little tongue twister there. Um, a lot of people, when they think of senior type businesses, they automatically think medical. Yeah. You know, I have to give medications, I have to give shots, I have to make sure that people are taking their, uh, prescriptions. I, I'm sure there's a little bit of that, or maybe there's some of that, but what other services are is seniors helping seniors providing within the community? Yeah, Speaker 2 00:12:12 So that's, it's a great question, and you're right, there is a lot of, of misnomer around that. So what we don't do is skilled nursing, hospice, dispensing medication, anything that would require highly skilled employees or be high risk. But outside of that, there's not much we can't provide for seniors. So daily living support, like preparing meals, doing little like housekeeping, taking people shopping to the doctor's office and the, like, personal care. So maybe they just had a hip replacement. They need a little help showering, dressing to get back on their feet or specialty care. So more disease specific and comprehensive, like Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's, MS 24 hour Care, and Telecare check-in and the like. Speaker 1 00:12:50 That's interesting. Now, the other brand that you are, uh, working on is a brand called K nine Resorts. Yeah. Um, the pet industry continues to amaze me. It's it's growth. Um, you know, especially now coming out of the pandemic, uh, you know, people when they were home and they're still home, went out, not only got one pet, two pets, three pets, mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, and as we get back into that normal, uh, routine, now people are finding that, wow, I have two or three pets and I've gotta go away from work. I've gotta get somebody to take care of my pet. Um, canine Resorts offers that, what I consider that upper middle class type of environment for pets, uh, primarily dogs, I imagine. Correct. 'cause canine that would be those mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, um, talk to me a little bit about what Canine is doing and how they're putting themselves within the pet industry. Yeah. Placing themselves in the pet industry. Speaker 2 00:13:55 Yeah. Canine is, is such an exceptional brand. Um, it, you know, so they do two things very, very well. Luxury dog daycare and luxury overnight care. So one, and, and the whole philosophy is that they want it to be the happiest, healthiest, safest place for dogs, right? So when you walk into a canine, if there was not a canine sign on the wall, you'd be wondering where your massage appointment was, right? So for right, a handful of dollars, a cocktail, more a day on vacation, your dog can get a luxury experience. And the peace of mind that that brings to people, right? Because kids, elderly parents and pets, that's what makes it res uh, recession resistant, right? That's what people spend money on, right? No matter what, because really, pets are now members of our family, right? 30 years ago, maybe not so much, but today they're members of our family. And so we don't do anything that dogs don't like. We want happy wagging tails coming in, happy wagging, tails leaving, but it also keeps the operating model really simple. So we're maximizing our real estate square footage for the highest margin revenue streams. And, you know, this is a whole different pun intended animal. Yeah. <laugh> helping seniors, right? Speaker 1 00:15:00 Absolutely. Right. It's Speaker 2 00:15:01 Different investment, whereas seniors, helping seniors is, you know, 94 to 144,000. A full scale, uh, luxury canine resorts is, is between 1.85 and 2.5 million. Um, but the return is pretty significant too, with an average EBITDA of over half a million every year. Now, Speaker 1 00:15:19 One of the things that I've always, uh, we're talking to Sarah Van Atkin, who is, uh, vice President of Development for Brand Run, uh, which is an F ss O franchise sales organization. The leader in the F ss O space, I think, and, uh, represent, she represents seniors, helping seniors and canine resorts. Um, one of the aspects of the pet industry, and, and one of the things that I'd like to kind of guide my clients is, is that I would think that a large percentage of the people that are in a business like canine resorts have a passion for pets. And I don't like to think, I don't like to use the word passion in a business model type sense, because I think it's a little misleading, but in this case, people who are investing in a canine, is it, is it safe to say they have a passion for pets? I mean, they're, they, they are dog or animal lovers. This isn't one of those, Hey, I can invest in it, but I really don't like dogs. I mean, do you find that Yeah. I Speaker 2 00:16:19 Feel like there is a small sliver of, of folks who, if they really don't like dogs at all, probably aren't the good fit. I think one of the things about canine resorts, yes. You have to at least like dogs or you have to understand the market, right? Right. Um, canine is also a manager run from day one, investment level business. So, you know, we have folks who are coming in from other systems. I would say the majority of them have a dog, and they get the, or like they get the emotional connection or what a dog does in, in someone's life. Um, so I can't say that we have any folks who hate dogs <laugh>. Speaker 1 00:16:53 Right, right. Speaker 2 00:16:54 But I think that there's rain, whether you have to be ultra passionate about it, or you just really get the market, you know, there's, there's some, there's a range in there, I think. Speaker 1 00:17:04 Right. That's interesting. No, that, that, that's true. Um, Sarah, um, any other information you'd like to share about seniors helping seniors or canine resorts? Anything about franchising you could share with our audience today about franchising? Maybe somebody who's, you know, contemplating, do I pick up the phone and start this, uh, road trip learning more about opportunities, business ownership? I mean, I always try to tell my clients, look, you, the first step is really to put yourself in a position to wanna know and wanna learn. Yep. At the end of the road trip, if you don't want to, you know, take the trip again or invest, that's okay. But until you put yourself in a position knowing and educating yourself, you're always gonna be guessing whether you should or you shouldn't. Speaker 2 00:17:48 <laugh>. Yeah. I mean, I think that that's, you know, as you step in, it's just about really doing, you know, that, that inner, inner check, right. Um, yep. And do I have the capacity to do this? What is the drive? You know, it's, we like to say, you know, at the end of, of every discovery day, um, or decision day for almost any of our brands, we really ask, do your head and your heart align? And there probably isn't a way to know that for sure, unless you do the exploration. I mean, I think there's probably key things in people's lives, right? Like, how much capacity do they have? Like what are the other kind of factors in their life? And, and about whether this is the right time. But, you know, if, if you're really drawn to, if it keeps coming up, you know, and a lot of people, I know that the job market hasn't softened as much as maybe, you know, some folks expected it to, but if you're in corporate America, there is always that potential at any moment that, you know, the rug could be pulled out from under you and Right. Speaker 2 00:18:45 It's different in your own business. And it, you know, it's scary and it should be. Speaker 1 00:18:50 It's, Speaker 2 00:18:52 But if it, you, if somebody wasn't scared, I'd be a little bit worried. Right. It it is. And it's, you know, Speaker 1 00:18:58 Thank you for saying that. I, I a hundred percent Yeah. Fear and anxiety is good to a sense. 'cause it, it manufactures questions Yes. Investigation. You're Speaker 2 00:19:08 Absolutely right. As can use that effectively and also work with it so it doesn't consume you. Right. 'cause with some folks, it might consume them, you know, it, it's a, it's a good support along the way. Speaker 1 00:19:19 You know, I tell people, a lot of my clients in this discussion about business ownership, and, you know, sometimes I get clients that are calling me that are looking for quote the easy way out. Uh, and, and, and I say there's, there's no easy way out in anything that's good, anything that's good and that can potentially, uh, provide wealth and build the legacy, whether you are an entrepreneur on your own, invest in a franchise, or staying within corporate America, all of that has risk to it. Yep. I mean, if it was easy, everybody would be doing it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it's, you know, so it, it, I tell people where, where do you want to draw your risk from? Do you want to control your own risk and rewards, or do you wanna have somebody else do that for you and put your hands in their fate and saying, after 25 years, that knock on the door in an envelope and saying, you know, thanks very much, <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:20:13 Yeah, I think you're right. And you know, because when you think about the risk, it's not just the, the ongoing paycheck, right? It's the what, what type of investments, like how big is your 4 0 1 K growing versus what kind of wealth can you drive from a business? Speaker 1 00:20:27 Exactly. Speaker 2 00:20:28 Yep. And that's also important in industry, right? When you look at the industry, um, and market, I think, you know, there's, there's also fads out there that may not have the longevity. So identifying those things and, and, you know, lining them up to, you know, your core values as a, as a candidate are also important. Speaker 1 00:20:48 Well, it's, I think it's also important, and you, and, and, and, and, and, and maybe when we have you back again, we can touch base, but I'm a believer in try to coach my clients to invest in businesses that please the masses. I mean, let's face it. I mean, right. I mean, that's ideally what you're saying, because you know what people say to me, well, there's too many hamburger places. There's too many dog places or pet places. My response is, is that, but yes, there are, but that's because it pleases the masses, and you just have to be a little bit better than everybody else to draw your clientele in and, and, and, and be a successful Speaker 2 00:21:26 Business. That's right. And, and, and what you're saying is, is picking a brand with the right market position, right? Correct. We look for three things, brand one, we look for a market and, and industry that's been growing, showing signs of growth. And the brand has a great market position. We look for great unique economics that are easily reputable, meaning the, the franchisor gives enough support, and we look at the team, do they have the experience, the vision? Are they growing the team? And most importantly, are these people that you like, trust and respect. Speaker 1 00:21:52 Right. Right. Well, Sarah, I, I wanna thank you. We're out of time and, uh, I, I hope, uh, you know, uh, down the road we can get you back and get an update on seniors, helping seniors in K nine Resorts. Uh, we've been talking to Sarah Van Kin, who is, uh, vice president of franchise development for Brand One, again, representing seniors, helping seniors in K nine Resorts. I am your host, Scotty Milas of All Things Considered franchising and founder and owner of Scott Milas franchise coach.com, a consulting organization that works with organizations like Brand One and people like Sarah, introducing opportunities to people, uh, that opportunities they may fit what they're looking for. Sarah, what's the best way for someone to get ahold of, uh, to get ahold of you if they have any additional questions or maybe more on brand one, what would, what would be the best way for somebody to reach out? Is it LinkedIn? You want somebody to just go to the Brand one website? What would be the best way to do that? Speaker 2 00:22:48 Or they can just email me, Sarah Van [email protected]. Speaker 1 00:22:53 Okay, great. Great. Well, Sarah, thank you so much for, uh, being a guest, and again, I look forward to having you back. This is Scotty Milas signing off on another episode of All Things Considered Franchising. Until next time,

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