In this episode we interview Kit Vinson, co-founder of FranMan who specializes in developing Operations Manuals for franchisors. Kit shares his entrepreneurial journey and valuable advice for businesses considering franchising their concept.
About Kit Vinson:
Kit is the co-founder of Franchise Manual (FranMan). They are dedicated to providing businesses with a professional Franchise Operations Manual at an affordable cost, in as little as 90 days.
Kit is a marketing specialist with over 20 years of experience. His resume includes corporations such as Hillenbrand Industries, Service Corp International and Infinity Broadcasting, showing his experience in advertising, financial services, and manufacturing.
Kit earned an MBA from The American Graduate School of International Management (a.k.a. Thunderbird School of Global Management) in 1994. His fields of study include International Marketing and the Spanish language. He has also completed business studies at the University of London in London, England and language studies in Antigua, Guatemala.
Kit’s entrepreneurial ventures and his experience working for Fortune 500 corporations have given him a unique perspective into the business world.
- Kit started his career in the Death Care Industry, selling pre-arrange funerals. His father-in-law owned a funeral home.
- He then moved in the radio advertisement sales industry.
- His brother, who is a Franchise Attorney, first encouraged him to venture into developing operations manuals for his clients.
- Kit co-founded his company, FranMan, in 2005 with his brother.
- Networking is important when building a successful business, and using social media sites is critical to doing so effectively.
- Kit was influenced by his grandfather and his father, both of whom were entrepreneurs.
- Having control over his future, and his income potential not being limited to the hours in a day, were key motivators for him to become a business owner.
- Kit is in business with his brother, and in this episode he shares his experience with partnering with a family member.
- His brother was instrumental in helping him develop the confidence to get started with building his business.
- Finding a specific niche, specializing in producing franchise manuals, has been key to his business success.
- Being the best, and delivering thorough and complete operations manuals is another secret to his company’s success.
- Some of his challenges include time management, particularly since he works from a home office.
- Kit uses Outlook for appointments, and a paper-based to-do list.
- Planning and preparing for franchising your business includes determining if your business is duplicable and scalable. You also have to be able to duplicate the customer experience.
- “Your business does not make money; your customers make you money.”
- Potential franchisors also need to consider the applicability and broad application of their business. Can it be duplicated in different markets?
- Part of the process of creating Operations Manual is documenting the businesses system standards.
- FranMan works closely with Franchise Consultants. During the development of the Operating Manual, they of course uncover lots of potential issues and items that need to be addressed in preparation for offering successful franchises.
- “I want to dominate my niche.” Kit is focused on being the best in the industry. He avoids spreading himself and his business too thin, and no longer being the “master of manuals.”
- To start franchising, the first step is to find a Franchise Consultant and leverage their expertise and experience. You will also want to consult with a Franchise Attorney.
- For Franchise Consultants, Kit recommends Bob Gappa and Jerry Darnell. You can find out more about them at Kit’s Blog.
- The Franchise FDD (Franchise Disclosure Document) must be created before offering franchises for sale, and it must contain specific information. This allows for full disclosure and facilitates comparison of franchises by the potential franchisee.
- A Franchise Agreement is also required, and you don’t want to cut corners on developing and investing on this.
- Kit shared one of his favorite books, the E-Myth (see links below), and the concept of working “on” the business and not just “in” the business.
- One of his future challenges will be to teach others to sell the product and company with the same passion and feeling that he does.
- Great inspirational quotes on business from Kit’s grandfather: “The only letters I want after my name on my business card are O.W.N.E.R.” and “The three most important words in any business are ‘Get the money.'”
- Kit also recommends finding mentors to help you. Find someone who knows more than you.
- Want to learn more about franchising? Listen to Kit’s Podcast.
Books mentioned in this episode:
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