We believe in the traditional franchise business model. At its core, franchising is a balance sheet strategy for growth. To expand in any business, one can get money from equity, debt or partners. Franchising is essentially a form of partnership where you take a proven, replicable, scalable concept and sell it to owner operators. But, it is not a flawless system. Nor is it one we love in its traditional form.
We love being independent. We love thinking for ourselves. That’s what drives our interest in being our own boss. But…we also like success. There is no doubt that following a proven track record increases one’s chances of success. That’s what steers many business owners in the direction of franchising. However, franchising also limits your creativity and flexibility. What if you could have the best of both worlds? We do.
The Freedom Franchise is basically a mom and pop business where mom and pop have business-savvy friends available on-call as their trusted advisors. Freedom Franchising gives you a proven set of steps that allow you to replicate others’ path to success with Great Harvest.
That’s what the Freedom Franchise is. This is why it is better:
Great Harvest not only allows you to think. It requires it of you. It not only allows you to make decisions at the right level. It requires it of you. Those who appreciate intellectual stimulation and are eager to be architects of their own success will immediately grasp the appeal of this approach.
In general, franchising is very much a plug-and-play business career. Yes, many work. And work well. But, it is like the difference between painting a dramatic oil painting and doing paint by numbers. Earlier in this “Why?” series of blogs I explained the difference between small business ownership and entrepreneurship. In that piece I spoke of the joy of being able to challenge myself. That just isn’t possible if I don’t get to think.
We have a saying: “They give you a rule book. We give you a playbook.”
In a traditional plug and play franchise model, headquarters does all of the thinking. You do the executing. McDonalds delivers the customers to your door or drive through window. Or Expedia or Hilton.com delivers a guest to your front desk. All you have to do (all you can do) is execute. Meet their expectations and you make money. You don’t develop product. Or do marketing strategy. Or pick your menu. Or choose your hours. Or pick the look of your business. You just execute. That mechanical existence is exactly what many people are hoping to get away from when they start their own business.
I am not demeaning the traditional franchise model. It works well for many people, but not for me. I want to challenge myself. In a world where traditional corporate career paths have largely gone by the wayside, small business ownership is much more a long-term option than ever. But for people who are creative and like to make their own decisions, franchising can seem less than ideal. For people who are reasonably risk-adverse, entrepreneurship can also be uncomfortable.
The Freedom Franchise is the perfect answer for this group. It allows you to think, have a proven business model and call your own shots. That intersection between a non-traditional career, a proven business model, and the need to be creative lands you squarely at the doorstep of the Freedom Franchise. It’s the sweet spot.
Is it perfect, or for everyone? Of course not, but it is better for many people. It results in —to an extent— the lack of uniformity one expects in a franchise, but we are still able to have a significant level of consistency.
All of our stores use the same wheat and mill it fresh daily on site. All of our stores focus on generosity, classically evidenced by the free slice one gets every time you walk into a Great Harvest, and fun customer service. All stores have an upbeat atmosphere. What we don’t have is the same menu or color scheme everywhere. There are compromises, but we will take them as long as we get to think. That is why the Freedom Franchise is an outstanding business model for today’s creative and increasingly individual world.
Learn about Great Harvest's Freedom Franchise: