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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Tap Into Experts

Dr. John Hayes is just one of the country's franchise experts. Gary and his team take advantage of training offered by John and the International Franchise Association.

Key Question:


Learn something new.  Take a class or go to a seminar or go to lunch with a veteran entrepreneur.

Dr. John Hayes is just one of the country's franchise experts. Gary and the leadership team at FASTSIGNS have had the benefit of many experts like Dr. John and Don DeBolt. They are also forever reading books and articles and attending classes at the various trade association meetings.

Q: What can every business owner learn by studying the franchise model?

A: There is a big emphasis on continuous learning. Every growing company is a learning company; so we say if you want to build a company, you must be a teacher at heart or find someone to work for you who is.

If you buy a franchise, you will receive your initial training by the franchisor, just as we have seen in this episode. However, John says that you must commit to on-going training. Our motto here at Small Business School is Learn Today, Earn Tomorrow because we know learning pays. You and your employees need consistent exposure to fresh ideas. The web is great but also sign up for seminars, send your employees off to different classes then have them come back and share what they learned with everyone. A weekly or monthly lunch and learn works.

Albert Black is the greatest teacher we have ever met. The company he started from scratch will do $16 million in sales this year and he says it is because he takes time to teach. Every Friday morning he has a hot breakfast and an "all employee school session." If you study Tom Gegax, Ron Olsen and Anne Beiler you'll see their school in action. The progam about Tom's company opens with him teaching at his own Tires Plus University. It has its own location separate from the corporate headquarters and there's even a neon sign in the front window that says, "Tires Plus University." Tom is serious about creating a learning environment.

Think about it

Are you willing to stop being the boss and start being the teacher? If yes, make a list of the three or four employees who have the most potential for leadership in your company. Write out your mentoring schedule. What do they need to learn from you and how and when will you teach them? What experts can you read or engage to assist you?

Clip from: FastSigns: A study of Franchisor & Franchisee

Carrollton, Texas: This business began on the back of a paper napkin around a discussion over breakfast. That was 1985 .  Gary Salomon saw how a computer could make high-quality signs in hours instead of days. He jumped at the opportunity to build a business offering this service internationally. Today his company, FastSigns, is America’s leading sign company with over 500 locations worldwide.

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Gary Salomon, Founder, CEO

2550 Midway Road
Carrollton, TX 75006

Visit our web site:

Office: 9724470777

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1985

Tap Into Experts

HATTIE: Dr. John Hayes writes and speaks about franchising.

So what advice can you give someone when they're trying to figure out, `Should I buy a franchise?'

JOHN HAYES: I think the first thing they've got to think of is franchising is sort of a wheel with a lot of spokes in it. You invest in that wheel from the very first day, and you continue to reinvest in the wheel, in the spokes of the wheel, because the more spokes there are and the sturdier the spokes, the faster the wheel will spin and the faster the wheel spins, the more money you're going to make. So you've got to, number one, be willing to invest in it from the outset. There's going to be a franchise fee, there's going to be royalties, there's going to be advertising fees. Accept that.

Number two, follow the system. You've got to be willing to follow somebody else's prescribed operating system. They've already gone out and tested it, they've done it, they've proven it, it works, just follow it.

And third, make a commitment to being trained and retrained and retrained, not only for yourself but for the people who work in the franchise with you, because there are always new products, there are always new technologies, there are new problems with customers and with employees, and you've got to be trained on those concepts, and the franchisor will do that for you.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Learn more from John at

HATTIE: (In the Studio) For more information on franchising, visit the International Franchising Association's Web site,

What lessons can all business owners learn from Gary even if you don't want to franchise your business? We can learn that by putting teachable systems in place we will no longer be a slave to our business. FASTSIGNS has also embraced technology and they have moved their best business practices to the Web. They're making sign and graphic solutions simple to create and order from your desktop. And remember, you don't have to invent a product to own it. We'll see you next time.

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