Straight talk from Erbert’s operator
Aubrey Janik, an Erbert & Gerbert’s franchisee, has developed The Franchise Blueprint, an online training course that helps other beginning franchisees.
Aubrey Janik is wise beyond her years. Just two years after opening her first Erbert & Gerbert’s location in Plano, Texas, the 23-year-old franchisee has pushed pause on her ambitious five-year business plans to instead create The Franchise Blueprint, an online video-based franchise training course that helps other beginning franchisees avoid some of the frustrating mistakes that often cost newbies precious time and mental anguish.
With the confidence and poise of somebody who started raising investment capital when she was still a high school student, Janik knows she’s put in more time and effort than most new franchisees in learning the business, and has pivoted to creating a savvy and affordable program that’s got a fresher, younger take than almost any other business advice that’s out there.
The Franchise Blueprint has 16 in-depth modules typically arranged in three parts: prep work, a video lecture and closing notes. Most of the video lectures are 15 minutes long or shorter, and her no-nonsense presentation and the raw practicality of her advice are surprisingly enjoyable.
In the first video, Janik explains her motivations for creating The Franchise Blueprint, even though she’s relatively new to franchising. When getting started, “I made a lot of mistakes along the way—mistakes that cost me money, mistakes that cost me time, and I made even more mistakes that cost me resources,” she said. “Looking back at all the things I could have done differently, I realized all of these mistakes could have been avoided if I had some resource to turn to.”
She still plans to open her second and third restaurant locations, but said that has been temporarily put on her back burner as she focuses on rolling out and expanding her $99 training course that has become her latest passion project.
Janik said her coursework is significantly more affordable than most consultants’ hourly fees or finder’s fee, and her motivation is benevolent rather than driven by whatever potential profits she might realize.
“So many franchisees think that the process of opening a franchise is a turnkey system, you open up your doors and the store runs itself,” she said, adding that such a clean start is rare in her experience and from the franchisees she’s met. She closes with a warning: “Just know for that first year your social life is going to go down the drain,” she said. “But that’s how it should be.” More tips from Aubrey:
Analyzing the FDD: “The four most important things to examine in an FDD are lawsuits, current franchisees, closed stores and policies,” she said. Policies are “a good thing, because you can get an idea of how the company operates. If companies have ridiculous and absurd policies and you think, ‘OK, why do they have that in place?’ that could be a red flag.”
Having a site plan: “I have seen it multiple times where franchisees sign their franchise agreement, they have no idea of where they want to go and where they want to build, and they end up getting really screwed over in the process.”
Negotiating leases: “Your rent can make or break you, so you need to be careful whenever you’re negotiating this. Your rent will increase over time, but this is also something you can negotiate into your lease—you need to be in control over when it increases and by how much.”
Securing financing: “You have to thread a fine line, because you don’t want to go too small where the bank’s resources are stretched thin, but you also don’t want to go too big where they don’t care about small businesses,” she said. “Go after whatever you can possibly find, but I wouldn’t put a lot of weight in getting a loan through a conventional bank.”
Writing a business plan: “If you say you need $300,000 to spend on construction, on working capital and equipment and promotions—that’s fine,” Janik said of speaking with loan officers. “It has to be very defined and it has to be laid out and you also need to know exactly how much money this all is going to cost you, because that is how much money they’re going to give you.”