While I felt this topic was better for a VLOG than a blog post, here are the key points that got me from idea to selling our first GetintheLoop Local franchise in under four months.
To preface, I had launched 10+ markets with GetintheLoop and had given the idea of franchising years of thought, but I want to focus on how quickly we moved the dial once the idea caught smoke.
In early 2018, we had been bouncing around the idea of franchising our SaaS local marketing platform GetintheLoop. The idea was something that had been on the back burner for years, but with multiple major media partnerships and GetintheLoop being launched across 20-plus markets, a pivot seemed tough.
The best way to make a drastic move? Drastic moves… First of all, we ended our media partnerships the first week of January 2018, leaving us to think critically about growth and how!
We had seen success in many markets across B.C., but there were a couple of key turning points that made me believe it was time to find entrepreneurs to help us power and grow GetintheLoop. First was the ever-growing movement of shopping and supporting local. To move at the speed we needed to and to provide the local support that’s needed, we felt we needed entrepreneurs in each marketplace. Each city, community, and neighbourhood we operate in is different, meaning our approach to helping businesses succeed must also be different. Insert – Entrepreneurs.
There is nothing as powerful as your gut telling you to “GO FOR IT!” I had lightly bounced the idea off of a couple of trusted friends of GetintheLoop and then remember phoning our president Chris and saying, “I’ve got an idea and I think it’s the solution.” It only took five minutes of me babbling the “why” until Chris said, “This is it, this is the solution, Matty!”
Now, here is the important stuff:
Step 1: I believed it was going to work
I started brainstorming with friends who understood GITL and our space but also focused on people outside of the organization. I spent a lot of time with our now CMO Jason Mann, who knew a lot about us from a previous partnership with Bell Media, but he also knew a lot about scaling into marketplaces with his previous experience.
Step 2: Sell It
I got comfortable enough that I could sell the concept to my advisors and our investors. If they liked it, I knew others would as well. (Funny thing: one of our investors bought one and some of our other investors bought them for their families - that’s a really good sign)
Step 3: Make it work
We quickly scrambled through how it would work in terms of selling franchises, servicing franchises and marketing that we have territories available, etc. We needed to understand franchising, so I sat at the Delta Hotel in Kelowna for a full weekend and wrote our very own franchise agreement from scratch. It took me 10 hours on day one and six the next to finish up the first version of our agreement.
To clarify, this was just to share with lawyers so they could build one for us. The reason I did it was to get a deep understanding of franchising and to make sure I could think deeply through how it applied to our model. Lawyers tell me we saved $25,000 by writing our own version, but our advisor Cliff Shillington tells me we will save millions by understanding how franchising worked from day one.
Step 4: Get Advice
We started to engage our lawyers and most importantly our advisory network. Que, Cliff getting heavily involved to help shape how we got GetintheLoop Local off the ground. Now we were believing in ourselves, we had a plan, advisors and some buyers – it’s a business.
From the day we believed in the idea, everything we did was focused on speed. I wrote the franchise agreement because it would be the quickest way to have others capture our business. We built the GetintheLoop Local website over a weekend and I produced the first set of videos talking to entrepreneurs about the “why” in two hours on my own webcam. We uploaded the videos and pressed GO – we were now a franchise opportunity.
From there, it’s been continuous learning, iterating and pushing hard to get better at everything we do. This is in our DNA at GetintheLoop: listen, learn and act quickly.
To every would-be entrepreneur out there… DON’T OVERTHINK IT. The most important factor in helping you make your decision is your GUT. If you can convince yourself of how you’re going to do it, you will prove yourself right. If you believe you can jump, if you believe in your plan, you’re right. Just make sure you’re ready for a bumpy road and committed to putting in the effort it takes to win.
Love The Grind - Matty