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IAM190- Author and Podcast Host Shares His Experience and Lessons on Franchising

Podcast interview with Tom Scarda

 

Tom Scarda hosts The Franchise Academy Podcast and is the author of three books: the #1 bestseller Franchise Savvy: 6 Strategies Pros Use to Pick a Top Performing Franchise, The Road to Franchise Freedom, and The Magic of Choosing Uncertainty. A self-made small business expert and Certified Franchise Expert, Tom has owned and operated five businesses both franchised and non-franchised. Tom was the #1 franchisee of the year in one franchise concept and failed miserably in another concept. The lessons he learned from failure are what makes him such an expert. Named one of the top 50 business leaders on Long Island, Tom has helped over 1500 people figure out if franchising is for them since 2005. He’s been featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers and is a sought-after radio, Podcast, and TV guest.

  • CEO Hack: Hubspot CRM for SEO
  • CEO Nugget: (1) When opportunity knocks, hard work ends the tour. (2) Everyone had a plan until they get punched in the face
  • CEO Defined: Being of service to your staff and customers.

Website: http://www.tomscarda.com/

Twitter: @tomscarda
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tom.franchoice
Instrgram: https://www.instagram.com/tomscarda/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY_hNwQ111FL63PnyXP9OPg
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TomScarda
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/findafranchise/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Tom-Scarda/e/B00PKZ70O4
Entrepreneur Magazine: https://www.entrepreneur.com/author/tom-scarda




Full Interview


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Transcription:

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:27

Hello, hello. Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I've Tom Scarda of The Franchise Academy Podcast. Tom, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Tom Scarda 0:37

It's an honor. This is awesome.

Gresham Harkless 0:38

Yeah, I appreciate having you on and what I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Tom, that you hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Tom Scarda hosts The Franchise Academy Podcast and is the author of three books: the number 1 bestseller Franchise Savvy: 6 Strategies Pros Use to Pick a Top Performing Franchise, The Road to Franchise Freedom, and The Magic of Choosing Uncertainty. A self-made small business expert and Certified Franchise Expert, Tom has owned and operated five businesses both franchised and non-franchised. Tom was the number 1 franchisee of the year in one franchise concept and failed miserably in another concept. The lessons he learned from failure are what makes him such an expert.

Named one of the top 50 business leaders on Long Island, Tom has helped over 1500 people figure out if franchising is for them since 2005. He’s been featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers and is a sought-after radio, Podcast, and TV guest. Tom, it's awesome to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”] 

Tom Scarda 1:36

Yeah, this is awesome. I am so just honored and excited.

Gresham Harkless 1:40

Yeah, I'm excited as well, too. So the first question I had I know we touched on it a little bit, but I wanted to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story. And what led you just start your business?

Tom Scarda 1:48

Yeah, so interesting. I used to be a New York City subway conductor. So if you were ever in the New York City subway, and you heard announcements, that was me, I was the guy opening closing doors on the subway train and making announcements that were audible, which is typical in New York City. And I was there for 13 years. One day, there was a gentleman who saw that I was a bit down about working Sunday night. And he said, Hey, kid, this is a great job. Because you'll always have a shirt on your back. It'll never be a silk shirt, but you'll always have a shirt.

And I was like, Wow, man that is like the epitome of mediocrity. I needed to do something different. I looked at my bosses who I loved. They were great mentors to me, but they were not wearing the silk shirts, but business owners were and I had to figure out how to be in that moment. I was like, I'm gonna be a business owner how to figure it out? I was a government guy, right? I had no education. I had no real money. My dad was a new york city cop and went to a lot of seminars, read some books, and realized a franchise is a business with training wheels. And that's what I needed exactly. I ended up consulting with a company, they matched me to a smoothie franchise, and in 2000, Dovin built it and within five years, I sold it and semi-retired at 41 years old.

Gresham Harkless 2:57

Yeah, well, it's funny because a lot of people don't realize that you can actually have a silk shirt so to speak, that you can ask for more, you can get more. And sometimes people just take whatever shirt you might have on as what you can do in your life. But you saw that you can actually do more than that.

Tom Scarda 3:11

I never thought that people are limited in any way. I think it's choices or and I think it's the things that people tell you. And if you take it to heart, then that's what you're going to be. My parents said, hey, just get a good job, you know, get something with a pension, and that's like the epitome of success. But I realized that it wasn't and the more I exposed myself to people, through books, mostly, I realized, you know what I could do other things. I really could just get to figure it out. And there's a lot of work. Don't get me wrong.

Gresham Harkless 3:39

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So I know you had your smoothie franchise, but you said that you learned even more from I guess the mistake that you made or the unsuccessful franchise. Could you talk a little bit more about that? And tell us about that.

Tom Scarda 3:50

After I sold my franchise in 2005, my wife was getting ready to retire from her job. She was a New York City police officer and she said, Hey, let's buy a franchise. And then when I retire in 2007, I'll take it over. And we fell in love and got infatuated with a concept called Super stoppers, where you come to our location and you make meals following our recipes using our ingredients.

And then you take them home in bulk and freeze them. And on days when you're busy. Instead of you know ordering Chinese food again, or pizza, you could throw this thing that you made with your own hands, throw it in the oven, for 30 minutes, and you have a home-cooked meal, and it was a great concept.

And it was so great. And even on the cover of The New York Times on a Sunday. It was below the fold, but we were on the cover. And they said that we're changing the way people eat the way McDonald's and Swanson did 50 years ago. And I was like oh my god, this is it. We're gonna be billionaires within 90 months we're out of business and lost everything we had.

Gresham Harkless 4:44

Oh no.

Tom Scarda 4:44

And so we learned from that.

Gresham Harkless 4:46

Yeah, and obviously sorry to hear you had to go through that but I love the fact that obviously you had those bumps and bruises and you built yourself back up and then you've also sounded like brought other people along too because you've written books. You have your podcast, you're doing your part to make sure that I guess other people can potentially maneuver past those landmines or potential issues that they might have.

Tom Scarda 5:05

Yeah, I mean, so many people, sometimes they just wake up in the morning and say, Man, I hate my boss. You know, people never quit their job, they quit their boss. And so they say, Hey, I'm just gonna buy a franchise, and oh, my god, I love XYZ hamburgers, I'm just gonna buy that franchise, and they just do it. And it might be a great franchise, and it might be a really needed service in that particular community. But they're not the person to run it. It's 12 hours a day, six days a week, a bunch of numbskull kids working for you, you know, whatever it is, you get into it, and you have your life savings in it. And you realize, oh, my God, I really hate what I'm doing that is bad. Once you kind of get to that mentally, then the business slips through your fingers.

Gresham Harkless 5:46

I guess. Could you talk a little bit more about like, how you're serving the client? Like, what are you doing to kind of help make sure that there's say Johnny doesn't end up in this Chick-fil-A franchise? We just because he loves the Chick fil every Monday through Saturday.

Tom Scarda 5:59

Right, exactly. And it's funny because now is the third time Chick fil A came up today. Right? So first of all, we pre-screen the franchises, we want to know that they have eight criteria, if you can ensure that they're going to be successful, but you want to see these things to make sure the company is a solid company. So we first do that, before we even speak to quote-unquote, Johnny. Once I get Johnny on the phone, then I kind of ascertain his strengths, his skills, his personality, but also the background of his life.

So we do this whole evaluation, and then I write it up as a model a business model for the client for the candidate, then I use that model to sift through 4000 franchises that are out there in America in 90 different industries. And I ultimately come back to the person Johnny, in this case, with franchises that match exactly what he's looking for in an ideal franchise, and maybe didn't even realize what that ideal franchise looks like. So I help the person evaluate themselves before they even evaluate a franchise.

Gresham Harkless 7:00

That's really powerful. Because I think a lot of times, you know, like Johnny, even speaking about that may or may not exist, he actually understands that he just wants to own X, Y, and Z franchise, but you're actually taking the time out to figure out who Johnny is, what he's interested in, what his lifestyle, dreams, and goals are in finding what franchise fits based off of that, is that correct?

Tom Scarda 7:20

That's exactly right. And what happened a personal example for me, when I was just leaving transit, I got in touch with the company I now work with to find a franchise. And I had one in mind that I loved. And it was not on the East Coast. Yet. It was just on the West Coast, I don't want to name the company, because I have nothing good to say about it. So the consultant I was working with at the time, this lady Carol, said to me, first of all, the thing you're thinking about is 350,000 to start and your budget is 100,000.

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So you're kind of out right there. But even if you had the money, I would really ask you not to get involved with those guys, because their franchise agreement is lopsided. There are so many fees from the franchisor, that you're not making any money as the franchisee the guy on the street that's putting out their life savings to do this business. I wouldn't know that. How would I know that? And so that's why I think it's important to really talk to a professional if you're going to go down this road of evaluating businesses for yourself because it could be a really costly mistake and perhaps one that you can't recover from.

Gresham Harkless 8:20

Yeah, absolutely. There are people like yourself that have spent time and know about franchises that you can lean on your understanding and your expertise so that you can make the most successful decision that you can make with all that information that you have at your disposal.

Tom Scarda 8:33

Got to get educated about it. And that's my promise to people is that I can't guarantee somebody's gonna buy a franchise, but I will guarantee that there'll be a franchise expert. By the time they're done talking with me. That's my goal.

Gresham Harkless 8:44

There you go. And so would you consider that to be like your secret sauce, and what you feel kind of sets you or your organization apart?

Tom Scarda 8:50

The secret sauce for us is just that when Johnny comes to me and says, Oh, man, I love donuts, I can say, hey, let's just look at Dunkin Donuts and take the easy route and just get him into that business. But instead, the secret sauces that I talk about at Dunkin Donuts, if it's not the right fit for him and get him to see really what wouldn't be a good fit. That's the secret sauce, in my opinion, because it's not just throwing stuff against the wall and saying, Hey, do you like dogs? So get this dog franchise? Oh, you like cars? Let's look at AMCO. We could do that all day long. But I'm not doing any service for that. That's not helping anybody. It's about matching people to great franchise companies that I evaluate that I would look at because I got to look at that franchise and say I would buy this, I think it's good enough that I would recommend it to my own family members.

Gresham Harkless 9:36

Yeah. And that's a really good kind of measure and to see and to understand that sometimes we're so close to what we want that we need an expert, we need somebody that has the expertise to kind of look from a different angle and say, Hey, because of X, Y and Z. A, B and C, I think that you should choose this or these are some of your options. And this is why rather than just saying oh, I had donuts today, so let me go buy a Dunkin Donuts just like I said.

Tom Scarda 9:58

Right, and just speak to like the CEO nation. There's also an avenue where I help people make investments with passive investment in a franchise. So the same principle applies. People might say, well, you know what I was away on vacation, and I saw this business. And I love it, and I want to invest in that thing. But you don't know unless, you know, right, so So I help people really evaluate that and get into something that is truly a passive investment because there's a lot of franchises out there that will say that you could do what they call absentee or semi-absentee ownership, you know, manage the manager, I can probably count on two hands and a foot the businesses, I would recommend to my own family members that you could actually do that.

Gresham Harkless 10:39

I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app or book or even your books that you want to mention, but something that you feel like makes you more effective and efficient as an entrepreneur, or business owner.

Tom Scarda 10:50

It's actually a big thing. It's not like a cool little hack. But I use a CRM called HubSpot and HubSpot goes to great lengths to make sure that your website and whatever you got out there on the internet is really search engine optimized. And it's interesting because Google will change its algorithm, sometimes once a day, just slightly. But these guys are so big and involved with Google and Facebook and those kinds of things where they know kind of what's going on. And they're like, alright, we need to like, adjust. And they don't even tell you, they just aren't working in the background. I think they're doing great things. So that's something that I would recommend.

Gresham Harkless 11:27

Yeah, absolutely. agree with that. And HubSpot is a great CEO hack. So thank you for sharing that with us. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or sometimes I say, if you can happen to a time machine and tell yourself or maybe even like you mentioned, a family member something what would you tell us?

Tom Scarda 11:45

So a few different things. And they're all kind of like little quotes that I think are great. One of the biggest things I learned. And as a government worker, this was a big change for me, when opportunity knocks hard work answers the door, actually, I have it written on my board, and if you could see it there, but that is kind of the big thing. I mean, you got to do the work. And one of the great quotes of all time, in my opinion, comes out of boxing. And forgive me, I don't remember exactly who said it, whether it was Joe Frazier or one of those guys, but the quote is a boxer never wins in the ring. He's merely recognized there.

So you got to do a lot of hard work by yourself in the dark practice, you know, think about the old Rocky movies, right? Practice, practice, practice, and then you win. And then lastly, my favorite quote of all time from Mike Tyson is everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. So how that applies to business is that you have a plan, you know, you're executing on your plan.

And then something happens, and it's out of your control. It could be as simple as a snowstorm shutting down your store for a day, you know, a day without revenue in a small shop could kill you. So that's like the punch in the face. Mike wasn't talking about that, I'm sure. But he was talking about a whole different thing. But I think it applies to business really well.

Gresham Harkless 13:03

Yeah, yeah, I'm pretty sure Iron Mike was actually talking about a real face-to-face, but namely, his face-to-the-face. But no, it's a great reminder. Because a lot of times you can only control certain things. And one of the things you can control is the effort you put in the work you put in. And it's a great reminder to understand that I can't control everything else. But I can control this. But you can also control your reaction or how if bad things happen, you react to them. What's your next move when something else happens? Okay, there's a snowstorm your storefronts are closed.

So what can you do there? Do you have an online shop? Do you have this in place? Do you have that in place that you can push behind? So it's important to kind of have those things kind of set up? And I think that's a great couple of CEO nuggets. Now, I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and franchise owners on this show. So I wanted to ask you what does being a CEO means to you.

Tom Scarda 13:55

A CEO, to me, means being of service, you're being of service to your staff and to your customer. So if you approach every day with how can I help these folks I'm in contact with today. I think that's how you get the best results.

Gresham Harkless 14:10

Absolutely. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. If you're being serviced remind yourself that you're always putting your customer, your client at the forefront. And when you do that, then beautiful things happen. Could you be enough to service?

Tom Scarda 14:20

That's all it is, you think about Starbucks, their biggest expense, a huge expense is their human resources. I mean, they pay their people well, everyone gets health insurance, even if you're part-time. I mean, it's unbelievable. But you can argue with their success.

Gresham Harkless 14:35

Yeah, yeah, very, very true. Well, awesome. Well, Tom, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know and then of course, how best they can get a hold of you to get copies of your book. And of course, subscribe to your podcast.

Tom Scarda 14:50

Yeah, well, thank you. So my book The Magic of Choosing Uncertainty is about how to manage change and embrace fear and live a fulfilled life. That's kind of my big thing. I fight mental fear every day, and I don't know where it comes from, it's in my DNA, unfortunately, I think, and I think a lot of us suffer from that. And you need to in a big way, in my opinion, disconnect from mass media, because there just ain't nothing good on the news, nothing. And if you start your day, as a lot of people feel like, you know, we brought up I remember going to school, current events, there's nothing I can do about the current events.

So when I hear about the tsunami in Indonesia, then it just makes me feel like crap. And there's nothing I could do about it. If I didn't, you know, I mean, I want to help those people, I'll send money to the Red Cross. I mean, I get all that and we do that. But to start your day, every day meditating on the news, I think is a really bad way to start your day. So you got to start with something positive, whether it's the Bible, whether it's, my book, but I don't recommend my book. So try to buy or that might be better.

Gresham Harkless 15:53

It's close as close neck and neck race.

Tom Scarda 15:55

Yeah.

Gresham Harkless 15:57

That's awesome. And then if people want to get your book, what would be the best place for them to get that?

Tom Scarda 16:02

Yeah, so Amazon, of course, Amazon is where the books are, but you could also check out thefranchiseacademy.com It's all their Franchise Academy and just my name tomscarda.com is the central hub for everything that I do.

Gresham Harkless 16:14

Awesome, awesome, awesome. We'll make sure to have those links in the show notes. But Tom, truly appreciate you and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

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Tom Scarda 16:22

Thank you. You too.

Outro 16:23

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co

I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:27

Hello, hello. Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I've Tom Scarda of The Franchise Academy Podcast. Tom, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Tom Scarda 0:37

It's an honor. This is awesome.

Gresham Harkless 0:38

Yeah, I appreciate having you on and what I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Tom, that you hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Tom Scarda hosts The Franchise Academy Podcast and is the author of three books: the number 1 bestseller Franchise Savvy: 6 Strategies Pros Use to Pick a Top Performing Franchise, The Road to Franchise Freedom and The Magic of Choosing Uncertainty. A self-made small business expert and Certified Franchise Expert, Tom has owned and operated five businesses both franchised and non-franchised. Tom was the number 1 franchisee of the year in one franchise concept and failed miserably in another concept. The lessons he learned from failure is what makes him such an expert. Named one of the top 50 business leaders on Long Island, Tom has helped over 1500 people figure out if franchising is for them since 2005. He’s been featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers and is a sought-after radio, Podcast and TV guest. Tom, it's awesome to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Tom Scarda 1:36

Yeah, this is awesome. I am so just honored and excited.

Gresham Harkless 1:40

Yeah, I'm excited as well, too. So the first question I had I know we touched on it a little bit, but I wanted to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story. And what led you just start your business?

Tom Scarda 1:48

Yeah, so interesting. I used to be a New York City subway conductor. So if you were ever in the New York City subway, and you heard announcements, that was me, I was the guy opening closing doors on the subway train and making announcements that were in audible, which is typical in New York City. And I was there for 13 years. One day, there was a gentleman who saw that I was a bit down about working Sunday night. And he said, Hey, kid, this is a great job. Because you'll always have a shirt on your back. It'll never be a silk shirt, but you'll always have a shirt. And I was like, Wow, man that is like the epitome of mediocrity. I needed to do something different. I looked at my bosses who I loved. They were great mentors to me, but they were not wearing the silk shirts, but business owners were and I had to figure out how to be in that moment. I was like, I'm gonna be a business owner how to figure it out. I was a government guy, right? I had no education. I had no real money. My dad was a new york city cop and went to a lot of seminars, read some books, realized a franchise is a business with training wheels. And that's what I needed exactly. I ended up consulting with a company, they matched me to a smoothie franchise, and in 2000, Dovin built it and within five years, I sold it and semi retired at 41 years old.

Gresham Harkless 2:57

Yeah, well, it's funny because a lot of people don't realize that you can actually have a silk shirt so to speak, that you can ask for more, you can get more. And sometimes people just take whatever shirt you might have on as what you can do in your life. But you saw that you can actually do more than that.

Tom Scarda 3:11

I never thought that people are limited in any way. I think it's choices or and I think it's the things that people tell you. And if you take it to heart, then that's what you're going to be. My parents said, hey, just get a good job, you know, get something with a pension, and that's like the epitome of success. But I realized that it wasn't and the more I exposed myself to people, through books, mostly, I realized, you know what I could do other things. I really could just got to figure it out. And there's a lot of work. Don't get me wrong.

Gresham Harkless 3:39

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So I know you had your smoothie franchise, but you said that you learned even more from I guess the mistake that you made, or the unsuccessful franchise. Could you talk a little bit more about that. And tell us about that.

Tom Scarda 3:50

After I sold my franchise in 2005, my wife was getting ready to retire from her job. She was a New York City police officer and she said, Hey, let's buy a franchise. And then when I retire in 2007, I'll take it over. And we fell in love got infatuated with a concept called Super stoppers, where you come to our location and you make meals following our recipes using our ingredients. And then you take them home in bulk and freeze them. And on days when you're busy. Instead of you know ordering Chinese food again, or pizza, you could throw this thing that you made with your own hands, throw it in the oven, 30 minutes, you have a home cooked meal, and it was a great concept. And it was so great. And even on the cover of The New York Times on a Sunday. It was below the fold, but we were on the cover. And they said that we're changing the way people eat the way McDonald's and Swanson did 50 years ago. And I was like oh my god, this is it. We're gonna be billionaires within 90 months we're out of business and lost everything we had.

Gresham Harkless 4:44

Oh no.

Tom Scarda 4:44

And so we learned from that.

Gresham Harkless 4:46

Yeah, and and obviously sorry to hear you had to go through that but I love the fact that obviously you had those bumps and bruises and you built yourself back up and then you've also sounds like brought other people along too because you've written books. You have your podcast, you're doing your part to make sure that I guess other people can potentially maneuver past those landmines or potential issues that they might have.

Tom Scarda 5:05

Yeah, I mean, so many people, sometimes they just wake up in the morning and say, Man, I hate my boss. You know, people never quit their job, they quit their boss. And so they say, Hey, I'm just gonna buy a franchise, and oh, my god, I love XYZ hamburgers, I'm just gonna buy that franchise, and they just do it. And it might be a great franchise, and it might be a really needed service in that particular community. But they're not the person to run it. It's 12 hours a day, six days a week, a bunch of numbskull kids working for you, you know, whatever it is, you get into it, and you have your life savings in it. And you realize, oh, my God, I really hate what I'm doing that is bad. Once you kind of get to that mentally, then the business slips through your fingers.

Gresham Harkless 5:46

I guess. Could you talk a little bit more about like, how you're serving the client? Like, what are you doing to kind of help make sure that there's say Johnny doesn't end up in this Chick fil A franchise? We just because he loves the Chick fil A every Monday through Saturday.

Tom Scarda 5:59

Right, exactly. And it's funny, because now the third time Chick fil A came up today. Right? So first of all, we pre screen the franchises, we want to know that they have eight criteria, if you can ensure that they're going to be successful, but you want to see these things to make sure the company is a solid company. So we first do that, before we even speak to quote-unquote, Johnny. Once I get Johnny on the phone, then I kind of ascertain his strengths, his skills, the personality, but also the background of his life. So we do this whole evaluation, and then I write it up as a model a business model for the client for the candidate, then I use that model to sift through 4000 franchises that are out there in America in 90 different industries. And I ultimately come back to the person Johnny, in this case, with franchises that match exactly what he's looking for in an ideal franchise, and maybe didn't even realize what that ideal franchise look like. So I help the person evaluate themselves before they even evaluate a franchise.

Gresham Harkless 7:00

That's really powerful. Because I think a lot of times, you know, like Johnny, even speaking about that may or may not exist, he actually understands that he just wants to own X, Y and Z franchise, but you're actually taking the time out to figure out who Johnny is, what he's interested in, what his lifestyle, dreams and goals are in finding what franchise fits based off of that, is that correct?

Tom Scarda 7:20

That's exactly right. And what happened a personal example for me, when I was just leaving transit, I got in touch with the company I now work with to find a franchise. And I had one in mind that I loved. And it was not on the East Coast. Yet. It was just on the West Coast, I don't want to name the company, because I have nothing good to say about it. So the consultant I was working with at the time, this lady Carol, she said to me, first of all, the thing you're thinking about is 350,000 to start and your budget is 100,000. So you're kind of out right there. But even if you had the money, I would really ask you not to get involved with those guys, because their franchise agreement is lopsided. There's so many fees from the franchisor, that you're not making any money as the franchisee the guy on the street that's putting out their life savings to do this business. I wouldn't know that. How would I know that. And so that's why I think it's important to really talk to a professional if you're going to go down this road of valuating businesses for yourself, because it could be a really costly mistake and perhaps one that you can't recover from.

Gresham Harkless 8:20

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Yeah, absolutely. There's people like yourself that have spent time and know about franchises that you can lean on your understanding and your expertise so that you can make the most successful decision that you can make with all that information that you have at your disposal.

Tom Scarda 8:33

Got to get educated about it. And that's my promise to people is that, I can't guarantee somebody's gonna buy a franchise, but I will guarantee that there'll be a franchise expert. By the time they're done talking with me. That's my goal.

Gresham Harkless 8:44

There you go. And so would you consider that to be like your secret sauce, and what you feel kind of sets you or your organization apart?

Tom Scarda 8:50

The secret sauce for us is just that when Johnny comes to me and says, Oh, man, I love donuts, I can say, hey, let's just look at Dunkin Donuts and take the easy route and just get him into that business. But instead, the secret sauces that I talk about at Dunkin Donuts, if it's not the right fit for him and get him to see really what wouldn't be a good fit. That's the secret sauce, in my opinion, because it's not just throwing stuff against the wall and say, Hey, do you like dogs? So get this dog franchise? Oh, you like cars? Let's look at AMCO. We could do that all day long. But I'm not doing any service for that. That's not helping anybody. It's about matching people to great franchise companies that I evaluate that I would look at because I got to look at that franchise and say I would buy this, I think it's good enough that I would recommend it to my own family members.

Gresham Harkless 9:36

Yeah. And that's a really good kind of measure and to see and to understand that sometimes we're so close to what we want that we need an expert, we need somebody that has expertise to kind of look from a different angle and say, Hey, because of X, Y and Z. A, B and C, I think that you should choose this or these are some of your options. And this is why rather than just saying oh, I had donut today, so let me go buy a Dunkin Donuts just like I said.

Tom Scarda 9:58

Right, and just speak to like the CEO nation. There's also an avenue where I help people make investments with passive investment in a franchise. So same principle applies. People might say, well, you know what I was away on vacation, and I saw this business. And I love it, and I want to invest in that thing. But you don't know unless, you know, right, so So I help people really evaluate that and get into something that is truly a passive investment, because there's a lot of franchises out there that will say that you could do what they call absentee or semi absentee ownership, you know, manage the manager, I can probably count on two hands and a foot the businesses, I would recommend to my own family members that you could actually do that.

Gresham Harkless 10:39

I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app or book or even your books that you want to mention, but something that you feel like makes you more effective and efficient as an entrepreneur, business owner.

Tom Scarda 10:50

It's actually a big thing. It's not like a cool little hack. But I use a CRM called HubSpot and HubSpot goes to great lengths to make sure that your website and whatever you got out there on the internet is really search engine optimized. And it's interesting, because Google will change their algorithm, sometimes once a day, just slightly. But these guys are so big and involved with Google and Facebook and those kinds of things where they know kind of what's going on. And they're like, alright, we need to like, adjust. And they don't even tell you, they just aren't working in the background. I think they're doing great things. So that's something that I would recommend.

Gresham Harkless 11:27

Yeah, absolutely. agree with that. And HubSpot is a great CEO hack. So thank you for sharing that with us. And now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or sometimes I say, if you can happen to a time machine and tell yourself or maybe even like you mentioned, a family member something what would you tell us?

Tom Scarda 11:45

So a few different things. And they're all kind of like little quotes that I think are great. One of the biggest things I learned. And as a government worker, this was a big change for me, when opportunity knocks hard work answers the door, actually, I have it written on my board, and if you could see it there, but that is kind of the big thing. I mean, you got to do the work. And one of the great quotes of all time, in my opinion comes out of boxing. And forgive me, I don't remember exactly who said it, whether it was Joe Frazier, or one of those guys, but the quote is a boxer never wins in the ring. He's merely recognized there. So you got to do a lot of hard work by yourself in the dark practice, you know, think about the old Rocky movies, right? Practice, practice, practice, and then you win. And then lastly, my favorite quote of all time from Mike Tyson is everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. So how that applies to business is that you have a plan, you know, you're executing on your plan. And then something happens, and it's out of your control. It could be as simple as a snowstorm shuts down your store for a day, you know, day without revenue in a small shop could kill you. So that's like the punch in the face. Mike wasn't talking about that, I'm sure. But he was talking about a whole different thing. But I think it applies to business really well.

Gresham Harkless 13:03

Yeah, yeah, I'm pretty sure iron Mike was actually talking about a real face to face, but namely, his face to the face. But no, it's a great reminder. Because a lot of times you can only control certain things. And one of the things you can control is the effort you put in the work you put in. And it's a great reminder to understand that I can't control everything else. But I can control this. But you can also control your reaction or how if bad things happen, you react to them. What's your next move when something else happens? Okay, there's a snowstorm your storefronts closed. So what can you do there? Do you have an online shop? Do you have this in place? Do you have that in place that you can push behind? So it's important to kind of have those things kind of set up? And I think that's a great couple of CEO nuggets. Now, I wanted to ask you for my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, franchise owners on this show. So I wanted to ask you what does being a CEO mean to you?

Tom Scarda 13:55

A CEO, to me means being of service, you're being of service to your staff and to your customer? So if you approach every day with how can I help these folks I'm in contact with today. I think that's how you get the best results.

Gresham Harkless 14:10

Absolutely. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. If you're being if servicing remind that you're always putting your customer, your client at the forefront. And when you do that, then beautiful things happen. Could you be enough service.

Tom Scarda 14:20

That's all it is, you think about Starbucks, their biggest expense, a huge expense is their human resources. I mean, they pay their people well, everyone gets health insurance, even if you're part time. I mean, it's unbelievable. But you can argue with their success.

Gresham Harkless 14:35

Yeah, yeah, very, very true. Well, awesome. Well, Tom, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know and then of course, how best they can get a hold of you get copies of your book. And of course subscribe to your podcast.

Tom Scarda 14:50

Yeah, well, thank you. So my book The Magic of Choosing Uncertainty is how to manage change and embrace fear and live a fulfilled life. That's kind of my big thing. I fight mental fear every day, and I don't know where it comes from, it's in my DNA, unfortunately, I think, and I think a lot of us suffer from that. And you need to in a big way, in my opinion, is disconnect from mass media, because there just ain't nothing good on the news, nothing. And if you start your day, like a lot of people feel like, you know, we brought up I remember going to school, current events, there's nothing I can do about the current events. So when I hear about the tsunami in Indonesia, then it just makes me feel like crap. And there's nothing I could do about it. If I didn't, you know, I mean, I want to help those people, I'll send money to the Red Cross. I mean, I get all that and we do that. But to start your day, every day meditating on the news, I think is a really bad way to start your day. So you got to start with something positive, whether it's the Bible, whether it's, my book, but I don't recommend my book. So try to buy or that might be better.

Gresham Harkless 15:53

It's close as close neck and neck race.

Tom Scarda 15:55

Yeah.

Gresham Harkless 15:57

That's awesome. And then if people want to get your book, what would be the best place for them to get that?

Tom Scarda 16:02

Yeah, so Amazon, of course, Amazon is where the books are, but you could also check out thefranchiseacademy.com It's all their Franchise Academy and just my name tomscarda.com is the central hub for everything that I do.

Gresham Harkless 16:14

Awesome, awesome, awesome. We'll make sure to have those links in the show notes. But Tom, truly appreciate you and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Tom Scarda 16:22

Thank you. You too.

Outro 16:23

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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