For many franchises, growth on a national level is often a slow but sustained process. It can take years, even decades, for some franchises to reach the national consciousness. Then again, some franchises are perfect for their moment in time and achieve rapid national fame. For those franchises, growth can actually become a problem.
I was introduced to the concept of hypergrowth in franchising when reading Entrepreneur.com's recent article on the incredible success of Complete Nutrition, the Nebraska-based franchise that has redefining what nutrition franchises can do. The franchise was so successful it had put a freeze on hiring new franchiseees for fifteen months. The franchise recently came out of the 15-month freeze period and it's excited by the possibility of growth again.
"We will definitely take a sustainable business model over a growth business model any day," says Ryan Zink, Complete Nutrition's president.
The franchise went from having 19 franchises in 2010 to having 245 franchises 15 months (and this is while turning away many prospective franchisees). The freeze has allowed them to draw a breath and consider exactly what kind of franchisee they're looking for:
The company also used the 15-month break to analyze the qualities of its best-performing franchisees. Zink says people who are passionate about health and fitness, not necessarily those with the most business experience, are strongest -- and the franchise is now targeting those individuals.
With so much focus on growth in franchising, it's important to remember that you can have too much of a good thing. The lesson of Complete Nutrition is to slow down and grow sustainably.