As a member of the Operations Team here at Rhino7, Jason Santee brings a wealth of knowledge about the franchise sector as well as more than 20 years of operational management and leadership experience. Jason has spent the past 12 years working with franchisees and franchisors on startup and operational development. After serving for several years as Chief Operating Officer for Storm Guard Roofing, today he serves as Vice President for two of Rhino 7’s most successful franchises, Diesel Barbershops and Flirty Girl Lash Studios.
Developing Scalable Systems
“When we partner with franchisees, their role is the technical part of making whatever widget they want to sell or the service they want to market,” explains Santee about his role. “My side of the field is really the franchising side to take what they currently have in place and make it work in a franchise system. They all have different strengths and weaknesses so we need to be able to work with any franchisees to help them succeed. We take what the founders have accomplished and help them develop their model into a scalable system that works for numerous people.”
Getting It Right the First Time
Asked about key elements that make scaling up successful, Santee emphasizes the consistency a franchise platform offers.
“It’s important for franchises to systemize things like brand guidelines, financial procedures and other aspects so there is consistency throughout,” he says. “It’s also the ability and desire to build strong relationships with the franchisees and work closely with them before, during, and after training. A lot of systems train you and set you on your way. We have a detailed and focused program to work with franchisees after their training and after they open their businesses to help them continue to grow.”
“That’s where my partnership with Rhino7 is important, to come in and work with John Cohen to build out these systems,” he continues. “With our experience in franchising, understanding what’s going to work down the road is critical. It’s out to make a shift when you have a lot of franchisees, so getting it right out of the gate and having scalable and detailed systems from day one makes things a lot easier down the road when the system starts to mature.”
Cutting the Curve
In addition to innovations like peer groups and franchisee forums, Rhino7 recognizes the independence of franchisees and encourages them to work together. The company just wants to give them the tools, platform, and experience to reach success.
“Just because it’s a franchise doesn’t mean you aren’t starting a new business,” he says. “You just choose a franchise because a lot of things are done for you in terms of creating systems. These systems have already been run over the potholes and made the mistakes you need to make in order to learn. The idea is that as a franchisee, you cut off the curve to get to that point of success faster than if you did it on your own.”
The Collaborative Nature of Franchising
“My favorite thing about my job is the ability to work with independent business owners,” says Santee. “These franchisees are all independent business owners and everyone works together here—it’s a true team atmosphere. Everyone has a common goal. That makes it a lot more enjoyable and a lot more exciting. Here, everyone is working together to make the brand stronger and to make each individual business stronger. It’s a lot different than any other opportunity out there.”