In our continuing series spotlighting our 2021 Best In Category Franchisee Satisfaction Award Winners, Franchise Business Review’s President & COO, Michelle Rowan sits down with TeamLogic IT President, Dan Shapiro. TeamLogic IT has worked with FBR, surveying their franchisees, since 2007. They consistently score well in Franchisee Satisfaction; regularly an FBR Franchisee Satisfaction award-winner. Here are some highlights from that conversation.
Michelle Rowan: I’m here today talking with Dan Shapero, president of TeamLogic IT. Dan, thank you so much for joining us today.
Dan Shapero: My pleasure.
Michelle: I was looking it up before you jumped on. We've been working with TeamLogic IT since 2007.
We're coming into 2021 hopefully with the hardest parts of COVID behind us.
How did the pandemic impact your business, or how did it impact the way that you supported your franchisees? Do you see any of that continuing when we get out of this on the other side?
Dan: I don't think anybody saw this coming. We all thought we were heading into the roaring '20s. Then, of course, with the pandemic, everything changed. I don't think any business was immune, TeamLogic included.
However, I love to share our remarkable story, because it is a story of hope and promise. When we went home and our franchisees went home, so did their clients. In the technology industry, considered an essential service, we were busier than ever. That's by a measure of ticket count. We look at how many issues the clients ask of our franchisees.
We were as productive as we ever were because our platforms are all cloud-based and everybody was able to provide remote support. That's a big part of our value proposition and our business model.
That said, some other local operators, what you might consider local market competition, didn't necessarily have the same systems, or the same experience. That wound up being to the fortune of our franchisees.
We saw our network sales grow significantly, maybe not to plan, but grow significantly. We saw demand for our brand when it came to new store sales, new store awards, and territory expansion continued throughout.
You were a big part of that. We appreciate your independent view of us as a franchise system and a franchise network. That validation of what we're able to accomplish and achieve helped us keep the demand for our brand consistent and strong throughout the year.
You asked about our support model. We changed our support model as well because we had to. The first thing we learned: We were all remote, we couldn't travel. We are very high-tech. We will spend a lot of time out in the field meeting with our franchisees. We weren't able to do that, so we implemented a couple of changes.
When it came to franchise support, we went to video conferences similar to this, where we were able to quickly implement the technology and meet with our franchisees face to face. We also put together peer groups, little town hall meetings.
We would do big town halls, but we found that if we could get a smaller group together and keep the peer exchange going throughout the pandemic, that was a good thing to keep everybody's spirits high - sharing best practices and keeping the communications flow alive.
We recognized people would be alienated if you're working at home. It was a good thing to keep everybody connected. It worked so well that those town halls, we call them brainstorm groups, continued on. We expect that they will continue.
We had to do similar things for franchise development. Our franchise sales process went virtual as well. We did virtual decision days. We're an essential service. It was hard to get people to come to California; it was not safe to have people travel to California to come meet with the team, so we brought the team to them virtually.
At the end of the year, we had to do the same thing with our university as well. We conducted most of our universities face to face throughout the year with safety precautions. Plexiglass and temperature checks and individually boxed lunches and all the things you can do in a classroom to ensure distancing.
At the tail end of the year, we did our universities as a virtual university. We'll do that again. This coming month will be a virtual university as well. We hope we can get back to face to face universities when it's safe to do so. We're all hoping for that to happen.
Michelle: I look forward to that. Let's talk about the candidates you're talking with. What is the biggest reason that candidates choose TeamLogic IT as the system that they join?
Dan: The primary reason is our business model. Half of our revenue, the model, is subscription-based contracts for IT service. It's good margins on the service itself and predictable cash flows from the service. IT being essential, combined with the predictable subscriptions is a winner all the way around. It's hard to find that type of business opportunity.
We're a growing market. Small businesses today rely more and more on technology, as we all know like we're doing right now. If it doesn't work, it could be crippling to your business.
Some of the things that fuel that, we all read the papers and we hear about cybersecurity attacks, and we understand that we have to secure beyond our offices now. We need to secure people even when working from home. That adds to the essential nature of the services we deliver.
Cloud computing, cloud services, like the ones we're using right now, are also essential to keeping communications between employees, between customers and clients, suppliers, and the like. Again, all of that is driving the demand for the services and the demand for our brand.
Michelle: How about from your side? When you're looking at candidates or trying to decide if they're the right fit for TeamLogic IT, how do you measure which ones are right for you? What kind of skill set do they need to have when they come to you versus what you can teach them? What does their day-to-day job look like, where they need to be strong?
Dan: That's a great question. You need to be a well-rounded individual. That means you have to have good communication skills. We are in the customer service industry as much as we are in the technology industry. You have to be wanting and willing to interact with other business owners and network to support the brand in the local market.
You need to have solid financial acumen. That doesn't mean you need to be a CPA. You have to like the fact that you can manage your business by the numbers, by the metrics. That's important as well. You have to have a passion for technology and a passion for solving customer problems.
You need good leadership skills because it's skilled labor. You're looking at highly skilled technicians that need to be motivated and follow your vision, follow your mission. You have to have solid values. We're in the business of trust. That's something that's important. You sell yourself when you're selling TeamLogic. Part of our secret sauce is our owners, of course.
Michelle: To that end, how would you describe the culture of TeamLogic IT? How do you foster that among your corporate team members and your franchisees, especially in these times of remote versus in-person connections?
Dan: Transparency is a top priority for us. Living up to our commitments is a way that we build trust with our franchisees, whether it's getting on calls right away or making a commitment and honoring that commitment. Our team is focused on always moving the system forward. We call it polishing the stone or polishing the fender. We're always trying to improve.
Because we're in the tech world and we're in the start-up business, we have a certain sense of urgency. Just like my background working for early-stage tech companies, you've got to have a mission and a vision that you're following and feel good about what you're doing and passion for our franchise network.
Our staff is very enthusiastic, and they're chartered with simply profitable growth for our franchisees. If we know that they're growing and growing profitably, they'll be happy, we'll be happy, and it makes life a little simpler that way.
Michelle: Dan, I appreciate your time today talking with us. I have one last question for you. If someone called you and said, "Why should I work with Franchise Business Review?" what would you tell them?
Dan: I'd say you're highly regarded in the industry as an independent source of who's doing a good job in the franchise industry. We value your insights. We put them to work to make our systems a success.
Michelle: I like that. You guys are very action-oriented. Any other parting words you want to share with us? I do appreciate your time today telling us about the work you’re doing.
Dan: I can't thank you enough for reaching out like this and giving us the time to talk a little bit about TeamLogic and let us share some of the passion and enthusiasm we have for our brand. Hopefully, you can share that, help spread the word a little bit for us as well. Thank you so much for getting on the call today and taking the initiative to get me on the call today.
Michelle: Absolutely. It's been a pleasure, Dan. Thank you so much.
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