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Scaling A Mobile Dog Grooming Franchise To 24 Vans With Mathis Young

by | Feb 26, 2024 | Podcast

Franchise Masters | Mathis Young | Mobile Dog Grooming

 

Mathis Young left the banking world in 2008 to launch his Aussie Pet Mobile franchise. He had no experience grooming dogs. He didn’t know the financial crisis was about to paralyze the world’s banking system and economy. But he didn’t really care. Perseverance and ambition pushed him forward. Today, he’s scaled his business to 24 mobile grooming vans on the road. He’s built his own training center for groomers and has a management team in place to run the day-to-day. Mathis walks us through his journey as he’s built a monster of a business in a surprising niche. He also talks about how Vistage and EOS played a big part in his success. And how the Doodle boom helped.

Listen to the podcast here

 

Scaling A Mobile Dog Grooming Franchise To 24 Vans With Mathis Young

This is a good one because it’s got this random message on Twitter, a successful-looking multi-unit franchisee. We were talking about something. I was like, “Why don’t you come on this show and let’s talk about your story?” Mathis Young with Aussie Pet Mobile, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me, Dru.

We were having some good offline discussion. Mathis has done a great job. He has a ton of vans and groomers on the road for Aussie Pet Mobile, which is a mobile dog grooming business. We’re going to talk about how he got there and some ideas for expansion as he continues to expand his portfolio. On that note, Mathis, can you give us a little bit of your story as to what you were doing before you got into this whole franchise game and what compelled you to get into franchising and Aussie?

The Genesis Of Aussie Pet Mobile

When I started, I was 27 years old so I didn’t have too much of a history before that. After I graduated college, I pretty much had sales jobs. I worked for an insurance company. Right before I started this, I was working at a bank. When I say a bank, I was basically doing sales. I was calling on business owners, trying to get them to move any and all of their banking to, to the bank that I was looking working for at the time.

I did a ton of networking. I was constantly at events and different things like that. I met a guy who was a franchise broker and we developed a friendship at the time. I’d referred him to my mom in the beginning and he started talking to my mom and then one thing led to another and we started talking together. We had us take all these tests and assessments and different things like that. He came back and recommended 5 or 6 different franchises based on what those tests showed.

One of those was Aussi Pet Mobile. There were two others that made the final cut. We did a bunch of due diligence and we picked Aussie Pet Mobile because, at the time, it was in super high demand. This is what people were wanting. I validated with some local companies and a bunch of franchisees, and everybody I talked to said their business was completely full. I didn’t know anything about grooming. I didn’t know anything about running a business, for that matter, but I didn’t want to have to worry about people coming through the door. I love the fact that this business was in high demand.

What happened was I ended up leaving my job at the bank. My mom and I worked on how are we going to do this. It came down to we’re going to bootstrap this thing. I left my job at the bank and got trained to be a groomer. My mom was the appointment setter, so all the phone calls went to her, and I did all the grooming.

In between grooming, we built this business on door hangers. Anytime I didn’t have an appointment or any free moment of any day in the beginning, what we did, she would drive. I would sit in the passenger seat and hang door hangers on the outside of mailboxes. Obviously, I can’t open mailboxes, but that’s how we built this business. Google and the internet were around back then, but they weren’t what they are now, and we frankly didn’t have the funds.

We built this thing off a door hanger. That’s how we got started. I ran the first van. Within six months, I got that first van fully occupied. I hired a groomer. About a month later, I got a second van. She ran one van, I ran the second van. I got that one up to speed and hired another groomer. They ran the first two vans and I ran it on their off days.

A short time after that, we got a third van. They ran each van and I ran a van. By the time I got the third van up to full speed and hired another groomer, that’s when I started backing out of grooming. I still would sub people calling sick vacation or, occasionally, I would groom on their off days. We started this business in 2008. I have not groomed dogs since 2013, but even in 2011, ‘12, ‘13, I mainly did it part-time. That’s how we got started.

From banking to grooming. I love it.

This is a funny story. Right when I put my notice in at the bank, my boss laughed at me. All my coworkers laughed at me and they were like, “You’re doing what? You’re leaving banking and going to be a dog groomer?” It’s funny now, but everybody was laughing at me back then.

What was it that was driving you personally to make that big of a change in your life?

Part of it is in banking. You’re looking at tax returns. Here I am, 27 years old. At the time, I had no family, no real big responsibilities. I had a mortgage at the time, but you see these business owners’ tax returns. I was like, “I want to do that.” I didn’t realize most businesses don’t work and it required a lot of hard work and that stuff. This is ‘08. I started to see that stuff was happening in the financial industry. It had not fully happened yet. It happened right after I left. I don’t know, I think I had this urge always to like do my own thing, and create my own path. Corporate America is different. Even though we’re a local community bank, I always wanted to do my own thing and a good way to do it.

You did your due diligence and also had the mindset of being willing to get about as hands-on as possible in a business like that. You did this before everything crashed back in ‘08. This was before later in the year?

This was September of ‘08. It pretty much crashed right then. I opened in a recession.

Not only were people probably like, “You’re leaving banking to get into dog grooming. We don’t even know what this financial crisis could be, but you’re leaving to do this in the wake of all this stuff that’s happening,” and you said, “Screw it. We’ll figure it out.” Did you have second thoughts or were you like, “I don’t know, maybe now’s not the right time. I’ll ride this banking thing out as long as I can.”

When you had Connor on, I was like, “I wish I was that bright when I was that young.” The fact is, when I was that young, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know this stuff. All I knew was put my head down. I was scared. For some people, it paralyzes them, but for me, it puts me into action. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Fear paralyzes some people. But for others, it puts them into action. Click To Tweet

Now that I’m looking and we’ll get into it in a bit, but looking at doing other businesses, franchises, and stuff, my due diligence years later is way different than back then. I think back then, I just had my blinders on and I was going to do this come hell or high water and I’ll make this work no matter what. I didn’t have the knowledge and the experience that I have now. A lot of it is I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I sit there, and I try to sound smart by asking questions like, “The Great Recession.” I was the same age. I had no idea what the hell was going on at the time. I’m like, “What are you guys talking about? This isn’t normal stuff.” We don’t know any different. Lehman Brothers, who are they?” Now you say that, it’s funny.

Think About COVID. I was running this business during COVID. The first week of COVID, we thought the world was going to be shut down for two weeks. Hindsight’s always 20/20. I don’t think we understood the financial crisis was going to be what it became. We thought it might be this little blip, but it turned into something greater than what we were all expecting on the front end.

I think the lesson there is that with the right mindset, perseverance, and hard work, we don’t know what this thing is going to be, but I’m going to figure out how to make it work no matter what once I get into it. That mindset will take you through a lot of stuff. Including probably a little bit of that offline discussion we had about the potential second brand you’re looking at.

No franchise is perfect. They all take a lot of work, no matter what they say. No matter what the franchisees say, it takes a lot of work with the mindset of being willing to jump in and do whatever it takes to make it successful. You’re going to make the business successful no matter what. You’re in it. You learn how to become a groomer. How hard was that? Was that complicated?

Franchise Masters | Mathis Young | Mobile Dog Grooming

Mobile Dog Grooming: There is no perfect business. There is no perfect franchise. They all take a lot of work no matter what they say.

 

It was very hard. We take people through our ten-week program now. I had basically two weeks.

Did you learn how to groom a dog in two weeks?

Yes.

Was YouTube even a thing back then? Not to make you sound old.

I would get on the phone with another franchisee, and they would walk me through it. It had its challenges, for sure.

Did you ever screw up a dog’s hair?

I’m sure I did. That’s the thing. It’s hair. I was very conservative about getting into grooming, but I probably took off and used different tools. They might not be as technical as like a good groomer but they’ve prevented me from butchering the dog.

Scaling The Franchise

Now you’re at 24 groomers on the road, 24 vans with 3, 4 or 5 on the sidelines in case one of them breaks down. Was that always the goal? Did you always envision that?

The goal was six vans. That was their model. They didn’t even model anything past six vans. In the very beginning, I thought six vans were a lot. Let me tell you what happened. Four or five years in, I hit a brick wall and I had no experience managing people. People talk about franchising in a box. What a franchise does not do for you is manage your people. I had zero experience managing people. I would try this, and it didn’t work. I’d try that, and it didn’t work, and I was ready to throw my hands up. I actually did throw my hands up. I called my business broker. We were still friends. I said, “I need you to send somebody to get my books in order. I’m selling this thing.”

He sent me somebody and it was a business coach. We met twice and he said, “You don’t need to sell this thing. You need a manager between you and the groomers.” I was like, “I can’t afford anything.” He dragged me, kicking and screaming. I hired my first manager in 2013. He’s now the franchise owner in Nashville. I hired him at $13 an hour as a manager. We took off from day one because it allowed me to do what I do.

If you’re into the whole EOS world and you have integrator and visionary, I’m a true visionary. I am not an integrator. I’m not in the weeds. I can be. I’ve done it a lot, but it’s not what I enjoy and it’s not what my skillset is. When I hired this manager and he started dealing with the groomers and dealing with the clients, I was able to focus on growing the business. In 2013, we grew like 30%. We were like 50% the next year, 30% the year after that. We took off. The biggest pivotal moment in my career here was having that business coach come in and say, “You’re not selling this thing. You’re getting a manager.” That’s been my model since then. I’ve been in and out of day-to-day operations.

That was the defining moment for your growth. You’re willing to try it. Did you let the manager manage or were you providing guidance? Were you helping him or her or did you get lucky and you found somebody that took it and ran with it?

When I started this business, it’s a mobile business. I was running the business side out of my house. I got tired of that after 3 or 4 years. I went and got an executive suite where I had somewhere to go during the day. When I hired him, he and I shared that executive suite. He sat on one side of the room. I sat on the other side of the room. I think we did that for about a year.

I taught him everything. I could hear every conversation he was having. Every time something happened out in the field because we worked on our own, not under the hood part but the salon, the build-out part. These vans are custom-made for mobile dog grooming. They have full heat, full air, electrical and plumbing. When you combine water with dog hair, stuff breaks a lot. We run these things all day, every day. I taught him how to fix all of that. I was there, but when he didn’t need me, I was able to focus on growing the business.

What were some of the things that you focused on to grow the business to the next level?

Immediately, search engine optimization. This is years ago. I’m sure they had companies back then, but I did it myself. It was not nearly as complex as it is now. It was like your website needs to be everywhere. I went to YellowPages.com, Yelp. All this before what it is now. I started doing all the things that I could find on the internet that said how to. We shot up the rankings on Google. Still now, 70% of our business comes from Google. That’s what I went to do.

I focused on getting Google and then we developed referral plans. I kept that business coach on 4 or 5 years and it developed a lot of strategic stuff. I was so in the weeds before I had a manager that it’s the whole idiom of work on your business, not in your business. When you’re working in your business you don’t have time to do any of that stuff. It freed me up to do and think.

Work on your business, not in your business. Click To Tweet

A Growth In Demand

It was all advertising and customer acquisition, which is what it sounds like. That was one of the big focus areas because Aussie is a very consumer-friendly business. People are searching for dog grooming and whatnot and if you can be where they are looking, that helps a lot. What have you seen with the business? I always hear about this whole puppy craze, my house included over the past few years, probably from the beginning of the pandemic. Have you seen a lot of growth in demand?

Absolutely. Two things happen. One, we live in a world, whether it’s dog grooming or dry cleaning or fill-in-the-blank, people want you coming to their house. I don’t even go to the grocery store anymore. I use Instacart. Everything comes to me. You have that. You had what we call the doodle craze. Everything’s mixed with a poodle. People don’t see you have labradoodles or golden doodles. It used to be like three of them. Now literally, every breed out there is mixed with a poodle. A lab does not need to be groomed. A labradoodle has to be groomed all the time. Anything with a doodle is very high maintenance. You have to groom them very regularly. That increased demand, those two things.

Obviously, COVID happened and we’re going to your house. You do not have to go somewhere. A lot of those places shut down. We didn’t have to shut down. We could meet clients on their front doorsteps. We could be outdoors. They could hand us a leash. COVID was the third shot in the arm. Between those three things, it is a very in-demand business.

The problem is there’s not enough groomers. There are not enough groomers in the country. There’s a shortage of groomers and we ran into this too and at least a lot of franchisees with us. I think I’m on these Facebook groups and different things like that, and everybody in the country, all dog grooming places, whether they’re brick and mortar or mobile, is looking for groomers.

Franchise Masters | Mathis Young | Mobile Dog Grooming

Mobile Dog Grooming: It is a very in-demand business. The problem is that there are not enough groomers in the country.

 

More demand than supply.

More demand for grooming services than the suppliers of groomers. We shifted a couple of years ago. I’m of the belief that the groomers are your only source of revenue. The only way to grow is to have enough groomers. You can’t grow if you don’t have enough groomers and enough vans. We had trained people, 1 or 2 people a year from scratch with no dog grooming experience on a van.

Mobile grooming is by appointment only. You’re going to a house, you’re there for one hour, you have a 30-minute gap between your next appointment. Whereas, like a brick-and-mortar facility, they drop them off in the morning and they get them done all day, whatever. Training somebody on the van. This groomer has been doing it for five years gets it done in one hour, but her training somebody to do it in an hour has its challenges.

We did that. We would train 1 or 2 people and then we said, “We got to do this differently.” We decided to basically start our own. We call it a grooming school. We call it an academy. Grooming is not regulated like cosmetology is. You don’t have to have a license or certificate. You just got to know how to do it. We have an “in-house” grooming school now where we have our offices, where our customer service people are, where our management team works on vans. We have an office and then, as part of that office, we also have what we call our grooming school. For clients that don’t want to pay our fees for mobile, we’re basically 50% cheaper over there.

They bring them in. We have a trainer and then we have trainees. We put them through a 10-week course and part of that 10 weeks is split in the school and part of that is on a van. Now, we always have somebody in training. Even if we don’t think we need somebody, we have at least one person. Something will happen. Somebody’s going to leave or whatever. A lot of things we’ve had to learn with that too. We’re finally at a point where not having enough groomers isn’t an issue anymore.

You guys did it. Genius. Do you find there’s people who are passionate about dogs and pets that are interested in learning how to become groomers?

Absolutely. That’s what we do now. It’s like A) You got to love pets. B) Who are these people going to be as the employee? Who are they going to be as a team member? That’s where we’ve seen the biggest success. Our culture now is better than it’s ever been. It’s amazing that we’re hiring people. Yes, they have to love pets, but we’re hiring them. Are they going to fit in with our values? Are they going to fit in with our culture? Are they going to be good employees who take care of business and are good to work with?

When we go to hire somebody, that’s what we’re looking at. Now that we’ve done all that, 90% of the people work here, we’ve trained ourselves. A lot of the people that used to work here aren’t here anymore, and most of them have come with experience. We’re seeing that people that we have trained ourselves from scratch because they had these certain qualities. They just didn’t know how to groom. We’ve taught them to groom but they had all these other qualities that we like and it’s been working out well.

Scaling Versus Diversifying

You can hire on attitude and create loyalty as you invest in them, train them, and capture some more market share for the customers who aren’t willing to pay the mobile fees to drop their dogs off at your training facility. That’s genius. You obviously built a super successful business. You and I had an offline discussion because you were thinking about potentially diversifying into another brand. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of infrastructure in place. Why not focus on scaling, continuing to scale Aussie versus diversifying into another brand?

A couple of things. As we’ve grown and gotten to where we are now, we have a management team in place. I have a general manager, and we’ve had a general manager since 2013. It’s been different people but it’s the level under that. Now, we have a full-time grooming manager who does not groom at all herself. We have a full-time sales and service manager and a fleet manager.

The one thing they don’t tell you is that when you get into mobile dog grooming, you are not only in the mobile dog grooming business but also in the mechanic business. We’re running a full mechanic shop out back. We’ve got 27 vans. Yes, we have a mechanic, a fleet coordinator, and a fleet assistant. We have three people in our fleet department who are constantly making sure our vans are up to par because our vans are running all day every day.

We put a lot of pressure on them in order. The new 2023s are zero idle. Basically, we pull up to a house and we’re at a house for 2 or 3 hours. The van’s not driving but running the whole time in order to power the salon. We put a lot of pressure on these things. Expanding Aussie is still on the table. The challenge is figuring out the van maintenance. We’ve talked about going to Little Rock, which is two hours from here. We’ve talked about going to Birmingham, which is three hours from here. Places that don’t have franchisees currently. The hardest thing to wrap your brain around is how we are going to manage our fleet in those areas.

It’s not labor. It’s not the employee piece of it. It’s the fleet piece of it.

If we’re going to keep going with this model of we’re going to train these people and put them through our school, if we go open in Little Rock, are we going to require that trainee to come live in Memphis for 10 weeks while we train them? There are some logistics with this business that make it a little bit more difficult. You have that piece, but then you also have the van piece.

It’s still an option we’re exploring. I’d love to figure it out. In the meantime, I think it could translate the skillset that we’ve built to other brands. I’m trying to sort through, like do I want to do that with all pet mobile or do I want to have a Memphis base? We take all the things we’ve learned with Aussie Pet Mobile and do another brand and it’s not even another brand.

Saying all that, I’ve been doing this for years and I don’t want to say I’m bored, but I have a great team in place. They’re running the day-to-day operations. I’m not as involved as I used to be and I need something to reinvigorate myself. I’ve been looking for a business. Originally, I did not want to buy another franchise. I didn’t want to do another startup or I didn’t think I wanted to do another startup.

My plan was to buy an existing business. Something I was semi-familiar with. At the end of the day, most home service businesses, it’s the same thing. You call somewhere, you make an appointment, you send somebody in a vehicle to their house and they perform X service. Whether it’s pest control, window washing, or dog grooming, the logistics of it are all the same.

My plan was to buy an existing business that was maybe underperforming or not reaching its potential, but it already has $1 million, $2 million in revenue. The first million is the hardest million. It took us ten years to get to $1 million. It took us 18 months to get to $2 million. That was my plan. I was like, “Let’s go buy another $1 million, $2 million business and then ramp that thing up,” which I’ve been looking for and it’s hard to find.

I got the inkling, “Maybe I should start looking at franchises again.” I’ve talked to 5 or 6 franchises over six months. It is another startup. As I’ve gotten close to the finish line with a brand or two, I do feel reinvigorated. I feel like this is something I can get on board with. Now I will say I would have a business partner in that. I’m not going to be operating partner. Somebody else would be running day to day. I would be using a lot of what I know to help scale that business but I’m not going to go back to doing what I did with Aussie Pet Mobile.

Finding An Operating Partner

Your vision is whether it’s an independent business or a franchise, you have an operating partner lined up who’s going to be running the day-to-day aspects of the business. I get a bunch of these guys and gals that are trying to pull that off. They’re like, “I got money, but I don’t have a lot of time.” I’m like, “You probably shouldn’t buy a franchise to go through the startup because it’s going to be tough,” as you’ve discussed. I was like, “If you have an operating partner who could do the sweat equity piece of what needs to be done to build it,” how did you go about finding that person? Can you share a little bit about that?

My wife laughs at me. I have a lot of friends. Community is an important part of my life and I have a lot of friends. I had a long discussion with a friend about a partnership. I know him well enough. I know he would do well. I know he’d be a good operator. That fell apart. He ended up going and buying his own business, and we’re still talking about how once he gets this business where it needs to be, we would partner on some future stuff.

With the recent brand I’ve been looking at, I have another friend I know has not been happy in his job. One day I called him up and I was like, “How’s it going?” He told me and he brought up work again. I said, “Would you be interested in running this type of business?” He’s like, “Hell, yes.” I was like, “Alright, let’s get together.” For six weeks, he and I have talked every single day. A) We had to build a partnership agreement and B) We’ve been vetting this franchise and intently for 4 or 5 weeks.

There’s people that you trusted, people you knew. You knew them, number one.

I think a partnership is difficult. I’ve never done one, but I think a partnership would be difficult and I feel way more confident in it because I know these people.

It’s funny. Now you say that, I’m thinking through the business partnerships that I’ve had. I did one with people I didn’t know and I made an emotional decision. It didn’t go well. I did a new partnership with two guys for this new Excel franchise development. We’re doing a mini-franchise sales organization, like a fast lane thing. I’ve known these guys for more than fifteen years. It’s been so natural. No issues so far. We’ve been doing it for six months. The business partnership piece of things is one of those things that is easy on paper to draw it up. To say, “Hell, yeah, let’s do a business partnership.”

The execution of it is difficult because it is a marriage. You’re hitching your wagon to each other. It’s very hard to separate if it doesn’t go well. That’s tons of wisdom. You know Connor Groce. He’s trying to cook up like an incubator to match investors with operating partners. He’s like, “Do you want to get involved?” I’m like, “No, I don’t, Connor. You’re a smart guy if you’re listening, I have no doubt you’re going to figure it out. I don’t know if I want to be in the partnership matchmaking business.” He’ll figure it out. No, that’s cool.

Knowing people but also, I talk to people who have been in failed partnerships. “What didn’t work? What do we need to make sure that we put in our legal agreement? We’re going into this thing like this is going to work, but if it doesn’t, we better have a partnership legal agreement that is very clear that’s going to save us if this thing goes sideways because if it goes sideways, it isn’t going to be pretty.” None of us think it is. We’ve put a lot of thought. We both answered a lot of questions. If this happens, then what? Flushing out, it’s like, “Let’s get in a partnership and do this.” You’ve got to do the due diligence on the partnership before you even consider starting a business together.

The guy under this most recent one that you’ve been looking at, do you think he could apply to a lot of different businesses? Do you think your partnership could apply to a lot of different ones, or is it not too specific to the one you’re looking at?

That’s the other thing about looking at a partnership, too. I’m looking for somebody that has a different skillset than me. I know my skillset. I do need somebody that’s more of an operator. I know all the back-office stuff, but we’re looking at a lot of brand. This guy has a lot of experience in sales, which I do too, but so sales and operation experience are the skillsets I’m looking for versus what I know I bring to the table. I don’t want somebody that’s exactly like me because then we still have a gap.

A lot of wisdom in that. You mentioned EOS. Did you implement EOS within your business?

It changed my life. What happened was COVID hit and I think we had 12, 13, 14 groomers. COVID hit. If our phones rang 100 times, they were ringing 400 times a day. We exploded. Of course, looking back, hindsight 20/20, we grew too fast. We probably hired groomers that weren’t good fits, but we had all this business, wanted to take care of it, and needed more groomers. We grew too fast and added too many groomers that didn’t fit up.

We ran from March of 2020 for two years and then in the beginning of 2022, it started cracking a little bit and in the middle of ’22, it came crashing down. When I say crashing down, it’s like either people were leaving or we wanted them to leave because they didn’t fit here. I ended up becoming a member of Vistage in 2022. You know at Vistage, 80% of the people in my group run on EOS. Our facilitator for Vistage started us with EOS.

He told me in the beginning, “If you do this work, it will change your life, but just know that this is not going to be easy. You are going to have a lot of pain, but if you do the work, it will work. All the fruits of our labor have come in. We lost clients and a lot of staff, which went to the whole like, “We’re going to train these people ourselves.” We trained thirteen people. We went from 23 groomers down to 15, and now we’re back up to 24.

With the ability to create new groomers, right?

EOS changed my life personally, but it’s also changed our business. I can’t recommend it enough.

Vistage is an amazing organization to get a part of for a lot of people, too. I’ve been in two different Vistage groups. In a way, it’s like therapy. It’s like a safe place to go and talk and get ideas from other people. Sometimes, being an entrepreneur or self-employed, it’s lonely. Not as many people can relate to you.

Franchise Masters | Mathis Young | Mobile Dog Grooming

Mobile Dog Grooming: Talk and get ideas from other people. Sometimes being an entrepreneur is lonely. Not many people can relate to you.

 

I think all Vistage groups are different. What I liked about mine was we held people accountable. It’s like, “You said you’re going to do this. Are you doing it?” When you bring up an issue in Vistage, they’re like, “You’re blaming so and so on your team, but have you done X, Y, and Z?” It’s almost like having a board of directors. Yes, owning a business, it’s very lonely at the top. When you have seventeen other business owners, they have no interest in it. All they care about is you, but they’re going to hold you accountable and they’re going to do the hard stuff.

You get to be close with 3 to 5 people in there. There were a few in there when we were going through hard times and we’re going to dinner. People in there helped me. I don’t know if I could have done it without them. There were points in that period where I wanted to give up and calling them and saying, “Can you meet me in an hour for three hours and talk to me about this stuff?” They did. I’m a big proponent of Vistage or any other peer group, but the right one is where people are doing it the right way and care about you.

I think it forces you to be vulnerable in a way. You typically can’t be vulnerable at work when you’re the owner. You got to set the tone and whatnot. One of the takeaways for me is it’s okay to be vulnerable but you have to be vulnerable to take advantage of Vistage and get the best use out of it. That is not easy for entrepreneurs because we’re go, go, go. Figure it out. That’s cool.

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With EOS, like the Level 10 meetings is the one thing that has impacted me through a lot of different things. That and taking everything 90 days at a time. What are we going to get done over the next 90 days and what are we going to say no to? What are you not going to focus on to keep everybody rowing in the same direction?

It holds everybody accountable. It’s easier to hold your subordinates accountable like, “You were supposed to do this. You haven’t done it.” For those who don’t know EOS, you have a leadership team, which includes all the leadership positions in the company. It’s hard to hold each other accountable. These are your peers. The L10s and the rocks on 90 days and all of that is like, “Did you get this done?” Instead of us having to hold each other accountable, EOS holds you accountable. You’re tucking your tail and saying, “I didn’t get this done.” Stuff still doesn’t get done, but there’s a higher level of accountability that EOS provides, so you don’t have to do it yourself.

Did you guys self-implement EOS at your company?

We started the first year. We used my facilitator at Vistage. He did it for us. Once we got the hang of it, we carried it on for the last year.

It is so funny. The EOS comes up with so many multi-unit operators that I’ve talked to offline and had on the show. If you’re growing a big business and you don’t know what EOS is, it is well worth the time to listen to some podcasts on it, buy the book or whatever it is. Go talk to a Vistage chair. It’s relatively simple. It’s not like it’s this groundbreaking new business buzzword thing. Flavor of the year. It’s pretty simple. You just got to execute it.

It is simple. What I will say is for us and what I’ve seen with other people, you have to adhere to it. Not that you have to be an EOS purist, but like L10s, 90-minute meetings every week, like clockwork. You start skipping those meetings or not doing your quarterly meetings. If you stick to the protocol, it’s blocked out on my calendar for eternity. We are doing this no matter what. It is 90 minutes. We all show up. I’ve seen people not stick to it, but yeah, you’re right.

It is simple, but it’s every single week, you’re being held accountable on a screen or on paper in front of how many. If your leadership team’s eight people, if it’s 3 or 4, whatever, but if you’re not doing what you committed to doing, the other people in that meeting are going to know because it’s right there in front of you.

The first level ten meeting’s going to suck. It’s going to be awkward. The second one’s probably going to suck too, but like you start to keep doing them and you start to get into a rhythm, which is when the magic starts to happen, when that stuff happens. It’s cool. That’s awesome. I’ve taken up enough of your time, Mathis. I appreciate you coming on here. Any final words of wisdom you want to leave with anybody who’s either thinking about getting into franchising or scaling up a business like you?

I appreciate you having me on it. It’s been fun talking online and offline. I think franchising is a good way. I believe that people who have never run a business get into franchising, think the franchise or is going to run your business for you, and it’s inaccurate. They help you in a lot of ways, but at the end of the day, like I said earlier, they’re not managing your people. There’s a lot of things they’re not doing. You still have to be somebody that knows and be confident enough to run a business.

It is a great way to get in the business ownership. I highly agree and they help you with a lot of things, but I think I’ve seen a lot of people out there. I’ve been talking about that a lot. I’m not going to have to be involved. I would steer away from any brand that tells you don’t have to be involved. Yes, you can have a manager. Yes, all this stuff, but when you’re the owner, you have to be involved on some level. Yeah, Dru, I appreciate you having me on. It’s been fun catching up with you.

For what you did. You went all in. You learned the business from the front lines and it’s an amazing story that you’ve been able to build it to the point that you built it. Every phase of growth has its unique challenges. It’s been a linear path. You’ve had your ups and downs and had to figure out how to get to the next level of growth and maybe gone backwards a little bit to get to the next one. There are so many lessons and the path you’ve taken. I appreciate you coming on here and sharing that.

 

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