Search Interviews:

Tariq Johnson  7:37  

Yeah, so that’s a it’s like a great segue into really, you know, what, what I do now, in terms of helping people make the transition through franchise ownership, which is, you know, I started to think I, over the years of working in the corporate world, I had chased many shiny objects of online marketing, and, you know, Amazon business and Kindle publishing, and this and this, and this, and this. And I just realized that I, I was not great at following through. And I’m very analytical. So for what I found, because I wind up where I work in my business now with some very successful and accomplished people in the corporate world. But they’re not able to carry that over to being an entrepreneur themselves, because they get so caught up in overthinking things. And feeling like things have to be perfect. Entrepreneurship is so different. You really have to have that prototype kind of mindset and that progress over perfection mindset. So for me, when I, my wife and I were living in California, and it, I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I just thought, wow, I could, I figured out at that point that I was very good at executing when I had this system. If I had the system, I could execute the system. If you wanted me to come up with the system, not so much, because that’s where I got caught up in my own head. So I thought, well, franchise ownership seems like that could be a match because it’s generally speaking, you have a proven system, and you follow the system and you can be successful. So I thought, well, this could be a great way to create my transition plan to open a franchise while I’m still working, get it built up. And maybe over the next three years or so. I could replace my income and it would make that transition smoother. Is that what so that’s that’s what that’s exactly so that’s what we that’s what we went of doing opening up our first franchise location, California got profitable in less than 60 days, which was a juice bar franchise. And it’s not, you know, I would say it’s probably not common in the food industry to get profitable in 60 days. And so that helped to You start scaling things up pretty quickly. And then we wind up moving across the country. And so I had to leave my job anyways, because we were going to move. And then it turns out, we’re moving there was a resale location of the same franchise brand for sale that was struggling and was not profitable. Or it was kind of breakeven. And so when we moved, I wind up, going in getting that store turned around increasing sales over 40%. And, and so yeah, ultimately, franchise ownership was helped me to create that transition for myself.


Chad Franzen  10:40  

sure what that’s, that’s amazing. So, you, you invested in this juice bar? What and you turned it around, or you built it up? So it was successful within 60 days? What was the magic formula? I’ve heard a lot of people, you know, they say they do it, and it’s a struggle for the first two years, 60 days, and you were a success? What was the what did you do?


Tariq Johnson  11:00  

Yeah, that’s a good question. I there’s, there’s a couple of layers to that, you know, which is one, I don’t want to say it was luck. But right now, I, when I, when I coach people, I teach them what I call the profitable franchise formula. And it has a few different components to it. And at the time, I hadn’t created this, this formula, I looked back to go, wow, what did I do? And one, I picked something that overall was alignment with my skill sets, right? Which, okay, you could choose many businesses that may be in alignment with your skill sets, but I love operations. So I was really OCD about the operations of the store. Number two is and really the main thing, one of the main keys was there was tremendous demand in the marketplace. That’s one of the items in my profitable franchise formula. The other one is to choose a business with profit potential. And the other one is to choose a business that you believe in instead of chasing shiny objects, you actually believe in the product or service, not just because you think it will make you a lot of money. But ultimately, there was a tremendous amount of demand, which is why we chose the location we did, there weren’t any competitors within a five and a half mile radius. And I had done a lot of research on looking at the county and city website of all the construction projects that were being done in the area. The location did not meet any of the franchisors, most of the franchisors demographic criteria. But my gut told me this location would be successful. And I thought, okay, in one year it’s a crapshoot. I don’t know we can make money we might not but I felt like over three to five years, we would crush it. And I have since sold that location. But that store. Yeah, went from doing geez $470,000 in sales. Our first year that store does almost $800,000 a year in sales now in year four. So my instinct was right.


Chad Franzen  13:06  

So so Yeah, apparently was. So tell me a little bit about what you’re doing now that you had success as a franchise as a franchisee. And now what are you doing in relationship to that?


Tariq Johnson  13:19  

Yeah, sure. So the short answer is I, I help unfulfilled and frustrated employees transition from employee to entrepreneur through franchise ownership. So I coach individuals and I have a whole program and in a course of that coaches people on how to go from A to Z like Hey, I, I want to transition I don’t want to be in a job anymore, whether they want to do that over the next year over the next five years. And I help them go through the entire process and Zia created a system of how to narrow down 4000 franchisors to specific industries that match their needs all the way through getting through the due diligence process, getting their business funded and getting it profitable as quickly as possible. And I kind of wind up stumbling into that specifically, I wound up starting a YouTube channel a couple of years ago just starting to kind of share some of my experiences and frustrated that as I was trying to build my franchise business in the beginning, that there wasn’t any content out there for existing franchisees. Most of it was all people who are trying to sell you a franchise. And so that was frustrating for me and I just felt like I wanted to share my experience of mistakes I had made turns out there really wasn’t anyone doing that on YouTube. And so I’ve been able to build a multiple six figure business just purely off the YouTube.


Chad Franzen  14:54  

Wow. So are you still a franchise owner?


Tariq Johnson  14:57  

No, sorry when I’m selling a Both of my locations, we did a lot of moving. So the first location was in California, we moved to Florida. So 2500 miles away, ran that store, pretty much completely absentee for two years, then sold, it kept me up at night thinking if my manager left because that was very reliant on my manager. And then the other location that we had bought in Florida, then we moved again, three hours away, still in Florida. And so we wound up selling that location. So at some point, I will join the franchisee party again, I just want to make sure we don’t move again.


Chad Franzen  15:37  

What made you decide Sure. What made you decide to do this than to consult with people who are potential franchisees? Yeah,


Tariq Johnson  15:45  

that’s it. Well, I always wanted to have an online brand helping people, I just really didn’t know specifically what space I was going to do that in. And right around when I was in the middle of turning around the store in Florida shortly after we had bought it I was in the store every day getting it turned around. And at the same time, I was thinking about and had hired a coach myself on how to create an online brand. And it just seemed pretty obvious that I should do it around what I was actually doing at the moment, which was, you know, turning around my franchise and being a franchise owner. And then it just started to evolve. Again, I started making these YouTube videos, I took a hiatus of kind of not doing the online stuff. And it slowly transitioned at first I was just working with anyone and everyone is kind of a business coach and people who had a business, people who just wanted to start a business people were in the franchise space. And eventually, you know, I really niche down and focused to the franchise space specifically because, you know, really felt like, what, what the information I had was highly, highly, highly valuable. And I also found that there was a missing gap in the marketplace, which was 9.9 out of 10. People that talk about franchises online, are all people that want to sell you a franchise to make you commission to make a commission. And there is a whole other world of people out there who are kind of DIYers, where they just they don’t want to deal with a franchise broker. And they want to do it themselves, but they want to make the best decision. And so really, what I’ve done is I started catering my business to most mostly that that crowd and those individuals who have either already found a franchise concept that they like, or they just really they want to do it themselves, and they don’t want to work with someone and be limited by those options. And I basically provide them that the A-Z framework for that.


Chad Franzen  17:55  

How did you kind of get clients at first, you know, it’s one thing to bid to say I’ve you know, owned a couple of successful franchises, but then also to have people pay you for your advice. How did you kind of get clients at first?


Tariq Johnson  18:08  

All YouTube? Yeah, all YouTube. So yeah, I, you know, created the YouTube channel. The cool thing about that, again, there really wasn’t many people doing it, and I was just really providing so much value. And I created like an opt in on my website. So in my videos, I would say hey, head over to my website, and you can grab my seven step blueprint to business profits in 60 days, kind of breaking down the tactical of exactly how I got the store profitable in 60 days and and then it kind of started to, to take off and people started to reach out and roll and reach out to me and it was slow at first and it was a grind and you know now really at this point, it’s I don’t want to say the business is mature. But I have, you know, a nice system in place. And I have a video editor and I have an assistant and these cool things so that I can focus on the fun stuff. When the beginning I was grinding 1214 hours a day doing the things that were just awful.


Chad Franzen  19:02  

I’ve I’ve spoken to numerous franchisees on this podcast, you know, some people from Jimmy John’s restaurant restaurant franchisees, would you have any best practices or advice you’d kind of give to people who are specifically getting into the restaurant industry through franchise through becoming a franchisee?


Tariq Johnson  19:23  

Yeah, well, one piece of advice I would say right now is don’t Okay, you know, right now is a very, very challenging time for anyone in the food space given inflation, it hit the market hard. I mean, as I just sold my other location a few months ago, but I mean, there were some costs of goods where we saw increases of 5060 70% which is very challenging. So if you’re already in this space, well you’re just gonna have to hold on. You know, in terms of you’re just gonna have to wait it out or or You know, maybe you should sell and wait for things to cool off. But if you’re thinking about getting into that space, I would hold off for now until the labor market cools down until, you know, inflation cools down because you take a business that already has thin margins, and you make it even more challenging. But you know, if someone’s already a food franchisee you know, a lot know your numbers, for sure, I think what happens is there a lot of people that don’t know business and they don’t know their numbers, they’re not looking at their profit and loss statements. They don’t know what their cost of goods are, they don’t know what their their food cost is. And maybe they’re tracking their labor costs. But until you really have a very, very clear idea of where you are right now, in terms of your numbers, it’s really, really challenging to try to figure out any way to grow. And you might be working harder, not smarter, sometimes easiest thing you could do is maybe try to trim a couple of percentage points, here and there. And the other thing that I did it, it’s very popular now. But back in 2017, when our stores opening, it wasn’t as popular in the franchise space was I started doing social media marketing, and I did it on my own. And I would just run ads within a five mile radius around our store that I created, it was nothing fancy. And just try to get as much branding and exposure as possible. And the amount of exposure that you can get for a couple of $100 on on Instagram or on Facebook is is really, really insane. And I did that from before day one of which we were open. I think that really helped us. I think we’re four years later, a lot of people are doing that now. But that was something that was very helpful.


Chad Franzen  21:50  

Can you tell me, you know, without maybe naming them specifically about a client, who came to you and benefited from your consultation, maybe how things are different for them now compared to when they reached out to you and maybe tell me what interests industry they’re in?


Tariq Johnson  22:05  

Yeah, sure. So I mostly specialize really in helping people that are getting into franchising, really, as opposed to existing franchisees. So, you know, a lot of people that come to me are stuck, they’re overwhelmed, they’re, they’re, they’re struggling on how to kind of find or decide on the franchise that they’re interested in one couple that comes to mind is a couple out of California, they had been on and off looking at franchises for two years. And, you know, pandemic through a little bit of a curveball, not for them. But they had went down the deep dive with a couple of different franchise concepts, even hired an attorney to review the FTD, the Franchise Disclosure Document, and they just wind up always getting cold feet as well as they didn’t know, kind of all of this specific tactics to use to gain more clarity on making the right decision. And geez, within three and a half months of working together, they signed a franchise agreement in the pet industry space. And, in actually they are in lease negotiation right now, I’ve been still working with them through the process of them negotiating their loi, and that their loi went from $50,000 of TI of me helping them through the process to and you know, they did some good negotiating too, but through coaching them now over $150,000 of TI which is I mean just massively significant. And then it turns out, SBA, the SBA lender, they were going to use was going to try and basically take all of their TI and apply it immediately towards the loan and not really amortize the loan. I hope I’m not getting too nerdy for people that are that are listening here. And so they were going to be stuck with the same high payment. Yeah, they would have paid it off probably in half the time but most people getting started in a franchise, they want to get it profitable quickly. It’s like okay, I got to delay my gratification potentially for five years. So I taught I taught him how to kind of negotiate that and get instead of getting all of it in ti negotiate even more towards free rent. So now they’re going to have 16 months of free rent 16 months, which is insane. And you’re talking about rent that all in with Cam and triple net and all that stuff is is 12 grand a month. So it’s a massive, massive win for them. You know, not only being able to just make a decision on a franchise, but now to really put themselves in a very, very strong position to be profitable quickly, which was another trick that worked well for for us as we had negotiated a solid amount of free rent in our first store California. And that’s key. I mean, I think most franchisees will tell you, if you have a physical retail location, you’ve got to gotta maximize the amount of free rent, you get to give yourself the best position to succeed.


Chad Franzen  25:13  

Is there some trick to doing that?


Tariq Johnson  25:17  

I think there are a few tricks to doing that. You know, the, the gold standard overall, is at least six months of free rent. What one of the things I share with clients is you can’t Don’t put all your eggs in one basket for location. Here’s what happens. Chad, most people get excited about one specific location. They show all of their cards to the landlord that there are we love this place, it’s great. It’s exactly where we wanted it. And then guess what happens, the landlord knows they got you. So you know, they’re not going to be that willing to negotiate. So like any negotiation, the person that’s most willing to truly walk away has the most leverage. So if you have two or three different locations that you’re looking at, that are strong contenders, well, then you’re trying the same negotiation with all of them. And then you can see which one most aligns with what you know what you’re what you’re looking for. So,


Chad Franzen  26:20  

okay, well, that’s good. That’s good to know. Good advice. I have one final question for you. But first, just tell me how people can connect with you or find out more about what you do.


Tariq Johnson  26:30  

Yeah, that’s so two different places. So first, you can go to my website,, T, A R, I, Q. Johnson, J, O, H, N, S, O, N .com. And there, you can grab my seven step blueprint to business profits in 60 days for free. And that’s a 20 page PDF. Jeez, I think over 3000 people have downloaded it already. And you can check me out on YouTube. If you go into YouTube and just type in my name, Tariq Johnson, then my stuff will pop up there.


Chad Franzen  27:04  

Final question for you. What are your favorite? I think you mentioned one, what are your favorite books or podcasts that you found? particularly valuable for you or enjoyable?


Tariq Johnson  27:13  

Yeah, interesting. Um, the first book that popped in my head was, is Think and Grow Rich. I think that’s like a classic for most people. I tease cheese many, many years ago and memorize the self confidence formulas for that for that book. But they think and grow rich is a is a great book. And I’m a fan of The Secret even though it simplifies everything and kind of makes it seem like if you think it’ll just fall out of the sky, but, you know, for me, really the principle of the law of attraction, I believe in very much and has been a very, very powerful tool in my life over the last 15 years.


Chad Franzen  27:49  

Okay, great. Hey, thank you so much, Tariq. I really appreciate your time. And it was fun hearing your stories and your insights. Thank you so much. Yeah. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. soling everybody.


Outro  27:59  

Thanks for listening to the top business leaders show. Powered by rise 25. Visit rise 20 to check out more episodes of the show and to learn more about how you can start your own podcast