HOW FRANCHISING IS HELPING PIONEER AN EMERGING INDUSTRY
By Justin Crowell, QC Kinetix
The CEO of medical franchise QC Kinetix shares how his team keeps the sizzle from fizzling in a high growth field.
When my two partners and I sat around my kitchen almost five years ago bantering back and forth over what to name the regenerative medicine clinic we were launching, building a franchise system was not on our minds. We put $5,000 on a credit card to open our first QC Kinetix clinic in Charleston, S.C., which was open one day a week. Our hunch about the untapped potential in regenerative medicine proved true, and we started opening more clinics. However, we quickly realized if we wanted to grow really fast, coast-to-coast, and be both a pioneer and the gold standard in the regenerative medicine field, franchising was the vehicle to get us there.
Regenerative medicine, put simply, is using the body’s own healing properties to stimulate the body to repair or heal damaged tissues and joints without surgery and addictive pain medications. It’s been around for 20 years but has really gained traction in the last five years as new technologies and natural biologic treatments have developed. The industry is projected to grow by more than 26 percent by 2030, and we know we are just scratching the surface of this industry’s potential. As an emerging medical franchise in a high growth field — we have grown over 5,000 percent in the last three years and almost 2,000 percent this year — we want to make sure our business model sizzles and doesn’t fizzle. Here is how we are doing it and our best advice for others looking to build and manage explosive franchise growth.
1. Be prepared to feed the beast. The money it takes to get started depends on how fast you want to grow. If you want to chase explosive growth like we did, it’s going to cost you — at least a million dollars, in my opinion — so have a plan in place to pay for it. Like any building plan, it is going to end up costing more than you budget. Obviously, loans are an option, but we decided to build the foundation of the company with our eleven corporate clinics, and we used those to fund the franchise operation. Again, because we wanted to grow fast, we hired a professional group to help us develop the franchise system soup-to-nuts and hired a third party broker to help sell the franchise. Yes, that costs us franchise fees on the front end, but our goal was to have rapid first-year sales (which we did) to elevate the brand and get traction. Because of the investment we made to build and sell the system quickly, we have sold more than half of our units and expect to sell out all territories by mid-2022.
As an emerging medical franchise in a high growth field — we have grown over 5,000 percent in the last three years and almost 2,000 percent this year — we want to make sure our business model sizzles and doesn’t fizzle.
2. Plan for strategic growth. When you’re chasing high growth and spending a lot of cash up front, the temptation is to tap every possible revenue stream. But we are committed to strategic growth. We don’t want to be a jack of all trades and master of none. For us, that means focusing on our core treatments as opposed to a menu of 25 different things. Our growth is methodical, and we are committed to fully researching any new service lines and piloting them in corporate clinics before we introduce them to franchisees; we don’t want to fall into the pit of adding things just to make money and have it backfire. The other key strategic growth measure we put into place was to hire ahead of need. The last thing we want is to sell 50 clinics in a matter of months and not be able to get them open. We invested early in a dedicated and robust franchising staff that has developed and implemented the systems and processes needed to scale quickly. Franchisees want a turnkey system, so we work hard to make sure we have the staffing in place to help them get open quickly and efficiently. Hiring ahead of need is an investment some franchisors are reluctant to make, but I believe is necessary for successful rapid growth. We also believe this commitment to grow strategically is our competitive advantage.
3. Stay driven by mission. Ultimately, tips one and two won’t matter if you don’t subscribe to this tip. Many companies have mission statements, but you might never know it. We work hard to ensure our mission statement, and under that, our four core pillars are the foundation of everything we do. That means we talk about it at every meeting, every new franchisee meeting, every discovery day, every franchisee conference call. I want every single person in the organization to know and understand how their role correlates to our mission to use regenerative medicine to enhance the lives of patients without the need for drugs or surgeries. Staying driven by mission not only ensures everyone on our team has the same vision, it guides our decision-making. As an emerging franchisor in a rapidly developing industry, there is a lot coming at you at once. Having a mission statement and foundational pillars at your fingertips is like having a road map in your pocket. It allows us to make decisions quickly and with confidence.
Franchisees want a turnkey system, so we work hard to make sure we have the staffing in place to help them get open quickly and efficiently.
When people ask how much of our success is luck vs. just being good, I would say certainly 10 percent is luck that my partners and I met at the right place at the right time together. But the other 90 percent of our success comes down to the decisions we make and the commitment we have to our strategic plan, core principles and mission. If we stay true to that, the sky’s the limit for our emerging medical franchise and all of our franchisees.
Justin Crowell is the CEO of QC Kinetix, the leading regenerative medicine franchise group in the U.S. marketplace. For more information and franchise opportunities for International Franchise Association (IFA) franchisor member QC Kinetix, visit franchise.org/franchiseopportunities/qc-kinetix.