Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m JD Busch, the founder, and Chief Energy Officer for Busch Global. Busch Global specializes in growing franchise concepts through investments, development, and consulting services.
What makes us unique is our ability to customize our services to our clients. We are very selective about who we work with. We want to work with brands where we believe in the people involved. Once we find a brand and people that we believe in, we take the time to learn where they are at and what is the right growth strategy for their brand over the next few years. We offer our clients solutions that present scalable, intelligent growth.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I’m guilty of being a serial entrepreneur. I love building businesses and really wanted to find a way to share that passion with others. I actually started a very successful kid’s gym when I was still in college. Back then, I was definitely working harder rather than smarter.
There are too many franchise concepts that sell too many locations without the ability to support those locations.
After college, I wanted to continue being an entrepreneur and that was the root of Busch Global. Busch Global started as a franchise and a regional developer. We found a couple of brands that worked well and were able to grow those brands. Our success over the last decade really showcased the potential in franchising done the right way.
As the company grew, and the team grew, I was always keeping an eye out for the next thing. Being around the franchise industry for the last 10 to 15 years, I was fortunate to have built a good reputation. My name was out there and people began to seek me out. More and more, I found myself meeting and working with young, start-up brands who were looking to learn from my experiences.
Those meetings and conversations really highlighted how much need there is in the franchise world for expertise in development and growth. So many of the emerging brands start with so much heart and passion and just need a little growth and guidance.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
As our regional developer deals began to come to an end, the time felt right to transition our focus from on the ground operations to more of a top focus. I really believe our knowledge can help a brand grow. There are too many franchise concepts that sell too many locations without the ability to support those locations. They take off, sales look good, and then in a few years, they fall apart because they can’t support what they sold. I felt we could do better. So, we put Busch Global into a position to help brands grow intelligently.
What that ultimately meant was transitioning Busch Global into a uniquely oriented Franchise Sales Organization. Transition is difficult. I think it would best compare to working on a train engine while the train is speeding down the track. You can’t just stop and pull over. We had and have operations going.
The key for us was having good people in place that we could trust to execute. Those people gave me the freedom to go out and hustle. When it gets down to it, sales is about effort and energy. It’s getting out there and finding the right people and building your network. So, the last year-plus of the startup has been heavily focused on laying the groundwork in meeting potential clients and having a network of potential franchisees. A lot of burning up miles and minutes.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I think it’s very important as you start a new venture to really identify what’s important. In a small company, you want and need everyone on the same page. You have to identify what you believe in and what really matters. Even with having a lot of that in place, as we began to transition to Busch Global we spent a lot of days going back and defining those cores.
The website was one of our final pieces, and it was enjoyable. Once you’ve gone through the efforts of defining your cores, it’s really engaging to see those come out in marketing pieces and text. You get to see that vision become a little more real. I’ve probably enjoyed seeing our revised website come together as much as any part of this process.
The hard work is on the cash side. Monitoring what’s available and planning to have enough for the future is huge. You know you can’t operate without enough cash, but you can’t just sit around and wait to find some. It’s really about finding the balance between acceptable risk and intelligent planning.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I’ve spent a good amount of time over the last year refining our client analysis process. As a developer, we want to make sure we’re putting our network in a position with brands that we believe in. I think as we move forward, that will continue to be a process that we evaluate and update.
To date, a lot of that process has been about the relationship. Frankly, I think as we move forward, relationships will always be the biggest piece of the pie. I really think it’s hard to find anything more valuable than sitting down with the client and seeing if you can and want to work together. We look at the model, we look at the financials, and we look at the current market. Those are vital pieces to a successful business. Franchising, though, is so much about the relationship. That’s where the people come in. Can you see yourself working with the founder and their team at the franchisor for the next 10 years? I look to answer that question first.
Sometimes things are out of your control and that’s OK. You keep strong communication going and you plan, execute, and accept that it may not work.
The success for Busch Global over the years starts with networking and that’s what I’m still heavily invested in. Of course, we’re doing some of the SEO stuff. We just updated our website. The networking, though, is what has brought us to clients and I think will continue to be the key to our growth.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
The startup has been really encouraging. I think more than any other question, we’ve answered the question of is there a need? As I get out and talk to potential clients, the interest is very strong.
Truthfully, the bigger problem for us is managing our own intellectual growth. There is so much opportunity, we have to make sure that we add clients and services at a smart pace. We could absolutely take on too much too quickly.
For Busch Global, our next step will be more investment-focused. It’s where I want the organization to get to. We want to be that partner level with the clients we work with.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Over the years, I’ve learned more lessons than I can count. It’s one of the reasons I’m doing what I am today. I like trying to show others how to avoid the mistakes that I’ve made.
I think the biggest mistake early on was trying to do too much with too little. If you don’t have the right team around you, you won’t grow. If you look at the P&L, it makes sense to control your staffing, especially when you are new. It seems like you are saving money. The reality is you are costing yourself growth.
I think the other key is to be flexible. Everyone should be learning that lesson at this point. You can’t plan for the crazy things that happen. We’ve had hurricanes, floods, lightning, fire, and now a global pandemic. With all the craziness, I’ve learned that sometimes things are out of your control and that’s OK. You keep strong communication going and you plan, execute, and accept that it may not work.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We use Hubspot for our CRM, and it’s a really great tool. What’s great about Hubspot is it just has tons of layers. We use the heck out of it and I still feel like we're just scratching the surface of all the automation available.
But if you want the honest truth on what tool I use the most, it’s Google calendar. I think people underestimate how powerful a tool the calendar can be. You’ll find everything I do on my calendar. What that allows me the freedom to do is get as much done in a day as is possible and still have that time carved out for the family.
I see so many people struggle with productivity and to me, they’re missing the simple tool of just planning out what the day is going to look like. You can take away every tool we have, and as long as I still have my calendar business is moving.
There is a lot of truth to the idea that you don’t know what you don’t know. If you surround yourself with people that have the experience, it is very likely that one of them will have gone through and solved what you are dealing with at any moment in time.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
There are so many resources available today. When I first got into the business, I really relied on more of the mentor relationship. I was fortunate to have some people in my life that I could learn from. I would absorb as much information as I could in those various social gatherings.
These days, I try to lean on a few key books that have really influenced how I want to approach work and growth. From an attitude standpoint, I was really hit by Jon Gordon’s the Energy Bus. His 10 rules really captured the vibe I wanted myself and the organization to have.
I also took a lot from Patrick Lencioni’s, The four obsessions of the Extraordinary Executive. I think it really outlines what the focus of the CEO should be. Over the last few years, though, Scaling Up by Verne Harnish has really been my sort of business handbook. It takes you out of the concept world and into real applications and tasks to build your business.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
For anyone looking to start-up, my advice would have to be to find a mentor. It’s one of the reasons franchising works because you are pairing entrepreneurs with people that have been there, done that. Over the years, I’ve worked with so many great entrepreneurs and leaned on the things they do well. Likewise, I think they’ve taken the things I’ve done well.
There is a lot of truth to the idea that you don’t know what you don’t know. If you surround yourself with people that have the experience, one of them will likely have gone through and solved what you are dealing with at any moment in time.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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