Consultant Close Up: Jason Gehrke, Franchise Advisory Centre
Franchise sector veteran Jason Gehrke is on a mission to improve Australian franchising one franchisor at a time.
Over a 25-year career as a franchise marketing manager, system co-founder, CEO, director, advisor and educator, Jason has an extensive background of practical experience and formal qualifications.
Since forming the Franchise Advisory Centre in 2004, Jason has used this experience to deliver Australia’s most comprehensive range of professional development activities for franchisors and their management teams.
In the last ten years, more than half of the nearly 1,200 franchise brands operating in Australia have attended at least one or more Franchise Advisory Centre education events; ranging from the biggest household names in franchising with more than a thousand franchisees, to new start-up systems yet to grant their first franchise.
The reason behind Jason’s drive to improve Australian franchising one franchisor at a time is simple: If franchisors are better at what they do, they in turn make their franchisees more successful.
The benefits of franchise education flow outward from the franchisor to franchisees, with this ripple-effect resulting in better outcomes for both.
“The reason franchise education is so important to franchisors is that they underestimate the challenges of franchising when they start out, and fail to understand that they are transitioning from one business into another, completely different business along the way,” says Jason.
“For example, a widget business owner will be a widget expert and have unrivalled technical expertise, but when they start franchising and outsource the widget work to franchisees, the franchisor must develop an entirely new skillset to coach, manage, train, inspire and build profitability for widget franchisees.
“Not only does this transition from widget expert to widget franchisor require a new set of skills, but it also requires an ongoing investment in time and resources to keep those skills up to date,” he says.
“This is something I experienced in the first franchise systems I was involved with, and subsequently observed in many others, and which inspired me to create an education offer for franchisors to help them be more effective in their new job functions.”
In addition to an extensive range of franchise education offers, Jason coaches and mentors new and mature brands, and has been appointed to the board of directors of Inspirations Paint, a franchisee-owned chain of 130 home-improvement stores throughout Australia.
Since 2008 he has been a director of the Franchise Council of Australia, and its Deputy Chairman since 2012, and also serves on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC’s) Small Business and Franchising Consultative Committee. Jason is an adjunct professor at Griffith University’s Business School, and has taught its postgraduate course in franchising, as well as taught and developed content for Griffith’s undergraduate franchising course which has been undertaken by students from all over the world.
He is frequently invited to speak to franchise conferences in Australia and overseas, and has written more than 160 articles on franchising and franchising best practise that have been published in magazines and journals in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
“Perfection in franchising is a journey, not a destination,” says Jason. “The environment is constantly changing and those franchisors who are constantly learning to stay relevant, fresh and up to date will be the ones whose franchisees prosper the most.”
Jason delivers a range of education events for different franchisor functions, starting with a general Introduction to Franchising for all newcomers to the sector, to advanced topics such as Managing Franchisee Underperformance and Improving Franchise Advisory Councils.
For more information about Franchise Advisory Centre services and franchise education events, visit: www.franchiseadvice.com.au