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Episode 145

Franchise Excellence with Ashley Gundlach, President of British Swim School

Build Your Own or Franchise Your Dreams?

This week on She Talks Business, we have a new guest, Ashley Gundlach, president of British Swim School, a North American Learn to Swim franchise. 

Unsure if you should build your business from scratch or use the support of a franchise? This episode will help you discover the pros and cons of owning a franchise, the flexibility and limitations, and understand the dynamic between franchisors and individual owners. This information is crucial for aspiring business owners, whether you crave the freedom of building something new or the fast track offered by a proven franchise model.

The 80/20 Rule

There is a popular principle called the Pareto principle, which is about understanding what 20% is driving the other 80%. When you focus on this in your business, you can see what is being done differently by that 20%. As certain businesses grow and scale in a franchise, the company must also develop and scale its processes as well. The support and processes helps to build a runway for all the franchisees that will grow after them.

Managing Relationships

When you have 150+ entrepreneurs with every personality type, it’s a unique working relationship between the franchise and franchisees. By being transparent, franchises can have honest conversations about where their limitations are when it comes to supporting them. Whether it’s a legal or structural limitation, there’s always a way to compromise because the franchise doesn’t succeed if its franchisees don’t.

Exploring A Franchise

Any good franchise brand will follow a diligent process to educate a potential franchise owner about their brand. The process should be risk-free for anybody interested in exploring franchise brands. Throughout the process, you’ll get a sense of what it will be like to be a franchisee of that brand and be exposed to the business’s operations. If you’re exploring a franchise process that doesn’t feel like this, take it as a warning sign. 

Signs A Franchise Isn’t For You

  1. Connecting with others. If you have difficulty empathizing with others, you’ll most likely have a challenging time inspiring your team and connecting with your customers. 
  2. Continuous learning. You must be open to learning from other owners and the brand to run a profitable business. 
  3. Grit and resiliency. Every entrepreneur knows you must be resilient when owning a business. A franchise is no different. Problems are going to come up that you will have to solve. 

Pros and Cons of Franchising


  • You’re not starting from scratch.
  • You have a support team and mentorship.
  • You have access to marketing professionals.
  • You have a network of peers, so you’re not in it alone. 


  • Franchises have proven processes, so you can’t do whatever you want overnight; it has to be a collaboration.
  • There is a lot of legal involvement to protect both sides, which can slow some things down.

If you are considering franchise ownership, talk with people who are doing it, whether they are people who love what they’re doing or feel dissatisfied. By speaking with them, you get to see the complete picture of what it’s like and whether you can see yourself in those individuals. This gives you further validation of how to move forward after seeing both sides and multiple personalities. 

What’s in This Episode

  • The guardrails of franchise ownership
  • Traits of successful franchise owners
  • Benefits of franchise ownership

What To Do Next

  1. Subscribe to receive this podcast and regular weekly strategies to grow and shape your business. You’ll also be the first to know about upcoming courses, programs, and exclusive LIVE training.
  2. Join the conversation on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn and share your insights from the show.

Where To Find Ashley

You can find Ashley on Facebook, LinkedIn, or her website.

Up Next

Next week, we we’ll be chatting with Ali Marks and doing an Ask Me Anything!

Franchise Excellence with Ashley Gundlach

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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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