By Leslie Hughes, California Business Journal
The world of franchising is saturated with struggles.
However, there is a solution to avert the maddening complexities struggles: DCV Franchise Group, a renowned consulting firm known for seamlessly guiding franchisees and franchisors through the complex process.
How does the global firm work its magic? This is best understood by rewinding things back to the beginning of DCV nearly 15 years ago.
Larry Schwartz, a current DCV Franchise Group partner, shares the beginnings of DCV, prior to it becoming a SingerLewak subsidiary, and how he came to be a part of the success the company is today.
“Reg Byrd and I met through a business associate and developed a strategic relationship,” he says. “DCV provided a very valuable service on the finance side for clients for whom I was providing franchise consulting to.”
Schwartz’s franchise consulting firm was providing services in L.A., and Byrd was operating DCV, also in L.A.. The wheels in both Byrd’s and Schwartz’s heads began turning.
“We saw a synergy to grow our businesses and bring added value to clients,” Schwartz says. “We found an opportunity to combine our businesses into a full-service, turn-key professional service to franchising businesses — both the consulting and financing pieces under one roof.”
Thus, the creation of DCV Franchise Group.
The partnership began in 2012, and just a few years later, the company was acquired by SingerLewak. Over the last two years it has, as Schwartz says, “risen to become one of the most respected and prominent firms in the franchise service industry.”
DCV Franchise Group provides guidance for both franchisees and franchisors. For 99% of franchisees, this comes in the form of “facilitating financing.” Anthony Byrd, EVP of Business Development for DCV, says the most difficult part for franchisees is that “most of them have never done this before. It can be daunting to walk into a lender on your own and say ‘Hey, Mr. Banker, can you help me with a small business loan?’ That’s scary. However, having someone like DCV takes the elephant out of the room, which is the financing challenge. We can underwrite the loan ahead of time, write your business plan ahead of time, and bring in our own lenders. It’s seamless.”
In fact, DCV can underwrite a loan in just 24 hours, Byrd says. And at that point, he adds, “we are able to tell them exactly what they qualify for. We can narrow down exactly, based on funding, what type of franchise you can get into.”
According to Byrd, the top financial tip for franchisees is to “get pre-qualified at the very early stages of this process. If you try and get financing later on, it will be a big challenge.”
“It’s analogous to buying a home,” Schwartz adds. “You don’t want to look at $1 million homes when you can only afford a $500,000 one.”
When it comes to franchisors, it is key to understand just what it takes to be a franchisor — “understanding how to build and develop the franchise structure and how to manage and grow the franchise system once it is built,” Schwartz says.
And, unfortunately, many new franchisors just don’t have this knowledge. Schwartz says that they see “new franchisors going to market ill-prepared that do not have any of the components in place to properly secure franchisees, to properly on-board franchisees, to properly train franchisees, to properly support franchisees with everything from site selection to build-out and grand openings to marketing and operational issues.”
If that infrastructure is not in place and the franchisor does not have the knowledge of what it takes and the understanding of the industry and how to execute all those things, “chances are 9.5 out of 10 that the franchisor will not succeed,” Schwartz says.
“It is highly ill-advised for anybody attempting to franchise a business without the help of a reputable franchise consulting and advisory firm.”
And why should DCV Franchise Group be the firm that a franchisee chooses? There are a few reasons. For one, according to Schwartz, “We do not take on clients for the sake of taking on clients — we are very selective about the clients that we take on and the concepts we work with.” By being this picky about their clients, DCV is able to ensure that they’re destined for success.
Secondly, DCV is what Schwartz calls “very high-touch.” Which means? “We believe that consultants should consult. We spend a lot of time with our clients both in person, through consistent and regular communications, and through developing a very close working relationship where we become an extension of their team.”
Thirdly, DCV does not just send a client on their way once the franchise is established. “We go far beyond the transactional part of the project or the deliverables and we provide a great deal of consulting and advisory work for our clients,” Byrd says. “We teach them how to operate the business, and we help them manage the business once it’s launched.”
DCV Franchise Group focuses on turn-key services. In fact, it is “the only end-to-end, turn-key professional services provider in the franchise industry that provides everything to our clients under one roof,” Schwartz says.
And everything that is needed can vary from person to person. Says Schwartz, “We offer solutions that range from outsourced franchise sales and development to outsourced operations management of the franchise system and beyond. So it’s not just building the system — we’ve got the depth and the experience and the resources to help manage it and grow it by offering those additional service lines.”
In fact, DCV has seen that approximately 50% of their clients have already had experience in working with other consultants and advisors, and have been left feeling unsatisfied. As Byrd says, “They have unfortunately not received the level of services, infrastructure, and guidance that they should have, so and they come to DCV to finish the job.”
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