Going to Franchising School, with Tutor Doctor Franchisee Shawn Goldsmith

I’m excited to welcome Shawn Goldsmith to this week’s episode of Franchise Secrets to take a deep dive into his career teaching franchising at Cornell and running his own franchises as well. I love speaking to Shawn because his perspective is so much wider than most due to the incredible breadth of his experience. Not only is he in franchising, he’s also heavily involved in the supply side and he comes from an academic background as well.


Shawn earned his MBA in investment banking, but after graduating he took a route that was foreign to most of his classmates by jumping into franchising rather than go the more typical route of banking, consulting, tech, etc. He has made his mark on this industry by revolutionizing the way franchising is taught with a hands on, experience based approach, and by upgrading technical solutions that can make franchises more efficient. He always had a love for the franchise business model, and he found that he could deliver more value in this arena as someone who thinks differently than he could by joining his peers in an echo chamber where everyone was very similar. 


Join us and you may find insights in areas you hadn’t even thought of before!


00:00-05:22 - Shawn’s background, education and mentors 

05:22-09:25 - Teaching students through doing with Tutor Doctor 

10:32-15:26 - Consulting and the advantage of thinking differently 

16:01-21:07 - Tech & the supply side 

23:38-30:49 - B2B & B2C sales, and the importance of getting the language right 

Learning Through Doing with Tutor Doctor

Classroom learning has its place, but anyone who has gone through school and come out on the other side will tell you that they learn more in the first week, month or year on the job than they ever did in school. There’s only so much you can actually learn when you’re not in the thick of things, whether it be as a doctor, lawyer or entrepreneur. 


Seeing this area where traditional education falls short, Shawn decided to build a hands on training program through his company Tutor Doctor, where he trains his students while they are running their own franchise. This allows students to get real, hands on experience, all while building a business that they can take ownership of at the end of their training period. This is more than an education, this gives you a bona fide resume, and potentially equity by the time you graduate. Now how does that sound compared to racking up student loan debt!?


The Advantage of Not Blending In

After graduating business school, Shawn had a choice. He could easily have gone the investment banking route which he was trained for and made a great living. No one would have blamed him. But something was tugging at him to do something more unique and control his own life. 


By seeing things different, Shawn realized that he could have a bigger impact and a more rewarding career by taking his own path. First he built a ton of experience in tech, and then, again wishing to diverge and go a different route, he left silicon valley in order to bring his knowledge to a world that was not so well versed in his area of expertise. By going this route he put himself in a place to deliver more value to a wider range of people. Rather than working in tech in San Fran with a bunch of other techies and living in an echo chamber, he brought his knowledge to franchise owners, helping their business in a way they never would have been able to on their own and building a huge career for himself in the process.


Finding the Pain Points and Speaking the Language

Sales. Sales, sales, sales, sales, sales. There’s no business owner who will not pay you an arm and a leg if you can bring in the conversions and help them make more money. In order to do that, you need to help them find their customers pain points and speak to them in their own language. How can you demonstrate that you’re capable of doing so? Find your target’s pain points and speak to them in their language. 


In this episode Shawn explained to me selling his services to a winery. Through research he knew that the best area to help wineries was in their DTC, or Direct To Consumer sales. This is by far the biggest margin, so increasing these sales helps a winery more than restaurants and wholesalers. By demonstrating to them that 1. He knows this and 2. He actually understands the lingo (“DTC”), he is proving that he understands their pain, has requisite experience, and is someone they can trust. That is the type of person we all want to work with.

Connect With Shawn

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