Simplifying Franchising, with Liberty Tax’s founder John Hewitt

On today’s episode of Franchise Secrets I welcome an old friend and mentor, John Hewitt, multi award winner and one of the true legends in the history of franchising. John made his mark with Jackson Hewitt before finally cashing in and starting on his next venture, Liberty Tax, which he grew to over 4,000 locations in the first 12 years. 


Over the years he’s mentored countless individuals in how to run franchises, myself included, and I can personally speak to the profound impact he’s had on my life and the lives of many of my close friends. John paved the way for many of us that have come after him, and without his insights I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful in my own ventures. 


John’s insistence on making the lives of his franchisees as easy and straightforward as possible is the backbone of his success. John’s love for his work emanates from him. He’s notoriously accessible with an endless amount of time and energy for the people he works with, and has a natural candor that his franchisees love. Join us today to hear his insights and learn from one of the true masters of his craft! 




5:36 - If you don’t do things differently, you’re going to fail 

 10:37 - You have to make things as simple as possible for your franchisees 

 23:39 - Seeing bad news as an opportunity to learn 

 35:49 - The importance of enjoying the journey 

 43:26 - If your franchisees are happy, you will be successful 

“Genius is making complicated things simple” 


One of the points that John stresses in this episode is the importance as a franchisor of developing a system that average people can operate. Not everyone is a superstar, not everyone is a self starter and knows what it takes to succeed. If your system isn’t able to be executed by a B or C level student, you’re not going to find success because hardly anyone will be able to follow your system and flourish. 


I remember how simple John’s strategies were to execute. There was literally a plan for every single day of my life. It completely took the guesswork out of building my business and allowed me to instead focus all my energy on executing a plan that I knew would lead me to success, as it had many others. That’s what made John so successful, and it’s what I try to replicate in my own business. 


The Need to Innovate 


Not every innovation is guaranteed to lead you to success. In fact, most will fall flat. But not innovating at all will lead to failure every time. 


If John had made Jackson Hewitt exactly in the model of H&R Block, what would have been the reason for any customer to come to him? Why would someone buy a service from a small, unproven entity rather than the big, nationwide, trusted empire? You need to draw people in by doing something differently, by going the extra mile for your customers, by giving them an experience that the bigger competitors aren’t matching. You’re not guaranteed success, but if you can do that, you give yourself a fighting chance. If you simply blend in, you may as well close up shop before you even start. 


Enjoying the Journey 


One of John’s hallmarks, which I talk about in this episode, is how available he always is to his franchisees. Everyone feels like they get personalized attention, and he really cares what his people have to say. By focusing on making his people happy from top to bottom, John has created multiple empires and a fortune in the process. 


John has done all of this because he truly loves his work. He has no intentions of retiring… why would he? He already does what he loves every day, makes an impact on people’s lives and is changing the world in the process. He’s not looking to cash in on a big payday, he’s looking to keep doing what he loves and enjoying every day of it. That’s what life is all about, and as soon as you figure that out, you will already have found success. 

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