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Roxanne Rapske: A Dynamite FranNet Consultant in Hot Franchise Markets

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go into business for yourself, but you don’t know where to start? Look no further than FranNet, one of the world’s leading franchise consulting networks. Nick Lopez and Roxanne Rapske dive into what makes the Texas and Oklahoma markets ripe for franchise ownership. Roxanne dives into her experience as an entrepreneur and how that has translated to her identifying franchise opportunities and who makes for a good fit depending on the skillsets of the potential owner and the day in the life required to be successful within the brand. She explains how she uses the FranNet process and elaborates on the nuances of what has given it the reputation it has in franchising. Roxanne shares some success stories and themes for what made those placements such a great fit all around. In general, Roxanne helps laid-off and transitioning corporate professionals, and as a result, she shares common themes when advising them. Additionally, Roxanne has advised many military veterans, so rightfully, she shares why they become successful franchise owners as, naturally, they are great at learning and executing a process.

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This episode’s guest spent many years in Corporate America. She is a successful entrepreneur, regularly co-hosts the show, Unpredicted Entrepreneur, and is a very successful franchise consultant with one of the top franchise networks in FranNet. Roxanne Rapske, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.

I’m glad to have you. Not everybody necessarily raises their hand and says, “I’m going to be in franchising.” How did franchising find you?

I’m a lot like my clients or our clients that came out of Corporate America. There’s usually an event that takes place that causes us to look for other options. I came out of a mortgage banking background. You are a lot younger than I am, so I don’t know how old you are when the market imploded and we found ourselves in the middle of the great recession but that’s where it all started for me. I was in mortgage banking. I was in wholesale, not in retail. I didn’t deal with the borrowers. I dealt with the brokers that dealt with the borrowers.

I was 100% commissioned. I had $10 million in loans in my pipeline. I woke up the next day and had $400,000 left because the Feds had seized all the wires going out on what they called the alternative product, which is also known as a wire loan. That was the beginning of the end for me. We were chatting about our busy lives. My son was younger. He was eight at the time and my husband and I both worked so much that my mom was living with us helping us raise him. She was like our live-in babysitter/nanny/light housekeeper.

She volunteered for the job in the middle of my pregnancy. Thank God for her because we did work so much and it was that hamster wheel thing. When this all happened, my husband looked at me and said, “We are not living like this anymore. I don’t care what you do. Go back to school, stay home, or volunteer, but figure it out. I don’t care if you started a business, just figure it out.” I started trying to figure it out and that’s how I fell into franchising.

I was in my freshman year of college at Michigan State, but I started a paint company called Spartan College Painters. I remember going into neighborhoods and there were so many foreclosure signs. It was incredible. You are in a corporate position and your commission is tied to clearly clients. You have access to $10 million and all of a sudden it goes to hundreds of thousands of dollars overnight. That is an incredible story and a pretty unpredicted circumstance that eventually led you to franchising. I want to transition a little bit and FranNet is a big part of your story and segued from that unpredicted circumstance. What makes FranNet so special?

A little bit of background before I found FranNet, I didn’t go straight from my corporate position into FranNet. I went from my corporate position into franchise consulting but as you know, there are different groups out there. They do it in different ways. When I first did it, I was not part of a franchise system and at the time, it was very much being independent. There was a little bit of training, and a little bit of support, but it was nothing like being part of a franchise system.

I did that for the first six years and I was looking at other options and got a call from somebody at FranNet that said they were looking for somebody to join their team. My name was on a shortlist and if I was open to a conversation to call them. It was night and day for me. Once I got under the fold of FranNet and the franchise system, it completely changed my business and my income.

I believe FranNet is special because it is a franchise system and there’s so much support and training. If you think of things like a website when you are trying to do all that stuff on your own and manage it and that’s one little piece of the puzzle. I believe FranNet puts a lot of training into their franchise consultants. I think they have been around since 1987. There are systems in place that work. They are always looking to do things better. I can’t say enough about the corporate office and the ethics of the corporate office and the support they give. I do feel like I’m part of the best system.

You were much more entrepreneurial right out of the Great Recession and pretty much solo. It’s very similar to a mom-and-pop in breaking into a new industry. I would assume that was pretty tough trying to compete with all of these established consultants all around the country or even in your market. My point is you were taking arrows in the back, figuring out the system, the blueprint, the process, and even something as simple as the website, as you had mentioned. That’s neat. I didn’t realize that it was your path to FranNet. Thanks for sharing that. FranNet has a very proven matchmaking system and I was hoping you could help share what makes that process what it is so effective.

I think because first of all, there’s a system. There’s a very succinct process on how to take somebody from a corporate position or a job in general, even if it’s a teacher or a physician and to take them all the way over here to business ownership. There’s a process that needs to be followed and it starts with what we call an entrepreneur profile.

There is a very distinct process for taking somebody from a corporate position to business ownership.

What that profile does, is it’s very much like a personality profile, but it’s been massaged for business ownership. In essence, it gives us someone’s entrepreneurial DNA, for a lack of a better way to explain it. It tells us how someone is in business and that’s our jumping-off point with our clients. The next step after that is we sit down with them for a long meeting. It could be up to two hours. We help them build a business model.

I always joke and say when I’m prepping my clients, “I’m going to ask you lots of probing questions,” but if you think about what our role is in this process if you think about what a dating app does and all the information that needs to gather from two people to be able to make a match, it’s the same thing for us. We understand what the franchisors are looking for. We need to get into the psyche of the client to be able to properly make that match.

What are some of those elements that go into the profile? On one end, you have the candidate and who they are. On the other side, you have a business and a franchise opportunity. Every franchise opportunity is a little different and in some cases, very different. What are some of those elements that the entrepreneurial profile is zeroing in on?

It’s a lot. I will give you some examples and a lot of times, it’s things people don’t even think of. I have been doing this for a long time. You hear all kinds of things as you go on about your day in your business. An example would be the Subway owner that wakes up one day and realizes he hates managing high school students. People will buy businesses because of a brand name because there’s a long line out the door at lunch and the sandwiches taste okay.

They think that must be a great business to own, but they don’t think about some of the elements like who’s your labor going to be. Are you going to enjoy mentoring and managing that type of labor? It’s things like that. The first question in that arena is do you want employees? If the answer is yes, then it’s what kind. Let’s walk through the different demographics of an employee. Do you prefer business to business or business to consumer? Are you open to both? How comfortable are you getting out and networking?

It’s because some businesses require a lot of feet on the street and knocking on doors for that type of business development. If that’s not you, then we need to find a different type of business or you need to hire for that position and you need to work it into your working capital. It’s things like that. We walk them through all of it. What do they want out of the business? What personal goals do they want to achieve out of the business? It’s a lot of questions. It’s a lot of note-taking, but we end up producing a one-page PDF. It’s all on one page. It’s very succinct but that becomes their template. They are going through the process and looking at these different businesses. Are they matching what’s on their template?

You have been with FranNet for many years. Is this something that FranNet has always had or is this something that was innovated within your years with FranNet?

I want to say I think a few years now and since I joined FranNet, yes, it’s been part of the process.

Many years of going about these entrepreneurial profiles and building them out. When you are looking at an entrepreneurial profile, what are some of the nuances that you are quickly browsing?

Their level of compliance is because when you join a franchise, you are required to follow a proven system. How compliant is someone? If their compliance is low, it’s not to say that franchising isn’t a good fit for them, but then we need to find a model that is a little bit more emerging or one that’s a little bit more lenient as far as the types of rules and how they need to be followed.

When you join a franchise, you’re required to follow a proven system. If their compliance is low, we need to find a model that is a little bit more emerging or a little bit more lenient as far as the types of rules and how they need to follow them.

One of the things that might come up is the contractor. Somebody that might want to work alone and not follow any rules. Those are some of the things we are looking for. We are looking at financials. That is the big piece of this. Every franchisor has a minimum liquidity requirement and a minimum net worth requirement. We need to make sure that it’s a match there as well.

Why do you think a newer or emerging brand is going to be a better fit for somebody that needs less constraints around? This is precisely how this is done. It is much more refined around the compliance side of things.

If you think about it, think about a McDonald’s. You are going to join McDonald’s, Supercuts, or someone that’s been around for 40-plus years. You are going to sign on the dotted line and they are going to give you your marching orders and you are going to do what they say. A McDonald’s is going to tell you where to buy your refrigerator or your oven. There’s no negotiating. There’s no going and finding it somewhere less expensive.

With a more emerging brand, their business model is in place but they are newer to franchising and they are growing and figuring out the franchising pieces they go. When you join a more emerging brand, you guys are growing together. First of all, there’s a lot more great opportunity as far as territory goes. You get to work closely with that founder in the very beginning.

There’s a lot of opportunity to get in young and maybe even have some impact on the system in some way. If you have got some skillset and you can bring those in and share those. It all depends on the franchise and the way it’s run and who’s running it but I think there’s more opportunity with the younger brands with that growth and that meshing of the younger franchisees with the franchisor as they grow.

Also, participating in that innovation. The business model is worked out and what makes it differentiated in the business or in the marketplace. There’s a blueprint for what that winning formula looks like and plenty of training, support, and marketing. Everything is laid out from an infrastructure standpoint but as you said, those processes from a franchising standpoint are being worked out and there’s much more of the entrepreneurial fill to an emerging brand.

I learned something there with the entrepreneurial profile and how you as a professional are approaching the matchmaking process and what you are so talented at doing. I want to transition a little bit to the Dallas market. That’s where you have focused throughout your career in Fort Worth. What are some elements of your market that you take into account as you are advising your clients?

The first thing that pops into my mind is they are flying off the shelves and I will explain that. I relocated here a couple of years ago from San Diego and San Diego’s more of a bedroom community. The bulk of my franchise consulting was done in Southern California in San Diego. When I got here, there was so much growth here. There are so many companies moving here and people moving here with those companies. The salaries are good here.

There’s money here and over the pandemic, a lot of people didn’t go anywhere. They weren’t taking their normal vacations. They weren’t going out and spending money. Everybody had a little pot of money they were setting aside and they are thinking, “I need to invest this somewhere. What am I going to do with it? Let me look at my options.” It’s interesting to me that some brands very young will be introduced to us and within a few months they will be completely sold out here.

That is the unique thing about this market. I have to have those conversations with my clients when they tend to be a little bit more risk-averse and they want a more proven brand. I have to explain that chances are there’s no territory or if it is, it’s not going to be something that you are excited about because the good territory is most likely already taken.

Now, is that straight across the board for every single thing? No, but that certainly does come into play most of the time. When I had this conversation with my colleague because the Metroplex is so big, the DFW Metroplex, I handle the Dallas side and she handles the Fort Worth side. She’s been here for 30-plus years. She’s always worked in this market, which to her is normal and to me is not because things fell out so fast. She thought it was interesting to get a different perspective because that’s all she knows. She’s been here forever and I think it’s pretty unique to this market. There might be a few other markets that are like this, but I don’t know that it’s as crazy as that is.

What do candidates tell you when they hear you say that they are opportunistic about one opportunity, but the reality is, “It’s a hot territory? It’s probably not available,” and your advising your client on other opportunities that might not be as proven yet, but are still going to be in that trajectory of maturity. It’s only a matter of time. How do you go about that conversation? It doesn’t sound like it’s necessarily an easy one or I’m sure there’s an approach that you take.

When I bring it up, I do it very early on. They live here and they see what’s going on so they get it. I don’t think it surprises them, but I think then it comes down to a matter of, “If I’m going to go jump in with one of these earlier brands, it just needs to make sense. It’s about so much. It’s not only about what the business does and how much money you can make.”

At the end of the day, it also has to be a cultural fit. You need to believe in the brand and the people that are going to be supporting you. The other franchisees that are on board, however many they are, need to feel like these are going to be good partners for them in their business. It depends on the individual and it depends on the franchise. As we give each one of our clients multiple choices, the 3 to 4 concepts to start out with. It’s not to say that those 3 or 4 are the only ones that we look at. That’s just our jumping-off point.

The franchise has to be a cultural fit. You need to believe in the people that are going to be supporting you.

They get a chance to look at very different businesses and compare them against each other. When you go through that process and you look at very different businesses and different founders and different corporate teams that are going to be supporting you, I think you are able to figure it out for yourself as you go along and with me coaching them. It’s a process.

That’s early on. You are intentional about that. That is expectation setting and experience is going to build that into your approach. I know in painting there are important elements that we need to communicate upfront because of the nature of whatever it is. The better we can communicate, that is an important talking point. Starting to help somebody realize that, “What isn’t necessarily very established doesn’t mean that there aren’t very quality opportunities.” It’s a matter of, “How do we identify them?”

I know FranNet does an incredible job of only allowing a certain caliber of franchise system into the portfolio. There are so many different franchises. I was told early on in my career, “I am not quite yet ready. You got to come back.” I can attest to that. I’m sure from your standpoint, there’s a sense of confidence around the opportunities that are allowed into the portfolio and that you are introducing to clients. Furthermore, you go about your due diligence and that entrepreneurial profile is a big part of how you go about that matchmaking process. Would you mind sharing with me how you go about building a franchise profile?

I prefer to sit down face-to-face with my client, but sometimes we do it virtually and it’s a matter of sitting with them and asking them questions. The first question I ask them is, “What does this business need to do for you?” I keep asking until they run out of answers. The next thing we talk about is what are your personal goals. We get into types of employees, location and sales or business development skills, and investment level.

We walk through the different demographics of franchises. I’d recommend the buckets like home services, working with seniors and children, or health and fitness. We then talk about service-based versus location-based and different than that. To get through that whole meeting, that profile, it takes anywhere between 1.5 hours and 2 hours.

It’s a lot of why and what if. It’s getting down to the fundamentals of fit. You can see that the matchmaking process has many years of experience behind it and a lot of science and systems on the FranNet side. I can tell you as a brand within FranNet, there is a caliber of candidates that we are introduced to and we can see this due diligence process. I appreciate it from my standpoint and getting into some of these nuances, I’m appreciating it even more. Your clients, you have had to have had some success stories that you love. What are some tips that we can take and apply from those success stories?

You brought up a good point that I forgot to mention. Our model is that we are FranNet franchisee’s markets. We live and work in the same communities that our clients do. When I’m sitting down with somebody, I’m sitting down with my neighbor. They might live in my city, or they might live two cities away but it’s a different type of relationship when you live and work in the community or when you are well-networked because not only can you provide things for your client as far as matchmaking. You also have local referrals and local folks that can help them through this process and then even help them once they get into business.

Some of my most successful clients, sometimes my husband hears me talking to my clients. He’s like, “I can’t tell if you are trying to talk people into starting a business or out of it. Starting a business is hard and you know this. You have done it right. Things are going to go wrong. It can be emotional at times. I believe you have to have the grit to start a business and stay in business.

You have to have grit to start a business and stay in business.

My clients have grit and they have had to do things that make them uncomfortable, but they have kept at it. I would say the number one thing is following the franchise’s system and leaning on the franchise. When you need help, ask the question. Lean on the franchise, lean on the other franchisees in the system. They are there to support you. My clients that do that well do very well.

Success stories come from grit and commitment to the system and leaning on support. I can tell you firsthand as a franchisor having opened all across the country and seeing both sides of that, there is a 1,000% correlation between a successful franchise owner and one that is not. That one factor or all those factors that you mentioned is the core of a successful franchise owner. Grit, commitment to the system, and leaning on support.

That seems so counterintuitive when you seek franchise ownership for entrepreneurship because entrepreneurship gives you time, freedom, independence, and everything that entrepreneurialism stands for. Granted in a franchise system, it is different in that you do have a playbook and that winning formula. Being a little bit too entrepreneurial can get you in trouble. Entrepreneurialism in general, but specifically, franchise ownership, I always talk about humility. You are serving clients, your employees, and your community. As a franchise owner, for a period of time, you have to come second to the business model and a little bit of your ego and ask for help in leaning on support but the reality is it’s a little ironic because that’s what you invested in.

You purchased the recipe and the secret sauce. If you don’t want to use the recipe or the secret sauce in your recipe, then you shouldn’t pay the money for it. If you are investing in it for a reason, you are not investing in it to just stick it on a shelf and then go do it the way that you think it should be done.

I could talk to you about this forever. You have worked with many executives that are laid off or transitioning. What have you learned from advising those individuals?

I have learned that no matter how good you are at what you do and how much money you made and what your background is, starting a business is always going to be scary. This is a whole new world and not everybody can make that transition. I always say that I believe the folks that have been in sales or that have worked on commission and their salary was mainly from the commission, not a big fat salary make that transition a lot easier than those that didn’t because you have to believe in yourself. It’s scary to do it on your own.

I have executives that have transitioned very well. I have somewhere fear got the best of them and they couldn’t make the transition at all. There are all different shapes and sizes out there in that executive arena. Not everybody can be humble and make the business first. It depends on the person whether or not they are going to be able to make that transition. I have some amazing stories and I have some that they will keep going back and looking for another job because that’s their comfort zone, even though it might not be where they are happy.

Business ownership is the ultimate personal development course. It’s constantly humbling you and everybody has different traits in who they are, and that process is different for everybody. I can agree. The fact that you said somebody that has a commission background is used to having to create a portfolio from scratch and here, no. We have been starting a lot of our training around not only the amount of leads that you are expected to get starting out but the amount of noes that you are expected to get starting out.

That expectation right up front is a part of the process. That comfort is different for everybody. Thanks for sharing that. It makes so much sense. It is a beautiful part of what we get to do to relate to and help change the lives of people from all different walks. Those journeys are different and unique. I commend you for what you do. This process is much more than buying a franchise.

That’s the other thing. When you say that, I always say that franchises are not purchased. They are awarded because I want my clients to understand that it’s a two-way process. Not only are they checking you out, but you are also in turn checking them out. It needs to be a good fit on both sides. I think that’s a very important element and even though you are not going on an interview when you are having these calls, I always encourage them to treat them like it is because you always want to put your bed foot forward and a franchisor can always say, “No, thank you. Next.”

Culture is so important and any good franchise system is going to protect that culture. I would hope that no franchise system’s wanting to give territory to give it. We are evaluating the DNA of that individual. The things that you mentioned. The grit, the coachability, the humility, and the culture fit because we want people to be successful and it’s much more than only buying a franchise. It’s an awarding process.

I appreciated what you said that your husband said, “Are you trying to talk people into franchising or talk them out?” It’s not for everybody, but when all these things come together, it is a beautiful thing and it’s an honor to be a part of most certainly. You work with many veterans. Why do they make such good franchise owners?

The number one thing a franchisor is looking for is someone to follow a proven system and veterans have that ingrained in them and the ability to follow systems while serving. That’s what they eat, breathe, and sleep. We have a client who put it this way. He said when he got franchising, he realized that the franchisor was similar to his commanding officer and he felt unit cohesion with the other franchisee.

One of the pains for him of transitioning into civilian life was not knowing who had his back. Now, he has a great trusting relationship with the other franchisees and he knows who has his back. I thought that was perfect coming from a veteran and in his words. The other skills are mission-oriented, never quit attitude, determination, leadership, and communication skills. It all transfers well into business ownership. These folks have grit. They have done and seen things that none of us will ever do or see.

You have had a successful entrepreneurial journey. What are some of the things you fall back on and that you lean on some lessons from your entrepreneurial career?

The biggest one that pops into my mind is don’t try to do everything yourself. I told you when I did this, I didn’t join a franchise. If you are not an IT person, don’t try to build your website. If you don’t like sitting down at your desk for hours and crunchy numbers, don’t try to do your bookkeeping because we all need to focus on our highest and best use. We each have one and whatever that is, that needs to be our role in that business. We need to get the rest of it delegated out because the only thing you are going to do when you do that is you are going to hold yourself back. We all do it. We try to bootstrap and save some money, but you are going to slow your progress.

That time could be spent doing things that earn you a return beyond whatever you are pulling your hair out about but it is a hard thing when you are evaluating that opportunity cost. “I need to pay a bookkeeper X amount or I can save X amount,” but the reality is you can put that time into your business and earn it back.

If you are concerned about the dollars, then a good approach would be, “I need to put in extra time because I know there’s going to be an ROI.” That ROI will at least pay off what I’m paying a bookkeeper. It’s some aspects of the business that I do enjoy. You have a passion and a love for franchising. Why do you love franchising so much?

I’m drinking the punch. It made a huge difference in my business a few years ago, night and day and I believe in the system. I believe not all of us are entrepreneurial and creative and God bless those of you that are like you. Without creative entrepreneurs that are the ultimate risk-takers, there would be no franchises. It all starts with an entrepreneur in a business model that works well, is duplicatable, and it becomes a franchise.

I’m not creative and I know that I can execute. I know that I can follow a system. I want the system. I want the recipe. I’m the same way when I cook. I am not a cook. I have got my recipe out and my measuring cups and I’m scraping off the cup and the tablespoon. I follow the recipe and when I do, it comes out great, and when I don’t, not so much.

I call it the crazy entrepreneur and the smart entrepreneur. The crazy ones go out and take the arrows in the back and the smart ones fall along and invest in a franchise. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show. Thank you for hopping on.

Thanks for having me.

If anyone was interested in getting in touch with you, how could they do that?

They can find me on LinkedIn. I am the only Roxanne Rapske. That’s the best way to find me. You can also find me on or you can find our podcast anywhere you listen to your podcast and it’s called Unpredicted Entrepreneur.

Check it out. I appreciate you checking out this blog. Please like it and subscribe to learn from more thought leaders, franchising businesses, and high performance. I learned a lot. We covered so much valuable information. We’d love to hear what you have to say. As always, level up.

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About Roxanne Rapske

With years of franchise and business ownership experience under my belt, I’m ready and able to help you find the right franchise opportunity in Dallas. As an expert-level Dallas franchise consultant, I use FranNet’s proven franchise matching system and my own unique experiences from the entrepreneurial business world. At no cost and no-obligation, you can schedule a free franchise consultation with me. With my expert franchise guidance, I can match you to a franchise business in Dallas that offers the best personal and professional fit for you.