by John Francis

How a Mastermind Group Changed My Life

Mar 15, 2022 8:00:00 AM Franchisors, Franchising Help

Looking back on my decades of experience in the franchise industry, I believe there is one thing that contributed to my success more than anything else: my participation in a business owners’ mastermind group.

Get on the Fast Track to Franchise Success

I joined our local group when I was just 19 years old and stuck with it for almost 25 years. We didn’t call them mastermind groups back then, but that’s exactly what it was. It was called The Inner Circle, and it was a peer group for business owners based in Minnesota. My father was involved in the formation of the group, along with a colleague of his named Norm.

I was young at the time The Inner Circle was launching, but I had a job working for my family's businesses and wanted in on the experience. Norm agreed to let me in provided that I agree to two things: I participate and don’t take it for granted.

The tagline of The Inner Circle was “Better Business, Richer Life,” and, speaking personally, I can say that my participation in the group led to both. 

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Professionally, the group helped me navigate the family business as it evolved from a small, entrepreneurial company to a large, international and publicly-traded corporate business. I survived that transition, and was able to navigate all of the growing pains and political issues that resulted from the shift because of the support I had in this group.  Then when it was time to sell the business - which was completely unexpected - the group was instrumental in helping me navigate that transition in a positive way - not easy!

Personally, it provided support when both my father and brother passed away, as well as helped me adjust to corporate life as an up-and-coming executive. Over the years, I had a front-row seat to real people in my group and the changes they were going through in their own lives and businesses: marriages, divorces, kids, hiring, firing and business acquisitions. I got exposed to a lot - and it provided me with a rich environment for learning and sharing.

Being a member of the Inner Circle group had such a profound impact on my career. In fact, I don’t know where I’d be today without the support and knowledge I gained through my participation.

A Mastermind Group for Franchise Professionals

Ever since that time, I’ve dreamed of setting up a mastermind group that was geared towards the unique needs of franchisors. Nothing like that had ever existed - and I believed it would be a powerful tool for franchise professionals who were building and growing their businesses.

The problem was that setting up a location-based, in-person group like the Inner Circle didn’t make sense - there wouldn’t be enough franchise professionals in any given area to create a successful group. And up until a few years ago, many people weren’t comfortable enough with online technologies to participate in a group over Zoom.

Then COVID happened and 10 years of technology adoption happened in the course of six months. 

In 2021, ZorForum capitalized on this trend and did exactly what I had dreamed of doing years ago: they established a mastermind group for franchisors. Because the groups are hosted online, franchisors from anywhere in the world are able to participate in the meetings. The benefit is that it provides for a much more diverse group - and allows for the creation of mastermind groups that will provide the richest experience and the greatest networking opportunities for its members. 

With a background that runs deep in both franchising and mastermind groups,  ZorForum asked me to be their first franchisee - which I gladly accepted! I know the impact these groups can have on a person’s career and life because I’ve experienced the benefits myself. I can say without a doubt that my participation in a mastermind group made me more successful and helped me avoid mistakes that I would have made otherwise.

Join My ZorForum Mastermind Group

It was a great experience for me - and now I get to pass along those benefits to other franchise professionals, as well.  If you are a franchisor that wants to network with like-minded professionals, and be part of a community that will help you grow and succeed at a faster rate, I encourage you to give us a try. You can learn more about ZorForum and how the mastermind groups work here.

John Francis

Written by John Francis

About the Franchise Expert


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John Francis is an enthusiastic, engaging business advisor, and an entertaining public speaker for franchise brands because he speaks from experience and he speaks from the heart. Franchising is in his blood, and his parents were true pioneers in the industry, turning their family haircutting business into a 1,000-salon franchise empire. He has been a franchisee and a franchisor, and has a deep understanding of the issues both face. Engage John as an advisor or to speak at your event, and you and your franchisees will learn how to look at your business in new, positive, and profitable ways.

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