Troy Hazard’s 5-Point Survival Guide to Future-Proofing Your Franchise Business

We’d share all of Troy Hazard’s blog posts if we had the room! Troy’s most recent article really spoke to us — as 2019 is just around the corner and we’re all in planning mode.

If you’re not familiar with Troy, he’s a killer keynote speaker for a LOT of reasons, but his vast background in franchising and business is unique and invaluable. In his 29 year career, he has helped steer 12 companies through 4 major economic shifts. And following is his 5-Point Survival Guide to Future-Proofing Your Business through the next, inevitable, financial correction:

What goes around comes around – are you ready for the next financial correction?

It’s a clear day, the sun is shining, birds are chirping, dogs and cats are playing together, a unicorn just danced for you on your front lawn. Life is goooood.

There are clouds in the distance, but they will pass. There is too much good energy around you, what can possibly spoil this perfect day? (Insert deep joyous sigh and blissful smile).

I had one of those days in 1996, right before I lost $1,000,000.

Sorry for spoiling your picture-perfect day, but for the rest of this story think of me as the ‘equalizer’. I’m the guy that just might take a speed bump or two out of your future, and have you turn a rocky road in your business into a racetrack.

I have the good fortune of speaking to hundreds of business owners each year as I go about my engagements, and with many of the conversations there is a recurring theme: “We’re so glad the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 is behind us and we’ve been able to recover, I’m so grateful that’ll never happen again.”

Here’s the bad news. Yes, it will happen again, and no, being ‘grateful’ is not a strategy to survive it.

Going back to the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent great depression of the 1930’s the economy has worked in cycles: boom – bust – recovery. And when you look back over the timeline, it comes around every 7 -10 years. Even if you cast your mind back over the last 40 years you’ll remember significant moments such Black Monday in 1987, the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, the Tech Wreck of 2000, and the most recent GFC of 2008.

So what does this all mean? We’re overdue for another economic correction. Will you be ready?

Let me preface this by saying I am not an economist, nor am I am accountant. So outside of what you pick up from my personal experiences and business journey, you should seek your own professional advice with a financial advisor.

What I have done is steer 12 companies through 4 major economic shifts over 29 years and survived. So let me share with you my 5-point survival guide to Future-Proofing Your Business through the next, inevitable, financial correction.

Survival tip #1 – Stand in your truth

Right about now 90% of business owners are NOT preparing for an economic shift, believing “what could possibly go wrong?”

Market corrections do not come without signs; we just ignore them because we are afraid of the change that correction will bring. Truth is, if we really look into the metrics of our business we can see the shifts happening. Truth is, that if we listen to market and industry conversations and feedback we can feel when something is not right. Truth is, we sometimes just don’t want to admit it.

In our businesses, we have a 5-year rolling strategic plan. I want to be able to measure what is going on in the business so I can see trends in the industry. Without the strategic plan, I have no benchmark. Without a benchmark, I can’t spot a market trend.

On a rolling 12-monthly basis, I know the metrics of our leads, to deal flow, to revenue, to cash flow, to future revenue opportunities. And I have that data going back 20 years because I want to not only spot the trend I want to be on the leading edge of that trend.

Survivor tip #2 – In obstacles, there are opportunities

Because we had the relevance of data and the clarity of metrics in our business in 2006, we could spot some changes in the market. It was clear something was about to shift, but not clear enough to us as to how big it would be. In 2007 that became more obvious, so we shifted focus.

We had always had a desire to move our business from my home country of Australia to the USA, but could not get the traction. The market crash of 2008 gave us the opportunity.

Prior to 2008 it was tough to get a call back or a meeting, from anyone. They were all too busy to talk to me. And if they did answer the call the only response was, “when you move here, call us again.”

And then the music stopped. That was our opportunity to ask for the next dance. With the downturn people now had time to talk, and they were looking for ‘new’ and ‘next’. They needed the fresh ideas and street smarts of someone that had survived a shift like 2008 to partner with. My $1,000,000 loss of 22 years earlier turned out to be our opportunity in an obstacle.

For us, one of the secrets of keeping ahead of the curve is to anticipate what the market is going to need next, and seek to deliver that today.

In a market shift there is always opportunity.

Survivor tip #3 – The worst time to ask for money is when you need it.

We’ve learnt that there really is only one way to ride out the financial pressure of an economic correction and that is to have the cash to do that.

There is NO value in you scrambling for money after the fact. Be clear, in a correction, you’re friendly banker will be under pressure to keep their lending ratios in check, and you can bet the first thing they will do is seek to transfer some of that pressure to you.

I’ve learnt over the years that solid money management advice does not come from your bank. Instead I’ve chosen to surround myself with quality professional advisors that do not have self-interest in my finances, only my future.

For us, it’s not only about wealth creation it’s about wealth protection through an economic cycle.

Survivor tip #4 – Solve a problem

When times are good, deal flow in any business is aplenty. When times are tough, you’d want to be that person who solves a problem for your clients, because that’s all they are focused on.

When a market focus shifts, consider what your focus should be. A market positioning for your business that is laser-focused on the value you bring to the problem you solve for that client is your value proposition.

And you’d want to have some credibility behind the promise you make of the problem you’ll solve.

Survivor tip #5 – Have clarity and conviction of your vision

Over our years in business we’ve been able to develop a clear road map to be one step ahead of a shift, a market change, or an industry trend. You can only do that if you have a distinct clarity of vision, and a conviction to pursue that vision.

We create vision in our business by starting with personal vision. What do YOU want out of life, what’s important to you and your family, and then how is your business going to help you deliver on that personal vision.

With personal vision in place, it’s then so much easier to match your business vision to suit your personal vision. This way you’re building your future bottom up, not top down. It’s not about blue sky and unicorns. The grounding of a personal vision for your future answers one simple question that lies deep within all of us – what will make me happy?

If you can answer that, then the speed bumps of a rocky road might not seem as rough to ride.

Economic corrections don’t need to be rough they just need to be respected. To Future-Proof our business we need to simply learn from the past, apply that to the present, to protect our future, because what goes around comes around.

5 questions to ask to ‘self check’

Are you looking at your business in truth or fear?

The market and the economy are driven by the human emotions of fear and greed, and panic or pride. Face your future standing in your truth.

Can you spot an obstacle in an opportunity?

Are you ready to run into the burning building? Opportunity comes from obstacles, but only for the brave.

Cash is king. Do you have enough?

He, who holds the gold, wins. In an economic shift it never rains, it pours, so have your bucket ready because you’ll want to be ‘liquid’.

Positioning is everything, what is yours?

How will you position yourself in an economic correction in the eyes of your client, what specific problem will you solve for them?

Do you have clarity of vision?

If you want to avoid the accident, be clear on the road ahead. What is your vision of the future, beyond the inevitable economic shift?

Headshot of Franchise Event Keynote Speaker, Troy Hazard
  • Troy really hit it out of the park! He listened to understand the theme and message that we wanted to deliver from an overall conference and content perspective and hit it on all cylinders. Troy has unique, real-world experience both as a franchisor and franchisee, as well as consulting with franchisors around the world. He spent the time on the front end leading into the conference finding out our objectives and then determining how his message and what he's passionate about fit together to create a meaningful experience for the audience. And so, it wasn't about him, it was about them. Rather than theory or an esoteric type delivery, Troy delivers real-world franchise perspective, and it really made a difference, really made a difference. I heard that from a number of our attendees. So, I just can't recommend Troy highly enough. If you’re looking for a keynote speaker, give serious and strong consideration to Troy Hazard, because he brings it.

    Brian Schnell, Partner & Chair of Franchise Practice Faegre Baker Daniels
  • Troy was well prepared to present to our audience. His presentation was both motivational and educational while delivering truly actionable next steps for attendees. On stage, Troy is super-energized and he connected really well with the audience leveraging his personal experiences and business acumen. I highly recommend Troy!

    Mark Fisher, CEO Cyclebar
  • Troy Hazard was our keynote speaker for an annual meeting many of our top producing franchisees attend and WOW! – did he nail it! He had clearly come prepared and knew exactly what we had hoped our franchisees would leave the session with. Troy was one of the highest-ranking speakers we have ever had for this event. He truly understood the Great Clips culture and connected with our franchisees in a meaningful way. He was also easy to work with in every way. We will definitely be working with Troy Hazard in the future and recommend him to anyone who needs a keynote speaker that truly understands the franchise world.

    Lora Peterson, Director, Great Clips University & Events Great Clips
  • Thank you for bringing Troy to Great Clips! He was phenomenal and extremely engaging in a ‘how does this actually apply’ way!

    Bob Crowther, Franchisee Great Clips
  • Troy Hazard recently delivered a fantastic opening keynote at our annual conference.  I especially appreciated Troy’s message on how it is not  ‘different for me in my area’.  The feedback coming in from our Master Franchisees is overwhelmingly positive and I would highly recommend Troy to any franchisor looking to really ignite and inspire their franchisees to take personal responsibility and create a comprehensive vision for their own success in life and in business. 

    Rich Kissane, CEO Jan-Pro International
  • Troy Hazard delivered fantastic opening and closing keynotes at our annual Restoration Retreat and we especially appreciated the wonderful way he authentically connected with our franchisees. His heartfelt stories of succeeding - and failing - in many different businesses created the opportunity for our team to really open up. Several of our franchisees shared that they actually had epiphanies during Troy’s sessions. I’d highly recommend Troy to any franchise system interested in creating an opportunity for their franchisees to really dig in and take a look at their businesses and themselves.

    Courtney Nicholas, CEO FRSTeam
  • Troy Hazard delivered a dynamic, targeted keynote for our franchisees that was a direct hit in terms of the messages we wanted delivered. I was particularly impressed with the seamless way Troy dovetailed key points from my opening session into his keynote and created an overall continuity and cohesiveness that otherwise would not have been there. This was the first time I experienced this level of professionalism and genuine connection to our group from any outside speaker. All this and he was an absolute pleasure to work with every step of the way. Troy is smart, real and authentically cares about the clients he serves. We’ve had such a great response from our franchisees as well as our sponsor partners, we’re considering bringing him back next year! Many of our sponsors have asked me how to go about recruiting Troy to speak at their conferences.

    Roger Murphy, CEO & Founder Murphy Business and Financial Corporation
  • We recently had Troy Hazard engage our franchisees in a powerful session and what an impact he had – for all of us! Troy’s extensive franchise experience quickly established solid credibility with our franchisees and opened them up to hear his provocative message loud and clear. He challenged them to examine themselves, their goals and their future and WOW – did they resonate and respond to his session. Fantastic feedback from franchisees continues to roll in and we are so pleased with Troy’s impact and message, we are bringing him back again in October to work with the entire system and creating regular webinars to keep the momentum going between now and then.   Troy’s session was an absolute home run in every way!

    Ted Marlowe, Vice President, Retail & Franchising 1-800-Flowers
  • Troy Hazard recently spoke to the Handee Marts franchisees and the feedback was outstanding. He kept the entire audience thoroughly engaged and his passion for helping our franchisees create a great guest experience for every 7-Eleven customer was literally contagious. The fact that he really understands our business, our market and our customers allowed his message to really land with our franchisees. I have hired many keynote speakers over the years and Troy Hazard was one of the best I’ve ever hired. I would definitely hire Troy again. He’s a solid ‘10’!

    Bruce Earhart, VP Marketing Handee Marts, Inc., a 7-Eleven Master Licensee
  • Troy rocked the house! Our franchisees are abuzz about the ideas and tools that Troy engaged them with at our annual conference. I was particularly impressed with how seamlessly he worked the specifics of what we need him to talk about into his presentation. This is the third time that I’ve seen Troy and every time I take away something powerful and new. Troy, you’re amazing. Thanks for all you do to support our system!

    Greg Archer, CEO Age Advantage
  • Troy Hazard was exactly the right guy, with the right message to support our franchisees at this year’s annual conference. I was genuinely impressed with Troy and his desire to really connect with our franchisees as evidenced by the detailed amount research Troy did to prepare for his session. He had great pace and great stories on the platform and our franchisees were quoting Troy for the rest of the event – always a good sign! The importance of taking responsibility for aligning one’s business with one’s life goals really landed with our group. One word to describe Troy’s session? 'RELEVANT' would have to be it. Troy’s core message is exactly what we needed our network to hear. And to top it all off, he was an absolute pleasure to work with!

    Brian Sanders, President & CEO i9 Sports
  • Troy was GREAT!  His messages on relationships, vision, accountability, and communication were all spot on. We especially appreciated the unique way he quickly built an open connection with our franchisees that solicited the challenges they face in their business and beneficial solutions.  We all got a wealth of knowledge out of Troy’s session and a better understanding of what both the franchisees and we at the home office need to focus on to support our entire system. The new foundational understanding built by Troy is our 2012 cornerstone that will allow positive cohesive change! The only thing I would have changed is to have had Troy scheduled for more time!  Thanks, Troy!

    Michelle Hogland, Director of HR and Admin Amercan Leak Detection
  • We selected Troy Hazard to present to both our Business Consultants and our Broker Owners at this year’s annual convention. Troy expertly crafted a solid platform of tactical, practical business tools that really resonated. What made Troy’s session exceptional was that he then created an opening for everyone in the room to really dig into the fundamental driving inspiration behind ‘why’ we do what we do both as franchisors and as Broker Owners. Troy’s practical business message for our team was a great investment. The icing on the cake was the very real and authentic delivery of that message. I think that’s why he had such a powerful impact on our group.

    Paula Young, VP Operations Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC
  • “Troy Hazard is by far and away the very best convention speaker we have ever had.  His session went way beyond my expectations and our franchisees LOVED him!  They continued to talk about Troy’s message for the rest of the event and we are still hearing about how great they thought he was.  The thing that impressed me the most was Troy’s extensive preparation.  The effort that he put forth to really understand our culture and the objectives we set for the conference and the coming year was fantastic.  He met and connected with our franchisees beforehand and participated in our opening night reception which genuinely connected him to our team. And his closing message, 'Change or Die' could not have been more perfect!  Troy Hazard is as talented, prepared and professional as any speaker I’ve ever worked with.   If you looking for a sure thing, Troy Hazard is it!

    Bob Bingham, President & CEO The Little Gym International
  • The goal for our 2011 convention was to bring our franchisees new and better tools to create more profitable businesses and address the periodic disconnect between the Zor and the Zees.  With SPEAK!’s help, we selected Troy Hazard as our opening keynote.  Troy delivered exactly the message we needed and helped plant seeds that really opened everyone up for 3 days of positive, constructive thinking – our core staff included! Troy is a fantastic communicator and master facilitator – the speed with which he got our franchisees engaged and involved was truly impressive.  Our franchisees continued to talk about and integrate Troy’s key message on ‘Change’ throughout the rest of the conference and went home with an action list of things to implement and achieve in their businesses.  We couldn’t have found a better speaker to support our franchisees and accelerate the success of our convention.

    Bill Palmer, President & CEO American Leak Detection
  • This is the second time we have used Troy Hazard as our convention keynote speaker and he knocked it out of the park for us - again! Starting our convention with Troy’s session really set the stage for an incredibly successful event.  Knowing our system from his previous work with us allowed Troy to reinforce and expand on the ideas he presented previously and still add fresh ideas that were exactly the right message for our system at the right time. Once again, Troy created real unity and openness in the room and reinforced our conference theme of “Better Together” in everything he did.  Our franchisees loved him and instead of pointing the finger at someone else, I had several come up to me and share ideas of what they could do better to improve their businesses. Troy was a huge part of helping us create a fantastically successful event yet again – Thanks, Troy!

    Bill Sims, CEO Steamatic
  • Troy Hazard was our keynote speaker for this year’s convention and he earned full ‘10’s’ across the board! There is not one thing I would change about our experience of working with Troy. He was extremely well prepared and his unique pre-program process left us feeling 100% confident that he would nail it and nail it he did. Our franchisees have been flooding us with praise saying this was by far the very best convention they have ever had and much of that was due to the great way that Troy closed the event off for us. A common comment was how refreshing it was to have someone connect directly to them with nothing but a couple of flip charts and a passionate, relative, memorable message that was applicable to their businesses.

    Chris Buitron, VP Marketing Senior Helpers Franchising
  • Troy Hazard was the keynote speaker for our annual Spring Meeting and if I had to use one word to describe his presentation, it would be 'AWESOME'! He invested an impressive amount of time understanding our culture and carefully customized his presentation to meet our desired learning objectives. And it showed! We had attendees quoting back Troy’s message to me the following day confirming that his message was both relevant and memorable. And from a logistics standpoint, he could not have been easier to work with. If you have a franchise audience and are looking for a speaker who understands franchising inside and out, does his homework, customizes and blends key messages with relevant antidotes, and is a dream to work with, I recommend Troy whole-heartedly!

    Karen Cady, Conference & Event Director FranNet
  • You were spot on with your recommendation of Troy Hazard for us this year! He did a fantastic job and really exceeded our expectations in every way. We all appreciated how Troy interwove the key messages from our CEO’s and my presentations into his session. That went a long way to reinforce the key points that we wanted our franchisees to embrace from the convention. From his pre-event prep, to how easy he was to work with on site, to his post-event follow up, we couldn’t be happier with the value that Troy brought to our event!

    Cheryl Hammons, SVP of Franchise Services Home Helpers
  • Troy delivered the exact message we wanted for our franchisees to hear and are so very happy with the results. He adjusted fluidly with some last minute changes to the agenda – a true pro! We love working with super easy, accommodating, pleasant and gracious professionals and Troy hit the mark on each of those points!

    Chrissy VanderWyde, Director of Franchise Relationships PuroSystems, Inc.
  • Troy was the perfect fit for our theme this year and held a captive audience with his engaging delivery. The connection with our group was awesome – he totally 'got' us and our franchisees absolutely loved what he had to offer. He was down to earth & accessible and had a message that reverberated throughout the rest of our conference. We so appreciate the recommendation to use him and we’re considering him for another event!

    Steve White, President & COO PuroSystems, Inc.
  • Troy was great. We have received nothing but positive feedback from our franchisees. We love how he had them all interacting and engaging with each other. His content was spot-on for what we wanted to accomplish this year. I have nothing but great things to say about the entire experience of working with Troy!

    Leslie Click, VP of Brand Protection Engineering For Kids

More soon…

P.S. If you want to pass this along as a quick, digestible video (or to see Troy in action) here’s a summary video on watching business cycles. And if you’d like to explore Troy speaking with your leadership team or at your next franchise convention, let’s talk soon!

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