3 Keys to Franchise Entrepreneurship Success (Beat the Odds)

Is franchise entrepreneurship a dream of yours? But you’re not sure where to start. Or perhaps you believe, given the intensity of franchisee competition and market saturation, you’re too late to the game? Do you think the stringent rules of a franchisor will cause you to lose operational control?

Meet a phenomenal woman, Toni Harris Taylor, who shares her journey and insider tips in franchise entrepreneurship.

Now let’s get started!

The Journey of a Drastic Entrepreneur

There are many paths towards achieving a franchise entrepreneurship dream. Toni Harris Taylor understands the challenges, struggles, and has overcome many hardships along the way, remains grounded and is determined to carve a path for fellow women entrepreneurs to follow.

Trailblazer: Women + Franchise Entrepreneurship

Toni lives by the mantra of being DRASTIC! She is known as The Networking Queen™ and The Coach that Connects™. She is a franchisee with Network in Action and CEO of Drastic Results Marketing. She speaks and coaches globally and is a 12x author. Connect with her at MeetwithToniHarrisTaylor.com.

Toni coaches service-based entrepreneurs and sales professionals who are making money, but they have taken themselves as far as they can go on their own.

For example, speakers, financial advisors, agents for insurance and real estate and franchise professionals learn how to take drastic steps towards success.

As a result, she’s penned her mantra in her new book Show Up to Blow Up.

But how did Toni Harris Taylor become an influential voice in franchising and entrepreneurship?

Here are her three insider tips to avoid startup blues:

1. Mentor Support: Other Women in Franchising

She reflects on her entrepreneurial path, highlighting the pivotal role her mother played in shaping her career.

Toni credits the strength, guidance, and drive of her mother.

Franchise Entrepeneurship inspiration

Toni Harris Taylor: “My mother introduced me to entrepreneurship, told me to quit your job, quit that job and come work for me. And I did, and I was scared, And, you know, I just held her hand. She held my hand. And that’s where the training comes from.  She was going into an oil and gas company and had more classes than she could do by herself. And she’s the one that introduced me to becoming, taking drastic steps. She was a drastic stepper.”

Franchise Entrepreneurship holding hands

Because of this opportunity, Toni embarked on her training career starting in 1991 as a software trainer. She first taught Lotus 123, transitioned to Excel and eventually WordPerfect to Word.

Her mother’s daring example motivated Toni’s bold moves in franchise entrepreneurship, teaching her to leap where others may hesitate.

For instance, at sixteen, Toni’s mother whisked her family from Ohio to Texas for an unimaginable career jump.

The concept of ‘drastic’ wasn’t in Toni’s lexicon until later, but looking back, she recognizes her mother as the epitome of it.

Entrepreneurship: From Software Training to Franchising

Photo by Sydney Rae on Unsplash

Toni worked with her mother for nine years until she earned her own contract with a financial service company. She trained employees how to use computers at a time when laptops were brand new. She quips “…how to open the docs on the thing. That’s hilarious today.”

Her training skills impressed the financial company who sweet talked her into becoming a financial advisor.

However, being an entrepreneur is being ‘drastic’ itself, even crazy.

Toni Harris Taylor: “At that time, I had no degree. I had no financial experience. I had no investment and sales experience, and they wanted me to move from Houston to Florida. I checked it out, came home, my husband and I, we decided to move, eight-year-old and a five-year-old in tow. I think that’s how old they were or eight and eleven. We moved and everything I was promised when they recruited me did not exist. And I was like, what am I going
to do?”

Franchise Entrepreneurship

Rather than get belligerent, Toni weathered the rocky road –  the market upheavals in June 2000, Enron, and September 11, not to mention watching clients’ investments decline for three straight years. Despite all of this, those who invested with her liked her.

Toni Harris Taylor: “They trusted me and relationships. When people like you, they’ll forgive a lot of stuff.”

This is when she realized relationships matter.

2. Forge Powerful Bonds With Like-Minded Entrepreneurs

Although she hoped to turn things around after moving back to Houston from Florida with her family, Toni faced a somber period in her life with the passing of her first husband (2008); and subsequently the passing of her second husband to cancer in 2012.

However, Toni being drastic decided to get out of her comfort zone and pursue her degree.

In other words, “I’ve always been like that, just, let’s just go and then getting the degree was a distraction from life.”

This led her into the world of email marketing partnering with Constant Contact. Leads were few, nevertheless, she persisted using her own network to generate leads, and soon she was being asked to meet with people. Eventually, things snowballed and “I became the top five sales rep for Constant Contact in 2016.”

After Constant Contact ended their commission program, she found herself grappling with “what do I want to do next” – exploring MLM, plus stint at Uber with little satisfaction.

Franchise Entrepreneurship

Then a light bulb moment came when her coaching friend asked her ‘what is your why?’.

Toni Harris Taylor: “I was all about helping people and making connections for people, but I wasn’t getting paid for it. And she asked me, what would I need to do to get paid to connect with people? And I said, I think I would need to start my own networking group.”

Women Empower & Earn in Franchise Entrepreneurship

Women in Franchise Entepreneurship
Image from Pixabay

Her unwavering commitment to learn and adapt emphasizes how crucial it is to embrace change.

With belief in her entrepreneurship and training skills, Toni dived into the world of Network in Action (NIA) and franchising.

Toni Harris Taylor: “And then I met Network in Action the following week. Now that I’m an award-winning, multi-unit franchise owner, I connect people through my network and Action Franchise. I am grateful for where it all started. People were drawn to me when I showed up and tried my hardest, and they gave me opportunities I never would have thought were possible—from my mother, the finance person, to the Constant Contact lady.

And then the franchise. Everybody opened doors for me when I didn’t even know, you know, what was possible. I know how to walk through a door and make the most of an opportunity. I’ve been very blessed and grateful; people want me around. I’ve taught my clients how to do the same thing.”

Franchise Entrepreneurship doors
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

What Franchising Means?

The International Franchise Association (IFA) defines franchising as a contract or license between two legally independent parties that grants: The right to market a good or service under the trade name or trademark of another company (the franchisor) to an individual or group of individuals (the franchisee).

In the US, there are approximately 759,236 franchise locations.

A CAGR of 30.2% is predicted for the global franchise market, which was valued at $3.71 trillion in 2019. The market is projected to grow from 2020 to 2027.

Franchise Entrepreneurship

Hidden Potential Of Franchise Entrepreneurship

Likewise, Toni’s wisdom has shaped her biggest lesson in life – empowering others.

As a franchise owner and award-winning entrepreneur, Toni’s dedication to support Black business owners and foster connections is commendable.

Black-owned franchises generate more than twice the revenue that Black-owned independent businesses do, but only 8% of franchise owners are African American.

Especially when 79% of professionals believe networking is essential to advance one’s career. But according to a Havard Business Review, 82% of professionals of color reported engaging in networking less than once a month, which is concerning.

Through her ‘drastic networking’ approach, she aims to bridge gaps and promote inclusivity in the franchise industry.

Boss Up: Break the Mold with Franchise Entrepreneurship & Power

Toni emphasizes the significance of stepping out of your comfort zone to leverage networking opportunities.

Also, how often people miss opportunities simply because they fail to act.

She acknowledges the indispensable role of seizing opportunities and the power of perseverance. Nothing significant in life can be achieved without the support and chances provided by others, coupled with your personal commitment to actively pursue them.

Toni Harris Taylor: “You don’t know everything and the order everything’s going to fall in. There’s no way possible to know it. You just have to kind of trust the process and be willing to skin your bun for your head and skin your knee a little bit. But I will tell you, most things we fear do not come true. They just don’t. And I just see so many people holding themselves back because of fear of the unknown.”

She encourages people to embrace risks and move forward with determination, even when the path seems unclear or daunting.

Her story serves as a reminder that progress and success are often on the other side of consistent effort and resilience, encouraging a more daring and proactive approach to life’s challenges.

In Toni’s words: “And here’s the problem, even when you think you know, you think you’ve got it. One thing can throw it all off and you still got to keep moving. Yes. So, my biggest lesson is, you know, you got to be drastic. You need help. Keep showing up.”

3. Paving It Forward: Wisdom And Authenticity

When asked about her hopes to influence others being a Black business owner, she responds:

Toni Harris Taylor: “Oh, good question. You know, I’d like to take that question into franchising. Okay. I would like to really have an impact helping Black entrepreneurs understand franchising exists and helping franchises know that Black entrepreneurs exist.

And I would like to bridge that gap and help each of them take the drastic steps to get to know each other.

What does that look like? I’m still praying about it, still thinking about it. But I know that if anybody can bridge that gap, it’s me. Okay. Because I already have connections on both sides.

The people on this franchise side, even though they don’t look like us, they like me, they trust me. The people on the Black entrepreneur side. Even though I don’t know nothing about them, they like me, and they trust me, and I just have to be the one to bridge that gap. And go ahead.”

Fortunately for Toni Harris Taylor, she has never had to be anything but her true self.

Her journey of self-discovery and acceptance highlights the transformative experience of moving from a homogenous to a diverse environment during her childhood. It underscores the value of being relationship-oriented, thanks to the diverse cultural exposure and personal assessments of herself.

Strong, flamboyant and unapologetically herself, Toni notes the freedom and relief of not having to “code switch” to fit in, due to her likability and the attraction others feel towards her authenticity.

Toni grasps the true purpose of serving others – trust and being real.

This reenforces a persuasive message: one’s true self not only fosters genuine connections but is also key to attracting and maintaining relationships.

3 Benefits Of Franchising Entrepreneurship

You sense in her a deep satisfaction and success from the variety of her experiences-based interpersonal relationships.

Exuberant, she recounts her ‘why’; to be a connector – “help people to meet people to change your life and business.” But when her coach nudged Toni to start her own networking group, Toni was all about the “nope” vibes.

Toni Harris Taylor: “I don’t want to start from scratch. I don’t have technology. I don’t know what to charge. You know, I had all the reasons why not. I don’t know how to run a meeting. I don’t have agendas.”

Talk about being at a crossroads with a map written in invisible ink!

Then, the following week, the franchise came in decked out with everything Toni claims she was missing. She soon understood the advantages of owning a franchise.

Worker in a franchise restaurant
Photo by Vaishnav Chogale on Unsplash

1. Ready-Made Systems.

Toni Harris Taylor: “Sometimes the perception is, that it’s really rigid and you can’t deviate from the plan. That’s not necessarily true. It depends on the brand.

With my franchise, I can season it with my own flavor. And that was just like the perfect combination. The first thing is the system is already there. It’s already been proven. The model is there.”

2. Support Networks.

Toni Harris Taylor: “You got support. You have support from the franchise, or their home office, my franchise. But the other franchisees help each other as well. You get to learn from other people’s mistakes, other people’s successes. Again, you’re not starting up on your own. You just have to learn the systems, but if you’re going to start a business, you’re going to spend the same money anyway.”

3. Brand Recognition.

Toni Harris Taylor: “If it’s already an existing brand, bonus, you can have a franchise, no lie – in anything you can think of. There’s Legos for Kids. I’m like, there’s a franchise for that. My client’s about to buy a franchise in school fundraising. Wow. School fundraising. Another one is about to do ambulatory service. I’m just blown away and nobody’s talking to us on this side about what’s possible.“

What is possible is the untapped growth potential and collaborative success in diverse industries.

Although a lot of franchisees rely on the brand to do it for them, they still need to establish their own local networks.

Make Your Mark: Claim Your Triumph

In order to establish a network, Toni’s sage advice to young women seeking personal development is to first, sell; get your people skills up, don’t be afraid to take risks, get drastic.

Franchise Entrepreneurship

She stresses mastering the art of networking is not just an innate talent but a skill that can be developed. Especially when it comes from a genuine place of empathy and connection. Moreover, the potential of franchising as a less trodden path is highly promising for entrepreneurs.

Photo by Nik on Unsplash

Toni laments that discovering franchising earlier could have significantly advanced her entrepreneurial journey.

Essentially, it is twofold:

(1) Learn the technique of salesmanship. Cultivate deep, meaningful connections to unlock doors you didn’t even know existed. 

(2) Explore franchising as a potentially game-changing business model, especially, for young women starting their professional careers as well as for the Black community.

Franchise Entrepreneurship Awaits: 3 Actionable Steps

Lastly, you can put these doable recommendations from Toni Harris Taylor’s story into practice every day to improve your business acumen:

  1. Concentrate on developing your networking abilities.
  2. Work on your effective selling skills.
  3. Be open to new chances and take measured risks.

Basically, continue to learn, be resilient, and welcome challenges with open arms. Her mantra of perseverance and adaptability serves as a beacon of inspiration for those navigating the unpredictable landscape of business.

Lead & Thrive: Franchise Entrepreneurship for Women

Franchise entrepreneurship is a viable and fulfilling career path.

Your perceived drawbacks of a franchise model are actually the result of a tested system that guarantees rapid expansion, improved brand awareness, income generation, and customer loyalty.

More importantly, because of its vibrant network of support, franchise entrepreneurship sets you on a trajectory to discover just how incredible an entrepreneur you are. It welcomes new and innovative ideas.

Sometimes the leap of faith is less about the jump and more about where you land. Adopt Toni Harris Taylor’s maxim ‘be drastic’ and follow your dream.


What is a franchisor vs franchisee?
  • A franchisor is a person(s) or company that grants a franchise.
  • A franchisee is a person(s) or company to whom a franchise is granted.
What is the cost to buy a franchise?

You pay a franchise fee, which can vary from $5,000 to $75,000, plus ongoing royalties based on your sales in exchange for the right to use the (franchisor) company name and system.