Episode 17 – Dani Peleva – Franchise Fame

Listen Now:

Audio Transcript:

VO Guy: 

Hello, and thanks for coming along to And We Have An Office Dog, the digital agency podcast where we talk to agency owner directors and learn more about what makes them tick. From the things that make them similar to the things they’d rather have known sooner, where they’ve success and where they’ve learned some hard lessons. All will be revealed, with your host, Chris Simmance, The Agency Coach. And he’ll be talking to a different awesome agency person in each episode, asking them four questions and seeing where the conversation takes us over the next 25 minutes. Okay, so let us begin. Over to you, Chris. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Thanks voiceover guy. And today on the podcast, we’ve got Dani of Franchise Fame. Hi Dani. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Hello. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

How are you doing? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

I’m very well, thank you. Thanks for having me. How are you? 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

No trouble at all. Very good, very good. So first thing first, tell us all about Franchise Fame, everything. What is it? Where is it? How is it? All of the cool stuff all about it. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Right, okay. So Franchise Fame is a marketing agency for the franchise sector. We work with global franchisors from all over the world. Some of our clients count more than 2,600 locations worldwide. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Crikey. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah, so we help franchisors get more famous or get out there. And our mission is to connect aspiring entrepreneurs with already successful franchise brands. And in this way, we create more economic growth, decent work and equal opportunities for everybody. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Awesome. So what services do you typically offer inside Franchise Fame? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

So usually there’s a multi-tiered approach because franchisors, on the one hand, need to expand into new areas, and they are searching for potential business partners or franchisees. So we would do lead generation, landing page creation, websites for them, a whole strategy, from defining their buyer persona or ideal franchisee avatar to setting up campaigns, designing conversion, well optimized websites and pages, and generating high quality leads for them so that they can actually sell their franchise into new territories. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Fantastic, fantastic. My first ever SEO blog post was about SEO for franchises. So I’ll find the link, I don’t know if it exists on the web anymore, but I’ll find the link and send it to you later and you can pick holes in it and tell me how terrible it is because it was 2010, 2011, I wrote that so a lot has changed I think. So Franchise Fame is relatively new, but it’s born out of something that’s taken a long time to get to, hasn’t it? So what do you think has been one of the biggest successes in all of your years in general, but that has got you to building this amazing machine you’ve got now? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

I think it’s, there’s no one thing that has shaped me and the business idea in general. It’s been, my whole career has started in franchising. It was first franchiser side, where I was leading the marketing and branding time teams of a global franchisor. And that gave me a lot of knowledge in terms of what the pains and problems of a franchisor are, and what are the challenges they face while they’re trying to grow their franchises. Later on, I became a successful franchisee myself. So I owned the franchise myself. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Oh yeah? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah. And this is how the idea was born. I identified a gap in the market where, when I know the struggles of a franchisee and a franchisor, and I have a passion and marketing background, I moved to and founded Local Fame, a digital marketing agency, and then later on, Franchise Fame, a marketing agency, especially for the franchise sector. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

That’s fantastic. So one of the things that I talk about a lot with the agencies that I spend time with is, there’s always a question, do we go niche? Do we go broad? Do we go niche with a service or do we go niche in a sector? And so you’ve chosen to go not broad in the strictest sense in terms of delivery, but you’ve niched down into a sector. Was it scary? Was it hard? Was it easy? Was it just… Tell us what made you come up with that 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

With Local Fame, that was founded in 2014, we were focusing in particular marketing verticals, a few of those, but a wide number such as petitions, gardeners, removal business, service based businesses. And we were incredibly successful with that. It was a bit uncomfortable to think that you would want to niche in one particular vertical, but I think this is the right way to go because you can’t claim to be great at everything, but knowing one particular sector and helping, and knowing it inside out and knowing what the challenges of that sector are. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

And then tailoring your service or your product value offering towards that, that’s going to make you successful. And then once you’ve mastered it, you can move on and master another one and another one. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And it’s easier in a certain sense because you know where to keep your ear and ways to keep your eyes, to see where things change. But it’s obviously hard to be the expert in an individual niche. And I think that franchise especially is a complex thing because it’s not complicated, is it? The concept of a franchise, but actually doing it it’s really, really difficult. And the one you mentioned with more than a thousand locations, I can imagine the complexities in that because quite a lot of people who run franchises don’t necessarily understand marketing, do they? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

No, not at all. And it can be very complex depending on who you connect with. This is why we’ve got products for franchisees, on the local level. So for them, we offer local marketing support, like local search marketing and so on. And then we’ve got products for the franchisor in a particular country, all the way up to master franchises or master licensees in different countries, where you would want you sell a master license or master franchise for a particular country. And the marketing principles are the same, but adapting the message towards the different buyer personas in different markets is essential. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah. I just think it’s an amazing niche to be in, I think there’s a lot that changes. So if you were to go back, as far back in time as before you started Franchise Fame, what would be the one thing, if you could zip back in time and give 30 seconds of advice to your past self, what would it be? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Don’t be afraid to niche out because this is going to help you become really good in one particular sector, and one niche is just a campaign. So I see niching as a campaign. So franchising, in this case, in this instance for us, is a campaign. Once we become really good and incredibly successful and well known in that campaign, we can move on to another one. But I think this is their way to go and to maintain your focus in one particular niche is the best way to go forward really. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

And if you were to go back in time and give yourself that advice, would younger version of you listen to that advice? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

I’m not so sure, I’m not so sure. Sometimes we need to make the mistakes and learn from them. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Absolutely. And it kind of brings me onto the next question really is, what is it that you not necessarily regret, but wish you’d done sooner over the years? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

I think that is much more of a personal question because working with my team has been incredibly rewarding, but I wasn’t necessarily delegating the right amount of tasks, or the right tasks to my team because when I was younger and when I was starting out, I did fall into the trap of thinking that I am the only one that can do it as well. I’m a bit of a maniac about details and a bit of a control freak. Well, I tend to believe I used to be, I’m better now. But I would say trust your team and trust the people around you, surround yourself with A players who are really good at what they do, and trust them more rather than trying to do it all by yourself. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah, spot on. I think one of the things that almost every agency owner that I’ve ever met, they’re great at what they do, and then they realize, “Oh shit, I’m running a business.” 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Exactly. And you can’t do all of it by yourself. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Exactly. Businesses need people, people need leadership, and leadership is something you learn either the hard way, or you go on some course or read some book, but really learning it with your feet on the ground, having to see all of the mistakes of accidentally doing some work, or not really delegating it to someone, it happens all the time. I think that, over the course of time, it’s almost like the most expensive MBA you’ll ever have. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah, I agree. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

So is there something that you learned along the way, that’s built you to the point with Franchise Fame? Is there anything that you have learned along the way, which in all of the other organizations and all other places that you’ve worked has helped with the direction and with the timing and everything of the agency? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

I would say definitely there’s been a lot of lessons learned. We initially started just on the English-speaking markets. We opened our first offices in the UK, USA and Australia. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

And then a few years later, we understood that actually we can operate as successfully onto a global market, regardless of the language barriers, or regardless of the cultural differences. And I think marketing can be applicable and that the principles of marketing are applicable everywhere. However, as I said earlier on, you need to know how to adapt your message towards the right audience and to localize your content. And these are things that we learned on the go, and we now operate in over 25 countries [crosstalk 00:10:39] right now. And yeah, it’s a very interesting and dynamic environment. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

There’s lots of late nights when you’re talking to someone in Australia, or [crosstalk 00:10:49]? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

I was just going to say, really early mornings in Australia, and late evenings with the US market. I literally had a Zoom call til 10:00 PM last night. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Oh yeah, okay. Well, bit of agency owner to agency owner advice there, be kind to yourself and take a break because it catches up eventually, doesn’t it? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

It does. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

You’ve got to just make sure. I think when you’ve got a good team, it’s the leadership calls that you need to be on. And one of the hardest things I found, and I don’t know about you, is sometimes you think, “I shouldn’t be on this call, but I’m on this call because I know the guy that’s on it or the person that signed the contract,” or something like that. And you’re putting a little bit more of yourself in places you shouldn’t be. And it’s quite hard, isn’t it? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

That’s true. I think I’m starting to be better at this. But before, I would want to be on every single call and I know this is not feasible anymore. So I think the key account managers in the agency now know everything about building relationships. I don’t personally know all the clients anymore. I still am the face of the brand in terms of marketing, collateral and interviews, and public speaking and whatnot. But the account managers that I’ve put my full trust in, they build the relationships on a day-to-day basis with the clients, and they manage all communications with them. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Sounds like it’s running on all cylinders. It’s going. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Thank you. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

So if there’s a potential agency owner or someone who’s just starting their agency listening to the podcast right now, what one piece of advice might you give them? Oh, someone’s angry at someone outside. What one piece of advice might you give them to help them set themselves up for success in the future? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

I would say, do not worry about the details. A lot of startups and a lot of entrepreneurs begin their journeys with trying to get it all right and have it perfect. And a very good mentor of mine told me prolific rather than perfect. Try to be prolific rather than perfect. And get it out there whether it’s a website, a piece of content, a piece of article, something. You rather have it on there and then make changes and get it right after it’s live, rather than trying to get it perfect before you go live with it because the imposter syndrome is always going to be kicking in. You always be trying to get it right. And sometimes you might not even get it published or get it live. So yeah, I would just definitely say prolific rather than perfect. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

I love that turn of phrase. I like that. I’m going to steal that. So whoever your mentor is, please say thank you. And if you see me using it online, that’s because I’m getting it out there rather than worrying. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Absolutely. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

So over the years, what do you think’s been one of the most powerful channels that you’ve used that’s helped grow the business? 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

I am a big fan of SEO myself, and this has been a major focus of the agency since early days. So we started out as a local SEO agency, and then we quickly added more services to the portfolio. But local search, as I said, it is particularly powerful for any local business, including franchisees and their locations and their territories. So local search, and then also organic search and Google, just Google SEO and Google search marketing. Those have been really powerful channels for the franchisors as well. So I am a big fan. However, we both know that it’s a very dynamic environment. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

It can change in a minute, yeah. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Absolutely. All the global updates, the [inaudible 00:14:50] updates that happened that one time. At some point you’re on top, and then you wake up and you’re nowhere to be found on the first three pages in Google. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah, yeah. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

And you wonder why. But I think because of my competitive spirit in nature, it’s always been a very interesting challenge for us to actually try and get it right and get back on those positions. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Exactly. I think if you can be present in the first three positions for everything that is suitable for you, that some of it’s transactional, which is great, that will generate nice load down the funnel business, but you want to be there at the consideration point as well, which is a lot more long tail and a lot more supportive type content. And it takes a long time, it’s a lot of effort, but it does reward, so fair enough. Conversely though, what is it that you’ve done over the years that you kind of think, “Ah, it’s not been that useful. If I’d have known it wasn’t going to be that useful, I’d have put more time into SEO,” or something like that. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

A lot of our clients over the years have asked for a service or two in addition. So for example, we would be an agency with a strong focus on search marketing. But if a client says, “Can you run my social media ads? Or can you manage our accounts? Or can you do some email marketing for us?” We all know that it’s not great to say no to a client, so we’ve added these services to the portfolio and we do offer them to clients, existing clients, but they’re not of our main focus. So I would just say, try to do what you’re really good at and do not try to offer all the services just because someone told you that they might need it. This is not going to be your core value offering. You’re not going to be that great. And there’s agencies out there that just specialize in that, that are always going to be better than you. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

It’s tough. It’s tough though, isn’t it? Because you’ve got one client and they’re valuable, you’re doing something great for them, and then they say, “Can you just do this one thing?” And then you do that one thing, you might not be great at it, and then the whole account with that client looks bad in their perspective. And you don’t want to say no because you don’t want to lose the whole account, but if you say yes, you potentially lose the whole account. You got to be careful with that sort of thing. It’s totally true. If you don’t offer a service and it’s not part of your core offering and it’s not something that you can offer without having to effectively learn it as you do it, then maybe you shouldn’t be offering it until you how to offer it. And I think there’s a lot of agency owners out there that often mistake a sale for value for their new business, and you’re actually potentially chopping yourself off at the knees in the long run. It’s a tough way to learn that lesson. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah. And absolutely [crosstalk 00:17:34]. Sorry, and you absolutely can offer this service by packaging someone else’s service in your package or product, if you’re not that great at it. If you don’t want to say no, you can bring on another person from another agency or a freelancer or someone that’s actually good at this, so that you can actually package that service in your offering. But you don’t have to hire someone and try and do it yourself. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah. If it’s a lot of stress and you know, all too well, hiring is really hard because you’ve got to get the right people. Try and hire someone in for a service that you kind of don’t deliver and you’re not really sure about yourself, you could end up with some useless person and it’ll cost you money and cost you time, and it’ll upset the rest of your team. And there’s a knock-on impact to all of these things. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Yeah. And you can jeopardize the client account, and that’s the worst thing you can do because you’ve been great at running an account, and delivering a service for a year or two or three, and then one small mistake with something that you’re not comfortable with, that you just offered to do for them just to retain the account, and you jeopardize the whole account. So there really is no point in doing that. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

Absolutely. Well, thank you very much for coming along the podcast, Dani. It’s been fantastic having a conversation with you. 

𝗗𝗮𝗻𝗶 𝗣𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁): 

Thank you very much for having me. 

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁): 

And in the next podcast, we’ll be talking to another awesome digital agency owner. So tune in and listen for the next one. Thanks very much. 

 

Apply as a guest: