In good times and bad, people (men as well as women—hey, we deserve it, too) want to feel and look good, and surround themselves with a bit of personal luxury. That’s what the tanning industry is evolving into: personal luxury in a salon environment that is much more than just tanning—and will be dominated by a few quality operators as the industry consolidates and outgrows the local bare-bones tanning bed emporium. And among the new generation of salons, iTAN has the potential of being one of the brands that evolves into an industry leader, as Liberty Harper, newly appointed Executive Vice President of Franchise Operations discusses recently on The Franchise Show.
In a booming economy, (think all the way back, say, maybe . . . two years ago?) almost every industry over expands, and brand proliferation results in too many players. Retailing is notorious—how many coffeehouse brands can there be, anyway? When the business cycle contracts, the opposite happens. Almost every industry consolidates, and the weaker players are shaken out until supply and demand reach equilibrium. That’s where we’re at now, and if we can identify the winners—those that will not only survive the shakeout, but gain market share as they continue to expand and take market share from the competition–we can win right along with them.
After all, very few industries are actually going away; they may reinvent themselves or change the channels of distribution (the video store may now be a dry cleaners, but movies still exist, and the entertainment industry that movies are a part of definitely aren’t going away), so we need to identify the concepts that are changing to meet the next generation of products, services, and consumers.
In iTAN’s case, they are evolving into one of the leaders in their space, and as my interview with Liberty Harper demonstrates–and they have the right leadership in place to do the job with an executive who has been on both sides of the table; franchisee as well as franchisor. Someone who’s done it themselves is someone you want by your side when you launch your business; someone who doesn’t need a manual to give you the right advice when half your shift doesn’t show up—on Saturday.
I like new (or reinvented) concepts that are emerging as leaders in their industries — industries that may have generically been around a long time . . . pizza, for instance, as I pointed out recently in profiling Todd Parent of Extreme Pizza. These emerging niche players are recreating their industries, and will be the leaders of the future. The old category leaders are being replaced with these upstarts. I remember Intel and Microsoft emerging out of their garages to replace the rust belt industries as the economic engines of the
Be on the lookout for these Intels, Microsofts, and Apples when considering which franchise to buy. We’ll continue to look at them together in upcoming weeks, and kick their hard drives around so we can get it right—right from the beginning!
Hear Jeff live on The Franchise Show every Friday at , and 24/7 in the archives. Jeff comes from 25 years in the franchise industry with such high-growth companies as McDonald’s, Blockbuster (where he was also a franchisee), Payless ShoeSource, and Quiznos, and is a graduate of Hamburger U! He is also one of TALKERS Magazine’s Frontier Fifty, and holds business degrees from two major