In this exclusive Q&A, we learn more about the Massage Heights franchise opportunity from the company’s chief development officer, Scott Shubiger.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Your 20 years of franchise industry experience stem from a wide variety of sectors and positions, including real estate, fitness, retail, and now health and wellness. What’s your secret? As an individual who has driven growth for franchises across industries, what is the key to expanding a brand and providing consistent results?
Scott Shubiger (SS): Well, I don’t know how secretive my approach is, but I can tell you that I rely upon my ability to be honest and transparent with not only my team, but with every franchise candidate. On the wall in my office I am reminded of my Seven Leadership Principles: Trust Your People, Develop a Vision, Keep Your Cool, Encourage Risk, Invite Dissent, Be an Expert, and Simplify. It turns out that these are all exercised during the Franchise Candidate Award Process.
No matter the industry, people are people, and helping them obtain the necessary information to make any best informed decision has always been my goal. Following that simple principle is key for brands to be able to nurture strong performance with unit-level economics and is a crucial component in developing the foundation of any growing franchise.
FC: What is it about Massage Heights that enticed you to join their team and what exactly do you think you’ll be able to bring to the table as the newest member of their C-suite?
SS: There are a few things. First, Shane Evans and her team have navigated through some very strong competitors, managing to establish a brand in the space that truly provides the consumer with uniqueness. Secondly, the moment you step inside our retreats, the consumer can literally see, smell, feel, and touch (we should work on taste!) the heightened experience. Thirdly, the unit economics are very strong, as evidenced by our Item 19; this is where it starts and stops for me, as our franchisees have a proven and recurring revenue business model.
Another very important enticement for me, and ultimately, for our franchisees, is that we have every major market left to sell! Just as well, having Susan Boresow recently join as CEO has been a huge component. Many in the industry know of her stellar reputation and leadership acumen, and now our franchisees will experience a smooth passing of the baton from Shane to Susan.
Joining into such a passionate and experienced executive team has been an incredible experience thus far, and it’ll be my decades of diverse experience in growing franchises across industries that will largely prove my value to the company and our franchisees – both current and those to come.
FC: The health and wellness industry, specifically massage brands, are experiencing a severe labor shortage, much like many other industries. What is your strategy for ensuring that franchise development moves forward in a time where many prospective franchisees may be wary of getting involved with the brand?
SS: For me, it goes back to treating your people well. We have many therapists at Massage Heights who say the brand “speaks to them”. It is our job as a brand to create an incredible working environment, with higher than average pay, to attract and retain the best talent in the industry. This is especially true as the demand for services in our industry continues to grow amid the increasingly positive sentiment that consumers are placing on their own health and wellness.
Furthermore, there are many states with high therapist counts where we either only have a few, or even no retreats in yet. These markets will be high priority markets for us. As a result, we need to be highly strategic in where we grow, so we can set our franchise partners up for success. Fortunately we have the luxury to be that strategic in our approach, so we can have a larger pool of therapists to pull from.
FC: A large part of franchise development is making certain that the resources available to franchisees and the vision being conveyed by your team for the company’s general operations are enough to set you apart from the competition. So, what is it about the way Massage Heights works and the services it provides its clientele that make it a truly unique competitor in its industry?
SS: At the end of the day, we do massage and facial. We do not pretend to be alone in that space, but we feel we have an elevated offering amongst our peers within the same price point. There are numerous examples of this within our retreats, the personal connections our therapists share with their members, the brand’s focus on company culture and community involvement, and more.
Just as well, we have innovative and proprietary data analytics that allows our franchises to be constantly on top of their business. We provide extensive operations and marketing support, and I would put our teams (including our Franchise Business Consultants) up against anyone. We provide ROI-driven marketing technologies that drive consumers and members into our doors. In addition, we have industry-recognized leadership in the Therapist Development department which is a huge kingpin for our franchisees.
FC: Where do you see the franchise in 5 years as the industry continues to expand? What would you say is the largest obstacle in front of your team that you’ll have to cross in order to get there?
SS: Five years from now I see Massage Heights more than doubling in size and having over 250 Retreats open. We likely will be in 5+ additional countries, and will still have a long runway left to go! After experiencing unforeseen circumstances in 2020, it is rather hard to say what obstacle may present itself. But I do know this – we will keep our eye on the prize and hit our goals no matter what comes our way!