Christopher Conner – Franchise Marketing Systems

Christopher Conner has been in the franchise industry since 2003 and landed in the industry by accident by way of a close personal friendship. Chris graduated with a degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems from Miami of Ohio in 2001 and ended up back in Chicago. After a short position in franchising with Wyndham Hotels, the franchise concept started to become clearer and have more of a connection for Mr. Conner, the field was interesting and certainly started to show promise as a potential long term interest. In 2003, Chris had the opportunity to go to work for Francorp, a franchise development and consulting firm based in the South Suburbs of Chicago, the opportunity arose out of a personal friendship connecting him to the company. It was here where the potential to learn and absorb not only a great deal about the industry as a whole, but also in working with a large volume of clients going through the franchise expansion process that a true passion was born for franchising. The idea of expanding a business and brand through entrepreneurs investment in themselves was enormously appealing. While with the franchise development firm, Chris was provided the experience to work with some significant brands and really was exposed to the franchise model in depth. During his time at the company, Mr. Conner completed his MBA in finance at DePaul University and was promoted to Vice President.

In 2009, Mr. Conner left the company and started Franchise Marketing Systems in the Atlanta, Georgia market. The concept was meant to be something different from the rest of the franchise consulting field. The majority of companies providing franchise development work to franchisors were using a traditional model with a large up-front fee and a limited client engagement. The opportunity for an industry niche was to not only offer the necessary consulting, documentation and programming needed to launch a franchise brand, but also the sales, marketing and implementation needed to sell the first ten to twenty franchises. Clearly, the most difficult aspect to launching a new franchise brand was signing the first franchisees to a brand that may in some cases only have one or two locations and have very little brand awareness. The amount of effort, focus, time and energy put into these first sales was typically overwhelming for a new franchisor and had a low success rate. By offering the resources needed to bridge the gap from franchise launch to the first franchise sales, a new franchisor was able to generate cash flow, realize duplication and eventually hire their own in-house staff to continue building the company.

Franchise Marketing Systems started as a one man show working from a home office in Gainesville, Georgia. Throughout 2009, the growth curve began to take shape and with a few key brands in place, there was immediate traction. Restoration 1, Flower Tent, Caring Matters Home Care, Ducerus College Planning, National Tax Credit, Splash and Dash for Dogs and several other brands were taken from 1 location to 100 during that time period. As the demand for service expanded, so did the need to bring in additional human capital and expertise. Franchise industry professionals were added to the Franchise Marketing Systems team in Nashville, Phoenix, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston and New York in the first year of business. All consultants operated from home offices in their respective region. By 2014, the business had grown significantly, expanded to 24 consultants providing a variety of different services and the number franchises sold eclipsed 2,000 in 2015. The business today is one of the leading companies in the franchise consulting market and continues to redefine the industry standards for franchise development.

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