Nashville franchising expert shares real-world experience in growing economic sector with business school undergrads
In today’s business economy, the franchise industry, not big corporations, are stealing the job creation headlines.
Students at Nashville’s Belmont University are getting a hands-on look at franchising, a business model experts regard as an important alternative to large corporations.
Belmont asked Dan Aronoff, a Nashville franchise expert and owner of FranNet of Middle Tennessee, to share his expertise as a franchise consultant by teaching a class for students hungry to start their own businesses and considering franchising as a career option.
“Business schools traditionally teach the large corporation approach to business, which is filled with multiple levels of management,” said Aronoff. “In today’s market, businesses that thrive are often smaller and more nimble, and franchises often perform better than their corporate counterparts. Anyone studying business at the university level should become more aware of the franchise industry.”
The Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont is a good fit for the course. The Center, highly regarded in the business world, elevates its curriculum further by using a FranNet owner to teach undergrads, said John R. Reynolds, President of the IFA Educational Foundation.
“Being able to draw on that expertise, bring in the practical side of franchising and use a network of contacts for guest speakers is very important,” Reynolds said. “I think it is great.”
Aronoff and his guest speakers provide from-the-trenches information that won’t be found in many business textbooks. College credit courses devoted solely to franchising are rare at either graduate or undergraduate levels. “Most of the time, franchising is taught as part of an overall course on entrepreneurship,” Reynolds said.
Aronoff uses an impressive list of Nashville-area franchisors, franchisees and franchising experts as guest speakers, making the class one of the best franchising courses in the country.
“This is an exciting time in franchising because it is one sector of the economy that is growing and creating jobs,” said Aronoff. “These students see that. As a group, they are business-savvy and have a clear entrepreneurial leaning.”
Belmont has offered an upper-level undergraduate franchise management course for three years, and interest in the course — and entrepreneurship in general — is booming, said Dr. Jeff Cornwall, who holds the John C. Massey Chair of Entrepreneurship and directs the Entrepreneurship Center.
“Thirty percent of our incoming freshmen class have already declared themselves as entrepreneurship majors,” Cornwall said. “It absolutely blew us away. We have students showing up with interesting businesses already.”
For more information on FranNet, see www.frannet.com.