How Director of Franchise Development Casey Cooley Tackles Brand Growth Strategy

Pivotal Growth Partners' Casey Cooley on vacation with his wife Lauren.

Experiences create beliefs; beliefs create actions, actions create results.

In his role as Director of Franchise Development, Casey Cooley has been spearheading growth for the PGP family of brands. We asked him a few questions to get to the bottom of how his knack for business strategy developed.

PGP: Tell us a bit about what you do for the brands under the PGP umbrella.
Casey Cooley: I am, first and foremost, an advocate for franchisees. Whenever I look at a new brand, system, product or opportunity, I try to view it through the eyes of a franchisee. What would they like? What would they dislike? What could make their lives easier? Harder?

My consulting approach is strongly relationship-based. My primary goal is to support a franchise candidate through their discovery process, ensuring they have answers to all their questions along the way, so they can make the most educated and confident brand investment. Supporting franchisees creates a consistent growth foundation for the brands we partner with.

The most successful concepts are those whose franchisees, employees and partners are aligned and growing together in unison. I help brands and franchisees take the appropriate steps to achieve their goals and dreams through strategic alignment and growth. I aspire to have those with PGP come along with us as we become the #1 franchise development and advisory group in the world.

PGP takes a holistic approach to growth – identifying ways a company can grow by strategically improving upon aspects of operations, marketing, supply chain, real estate, and grand opening procedures. While doing so, we take a step back to also examine the concept as a potential business opportunity and identify ways to increase engagement with potential business partners. There are some firms out there that primarily help with signing deals and, while that is certainly an important aspect of the process, if each component of the system isn’t optimized, there cannot be true sustainable growth.

My work with a candidate does not stop at opening. Building strong and lasting relationships with my candidates allows me to advocate on their behalf and keeps me in tune with changes that might be necessary for future growth of the brand and overall franchisee satisfaction.

PGP: Who do you consider your most important mentors in your life and career?
CC: I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance, love and support of both my parents. And of course, my wife Lauren. She is a resident physician at Northwestern in Chicago – her drive and determination to be the best and to give her patients the best care possible is a great model I strive to follow.

PGP: We know you have a real passion for football. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how your experience in athletics has influenced your career?
CC: I have been an athlete my whole life – I grew up playing most sports but, as I grew older, I focused on football, basketball and track. I was blessed and fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play defensive end for the Richmond Spiders in college. My class helped transition what was predominantly known as an academic school to the highest level of athletic competition, winning conference championships in 2007 and 2009, as well as a National Championship in 2008.

I have learned so much from athletics that its hard to narrow it down, but what comes to mind is consistency. To compete at a championship level, you have to win every day – during off-season workouts, daily practices, personal mental and physical preparation, and on game day. The same can be said about our world at PGP – the most successful concepts, franchise owners and people are the ones that consistently improve on a daily basis.

The key to consistency is to do the little things right. The best teams execute the basic processes or actions precisely and consistently. I think this is what has driven me to enjoy the franchise world so much – the best concepts provide the people, products and procedures that give owners a “business in a box” with a roadmap to maintain consistency at every level of the business.

PGP: What should brands know about you before they start working with you?
CC: I learned franchising from the ground up through my fair share of trials and tribulations. One of my lifelong friends, Raven Fisher and I put our heads together and, through a combination of common sense, kindness and a focus on franchisees first we were able to grow a small frozen yogurt concept into one of the largest frozen treat brands in the franchise industry. But we had to figure it out mostly on our own through a lot of trial and error.

So, when I meet with concepts now, I feel an immediate connection – they are where Raven and I were years ago during our days at sweetFrog. And it comes naturally – not only a connection to them, but a desire to help identify ways to improve their systems and processes, so they don’t have to learn the hard way like I did.

Learn about the rest of the PGP team and how we help high-potential franchises grow here.

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