Weed Man CEO reflects on career

August 17, 2016 -  By

weed_man_250x114Mike Kernaghan, CEO of That Franchise Group, which includes Weed Man, recently shared his thoughts on coming up through the Weed Man organization in an interview with the Canadian publication The Globe and Mail.

In the interview, Kernaghan discusses his experiences as a recent college graduate, working as a field technician, moving to the U.S. and both sides of mentor relationships. Here are some highlights from the interview:

Kernaghan stresses the importance mentorship.

As a young, aspiring businessman, Kernaghan happened to meet the late Des Rice, founder of Weed Man, at a college career fair. Rice became a role model to Kernaghan, who admired the man’s “rags-to-riches story.” Recognizing the benefit of learning from Rice, Kernaghan made it a point to mentor up-and-comers once he established himself. The best advice Rice gave Kernaghan was “all good things are worth waiting for” and “small businesses are a journey.”

Weed Man launched Kernaghan’s career.

After graduating college, Kernaghan’s mentor Rice gave him a job working for Weed Man. He spent about a year and a half in a technical position before Rice put him in charge of recruiting. By his early 30s, Kernaghan was tapped for the role of COO. “He would always say ‘Show me the results’ and I had to do that,” Kernaghan said. “At a very early age, I was placed in a leadership role. Looking back, I was way over my head but no one told me I couldn’t do it. By 1996, I had sold out (franchise territories in) the country.”

Kernaghan finds joy in working with franchisees.

Kernaghan told The Globe and Mail that one of his favorite parts of the job is working with franchise operators and helping them “understand their goals and dreams and help them achieve them.” He understands that a husband-and-wife team are often “investing their life savings” and putting “blind faith” in the company, so he makes it a personal point to ensure they see a return on their investment. “Not everyone is set up to be an entrepreneur,” he said.
“I’m disappointed when I don’t see them succeed.”

Franchising has changed since Kernaghan started. 

In the 80s, regulation and legislation was scarce regarding franchise investors. Things are different today. Not only is there much more transparency, according to Kernaghan, there is also much more diversity. “When franchise investors take a look at us, we don’t leave anything to the imagination,” he said. “The other trend is buying multiple units and buying other brands. So they [a franchise owner] may add a pest control company or a wild life control company. Tim Horton’s and Wendy’s were doing that for years, but for franchises, this trend just started in the last decade.”

Read the entire interview at The Globe and Mail’s website.

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About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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