Frank Milner, President of Tutor Doctor, Creates Franchise Success through Positive Discontent

Frank Milner -tutor Dr

Frank Milner, President of Tutor Doctor, has transformed the company since he joined it in 2007. In only seven years he has been able to grow it to 200 locations worldwide. Frank has created a culture of franchisee support, training, and excellence; and, his life motto of “positive discontent” permeates every facet of the company.

Franchise success is directly tied to the success of the franchisee, that is why we are 100% focused on helping our franchisees succeed,” Frank shares. “I learned from Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, that we need to set Big Hairy Audacious Goals; and, we have. We are committed to becoming a household name all over the world. The most rewarding thing about this goal is to see the entire team behind it; our franchisees, our staff, and our management team are all engaged in making this happen. We are all in the same boat and rowing in the same direction for the benefit of everyone in the team,” Frank continues.

Milner is a driven individual–a lifelong learner who strongly believes that hard work is the great equalizer. “Hard working ethics were instilled in me from an early age. I soon realized that there may be people smarter than me, who perhaps have better looks, more money, or who may be more skilled, experienced or knowledgeable, but I knew that nobody could outwork me! You see, I believe that growth and luck happen because you make a decision to make them happen. They don’t magically appear in your life; you bring them there. We share the ‘working hard pays’ philosophy throughout the organization. Our Home Office team members certainly ‘WALK THE TALK’ and by so doing set a great example for the entire Tutor Doctor family,” Frank explains.

Frank also gives credit for his results to the many mentors he’s had throughout his life. For example, he attributes his ability to have fruitful relationships with his franchisees mostly to a lesson learned from a supervisor he had as a young employee. Frank shares, “I had a stormy relationship with him. The truth is that we were probably too much alike; and at that time my ego ruled most of my relationships. One day as we started one of our typical battles, I was ready with a thousand arguments as to why I was right. But, he stopped me before I could get started with a simple statement, ‘Frank, it takes two to tango.’ It’s amazing how something as innocuous as this phrase has had such a significant impact in my life. It has taught me the ability to step in the other person’s shoes which brings understanding to a new level and makes truly effective communication possible.”

What motivates Frank Milner to create franchise success? “I’m a values driven person,” Frank responds. “I’m also  ‘positively-discontent’. My glass is always half-full and never half-empty; I expect good things to happen and when times are tough I know how to dust off and get back on the horse. Yet, being positive doesn’t mean I’m content. I celebrate my achievements, but I’m never complacent. It’s too easy to believe your own press clips and pretty soon you start taking shortcuts and slipping into your comfort zone where no growth takes place.  So, I’m constantly striving to grow and to help others grow. I take great pleasure in developing people, teams and companies. Tutor Doctor is truly all about supporting others so they–our franchisees and the students and families that are our clients–can grow and prosper,” Frank continues.

It was not surprising for me to hear that Frank’s greatest challenge in Tutor Doctor is teaching caring folks that come from a corporate or institutional background how to be business owners. I agree with Frank that most people believe in the fallacy that growing a home-based franchise is much easier than growing a brick and mortar concept. In fact, it’s just the opposite because home-based franchisees have to learn a level of inner discipline that is challenging for many people. For a franchisee who has to open his or her store every day, this discipline is outwardly imposed as it used to be when they worked for a corporation. Frank has dealt with this challenge the right way.

We have become extremely proactive in providing the support our franchisees need to succeed. Our Franchise Field Consultants coach and train our franchisees through the tough times. We also meet regularly with our Regional Leaders Team to learn about the problems franchisees may be facing and together strategize on how to help them. The key is to keep being proactive and not let challenges become problems,” Frank shares.

Frank believes that each mistake he has made has been a great lesson so he has no regrets. However, one particularly painful experience had to do with hiring the right people. The learning from this experience was “hire slow and fire fast.” Frank shares, “Sometimes it’s hard not to succumb to pressures when an important position needs to be filled. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way. I felt in a rush and hired the wrong person for a VP position and it turned out to be a disaster. But then I took an entire year to replace that person in spite of the continued pressure. I was determined not to settle and to make sure that this time around I had the right individual. The new VP we hired had a tremendous impact within weeks of joining the company and has continued to add value in a positive manner since then. So, I learned my lesson.”

Frank’s best tip for those business owners who are considering franchising is “Just do it!” He says, “Franchising is not easy, but it’s certainly rewarding. Make sure your business model is sound and get expert advice and mentorship to create a strong growth strategy, effective training and support programs and a growth-driven support-focused culture. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; just learn from them and don’t repeat them. Get really clear about your WHY and about your values and bring in only those people who share them. Most importantly, be positive and inspired every day by what you can do better.”

My conversation with Frank reminded me of my favorite quote from Good to Great, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” Frank Milner and Tutor Doctor are certainly headed in that direction.