Simplifying Your Franchise System with Doug Bertram

Doug Bertram

Douglas Bertram, CEO and owner of Structural Elements® has been treating orthopedic conditions for over twenty years. He has turned his clinical success and proprietary approach into a franchise concept. Now offering Structural Elements® Orthopedic Wellness Clinics as franchise opportunities, they have four locations and aggressive expansion plans for 2018. In addition to his love of working with the human body, Doug has a love of modern design. Effective treatment, modern clinic design, and a simple business model are what he trusts will be a recipe for success.


Key Takeaways:


[0:27] Today’s episode is brought to you by Franchise 5! The key to long-term success is through smart, strategic growth. To learn more about this program, head over to

[1:00] Our episode today features Doug Bertram, a CEO and owner of Structural Elements, an emerging franchise concept that offers orthopedic wellness clinics.

[1:50] Today, you’ll learn about how Doug learned about turning his business into a franchise, how he focuses on “systems theory”, and how he found his ideal franchisees.

[2:42] Structural Elements is an orthopedic wellness clinic that looks to prevent early degeneration of bones and joints and focuses on balancing the structures of the body.

[6:25] There is a huge need for change on how orthopedic medicine is practiced in the U.S. While insurance companies will reimburse for treatments, therapists are finding themselves concerned with the reimbursement rates.

[7:15] Structural Elements has developed a simplified process that allows for assessments that take less time and subsequently wellness plans that are faster to execute.

[8:01] In an industry surrounding the human body, developing intellectual property protection can be challenging to do through an education model alone, but the franchise model gives you basic protections against what somebody can say that they’re doing in relation to your process.

[10:00] One of the hallmarks of franchising is taking something that is complicated and simplifying it for reproduction and growth.

[12:50] One way to simplify is to let people do what they do best. For that reason, when looking for franchisees, you don’t look for people specific to your product, but prior business owners and franchisees.

[16:15] Personal relationships are the key to long-term success. Identifying a dozen or so people who could be considered “influencers” for your business and taking them out for coffee to get to know them and help show them how they can be a part of your business is an easy way to lay the foundation for business success.

[18:45] The more complicated your message is, the more effort you have to make to educate people about your business, but it can be done.

[20:12] If you take an existing franchise owner, especially those in an already-saturated business environment such as boutique fitness, you will often find they have experienced the success of those businesses, but now that it is getting overpopulated, they are looking for more niche-focused opportunities to supplement their existing franchises, which is why they make such great franchisees for this industry.

[24:20] The learning curve in the franchise world is so steep that you just can’t do it cheap. If you try to do it all of your own, you are going to waste your time and then ultimately go pay somebody to do it for you anyways. Understanding that there are professionals out there to help you get on your feet whether it is an attorney, designer, marketing associate, etc. is crucial.

[28:00] It is important to look at your franchise as a whole system rather than in individual units. As the franchisor, your role transforms as you experience growth and you have to learn to look at the big picture rather than the more hands-on role you were accustomed to previously.

[32:45] Thanks again for listening, and please, reach out to Josh anytime through email at If you enjoyed this interview, please leave us a review on iTunes.


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About the author, Josh

Josh Brown is a franchise and entrepreneurial attorney that helps buyers, owners, and expansion-minded businesses find success through franchising. When not working on his two businesses, you can find him on the golf course or spending time with his wife and three beautiful daughters.

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