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SeoSamba's Top 100 Franchise Influencers 2023

SeoSamba's Top 100 Franchise Influencers 2023

SeoSamba's Top 100 Global Influencers in Franchising list includes the most influential characters in the franchise world, whose voices count more than most across various channels from traditional to social media.

SeoSamba's Top 100 Franchise Influencers

The name of first ten awardees of the SeoSamba Top 100 Global Franchise Influencers list 2023 have been released!

2023 influencers of franchising 1 

2022 influencer of franchising

 Stay tuned to the updates as we will announce the names of the next 10 winners on the Top 100 Global Influencers in Franchising next week.

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SeoSamba's Top 100 Franchise Influencers 2023

The Top 100 Global Influencers in Franchising list includes the most influential characters in the franchise world, in most cases, these people are franchise superstars who have turned local operations into world-leading business powerhouses, using their enduring success as springboards to global fame.
The list is completed by more hush-hush personalities and dealmakers who seldom appear in public limelight, yet have nonetheless achieved undisputed recognition among franchise specialists and insiders.


Daniel Stein

I am a writer, personal trainer, entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Special Strong, one of the only fitness centers in the world for individuals with physical, mental, and cognitive challenges. My work centers on my personal mission, inspired by my faith and John 10:10, to help others, especially those impacted by disability, unlock their potential to live an abundant life through fitness.

My journey in fitness began at a very young age. At age 4, I was diagnosed with a learning disability which impacted my behavior and ability to make friends. In middle school, my parents bought me a membership to a YMCA. Exercise changed my life by building my confidence and helping me control my outbursts. At 21, I was diagnosed with a mood disorder and autoimmune disease. Fitness became my lifeline and gave me the strength and confidence to take control of my life.

I initially pursued a career in banking, but I felt a deep calling to help others impacted by disability and share access to the fitness tools which had empowered me. I became a certified personal trainer and built a successful personal training business from the ground up using the relationship-building and marketing skills I developed as a banker. I hold certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Federation of Personal Trainers.

In 2014, my wife Trinity and I launched Special Strong, a program that provides adaptive fitness personal training and group exercise classes for individuals affected by autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Down syndrome, ADD/ADHD, cerebral palsy, and other similar afflictions.

In 2019 a viral video launched Special Strong into the spotlight and inspired us to expand our services beyond Texas. Today Special Strong has helped more than 1500 individuals with special needs access the life-changing benefits of fitness. In 2021, we launched the Special Strong Foundation to provide financial assistance to expand access to specialized health and wellness programs for special needs families.

I hope to see the Special Strong movement grow both nationally and globally. We are expanding through a franchise model and a certification program for personal trainers interested in adaptive fitness.


Tanashe Martin

Franchisee/Franchisor Growth and Business Consultant with proficient skills in Connection, PR Communications, Operations Management, Business Strategy, Coaching, Business Revenue Generation, and Networking. YES! I wear many hats. But I like it that way! Being a part of the team at Ask April Porter enables us to nurture and develop our genius in the franchising industry. What a blast!

Always looking to grow my network and community! I have always been told by my daddy, ""T...I don't think you know a stranger""! There is always something to discover when we take time to truly build repour and relationships with others! Business, professional, or personal... I am forever a student of human nature and connection! So let's do it....let's connect!


Mike Welch

I help people find and evaluate great franchise opportunities so they Fire Corporate America on their terms, in their time. By finding and evaluating great franchise opportunities that are a perfect fit for them people dramatically increase their odds of success. I have been a part of approximately 2,000 locations being opened in my career. I also invest in franchise companies with great leadership, in fragmented markets, with innovation and strong competitive advantage.

Because "the corporate ladder" is on fire, and there is no such thing as "a party, a pension, a fruit basket, and a gold watch anymore". And mostly, because corporate sucks and we were meant to be free and live life on our terms!


  • Husband to "The Lovely And Talented" Mrs. Shari Welch
  • Dad to 4 awesome, unique, independent young people
  • Coach (football, baseball, softball, and business)
  • Son of a mechanic and shoe store manager
  • Rural East Tennessean at heart, no matter where life takes me
  • College Drop Out (I didn't even make it a full semester)
  • Great in a boardroom and on a barstool
  • A man of unimpeachable character (I try my very best)
  • Fiercely Loyal
  • "Legally" blind in one eye - I see the world in mono
  • Investor in 8 franchise companies
  • Failed Entrepreneur
  • Successful Entrepreneur
  • Unapologetically loud and enthusiastic
  • Bear Hugger

Make sure your WHO, WHY, and WHAT are in sync!!!


April Porter

As an award-winning entrepreneur with a proven record of success in growth strategy through lead generation, sales training, and employee performance, I have experienced first-hand the joy of building a business that creates a dream life.

I am fulfilling my mission of teaching franchisees how to fill the gap between the franchise model and the executive-level know-how needed to increase revenues, build a reliable team, and scale to multiple locations.

When I started as a first-time business owner, I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of responsibilities in areas that I was unfamiliar with (marketing, sales, employee development and financial management), so I fully immersed myself in learning how executives think, strategize, and execute.

My approach to franchise ownership created explosive growth. We expanded to four locations in record time by cultivating a team of employees personally invested in exceeding expectations and maximizing performance. We used a strategic plan to motivate and empower everyone to drive toward the mission of reaching our BHAG, allowing me to delegate the daily operational tasks and become an absentee owner.

With a passion for mentoring Franchisees, Entrepreneurs, and Small Business Owners, I began teaching the formula to multi-unit success – an evolution from an employee role inside the business into an Entrepreneur overseeing growth and expansion.

I love finding ways to simplify business ownership by breaking down concepts into easy-to-implement, step-by-step processes and introducing out-of-the-box strategies that separate my clients from their competitors.

As a 3x winner of St. Louis’ Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies, an AAFD Trailblazer Award recipient, and an International Best-Selling Author, I am the go-to specialist for optimizing the systems that make delegation possible, implementing marketing and sales strategies with a high ROI, developing an elite team, and scaling to multiple franchise units.

As a former trial attorney and Judge, I understand franchise agreements and teach franchisees to think and act like CEOs within the brand standards of the franchise model they love, setting me apart from other coaches.

I believe that franchising provides an awesome business model that benefits from a franchisee proficient in leadership, marketing, sales, and financial management skills, with a growth mindset.

I am dedicated to mentoring franchisees that want to enjoy life, enhance their impact on the world and crush the competition.


Rick Grossmann

Rick has been involved in the franchise industry since 1994. He franchised his first company and grew it to 49 locations in 19 states during the mid to late 1990s. He served as the Chief Executive Officer and primary trainer focusing on franchise owner relations and creating tools and technologies to increase franchisee success.

Rick developed and launched his second franchise organization in 2003. He led this company as the CEO and CMO growing to over 150 locations in less than three years. He developed the high-tech/high-touch franchise recruiting and sales system.

Both companies achieved ranking on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 List. During this period Rick served as a business and marketing consultant to small businesses and multimillion-dollar enterprises. He also consulted with franchise owners and prospective franchisees, franchisors, and companies seeking to franchise around the world..

Rick is the author of Entrepreneur Magazine's Franchise Bible series and his 9th Edition was released worldwide in April of 2021. He also is a contributing author to Entrepreneur Magazine and other industry publications on the subject of franchising and business.

He currently heads up the Entrepreneur Franchise Advisors program, serves as an executive coach and strategist for multiple franchise clients and is the co-host of the Franchise Bible Coach Radio Podcast with Rick and Rob.


Daniel Claps

Dan Claps is a Serial Entrepreneur in the franchise space. Dan got his start in Franchising in 2014 at the age of 22 when he joined Murphy Business and Financial Corporation as the franchise system's youngest Business Broker.

In 2016 Dan Co-Founded Career Transition Leads (CTL). A sister company to the International Franchise Professionals Group (IFPG). CTL became the leader in lead generation for Franchise Consultants with a full-time call center and over 100 contractors and employees working for the firm.

Dan went on to Co-Found Find A Business Online in 2017 as an add-on business of CTL. Find A Business Online (FABO) is an internal Franchise Brokerage Company supporting 8 full-time Franchise Brokers. During Dan's leadership, FABO was doing as many as 12-15 placements in a month and successfully brought on 61 Ellie Mental Health territories in under one year. 

In 2019 Dan and his business partner went on to Co-Found NurtureAssist. NurtureAssist is a lead generation platform for Franchisors. NurtureAssist finds franchise candidates via dialed-in lead generation practices via social media. The ads are specifically designed for each brand and able are targeted to the ideal franchise buyer persona.

Dan successfully exited Career Transition Leads, Find A Business Online, and NurtureAssist in May of 2022 to Princeton Equity Group.

Dan is currently working on his next venture.


Catherine Monson

Catherine Monson is the CEO at Propelled Brands. She has a strong background in management and business leadership, as well as more than 25 years of franchising and digital printing experience.

Known for her motivational and accountability-led management style, Catherine believes in consistent communication and a two-way relationship with franchisees. It is with great passion that she leads Propelled Brands, the Corporate Umbrella for FASTSIGNS, NerdsToGo, MY SALON Suite and Salon Plaza.

Catherine appeared on the two-time Emmy Award-nominated reality series, “Undercover Boss”, in May of 2012 as the CEO of FASTSIGNS. The show follows high-level corporate executives as they slip anonymously into the rank-and-file of their own company to examine the inner workings of their organization.

A strong advocate for small business enterprise and franchising, Catherine also spends much of her time and energy serving as the Chair for the International Franchise Association (IFA), the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchises worldwide. Through her service with the IFA, Catherine works to help further the IFA’s mission of protecting and promoting franchising through government relations, public relations and educational programs.


David Mortensen

Dave’s ability to connect and inspire those around him is unmatched. With more than 25 years of experience managing, consulting, owning and franchising health clubs, Dave Mortensen has distinguished himself as a leading authority in the field of fitness. Mortensen revolutionized the fitness industry when he and Chuck Runyon co-founded Anytime Fitness – an alternative to big-box gyms. In contrast, Mortensen and Runyon designed smaller, neighborhood clubs featuring the things members want most: convenience, affordability, quality equipment and surprisingly personable service in friendly, non-intimidating facilities.

Under Mortensen’s leadership, Anytime Fitness has earned numerous industry accolades, including “One of America’s Most Promising Companies,” “Top Global Franchise” and “Fastest-Growing Fitness Club.” Additionally, Anytime Fitness has been honored as a “Military Friendly Franchise,” a “Top Franchise for Minorities” and “The Best Place to Work in Minnesota” four years in a row.


Pip Wilkins

A confident, dynamic and resourceful Chief Executive who enjoys helping others to expand their skills. Proven ability to initiate, develop and launch new initiatives for the greater good of the franchise industry. Passionate about standards and ensuring people have the right information to make the right decisions.


Alesia Visconti

As the CEO and President of FranServe Inc, the world's largest franchise consulting & expansion organization, and the CEO and Publisher of Franchise Dictionary Magazine, a digital and print publication, Alesia provides vision and leadership to two extraordinary franchise industry organizations. She has 20+ years experience as a CEO & President, driving organizational development and taking companies to the next level, both domestically and internationally. An author, professional speaker, and entrepreneur, her motto in life is “Work hard, play hard, help others, repeat.”

A savvy entrepreneur, Alesia acquired the struggling start up publication, Franchise Dictionary Magazine shortly after it was formed, and turned it around in record time. The magazine is now one of the leading sources of information that potential franchise owners turn to for information and advice. It receives praises and accolades by experts throughout the franchise industry.

Highly active in the International Franchise Association (IFA), Alesia is on the Board of the Diversity Institute, the VetFran Committee, the Legal Legislative Committee, and the IFA Membership Committee. She travels to Washington DC every year to speak with legislators on the laws impacting franchising and small business ownership. She is also a member of the Franchise Action Network (FAN).

Alesia is passionate about the franchise industry as well as ensuring people have the opportunity to take control of their future and find career bliss. To that end she never loses sight of her mission: to help others achieve their dreams of business ownership through franchising!

SeoSamba's Top 100 Franchise Influencers
Click to view the 2022 list
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