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Best Practices

Feature Story:

To Grow, Reinvest In Infrastructure, Technology, And People »

By Richard S. Weissman

Many franchise leaders are slow to embrace the idea that the best time to grow is in uncertain times. Even those who may reluctantly agree are often constrained by the demands of stakeholders for bottom-line performance, and use the excuse of the "bad economic storm" to cut expenses to meet those bottom-line expectations. Historically, however, the fact remains that the strongest companies are those that create working systems to grow during all economies, and that see the opportunity in bad times for accelerated growth.

In my experience as the CEO of a national early childhood education franchise, while the majority of others in the field experienced difficulty securing new franchisees to continue growth, our reinvestment and leadership speaks well of the brand, and has allowed us to see exceptional growth during recent economic tumult: more than 410% growth since the 2008 recession...

Feature Story:

Lead Generation Checklist: Time To Review Your Process? »

By Steve Olson

The following is a review of the lead generation principles and best practices outlined in my book, "Grow To Greatness: How to build a world class franchise faster." For a more in-depth examination of successful lead-generation practices, ordering information is available at the end of this checklist.

✓ Embrace the four successful lead generation principles that high-growth franchisors use to expand their brands:

Feature Story:

Avoid These Common Hiring Mistakes: 10 Ways To Hire The Wrong Person Every Time--guaranteed! »

By Mel Kleiman

In my 20-plus years of teaching and consulting with business owners and hiring managers about how to "hire tough so they can manage easy," I've discovered there are 10 commonplace mistakes almost everyone makes that are guaranteed to result in bad hiring decisions and waste untold time, money, and effort. Thank God I've never had a client who's made all these mistakes at once, but it really only takes two or three to sabotage your efforts to hire great people. Are you guilty of any of the following?

Feature Story:

A Clean Transfer: Key Considerations For Succession Planning »

By Gerald Marks

A franchise is not an ordinary business asset. You don't really "own" a franchise outright as you do a traditional business. What you own is a right or license from the franchisor to operate the business under the franchisor's name for a period of time (the franchise term). More important, when retirement, disability, or death requires a sale of the franchise, you cannot change ownership unless you meet the franchisor's requirements.
This difference becomes even more complicated when it involves multi-unit franchisees, who may be area developers or subfranchisors and who may have more than one unit in two or more unaffiliated brands or sectors (think donut or burger franchisees who are also hotel and convenience store franchisees). Not only are there different franchise terms for each of the franchises, there may be different franchisor requirements in the franchise and area development agreements controlling transfer upon retirement, disability, or death of the managing member or members of the multi-unit franchisee...

Feature Story:

A League Of Their Own: Female Business Owners Have Some Competitive Advantages »

By Marsha Friedman

"What's your best advice for women in business?"
It's a question I hear frequently as more and more women strike out on their own, whether it's to start their own company, write a book, turn their great idea into a product, or otherwise monetize their talents. The number of women-owned businesses in this country is growing 1.5 times faster than the national average. From 1997 to 2011, they increased by 50 percent.
I love seeing this surge of confidence! Putting yourself out there is risky, but it's better to try and fail then to spend a lifetime wondering, "What if?"
Yes, I do have a favorite piece of advice for women in business but first, a word about self-employed women. Did you know that our businesses added 500,000 jobs over 10 years while other privately held firms lost jobs? That in 2007, we accounted for $1...

Feature Story:

Have It All Done?: There Is A Difference Between Continuity Planning And Succession Planning »

By David J. Ciambella and Loyd H. Rawls

Over the years we have encountered hundreds of successful business owners who have made the statement "I have it all done," as they describe how well they have planned and documented their business succession plan. Unfortunately, in most cases these business owners were referring to the work they have done to implement their wills, trusts, buy/sell agreements, and life insurance, which we would constitute as business continuity planning. You may be asking yourself, what is the difference?
Business continuity planning addresses transferring a business to the next generation, whereas business succession planning addresses transferring a business through> the next generation. Frankly, achieving business continuity is a relatively simple transactional project addressed within your will, trust, and/or buy-sell agreement to transfer your business to your children or partners...

Feature Story:

Call And Response: Requesting And Using Feedback Can Build Consensus Among Team Members »

By Timothy Bednarz

Productivity is enhanced and empowerment achieved when leaders solicit, then act upon employee feedback, ideas, and concepts. Soliciting and acting upon feedback is the essence of leadership. The proper use of feedback allows leaders to build consensus among their employees and give them ownership of the ideas and concepts to be implemented within the organization.
There are critical differences between managers and leaders. Managers tend to direct and control without soliciting feedback and building employee consensus. Leaders, on the other hand, build their strength from group consensus, acting as facilitator rather than controller. They understand the power and synergy of combining ideas and working together to achieve mutual goals...

Feature Story:

Franchised Food Industry Stats »

By FRANdata

As of 2012, there were about 1,300 franchised food brands operating in the U.S.; roughly two thirds started offering franchises in 2000 or later.



In 2011, these food brands operated an estimated 176,700 franchised locations. The largest industry by number of franchised units is QSR, which accounted for 72% of franchised units in 2011, followed by baked goods (9%) and retail food (8%).



To estimate the growth rates in franchised food units, FRANdata created a sample of 488 brands for which consecutive data for 2004 through 2011 was available. In 2011, the sample operated 163,054 franchised locations, about 92% of the estimated total. From 2004 through 2011, the number of franchised food locations in this sample increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5%...

Feature Story:

Where Credit Is Due: Don't Hesitate To Give Employee Recognition Frequently And Publicly »

By Timothy Bednarz

In some companies, under the premise that they will be perceived more meaningful, rewards and recognitions are given so infrequently as to in fact be meaningless. In order to be effective in generating long-term, concrete results, such rewards, recognitions, and motivation must be given liberally, frequently, and publicly. They should be fun, uplifting, and encourage all members of the workplace.
A critical aspect of leadership is the manager's role as cheerleader. Leaders need to keep their employees motivated and emotionally prepared to do business in a marketplace fraught with intense competition, rejection, and failure.
There are both tangible and intangible aspects of motivation. The intangible aspects of encouraging words and pats on the back, although not insignificant, can be quickly forgotten, while the tangible aspects are visible and durable...

Feature Story:

On The Take: How To Deal With Employee Theft »

By Patrick Barnett

Employee theft is a common crime that is not even regarded as such by most people who commit it. Taking an odd pen or few sheets of paper home is regarded by many as being a right rather than a crime and something that even the most senior managers can be found guilty of.
It's estimated that 95 percent of all companies suffer from employee theft, but it's probably closer to 100 percent. Serious theft, however, is a different thing entirely. There is a world of difference between the theft of a few pens and the steady depletion of stock through organized crime within a large organization. This sort of employee theft is estimated to cause more than 30 percent of all company bankruptcies, and many companies are in desperate need of a means of controlling it...

Feature Story:

Is It 2012 All Over Again?: Will Congress Finally Act Fiscally Responsibly In 2013? »

By Darrell Johnson

In all likelihood, 2013 will feel a lot like 2012. Only two significant factors could change the economic environment in 2013 from the past two years of choppy, but painfully gradual improvement.
One factor--global conditions--is unpredictable and largely out of the control of any of us. Global weaknesses are outside our control, but weigh heavily on the recovery. And it's unlikely many positive shocks are looming in the next year or two internationally. We can't expect much from Europe any time soon. BRIC countries are unpredictable, led by China's apparent slowdown.
The other factor--our own Congress--is within our country's control. Unfortunately, I don't have very high confidence in a positive outcome. If the politicians in Washington somehow are overwhelmed by a strong dose of common sense (I hold out very little hope for this), the influence a compromise will have initially is big, in that it removes uncertainty...

Feature Story:

Make It Personal: Your Credibility Is Anchored In Character And Integrity »

By Timothy Bednarz

Personal credibility is based upon a leader's character and integrity and the actions and behaviors that stem from them. Far from perfect, many of the influential American leaders I surveyed possessed character flaws and displayed at times, questionable ethical behaviors. Yet their personal credibility remained intact.
So it is safe to ascertain that perfection is not humanly expected and attainable as a leader, but self-awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses is essential. It reflects both maturity and authenticity, which only then serves to enhance a leader's personal credibility.
An observance of the absence of self-awareness resulted in a strong emergence of arrogance and hubris that diminished and ultimately destroyed credibility on all levels...

Feature Story:

Succession And Growth: Everything May Not Be As It Seems »

By Loyd H. Rawls

"What are your goals?" is the common question I present to clients and prospects.
"We want to grow," is the common response I get from business owners who have found a way to make decent money in indecent times. And as though we were talking about buying filters for an air conditioner, they continue with, "and we would like to pick up a couple, three maybe four more locations. We know the management formula; all we need are the deals."
This has been happening so frequently that I rarely pursue dialogue on the subject as if I did, it would take up all my time. I just generally state, "That's impressive. Good luck, as I understand from first hand experience that growth can be fun, and growth can also be a challenge." In light of more pressing subjects on the agenda, I rarely press my opinion regarding succession and growth...

Feature Story:

Family Business: Not Child's Play! »

By Michele Chandler

Three families succeed where many have failed

Operating a successful franchise business is challenging enough. Add in family members and things can get really interesting. Who's the favorite child? Who gets to be CEO, president, COO? When does the founder let go of the reins (and what if he won't)? Issues such as control or favoritism can sink an otherwise healthy enterprise. And then there's the problem of taking the business home or leaving it at the office. Here are three stories of family-run franchises showing that potential problems with family dynamics not only can be overcome, but can be the source of unique strengths that can be channeled into building a prosperous, healthy enterprise--and family.

His three sons
Ever since his sons can remember, Matt Holker has been an entrepreneur...

Feature Story:

Masters Of The Customer Experience »

By John Tschohl

What kind of value do you provide your customers?

I am often asked how I define exceptional customer service. Here it is in a nutshell: Speed, price, and technology--all built around service. That definition is especially appropriate today, given the fast-paced life we live and the budget constraints many of us face. When we are looking to make a purchase, we want to do it conveniently, we want it now, and we want it at a good price. That is true whether we are purchasing a car or carpet cleaning, an air conditioner or airline tickets.
How do you provide that exceptional service? Take a good look at how you deal with your customers, from initial contact to closing the deal. Are you welcoming, whether customers walk through your physical doors or virtual doors? Do you call them by name? Do you have a smile on your face and in your face? Do you provide the information that will help them make an informed decision regarding their purchase? Do you deliver what you say you will as quickly as possible?
Let me give you examples of three companies that go above and beyond to not only meet, but exceed, customer expectations...

Feature Story:

Generation Gap: A Crash Course In Managing 'Millennials' »

By Jennifer Kushell

Millennials provide a unique challenge for businesses today. Many business operators are struggling to understand this generation and how to get the most out of the employer-employee relationship. Here is a quick guide to those born after 1980 and how you can turn them into some of your biggest fans and assets.

Communicating: They do it differently than you. Let's start there. Veterans like face-to-face meetings, Boomers like phone calls, Generation X prefers email and Millennials do most of their communicating via cell phone, text messages and social media. Interpersonal skills and presentation skills often need work, so be prepared to explain what is important to you and expected in your line of work. But be open to letting them develop relationships through the channels they're most comfortable with...

Feature Story:

Cover Your Assets: Tips For Safeguarding Your Wealth »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Litigation is America's fastest growing business because plaintiffs have everything to gain and nothing but a few hours to lose, says Hillel Presser, author of Financial Self-Defense (Revised Edition), www.assetprotectionattorneys.com.
"Even if a case seems utterly ridiculous - like the man who struck and killed a teenager with his luxury car and then sued the boy's family for damage to his bumper - defendants are encouraged to settle. It's sometimes the only way to avoid potentially astronomical legal fees," he says.
If you haven't already taken steps to protect your assets, that's one New Year's resolution you'll be glad you made and followed up on, Presser says. And while it helps to have the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in asset protection, there are many things you can do yourself...

Feature Story:

Sizing Them Up: 10 Tips For Evaluating Franchise Brands »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Ellen Hui spent years as a multi-brand franchisee in the San Francisco Bay area. Following the sale of her business, she has turned to helping franchisors and franchisees improve their operational efficiencies. And with her background in banking, she's also astute on the financial side. We asked what she looks for when researching brands.
Here are her 10 tips on how to evaluate a new brand.

Feature Story:

Performance Review: Using Assignments To Assess Employee Growth And Development »

By Timothy Bednarz

Effective leaders manage by keeping their fingers on the pulse of their employees' key activities. When tasks and assignments are delegated, leaders must take the time to review each employee's progress against goals to determine what, if any, additional training and coaching is needed to successfully complete the assignment or to enhance their skills.
There is a two-fold purpose of an assignment performance review. Leaders are receiving a progress report on the delegated task or assignment. They are allowing the employee to provide details and input on what has happened to date, and the results. The employee is also providing feedback on any problems, issues, and concerns that may have surfaced. This allows the leader to provide insights and to suggest possible courses of action, if needed...

Feature Story:

'Brand' New Pick: Adding New Brands Takes Careful Consideration »

By Eddy Goldberg

Aziz Hashim, who was an engineer before deciding he liked restaurants and franchising better, has a detailed, systematic process for evaluating potential new brands. With 50 units (23 Domino's, 13 Popeyes, and 14 Rally's), first and foremost he's looking for brands in the restaurant sector. Three of his top considerations are:



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