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Feature Story:

FY2016 Omnibus Bill Misses The Mark »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The IFA issued a statement applauding Congress last week on its efforts to enact the FY2016 omnibus spending package, which contains many provisions beneficial to small business owners. But the IFA said it excluded a bipartisan provision that would have temporarily halted the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) enforcement of its joint employer standard.
"The omnibus bill includes a delay of the Health Insurance Tax (HIT), which would have increased health plan premiums on individuals and employers, and it includes a two- year delay of the 40 percent excise tax on high-value health plans," IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti stated in a letter to Members of Congress. "This, coupled with the passage of the tax extenders package, will have a salutary effect on small business growth and job creation...

Feature Story:

Building Bench Strength In Your Organization »

By Dan Schneider

Key managers are the bedrock for any size business. They shape the culture and provide the leadership to drive results in line with the vision, mission, and strategic goals of the organization. Due to the operational and leadership weight they carry, if a key manager leaves the business without a plan for a speedy replacement, the organization can be left incapacitated. As a result, the development of leadership and management bench strength is critical to providing for the continued success of the franchise business.
The process of bench building is relatively simple, however, discipline to implementation is where many organizations struggle. Adopting the following philosophies in your process will ensure your program is on the right path...

Feature Story:

What's It Worth?: Business Valuation - Tips For A Faster Sale »

By Rod Bristol

There are many misconceptions about how to go about valuing your business. In general, most business owners have a value in their mind that is usually several times more than the actual value a sophisticated, competent buyer ultimately pays. The process of getting from perceived value to sale price can be very, very challenging. Here is some helpful information to get you to a successful valuation and faster sale of your business.

Business valuation

Feature Story:

Preparing To Perform In 2016 »

By Sherry B. Jordan

A new calendar year is just around the corner. For the majority of small business owners, that means it is time to examine performance for the year that is past and adjust the vision and action plans for the year ahead.
Success does not happen by accident. If you want to reach your full potential you can't just "wing it." You have to have a clear and concise plan and be ready to take action on the first day of the new year. Anything less and you have missed an opportunity to be all you can be, have all you can have, and accomplish all that is possible for you and your business. Don't worry, it does not have to be complicated. Set aside a little time and simply:

Feature Story:

Minimum Wage Protesters Miss The Point »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Protests coordinated earlier this month by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) were merely "political theater that does not help close the income inequality gap," according to a statement released by the International Franchise Association (IFA).
IFA President & CEO Robert Cresanti said, "The franchise industry is an American success story and an economic growth engine creating jobs and spawning vibrant new small businesses in local communities across the country." He went on to point out that the franchise business model is a "valuable playbook that provides a pathway to personal and professional success and business ownership for aspiring entrepreneurs. The protests put the future of these jobs and businesses in jeopardy...

Feature Story:

How To Choose A Brand & Culture You Can Trust »

By Eric Stites

The difference between a weak and a strong franchise is often the alignment between franchisor and franchisees. Franchise Business Review's franchisee satisfaction research shows that franchise brands with strong cultures: 1) have extremely high satisfaction and engagement among their franchisees, and 2) outperform their competitors by a factor of 300 to 400 percent.
Great company cultures don't just happen. They are always the direct result of inspiring leadership and constant efforts to grow, learn, and improve. Trust also plays a crucial role: its absence creates a barrier to performance, while its presence, which promotes creativity and teamwork, accelerates it.
While many franchise brands pay lip service to building trust with franchisees, few actually do...

Feature Story:

Building Success Through Culture »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Culture is something that can't be measured by Google analytics. But it has inherent value and it makes a tangible difference. Creating, implementing, and maintaining a strong culture that reflects your values and beliefs can pay off in employee and customer satisfaction - not to mention the bottom line at your franchise locations. Creating a culture is just what Brent Collier has done.
He operates 14 restaurants from 6 different franchise brands along a 25-mile stretch in the tourist mecca of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and faces a nice kind of problem: his restaurants compete for the same customers. But that's not really a problem, since the area draws more than 11 million tourists a year.
The way he figures it, most visit for an average of three days, which he translates into "nine meal opportunities...

Feature Story:

Selling An Experience »

By John DiJulius

What business are you really in?

Was I wrong when I said you should offer a price match guarantee?
This question was inspired by reading Jeff Shore's article on Entrepreneur.com, "Don't Wage a Price War. Win Sales by Eliminating Your Competition." A paradigm shift is needed from selling a commodity someone can get anywhere to selling an experience customers can enjoy only with your company.
Everyone in your organization needs to have this mindset: We are the ultimate experience provider. We will not be oversold. In fact, if you can find it more expensive somewhere else, we will raise our prices and match it.

Feature Story:

A Question Of Balance: Improving Franchise Agreements For A New Era »

By Eddy Goldberg

Franchise agreements: can't live without 'em, can't kill 'em. However, there is a major effort under way--by franchisors and franchisees alike--to cure what ails them.
One big goal is to make them more balanced, to shift the preponderance of power from franchisors to create a more equitable document. This doesn't mean weakening brand standards: the brand and its intellectual property must be protected, or the entire system will suffer. However, it does mean things like greater franchisee participation, collaboration, transparency, and clarity written into the agreements.
The list of complaints about onerous or restrictive terms is well known: liquidated damages, personal guarantees, transfer rights, binding arbitration, default provisions, system changes, and more...

Feature Story:

What's Your Service Aptitude? »

By John DiJulius

It's your job to teach employees how to treat customers

Companies don't engage emotionally with their customers--their employees do. If you want to create a memorable company, you must fill your company with memorable people. The level and quality of your organization's customer service comes down to one thing and one thing only: the Service Aptitude of every employee. From the CEO to the account executive, sales clerk, call center, receptionist, corporate office support team, to every front-line employee--the most critical component in building a world-class customer experience culture is the Service Aptitude of every individual in your company.

What is Service Aptitude?
Service Aptitude is a person's ability to recognize opportunities to exceed customers' expectations, regardless of the circumstances...

Feature Story:

Failed Units: Not Just A Franchisee Issue »

By Darrell Johnson

Throughout my career I have observed that a strong alignment of interests between two business parties usually leads to good outcomes for both. All franchisors with any marketing savvy will say they are strongly aligned with their franchisees. What is the evidence that a brand walks the talk?
There are many ways a franchisor can help its franchisees, starting with a full and high-quality support program, and including a disciplined prospect screening program, training that measures results, site selection and opening assistance based on proven criteria, and field operations and compliance that are effective.
Then there's transparency. Brands that have a meaningful Item 19, that have system dashboards that compare unit performance in real time, that support capital access through SBA eligibility and Bank Credit Reports (BCRs), and that seek system feedback through independent third parties are further examples...

Feature Story:

Franchisees Rally For Their Cause On Capitol Hill »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Franchisees from across the country gathered this week in Washington D.C. to rally around the franchise business model and meet with members of Congress to emphasize the industry's importance. It's the 2015 International Franchise Association's (IFA) Franchise Action Network Annual Meeting, an event that helps get attendees excited and ready for meeting with elected officials on Capitol Hill.
"Not everyone understands the franchise business model and how legislative and regulatory decisions can greatly impact small franchised businesses," said Catherine Monson, CEO of Fastsings and a speaker during the event. "It is critical for all of us in the franchising industry to proactively develop relationships with our Congressional Representatives and Senators in order to preserve and protect the future of our businesses...

Feature Story:

Boosting Unit Profitability »

By Steve LeFever and Rod Bristol

We're often asked, "I've been in this system four years. When should I start making a profit?" This is a disturbing question at best--as if profits were somehow time-sensitive: just wait long enough and, Presto!, profits. If only it were that easy. Here are some thoughts on improving your bottom line.

Feature Story:

Industry Groups Join To Oppose Overtime Regulations »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A united front of 15 franchisee associations and the International Franchise Association (IFA) are working together to fight the government's proposed changes to overtime regulations. Together, the groups submitted comments last week declaring the Department of Labor's (DOL) proposed changes to overtime regulations are "fundamentally flawed and bad for employers and employees," according to a statement issued. The IFA also accused the DOL of "failing to extend the comment period on the radical changes that will severely hamper job growth in the small business sector."
"The proposed change to the overtime rule is another action by the Obama Administration that dramatically alters how small businesses operate," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE...

Feature Story:

IFA Claims Labor Department Conducting Franchise "Witch Hunt" »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Last week, the International Franchise Association (IFA) filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Labor's (DOL) Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) asking for the rationale behind questions OSHA inspectors are asking franchise owners, which appear specifically designed to presume a joint employer relationship between brand companies and local franchise small business owners. The group also wants to see correspondence between DOL and OSHA officials and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is engaged in a three year, $50 million corporate campaign to destroy the legal separation between franchise businesses and grow union membership.
"The Labor Department is conducting a witch hunt that, at a minimum, exceeds the statutory authority afforded to the OSHA by Congress...

Feature Story:

Newk's Eatery Focuses On Cancer Awareness »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

With one in 70 women facing ovarian cancer, Newk's Eatery is shining a spotlight on this relatively silent killer by turning up the volume on its growing "Newk's Cares" initiative, which includes permanent changes within the brand to further support the cause. Following a tremendous community response last year, the ongoing ovarian cancer awareness campaign will be re-surging across Newk's more than 80 restaurants throughout the months of August and September to spark awareness and raise needed support for cure research, along with a second-annual Ovarian Cycle Jackson fundraising event.
In honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September, Newk's is going teal--the color adopted by the global ovarian cancer awareness movement-- switching out Newk's signature black cups for teal ones, as well as permanently replacing the brand's traditional red straws with teal straws...

Feature Story:

Congress Authorizes Additional Funds For SBA »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The House of Representatives approved a bi-partisan measure last week that would lift the cap on the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 7(a) loan program to $23.5 billion, which would enable SBA to continue approving much needed loans to business owners - like franchisees. The House vote follows the Senate's approval of the same increase just two weeks ago.
The IFA and other pro-franchising groups are praising the move. "We are extremely pleased policymakers on both sides of the political aisle recognized the importance of the 7(a) loan program, which provides critical funding to small businesses, including franchise small businesses," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE. "For every $1 million in lending to a franchise, 40 new direct and indirect jobs are created - a sizable return on investment...

Feature Story:

New Franchise Legislation Would Hamper Franchisee Rights »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

New legislation that seeks to enhance the rights of franchisees would in fact hurt them and their businesses, says the IFA. The franchise group has come out against the legislation purporting to be pro-franchisee as anti-opportunity and unnecessary considering the many franchisee protections already in place. The legislation was introduced by Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
"For five years running, franchising continues to outpace growth of the overall U.S. economy," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE. "Representative Ellison's new legislation is a misguided attempt to 'protect' franchisees by burdening them with new regulations and restrictions on how they run their businesses. Franchising creates millions of jobs and small business ownership opportunities for Americans, including tens of thousands of veterans, minorities, and women...

Feature Story:

Fund-Amental Change?: Is Aziz Hashim's New Fund For Franchisees A Game-Changer? »

By Eddy Goldberg

Tired of paying royalties? How would you like to get in on collecting them? That's one of the reasons--among many--behind an innovative fund created to allow multi-unit franchisees to own or invest in franchise brands.
"If you're in franchising as a multi-unit franchisee and have built your enterprise by paying royalties, it's a very natural hedge to have an investment in an entity that's in the business of collecting royalties," says Aziz Hashim, founder and general partner of the new fund, called NRD Partners.
Hashim, who has made a career operating restaurant franchises, says he has been preparing for this new role all his franchising life. "I've entered and exited 14 brands in my career. So in a way I've been practicing as a little mini-private equity or fund anyway...

Feature Story:

IFA Criticizes Department Of Labor's "Administrative Guidance" On Contractors »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The International Franchise Association (IFA) is speaking up for franchisees and small businesses everywhere in response to new "administrative guidance" from the Department of Labor (DOL). The guidance applies an "economic realities" test to decide whether a worker can be an independent contractor or must instead be classified as an employee. The IFA says the guidance is unnecessarily intrusive and called it yet another in a long list of Obama Administration directives that will make it harder for millions of small businesses to operate and grow.
"Franchise business owners are simply exhausted and frustrated by the Obama Administration's death by a thousand cuts' attempt to transform the workforce and ignore the concerns of the small business community...


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