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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:

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:

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:

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:

Entrepreneurs In Uncertain Times »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Business expert offers tips for capitalizing on unpredictability

As we pass the five-year anniversary of the start of the economic recession in December 2007, many observers focus on what was lost:

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),
"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:

Reinventing Payday: Trim Your Payroll Costs With Electronic Distribution »

By Matt Merriam

Franchisees nationwide are looking for new ways to cut costs and improve efficiency. Payroll is an easy, and yet often overlooked, opportunity for companies to make operational changes that will have a direct, measurable impact on the bottom line. Electronic pay costs only 10 percent of the average cost of processing and distributing paper paychecks. The cost savings of having all employees use electronic pay is significant and provides added productivity as well as increased employee satisfaction. Electronic payroll also helps companies mitigate fraudulent activity that can occur when using paper paychecks. Despite the many benefits of electronic payroll delivery many franchisees approach to payroll has changed little over the years.

Employer Paycard Advantages
Employers will immediately eliminate the reoccurring costs associated with buying traditional paper paycheck stock with security features...

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:

Proposed Lease Accounting Changes: What Does This Mean For Multi-Unit Franchisees? »

By Cory Bennett

As many of you already know, there are significant changes to lease accounting on the horizon. The impact will be significant to companies' balance sheets and specifically to the franchise community. Companies that have significant operating leases will see the biggest impact, although everyone will feel the effect in some capacity. The proposed standard is tentatively scheduled to be released in 2013 with a possible effective date in 2016. Private companies may see a one- or two-year deferral which is consistent with new standards being issued and greatly influenced by the recently established Private Company Council (PCC). The PCC is a new body that will work with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to determine whether and when to modify U...

Feature Story:

Leadership Traits: 5 Things Great Leaders Do »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Are you a great leader or an "at risk" failing leader? How do you know? What would your staffers say? What would your own supervisor say?
"While there is a seemingly endless list of things to consider when asking yourself 'how am I doing?,' it's prudent to specifically focus on your attitudes and behaviors," says leadership authority Roxi Hewertson, President and CEO of the Highland Consulting Group. "These are the biggest differentiators between great leaders and failing leaders because they demonstrate the four core emotional intelligence metrics: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. These four factors are directly correlated with attitudes and behaviors that work for you or against those in a leadership role...

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:

Cheer Up: 5 Questions That Can Help Ensure Happy Customers »

By Dr. Nido Qubein

Having a flock of happy customers is like having your own advertising agency.
A major study by a commission of business experts found that the typical happy customer will tell three friends or business associates about you. Word-of-mouth advertising through satisfied customers influences people to buy a product or service more often than all other forms of advertising put together.
Don't relax too much. The study also found that people who are unhappy with you will tell, on average, nine or ten friends. Negative comments are even more effective in destroying business than positive comments are in building it. It takes nine or ten positive comments to overcome one negative comment.
How can you keep customers satisfied enough to say nice things about you and keep doing business with you without losing money and working yourself to death? Building your business around repeat customers is the best way...

Feature Story:

Local Store Marketing 101: College Hunks Hauling Junk Case Study »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Nick Frantz, 24, may be young but he's also a marketing whiz. According to Chris Jackson, director of marketing and branding at College Hunks Hauling Junk, "He lives College Hunks. If he is in the grocery store, it's a marketing opportunity."
Frantz worked at the brand's Washington, D.C., flagship franchise for 3 years, followed by a summer with the brand's Tennessee franchisees before becoming a franchisee in Northern Virginia in late 2010. So far he has just one territory, Loudon County and a few neighboring areas in Fairfax County, where he's exercising his marketing talents.
"You can spend a lot of money on advertising. It adds up fast," he says. "Everything we do is free or a team cost."
One example: an online video of a day in the life of a College Hunk--100 percent employee created and edited...

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:

Feature Story:

The New And Improved Normal »

By Darrell Johnson

New Tools Boost Franchise Lending Prospects
Previously, I described one of the few positives from the recent financial crisis: In the world of small-business lending, franchising has gained a competitive edge in the battle for access to capital.
We're now in phase two of a small-business credit recovery that started in late 2011 and will last a few more years. This phase is defined by the banking community's gradual return to small-business lending, the result of banks beginning to feel earnings pressure they didn't have following the 2008 financial crisis. Investor expectations for banks are gradually changing from capital preservation to earnings--and banks make money by lending.
The early part of phase two starts with banks searching only for lower-risk lending opportunities (e...

Feature Story:

Local Store Marketing 101: Molly Maid Case Study »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Twenty-year-old Michael Silva-Nash's family bought the Greater Little Rock Molly Maid franchise in 2005. "If you were part of the family, you had to come to work at Molly Maid, folding rags, filing, weekends," he says. Soon he was making customer phone calls and beginning to take on marketing-related activities. Now he's appearing on a local television station sharing cleaning tips on the air.
About a year ago, they revamped their marketing. "We started doing radio with a local personality we enjoy listening to and who spoke to our clients, the women we were trying to reach. She's almost a personal endorsement, like a friend," he says.
For someone so young, he seems to have his fingers on all the right marketing buttons. "You have to adapt your marketing to the local area and tie all your marketing together," he says...

Feature Story:

Olympic Opportunity!: How To Provide World-Class Customer Service »

By Jack Mackey

The Summer Olympics reinforced my respect for world-class athletes of all nationalities.
At a recent gathering of international franchisees, I had a similar sense of admiration, this time for remarkable customer experiences being created around the world by companies outside the U.S. The occasion was the annual convention of Crestcom International. While many franchise organizations today have global reach, Crestcom was founded 25 years ago by Hal Krause with the explicit mission to bring state-of-art management training to the world.
Crestcom's video-based management skills workshops are conducted by franchisees in more than 50 countries and 25 languages. Their recent information-sharing regarding customer service around the world was full of nuggets I want to share with you...

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