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Every franchisee who relies on hourly employees has struggled with finding good, dependable staff and managers. There are some tricks of the trade, techniques, and processes that can help you interview better, hire smarter, train better, and retain longer. Successful franchisees are the ones with great employees who are passionate about the brand, its customers, the people they work for, and their own career advancement.

Find tips and insight from human resources experts, franchisees, and franchisors who know what it takes to hire, train, and retain top-performing employees.

Feature Story:

Man Of Many Hats: Former NFL Pro Thrives With Lots Of Balls In The Air »

By Debbie Selinsky

When you look at the life and career of multi-unit franchisee Don Davey, you'll notice a pattern. From professional football (he was an NFL defensive tackle for 10 years) to his 20-unit ownership of Firehouse Subs franchises to the six Ironman competitions he's completed, everything requires discipline, tenacity, focus, and a competitive nature.
Sound tough? Not to Davey, who was named the 2013 IFA's Franchisee of the Year. In fact, he eats it up. "As an entrepreneur, I love being completely responsible for both our successes and our failures. It's stressful, but extremely rewarding," he says.
"Some people look at my life as hectic and chaotic," says Davey, who earned bachelor and master's degrees in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison...

Feature Story:

Added Value: Is Your Leadership Personality Helping Or Hurting Your Business? »

By Sally Hogshead

As an entrepreneur, you're often the face of your company, and your ability to capture attention, to fascinate others--clients, employees, strategic partners, influencers--can make or break a business. Every time you communicate, you're doing one of two things:

Feature Story:

Flight Path: Air Force Couple Splits Time Between Flying And Operating Mosquito Joe Franchise »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Jeff Deiters, 50, is a Chicago-native who has been flying planes for as long as he can remember and spends a bulk of his time up in the sky. He and his wife, Annette, met at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, and are both veterans. After 22 years of flying for the United States Air Force out of Andrews Air Force base in Maryland - including flying Air Force One and many senator and cabinet members - Jeff is now a corporate pilot, flying for brands such as Under Armour and Choice Hotels. Annette flies Boeing 767s internationally out of Washington-Dulles airport for United Airlines.
While the couple still flies extensively, they wanted to fill their time on the ground with a supplemental business opportunity and started exploring new ventures for ownership...

Feature Story:

Raising The Service Ante: Location Analytics Validates A Wow Experience »

By Jack Mackey

Customer expectations today are dramatically higher, thanks to the likes of Amazon, Zappos, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Ritz-Carlton, and Chick-fil-A, to name just a few of today's customer experience leaders. Once your customers have exceptional experiences dealing with companies like these, their expectations are permanently raised. This means your business is evaluated in the customer's mind in comparison with the best businesses in the world. If you deliver just an ordinary customer experience, rather than a highly satisfying (wow) experience, your business is just average in the customer's mind. And your customer's repeat visit behavior will reflect that judgment.
SMG recently demonstrated how much more effective highly satisfying customer experiences are in driving return visits by using location analytics...

Feature Story:

Brand Builder: Big Expansion Plans Ahead For Multi-State Operator »

By Debbie Selinsky

Larry Lee had a built-in advantage when he leveraged his career in real estate and shopping center development to include franchising.
"Great locations will offset everything else," says the Texan, who has 16 McAlister's deli locations open, with plans to add two dozen more by 2015 as he expands beyond his base in Texas and New Mexico. Lee first ate in a McAlister's at one of his San Antonio shopping centers. "No matter how great your marketing is, you can't market your way out of a bad location," he says.
Lee says his learning curve as he entered franchising was relatively easy. "Franchising was a little new, but I knew about the real estate, of course, and the financing requirements. Dealing with a franchisor was a little different but that's gone well, too," he says...

Feature Story:

Cleaning Up: Joe Weiss Craves And Finds New Challenge In Chem-Dry Franchise »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Joe Weiss is another one of those successful people who got started in the corporate world and did well. But there was something different he was seeking. So he began exploring opportunities in franchising and after 5 years working in the corporate arena for Verizon Wireless, he took the plunge and bought his first Chem-Dry franchise. That was in 2005. He now has 11 territories in Michigan where he's excelling in business and enjoying life with his wife and two children.


Name: Joe Weiss
Title: Owner
Company: Chem-Dry of Washtenaw, Chem-Dry of Livingston, and Chem-Dry of Northwest Wayne County
No. of units by brand: 11
Age: 40 years old
Family: Married to Elizabeth Weiss with two children, 7 and 4...

Feature Story:

Partners In Arms: IFA Teams Up With Job Creations Network To Defend Franchising »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Franchising is fighting back.
Organized labor and activist groups have been hammering away at the franchise business way of life. But now the International Franchise Association (IFA) and Job Creations Network, an advocacy organization dedicated to educating employees about government policies that negatively impact their business, have formed a dynamic duo to help defend franchising.
The new partnership will provide IFA and its membership non-partisan education tools about how existing and prospective government policies affect their workplace, now and in the future.
"Millions of jobs and small businesses are now at risk due to the unprecedented nature of the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that franchisors and franchisees can be designated as joint-employers," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE...

Feature Story:

Del Taco Man: Franchisee, Franchisor, Family Man, Innovator »

By Debbie Selinsky

If Del Taco were a sports team, Paul Hitzelberger would not only be its MVP, he'd also be the GM and coach. For the past three decades, he's been on both sides of the business, as franchisor and franchisee, playing a leading role in helping the brand grow to more than 540 restaurants in 17 states.
After serving 15 years as chief marketing officer for Del Taco, he retired, but it didn't stick. In 2001, the Chicago-born entrepreneur started a new career as a franchisee, buying eight Del Taco locations in Utah. "The only partner I have now is my wife," he says, adding that he has an "outstanding" relationship with Del Taco and loves the product.
A former senior officer with General Mills and franchisor at Coast to Coast stores, Hitzelberger has earned franchisee accolades over the years, regularly posting the highest average volume within the Del Taco system...

Feature Story:

Against The Odds: ServiceMaster Franchisee Sets Records And Sails To Success »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Dan Fry entered the world of franchising knowing very little about the business. He was warned of the odds of succeeding in a new business but he didn't let that stop him or hold him back in anyway. He excelled first as a ServiceMaster franchisee and became one of the brand's top 200 franchisees after only one year in business. He's maintained that growth rate over the last 12 years and has earned numerous franchise growth and excellence awards. His newest business venture is as a Furniture Medic franchisee and he's excelling again. He has already set a record for the highest first year revenue of any new franchisee and been recognized with the brand's Rookie of the Year Award.


Name: Dan Fry
Title: Owner/Partner
Company: ServiceMaster Advanced Restorations, LP
(Also: Furniture Medic by Wood Restore, LLC)
Location/Territory: Dallas/Fort Worth
No...

Feature Story:

Positional Power: 5 Ways To Find Common Ground With Your Business Partners »

By Dan Schneider

If you happen to be an active majority partner in a business, you may sometimes find yourself struggling for alignment with your minority partner or partners, especially if the minority partners are also involved in the business. They assume because they have some percentage of ownership that they may have the positional power to make unilateral decisions that move the business in a direction that suits their liking. In short, they throw their "weight" around; and they pay little attention to the unintended consequences of doing so.
If you currently find yourself in this position, here are some approaches that many have used successfully to get everyone moving in the same direction again. Your success with them will depend largely on how strongly you believe and how well you remember that the deceptive or coercive use of these principles can further complicate the situation...

Feature Story:

Anger Management: Handling Irate Customers And Difficult Situations  »

By John Tschohl

It's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it.
Facing off with a screaming, unreasonable, irrational customer represents the ultimate test of any employee's service skills. It can take you to your breaking point if you are not aware and careful. Staying grounded and above the fray requires you to find inner strength, and persevere beyond the initial difficulties.
With many employees a screaming irate customer will ruin their day. It's hard to keep motivated when 20 minutes into your shift a customer lets you have it. The bad news is most employees have never been trained to successfully handle these customers. Their ego gets in the way. They call management for support. In some call centers the employee just hangs up thinking no one will know...

Feature Story:

Recruiting And Hiring: Experts Offer 6 Ways To Use "Inboarding" To Improve Employee Productivity »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Four out of five companies can testify that onboarding new hires leads to such positives as higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater commitment to the organization, and stress reduction. According to the author of a new book on business trends, many companies are now doing the same for existing employees, a process called "inboarding."
"Inboarding is really just an extension of the idea of onboarding. There is no reason to think that it is too late for the rest of the roster who arrived after onboarding began or have already gone through onboarding," says Dana Borowka, co-editor along with Ellen Borowka of the new anthology Cracking the Business Code.
According to Larry Cassidy, a contributor to the new book, the purpose of inboarding is to set existing, rather than new, employees up for greater success...

Feature Story:

On A Mission: Michael Kulp Takes Care Of Business And His People »

By Debbie Selinsky

Michael Kulp thinks big. While some business executives are looking at what to cut because of rising payroll and healthcare costs, Kulp, president and CEO of KBP Foods, a $250 million restaurant company with units in nine states, is taking an "inverse" approach.
"We're using our growth as a vehicle to handle costs rather than shrinking the business down," says the 38-year-old Colorado native. "We're making sure that our growth and cash flow outpace the costs of healthcare and payroll." This approach illustrates what Kulp finds most rewarding about his job, he says. "Our mission is to develop our people personally, professionally, and financially."
With that goal in mind, KBP Foods, which includes nearly 300 KFCs, Taco Bells, and Long John Silver's, took another major step...

Feature Story:

Come Together: CEO Shares Tips For Turning Wasted Meetings Into Fruitful Gatherings »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

In survey after survey company meetings get knocked by everyone from employees to senior executives as being among the biggest waste of work hours.
In one poll, by Office Team, 45 percent of senior executives said their firms would be more productive if they banned all meetings at least one day a week!
"The problem that often occurs - beyond the obvious, like lacking a clear agenda - is the underlying current of competition that each person brings to the table," says Berny Dohrmann, chairman and founder of CEO Space International, and author of Redemption: The Cooperation Revolution.
"Competition pulls people apart; cooperation brings them together. Signs that competition is causing unproductive meetings include one or two people dominating the floor; individuals touting their achievements; people consistently failing to contribute their ideas because they fear being criticized or ridiculed," he says...

Feature Story:

Big Operator, Bigger Heart: Family, Philanthropy, Diversity, And Drive »

By Debbie Selinsky

Tony Lutfi, who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, is one of the most successful QSR franchisees in the country, rapidly growing his five food brands to market domination and record revenues.
Lutfi, who first ventured into franchise ownership in the early 1990s as a franchisee of Arby’s and Long John Silver’s in Northern California, now owns a whopping 130-plus restaurants in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Missouri.
No one-trick pony, in 2011 began diversifying his portfolio beyond food, and just 3 years later operates a total of 29 Sears retail stores: 17 Sears Home Appliance Showrooms, 3 Sears Appliance & Hardware stores, and 9 Sears Outlet stores.
His MarLu Investment Group was able to accomplish such rapid growth across brands because, he says, “We keep the same focus on culture that has kept us in business and away from trouble...

Feature Story:

Renaissance Man: Paul Hitzelberger Draws On A Broad Base Of Knowledge, Skills, And Experience »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The list of accomplishments is long for Paul Hitzelberger. He was a senior officer with General Mills, part of the Coast to Coast franchise, turned Osco Drug Stores in the Central Illinois region from worst of 13 to best in less than two years, was selected for the company's Hall of Fame, and went on to engineer 15 years of consecutive same-store sales increases at Del Taco. To use a sports metaphor, Hitzelberger is an All Star.
For the past three decades, he's been on both sides of the business, as franchisor and franchisee, playing a leading role in helping the Del Taco brand grow to more than 540 restaurants in 17 states.
After serving 15 years as chief marketing officer for Del Taco, he retired, but it didn't stick. In 2001, the Chicago-born entrepreneur started a new career as a franchisee, buying eight Del Taco locations in Utah...

Feature Story:

High Return Rate: Avoiding The Most Common Mistakes That Cause Employees To Leave »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Employment rates in the United States are steadily increasing, meaning businesses are growing and, as a result, seeking the right talent to fit their teams. With all the positive growth, one thing business owners have to be cognizant of is the danger of employee turnover.
Terry Powell, founder of AdviCoach, a national provider of business coaching and advisory services customized for small- to mid-size businesses, says that "identifying the type of employee you want and how to reach that talent may be one of the hardest parts of the hiring process. However, once you know who you want to hire, it's important to have the systems in place to keep that employee happy to avoid costly 'repairs' down the line."
On average, turnover costs U...

Feature Story:

Corporate Culture Rules: The Right Culture Fosters Engagement, Loyalty, And Productivity »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Corporate Culture Rules: The Right Culture Fosters Engagement, Loyalty, And Productivity

If you're the CEO of a company, the realization that much of what you do can be copied by your competitors may be distressing, but veteran sales manager, consultant, and business speaker Jack Daly says not so fast.
"Sure your competition copy what they can, but there are two things they can't: your people and your culture," says Daly, author of Hyper Sales Growth, (www.jackdaly.net).
"I specialize in corporate coaching and sales, the latter of which really counts on the talent and sustained motivation of the sales force. Even your best salesperson needs that extra shot from time to time, and the best way to ensure a driven team is to create a culture that fosters the results you want," he says...

Feature Story:

2014 MVP Awards: Honoring Outstanding Multi-Unit Performers »

By Kerry Pipes & Eddy Goldberg

The best franchisees are some of the hardest-working and kindest people around. They provide customers with consistent products and services, give back to their communities, and provide jobs for thousands of employees. Each year we recognize outstanding multi-unit franchisees with our MVP (Most Valuable Performer) Awards. We thank Comcast Business Services for sponsoring the awards. Here's a preview of this year's winners.

Noble Cause Award
Sam Anabi was a police officer before becoming a franchisee. He now has 200 gas stations and 23 restaurants (Del Taco and Subway). His people-centered approach shows in how he cares for his employees, customers, and the needy in the communities where he operates.

American Dream Award
Nachhattar Chandi has come a long way from walking 3 miles to school on India's dirt roads...

Feature Story:

Running A Business: Overcoming Life Challenges To Succeed In Franchising »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Natalie Ehrlich knows what it's like to overcome difficult times in her life. One of the most challenging periods she ever faced was when she was a single mother studying to earn her Ph.D. while raising her son at the same time. She says it was a tough time that taught her the importance of hard work and dedication and ultimately helped shape the person she is today.
As we continue to interview and profile franchisees who think outside the brick and mortar box, we checked in with Ehrlich, an Oxi Fresh franchisee who recently ran 42 marathons in just 12 months. Here's more about her.

Name: Natalie Jo Ehrlich
Title: President and Owner
Company: Oxi Fresh of Phoenix, East Valley, and Northern Arizona
No...



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