In our previous column, we covered the first two elements of security and loss prevention when setting up a new business: site selection and employee screening. This issue we look at alarm systems.
Rollie Trayte with Gary Widman
For over a year, the headlines have been rife with dire warnings that seem to indicate the demise of the world as we know it. For example, we learned that in June we experienced the worst percentage decline in the broad market averages since the Great Depression. We also discovered that home prices are declining faster than at any time in recorded history, and that debt levels (personal and governmental) have never been so high--nor have gas prices, even factoring in inflation. Gold is going through the roof and the dollar is falling through the floor. Corn, copper, steel, soybeans, etc. are shattering more records than Michael Phelps. And woe is us: flu season is right around the corner. Could this be the year of the "Great Pandemic"? It's no wonder that consumer confidence has dropped to multi-decade lows, and that stock markets around the world are misbehaving. But what could actually go right as a result of this upheaval?
You have several units--maybe even several brands--and you do a pretty good job of controlling your area. In fact, other franchisees in the chain often look to you for answers. And when the franchisor introduces a new product or advertising campaign your voice mail and e-mail overflow with peer requests for advice. You're a hot property for the suppliers, the franchisor, and your franchisee association or advisory council. Your franchisor spends more time with other franchisees because they see you don't need their help. You have dozens, even hundreds of employees and your share of G&A expenses. Your banker and the institutional lenders love you (for the time being), and you have more opportunities than you can evaluate.
As a potential seller seeking a liquidity event, will the current credit markets prevent me from finding a buyer/investor at an acceptable valuation multiple? Are potential buyers/investors unwilling to pursue transactions in the present financing and economic environment?
Customer loyalty is never more important than in turbulent times. High levels of customer satisfaction are a must to win customer loyalty. That's one reason measuring customer satisfaction is a great idea--if the numbers are real! Unfortunately, many customer satisfaction scores are unreliable.
What does one of the most successful Subway multi-unit operators, and now multi-unit operator and area developer for LA Sunset Tan, do for his next trick? Make a horror movie, of course.
In his earlier life as a CPA for a pharmaceutical company, Gary Vega traveled the world extensively. Spending so much time on the company's dime allowed him to stash away his own income until the right opportunity arrived to start his own restaurant business.
"One day I had 1,000 people, the next day I had a hair salon with 5 stylists," says Richard Bielecki, Fantastic Sams regional owner for South Texas and New Mexico.
When you have only one location, it's pretty easy to work both in your business as well as on it. When you have two locations, most often it's still doable--you can manage it. Almost without exception, however, when you get to three or more locations, you'll find yourself stretched way past your limits. You will be so busy working in your business that you won't have any time to work on it, and that's a recipe for disaster. When the disasters start piling up, it's past time to recruit the unit-level managers (ULMs) you need to keep things running smoothly and help you grow your business.
The multi-unit operators highlighted in this issue of have gained both market dominance and respect for their achievements. Wouldn't it be nice to follow in their footsteps? How does one go about doing so? Bookstores are full of how-to books on every aspect of strategic and tactical business building. Yet, ultimately, it mostly comes down to trial and error because the single biggest factor is you and the people around you in your company.
Technology tools have become a mainstay for every multi-unit franchisee, used for planning, budgeting, forecasting, and many other daily activities. Today franchisees are embracing technology for demographic research and site selection.
Reciprocity Restaurant Group President Lyndon Johnson good-naturedly lets new acquaintances have a little fun with his name. That's because he's fine with his name. "I can think of a lot worse people to share a name with," says Johnson.