Gina Puente learned about hard work, tenacity, and the power of cash at the knees of her father, "working" in his office equipment business from the age of eight... when she wasn't busy with commercials and pageants.
There are tweets and pokes, posts and check-ins, mayors, fans, friends, and likes. It seems as though every social media network has its own language and users--yet all of them are grouped together as the "shining light" of marketing for the year to come. Well, here's the truth. While social media is now a cornerstone for branding, sales growth, and PR, for multi-unit franchisees to successfully use social media to drive business into stores, you need to get the facts.
Long ago, when I was a newly minted junior analyst at a local investment firm, a grizzled veteran noted that it was pointless to be in the investment business if you weren't a long-term optimist. To me, that time-worn piece of advice continues to ring true. Operating from this mantra, I've spent my entire career believing that whatever short-term morass the economy or the market found itself in could be fixed (eventually) by the drive and ingenuity of the American entrepreneurial spirit. I'm hopeful that this time will be no different--although I admittedly find my optimism being severely tested. In nearly 30 years in the business, I've never witnessed such a complex array of issues at play.
Like many successful and charismatic people, Elena Donahue punctuates her speaking with exclamation points. "Dream big! Focus small!" she encourages the staff at OceDon Restaurant Management in Castle Rock, Colo., and to fellow volunteers at the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Over the past 25 years, franchising has continued to develop and become more sophisticated. The reins of the franchisor have passed from the pioneering founders to established management teams with significant industry experience. Today, many of these companies are publicly traded or majority-owned by institutional equity investors.
All franchise brands strive to deliver a remarkable customer experience. Why? Because that's how you win customer loyalty. Customer loyalty shows up in greater share of the customer's wallet and higher frequency of purchase. Loyal customers spend more per average transaction, and they send referrals to you through the enthusiastic stories they tell, based on doing business with you. You can market all you want, but in the end, customers believe and talk about what they experience.
Tulsa resident Bill Ramsey had worked hard in the international manufacturing business all his life, and was a bit disappointed when he learned that none of his five children were interested in following him into that industry. He didn't have a lot of family growing up, so he was determined to keep his close.
It's often the case that the weaknesses of a system are not obvious until that system is catastrophically overloaded. That's when most breakdowns or failures occur. Overloaded electrical systems start fires, overloaded computer systems crash, and overloaded human beings suffer nervous breakdowns.
When a franchise unit or organization runs into trouble, what does your franchisor do to help? Unfortunately, according to several multi-unit operators we spoke with, not much, not enough, nothing at all--and sometimes worse, demanding future royalty payments for closed units, or refusing to allow franchisees to shut or relocate distressed units.
A great franchise in a poor location will become a poor business. When it comes to site selection, one difference between an independent tenant and a franchisee is that, presumably, the franchisee will be getting real estate help and support from the franchisor.
When Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans five years ago, Glenn Mueller already was a grizzled veteran of the Gulf Coast hurricane season. Being a franchisee carries some special challenges for anyone who operates in the region, and Katrina put all of his considerable skills as one of the country's top Domino's franchisees to the test.
The remarkable change in his life is not lost on John Betz. It seems one day he was wearing a three-piece suit and hopping a private jet to meet with telecommunications industry clients, and the next thing he knew he was wearing shorts and rolling pretzel dough behind the counter of his first Auntie Anne's Pretzels.
Seat-of-the-pants management styles may be fine themes for business magazine articles and their Hollywood adaptations, but responding to the symptoms of problems instead of preventing problems in the first place is like taking aspirin to cure pneumonia.
For the past few years you have heard me note that the majority of franchised units in the U.S. are owned by multi-unit operators. With more than 400,000 franchised units in the country, multi-unit operators control about 53 percent of those units. That's impressive, and the percentage controlled by multi-unit operators is rising. This growth is a consequence of many brands focusing their development models on multi-unit development packages over single-unit programs.
Gary Hughes turned 50 and decided he'd had enough of the corporate executive life. Based in the Seattle area at the time, he also decided he'd seen enough big city congestion to last a lifetime. Hughes soon found a picturesque, midsized town to call home and moved to Clarkston, Wash., pop. 50,000. "I used to say that we're so far out into the boondocks it's 120 miles to the nearest freeway," says Hughes gleefully.