Category Archives: Franchises

Dug In

One thing that I’m constantly reminding myself about is being too dug in. Unless you’re preparing for a full assault from an opposing army, being dug in is generally detrimental on a lot of levels. It stops productive discussions which can lead to positive change. It stifles new ideas and “different” thinking. Sometimes, it even works directly to your disadvantage, producing a pyrrhic victory but little else. Let me give you an example.

This one is from the world of politics but ignore that. I use it only because it’s a perfect example of being dug in and how it can work against you in an extreme sense. With me so far? OK.

Kynect is the Kentucky name for Obamacare. During the campaign a year ago for Governor, there was a woman being interviewed who had health problems and her dependent son had serious health issues as well. She told the interviewer that she and her child were able to obtain the healthcare they needed for the first time under the Kynect program. She also said she was voting for the candidate (Bevins) who said he would get rid of Kynect. The interviewer asked if she believed that Bevins would keep his campaign promise and get rid of Kynect. She said that she believed he would. The interviewer asked her why she would vote for someone who she believed would take away the healthcare that she and her son needed. She answered that she had always voted Republican, so she was going to continue to vote Republican.

That’s not a shot at Republicans. I know Democrats who are just as dug in on voting for their party regardless of the candidate’s position on the issues. My point is that you can’t be dug in. It applies to your openness with respect to new ideas. It also applies if you are “stuck” in a job you don’t like, with people (even working virtually) you don’t like. It’s obvious that it’s time for something you DO like and to dig out.

I find those people all the time while helping them explore their way out via franchises. I tell them to keep an open mind and not be dug in. Take time to learn the culture, mission, and vision of the businesses we’re exploring. You want a change, but to reach your goals, it must fit your beliefs. It does you no good to dig out of one situation into one that’s just as bad, or worse.

How dug in are you? Can I help?

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Filed under Franchises, Helpful Hints, Thinking Aloud

Don’t Go It Alone

Another Foodie Friday in the midst of the pandemic. For me, it’s impossible to think about food on Friday without thinking of some of my friends in the food business who have been adversely impacted over the last six months. Heck, for my friend Craig who runs our favorite watering hole, the loss of our weekly bar bill alone is significant!

Here in North Carolina, restaurants, foodservice, and lodging is a $23.5 billion industry. More than 482,300 people are employed in the foodservice industry in the state – about 11 percent of the state’s workforce. When the governor shut bars and restaurants down, the impact was felt by those of us who couldn’t drink or dine out but that was nothing like how it hit those who provided that food and drink. I’m sure the situation is comparable to where you live.

Restaurants are back open here, albeit with reduced capacity. Bars are too although many of them are only serving outside. It’s better for the proprietors and staff but some of the jobs haven’t come back and many restaurants have closed up for good.

You wouldn’t think this would be a great time to look at opening a food business, would you? Well, you’d be wrong. As reported by QSR:

Quick-service chains had recovered to just a 13 percent decline year-over-year. Certain counter-service franchises have recently even reported positive year-over-year sales during the pandemic. After experiencing an initial hit on sales, A&W Restaurants announced sales were up by double digits, Papa Johns has noted a 24 percent increase in North American sales and Popeyes has boasted that sales are up by the “very high 20s” percent.

In other words, even in one of the worst-hit industries in the midst of a horrible economic time, there are opportunities. Would I invest in a full-service sit-down restaurant? Of course not. But if the business was predicated on carryout and was part of a franchise system, I very much might. I say that because franchise organizations have the infrastructure in place to help the system survive. A good franchisor can develop and implement systems – online ordering, contactless delivery, etc. – that give franchisees the ability to cope with the challenges. As an individual restaurant or any business, that’s more difficult and often requires capital that the individual unit might not have.

It’s something to think about even if you have no interest in owning a food business. Many other business sectors such as hair and nail salons, gyms, travel businesses, after-school programs have been hit hard over the last six months and yet I’m aware of dozens of franchise brands in these sectors that have modified how they do business. Their franchisees are doing well despite the pandemic. Going it alone is hard even in good times. Working as part of a proven system is especially valuable in bad times.

The ability to adapt is key for any business and never more so than now, don’t you think? Even in a crisis, there is an opportunity! And if you’re interested in learning more about franchise opportunities, you can reach me here.

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Filed under food, Franchises

The “Stuff Got Real” Moment

I’ve never jumped out of an airplane and I probably never will. I’ve had a number of friends who have done so, however. Most of them were excited about making the jump but even they had what I call the “Stuff Got Real” moment. OK, I usually use another word in place of “stuff”.

The moment comes when they reach the open door, feel the wind rushing by, and look down. That’s when whatever fear they have hits them. My guess is that there’s something in our DNA that says leaving a perfectly good aircraft when it’s several thousand feet above terra firma isn’t so smart but our DNA doesn’t know about parachutes.

That same SGR moment is something I deal with on a regular basis. The folks I work with to help them change their lives through business ownership inevitably hit the SGR moment as they realize that they can change their lives and live their dream. They have the money, we’ve found a business that they like, the numbers work, etc. That’s when they hit the open door.

No, they don’t see the ground. In some cases they know they have to leave a job even if it’s one they hate. In others, it means they have to invest (read that as risk) a chunk of their life’s savings in their new venture even if it’s a venture that dozens or hundreds of others have proven to be successful. It’s scary and because of that, quite of few of the people who travel this road with me vanish at this point. They quit returning calls and emails. They go back to what Thoreau termed their lives of quiet desperation.

Maybe it’s a good thing. Starting your own business, even one that’s an established business model with a known brand is hard. Sure, you’re given an operations manual and a marketing plan. You’ll be trained by people who have been running the business for years. You might even have a mentor assigned to you for a period of time to guide you. That’s all well and good but YOU have to stand in the open door and jump, even though you’re strapped to people who have made the jump many times before. You have to commit to the jump and not everyone can do that.

I tell myself when a prospective owner balks or disappears that they are probably part of the 99% for whom business ownership isn’t the best path. Lately, I’ve taken to warning folks early in the process that they’re going to face the SGR moment and I’m here to help as are any franchisors we decide to investigate. Hopefully, that helps when the wind hits their faces and just maybe they step through the door. Could you? Let me know if you want to try.

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Filed under Consulting, Franchises, Thinking Aloud