December 29, 2020 · 4:37 pm
We’re continuing to review the most read posts written in 2020. This one was written in February and despite its original title, which was “Please F Off,” it’s a plea for a little more “nice” in the world. Looking back and given what’s happened to many folks over the last 10 months, I think I underestimated how much that’s what’s needed. What do you think?
Part of the process in the franchise consulting I do is to acquire leads, just as it is in most sales-related businesses. I do that in a number of ways, once of which is through what are called “portal leads.” These are names, phone numbers, and email addresses, among other things, those interested parties have submitted to get more information about a particular franchise or just to speak with someone about franchises generally.
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that some percentage of these leads are submitted by people surfing around late at night. Maybe they’ve been drinking or maybe they’ve had a bad day and are angry with their current job and are thinking about moving on or taking more control by investing in their own business. These folks don’t answer the phone or respond to emails. There is another tiny percentage of leads that have been submitted by people playing jokes on their friends, generally college students.
I got one of those the other day. The lead was in Norman Oklahoma although the phone number was a Dallas area code. Still, Norman is a college town so it wouldn’t be unusual for people to relocate there. Of course, when I dialed the number, the person who answered was not the person whose information I had. That happens sometimes too – often a typo when the person is typing in their number. The email worked, however.
I hadn’t heard back the next day so I sent another email explaining why I wanted to speak to them. This one came back with a curt reply: “please fuck off.” That’s an exact quote including all lower-case letters. It’s our topic today.
I’m from New York so I’m quite used to rude. My issue is that rude seems to be the new normal. If I was, as this fellow is, a senior at the University Of Oklahoma and was going to be entering the job market with my BBA in Finance and another BBA in Venture Management come May, I wouldn’t be cursing anyone out, especially not someone I don’t know. I appreciate the fact that I may have obtained his information through no fault of his own, but the reply and how he handled it is all on him. I realize that he doesn’t know me but I’m also relatively easy to check out. Maybe a contact with 40 years in business could be useful to him even if he’s not interested in a franchise?
The world moves quickly and at times we’re all under a lot of pressure. It’s taken me four years living away from New York to truly appreciate how far nice will get you. The old me would have tracked this kid down as well as forwarded his comments to the heads of his major departments, inquiring if this is how all OU seniors approach the world. Let’s all remember that privacy is non-existent and people with bad intentions can find you and make your life hell, as sad as that is. Maybe it’s the old hippie in me, but a little more nice in this world would be just fine with me. You?
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December 9, 2020 · 4:59 pm
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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October 16, 2020 · 4:06 pm
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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