Archive for December, 2010

Mitt Romney to Headline Franchise Event in February

December 27th, 2010

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As former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gears up for a near-certain second bid for the presidency, he will attempt to show off his business bona fides by headlining a small business event in Las Vegas in mid-February.

At the International Franchise Association’s conference, he will have the opportunity to showcase his resume before a friendly and influential audience of approximately 2,500 small business owners in what also happens to be an early nominating state on the Republican primary calendar.

Internation Franchise Association’s Web site notes that its mission is “to protect, enhance and promote franchising through government relations, public relations and educational programs.” Data on the group’s site show that approximately 21 million jobs are attributable to small franchises.

International Franchise Association’s 51st annual convention will take place in Las Vegas from Feb. 13 to 16 at the MGM Grand, and the theme is “Building the Future Together.” Organizers plan to emphasize how small business owners can position themselves “as the economy begins to improve,” meaning Romney will have to navigate his message carefully as he keeps up his current criticism of President Obama’s handling of the economy.

Romney is the convention headliner, and he will speak at the opening general session on Monday, Feb. 14th. Forbes Inc. CEO Steve Forbes, who ran in the GOP primaries for president in 1996 and 2000, is keynoting the event during the closing luncheon on Wednesday the 16th.

Romney is the top draw and may help the group pull in some funds; International Franchise Association notes in its registration materials that Romney will be on hand to schmooze at a VIP reception for the association’s political action committee, FranPAC.

In a release detailing Romney’s appearance, International Franchise Association notes, “Elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney presided over a dramatic reversal of state fortunes and a period of sustained economic expansion. Without raising taxes or increasing debt, Gov. Romney balanced the budget every year of his administration, closing a $3 billion budget gap inherited when he took office and created tens of thousands of jobs.”

The announcement even touts Romney’s stewardship of health care reform in the Bay State.

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War Veterans Choose to be Entrepreneurs

December 24th, 2010

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Shaped by their war experiences and military training, many veterans are opting to go into business for themselves rather than work for someone else.

Josh Evans stands in front of a Huey helicopter in Iraq in 2004.

Credit: Courtesy of Josh Evans

Above: Josh Evans stands in front of a Huey helicopter in Iraq in 2004.

Jose Martinez received a medical discharge from the Army in 2006 at age 24. He was a sergeant with the U.S. Army Ranger unit that found Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003.

Today, he owns Siglo 22, an Escondido-based record company he began two years ago. It specializes in Norteno, or music from Northern Mexico. He also manages four bands and has six employees who book gigs for the groups, design graphics and perform other tasks.

After his discharge, Martinez weighed his options and decided he did not want to start at the bottom in a minimum-wage job. So he went out on his own, gradually establishing his business.

“It was the only answer. I held a couple of retail jobs when I was first discharged, but it wasn’t working out,” Martinez said. “Paychecks were small and there was no future in it. Being a huge fan of music, I decided to start a record company.”

When he did not find enough business locally, Martinez cast his net further. His bands have gigs now in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and even Colorado and Utah.

“It’s a business that will one day give me the financial security I’m looking for.”

Martinez said he likes having control over both the business and his finances. He applies everything he learned in the military, he said, even though the missions are not the same.

“There’s nothing like the leadership skills you learn in the military. When you come out, you’re automatically at the top of the totem pole, because you’ve lead people on combat and training missions, and this just becomes second nature to you.”

Martinez put discipline at the top of the list of traits he acquired while serving. A close second was dogged persistence, since quitting on the battlefield was not an option.

“I’m never going to give up on my dreams, I want to work harder because I want to be the best and I want to instill that in my employees,” Martinez said.

The intrinsic discipline of military men and women, combined with risk-taking and persistence, form strong foundations for entrepreneurial veterans.

“I think so many veterans decide to go into business for themselves because the skills and characteristics they acquire during their service align with traits that successful small business owners typically have,” explained Rachel Fischer. She is deputy program manager at the San Diego Contracting Opportunities Center.

“(Veterans have) persistence, tenacity, great organizational skills, initiative, and follow-through,” she said.

The Center, which is part of Southwestern College, just launched a federal contractor-certification program. It will train local service-disabled veterans in the skills and knowledge they need to go after government contracts.

Having worked with hundreds of veteran-owned small businesses at the center, Fischer noted that veterans often tend to choose construction or trade-related businesses, falling back on what they know or learned.

But there are exceptions, such as Martinez, who chose the music industry, or Josh Evans, who went into private security.

Evans founded Global Security Options five years ago. It has three employees and provides perimeter security for government and utility-company facilities, such as waste-water plants, wells, substations and refineries.

Evans served in the Marine Corps for 10 years, as a C-130 pilot. He was a captain when he left active duty in 2005, and is a Navy reservist now.

He decided not to become a civilian pilot, choosing an unrelated field because of circumstances.

“In 2005, the airline industry was in chaos; it wasn’t a very healthy industry then. I felt there was an opportunity in the security market,” Evans said.

He came across an East Coast company with impressive products and decided to sell their solutions out here. He also wanted to be his own boss with flexible hours, to be with his growing family.

“The freedom and flexibility of working for yourself is a real driver for me. A lot of the veterans out there are at least partially accustomed to taking risks and succeeding or failing on their own,” Evans said.

Serving in the Marine Corps helped Evans in many ways, he said.

“I think probably the largest is mission accomplishment. You set a goal, you figure out a plan on how to get there. You execute your plan and you can measure yourself based against the plan,” Evans said.

In San Diego, there are about 90 businesses owned by service-disabled veterans which are registered with the California Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise.

Evans, a member of the statewide association, said there are many more that are not certified, or do not meet the disability requirement to be certified.

San Diego is also home to the Elite Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Network. It is a national organization helping veterans start businesses and find government-contract opportunities.

Veterans have also begun more than 2,000 Franchise businesses across the country in the last few years, through an initiative called VetFran, started by the International Franchise Association. The program offers discounts on the initial franchise fee, which can lower up-front costs by thousands of dollars.

The most popular franchise choices are retail and service businesses.

Veterans benefit from contracting opportunities that give veteran-owned businesses priority, and are able to tap the vast network of veterans and mentoring organizations. But they also have unique challenges.

Among them are adopting to a less-rigid routine and dealing with the fallout from Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

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SBA Extends Authority to Help Franchises

December 22nd, 2010

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WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 22, 2010—Following passage of the continuing resolution to extend government funding through March 4, the International Franchise Association (IFA) today hailed the decision by lawmakers to include a provision extending the Small Business Administration’s authority for key lending programs critical to franchise small businesses still struggling to recover from the recession, which were scheduled to expire on December 31, 2010.

“Congressional leaders have heard loud and clear our message that the franchise small business industry will be unable to grow and create jobs without extending the SBA’s lending authority,” said International Franchise Association President & CEO Steve Caldeira.

Earlier this year, President Obama signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act to permanently increase the SBA’s 7(a) loan limits from $2 million to $5 million. That legislation, which was one of International Franchise Associations top legislative priorities, only temporarily extended the 90-percent loan guarantee rate and borrower fee reduction through the end of this year.

“This extension is a critical short-term solution that will provide much-needed access to credit for franchise small businesses looking to expand,” said Caldeira.

The CR includes an extension of SBA’s authority to grant fee waivers to 7(a) and 504 small business applicants and to offer higher guarantees (up to 90 percent) on 7(a) loans through March 4, 2011, or until funds are expended, whichever occurs first.

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Potato Chips, Business, and Inspiration

December 16th, 2010

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This post is a direct post from Active Rain.  It is inpiring and enjoyable.

Years ago during one of my first seasons away from home in northern New England, a friend invited me home to share a Holiday with her family. When we arrived at the family home I was quick to notice things were a bit different there than in the very modest home I grew up in. There was love there and genuine warmth, no pretense, however the trappings of success couldn’t be missed. Her folks were what I call sturdy hardworking folks with good values, not unlike my own parents in that regard.

On a drive about town the day we arrived I saw the family name was spread about town pretty well. There was a hardware store, real estate, a construction company, an insurance business.

We had a great time. The family gathered, I met many of the siblings and got to know the folks a bit. The evenings were best, sitting around the kitchen table enjoying lively conversation, the four of us. I knew that ‘Mom’ worked at a college, one of New England’s ivy league schools, in food service of all unglamorous things. I would never have asked them story of their success, I didn’t have to. During one of those late evening visits Mr. B. shared with me the modest beginnings of all of it.

When they were starting out, in the years between the end of the Great Depression and World War II opportunity was scarce. They had nothing but dreams and ingenuity at their disposal. They often went on a drive to the nearby beaches on the weekends, it was free entertainment after all. On one trip they had an idea. They would make home made potato chips and take them to the beach about mid day on Saturday and sell them to folks strolling the beach. Potatoes in northern New England, not a problem. The proceeds would feed a savings account that would launch their adventure into business. That business would be real estate. So they began a Saturday ritual of hard work, cooking chips and bagging them in brown paper sacks, home made and delicious at five cents a bag…yes just 5 cents a bag. It was a hit and the means to an end. Potato chips, business, and inspiration.

I don’t recall how many summers they made their chips and took them to the beach. I do know that their efforts did in fact launch a small empire and subsequently sustain a growing family, and in many regards a whole community.

Now they are gone but their legacy remains.

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Popularity: 9% [?]

The 50 Best Careers of 2011

December 15th, 2010

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The following is a direct posting in Simply Hired.  The really good news is I have several excellent Franchise Concpets that correllate directly with these Careers if you prefer to “Be The Boss!”

The 50 Best Careers of 2011:

This morning, U.S. News and World Report released their 50 Best Careers of 2011 list, containing high-opportunity jobs to consider in the next year. The list is made up of jobs that have high-growth predictions over the next decade, a high median salary and high job satisfaction. Some careers on the list are continually in need and have remained on the list for years, while others are reflective of the recovering economy.

Technology jobs such as computer software engineers, computer support specialists and network architects made the list of top careers, due to the increasing need of people in technical roles and upward trending employment numbers. In addition, healthcare jobs continue to make a strong showing on the list because of the aging baby boomer generation.

Here is the list of Best Careers of 2011: 

Technology and science jobs

  • Biomedical engineer
  • Civil engineer
  • Computer software engineer
  • Computer support specialist
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Environmental engineering technician
  • Environmental science technician
  • Hydrologist
  • Meteorologist
  • Network architect

 Healthcare jobs

  • Athletic trainer
  • Dental hygienist
  • Lab technician
  • Massage therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Physician assistant
  • Physical therapist
  • Physical therapist assistant
  • Radiologic technologist
  • Registered nurse
  • School psychologist
  • Veterinarian

 Social service jobs

  • Clergy
  • Court reporter
  • Education administrator
  • Emergency management specialist
  • Firefighter
  • Marriage and family therapist
  • Mediator
  • Medical and public health social worker
  • Special-education teacher
  • Urban planner

 Business and finance jobs

  • Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Financial adviser
  • Financial analyst
  • Logistician
  • Meeting planner
  • Public relations specialist
  • Sales manager
  • Training specialist

 Creative and service jobs

  • Commercial pilot
  • Curator
  • Film and video editor
  • Gaming manager
  • Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technician
  • Interpreter/Translator
  • Multimedia artist
  • Technical writer

Contact me for further Franchise information.

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Are Franchises Recession Resistent?

December 13th, 2010

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Are Franchises Recession Resistent?  The Answer: “Some Are”.

The future of franchising is looking bright: In September, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 10.5 percent of all businesses with paid employees were franchises in 2007, the latest data year, and that they generated a staggering $1.3 trillion in annual sales.

Where is franchising headed next? We’ve identified 10 categories as the industries to watch in 2011. Whether they’re services that people can’t afford to live without, such as child care and healthcare, or luxuries made more affordable through franchising, like fitness and spa services, these are the businesses that kept growing strong right through the recession and, now that it’s over, show no signs of slowing.

This list is not a ranking and is not intended to endorse any specific franchise. Look at it instead as just a first step toward your own careful research, which should include reading the company’s literature and legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to current and former franchisees to find out if an opportunity is right for you.

If you would like to know which Franchises are recession resistent and which are not, please contact me for a Free Franchise Consultation.

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Yum Brands – 640 A&W Franchise Restaurants

December 6th, 2010

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Barry Westrum, CMO of Yum Brands’ 640 A&W Franchise Restaurants, discusses its recent campaign

Q: In what channels did you launch the $3 Big Taste Meals campaign?

A: It was designed for consumers looking for other options in their value meals. It’s running on a broad spectrum, including a 15-second broadcast [spot], radio, in-store pieces, point of purchase materials, packaging, online social media and our site, 

Q: The campaign also combines direct mail and SMS, right?

A: We have an aggressive direct mail campaign on a local and national basis. Many consumers use direct mail and other print to get information about restaurant selection, so we’re going to be where the consumer is. A lot of our franchisees have taken it upon themselves to move into mobile media, and at the stores, customers can sign up to receive offers. 

Q: You decided to incorporate a customer loyalty program into this effort. Why?

A: The “passport” program [allows us] to reward our loyal customers with free menu items and merchandise. One thing we’re doing to broaden our database is to use social media in a way that we haven’t in the past. We did an aggressive ad campaign with Facebook. By increasing our fan base, we can build a dialogue with our consumer while delivering offers and new products. 

Q: Can you further explain the interactive and social media aspects of this campaign? 

A: On our microsite, we have a “cabinet,” so consumers can “run for office” by uploading a video stating their candidacy. Then videos can be shared with friends on Twitter and Facebook to generate votes. It’s terrific at engaging consumers in a fun way, and gives them a reason to come back to the site again and again. Also, to drive engagement within Facebook, we bought an ad stating that if consumers “like” us and become fans, we give them a free coupon for a $3 Big Taste Meal with the purchase of a beverage. Before our first Facebook campaign, we had around 4,000 fans, and today it’s around 63,000. 

Q: What advice do you have for quick-service restaurants launching a direct marketing campaign?

A: As a profession, we need to think outside the box – or television. While it still plays a big role, there are so many other mediums available to build long-term commitment. Winners in that space are those most consistent with brand positioning and who use creativity and innovation. Also, it is important to focus on the core brand strength.

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New Franchise Model – All About Kids

December 4th, 2010

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LIBERTY TOWNSHIP – In just five years, All About Kids Childcare and Learning Center has blossomed into a fast-growing Franchise business.

The company was founded by Jim Kaiser and his wife, Tracy, in 2005. It offers child care and education for children 6 weeks to 12 years old.

By mid-2011, All About Kids is expected to have seven locations in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. There are five locations: Mason, Liberty Township, Montgomery, Green Township, and Union, Ky.

The Montgomery and Green Township locations are run by Franchisees, Kaiser said.

Two more Franchise locations are expected in 2011. One is scheduled to open in January in Loveland; the other is expected to open in May in Anderson Township. Kaiser said his goal is to open at least three new locations a year.

Kaiser, who spent 21 years with General Electric, recently spoke with reporter Jeff McKinney.

WHAT LESSONS DID you learn after changing professions?

I learned that there are business opportunities out there that will allow you to be successful. The key is to find a business that you enjoy and can work hard at to build a solid business. For me, child care and education provided that opportunity. After having four kids of my own and not being satisfied with some of the early education services they experienced, developing a high-quality child care leaning center was what I wanted to do.

WHAT DO YOU attribute to the rapid growth of All About Kids?

The success we’ve had with the business is based on several factors. They include hiring front-end staff and teachers that are educated and experienced in the field and providing state-of-the art buildings that include camera systems that allow parents to look in on their kids. We also provide early child care development programs that increase children’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills in a clean, safe and encouraging environment.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU to start selling Franchises for All About Kids?

I knew we had developed a solid business and successful business models that other entrepreneurs could use. I felt Franchising was the quickest way to grow the business.

The Franchise company makes money by being paid 5 percent royalty tied to the gross income of each Franchise company. That royalty fee is one of the lowest industry-wide.

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