Yes, today is Small Business Saturday and I urge you to support local business everywhere. That being said, please remember that franchises are small businesses as well, and are locally owned and operated. Unfortunately, despite efforts to educate American Express about franchising, they still found it necessary to place limitations on franchising’s involvement by excluding franchises with over 100 locations.
I’m concerned about the local franchisees of BrightStar Care, Rita’s Italian Ice, Red Mango, Nothing Bundt Cakes or of the many other franchise brands whose franchisees invested their hard earned money and savings to develop a business in their local area, just like the Mom & Pop proprietors have done. A small business is a small business. Period.
Franchising is very much small business and AMEX would certainly have a different opinion if all franchises stopped taking the American Express Card! Yes, please visit and support local businesses, including franchise locations, but as a true sign of support for ALL small business owners, about your American Express Card, please do leave home without it!
And, it’s not like American Express wasn’t made aware of franchising’s role in small business.
Last year I wrote numerous articles and actually had multiple phone calls with senior executives at AMEX. All appeared to be on track for including franchising in Small Business Saturdays. I even followed up with phone calls mid-summer to make certain last year’s debacle wasn’t repeated. I was assured all was in order, that they did their research and yes, franchising would be well-represented in this year’s Small Business Saturday event. Well, shame on me for following up, but not following through. You can be assured that will not happen again.
Here are links to last year’s articles which I will build upon for 2013…
Recently on Facebook I asked the question, “How do you define entrepreneurship?” To my surprise the discussion was quite vibrant as there were over 25 responses, a few exchanges for further clarification, numerous likes, and really some great perspective into entrepreneurship. Below please find some of the responses (and subsequent comments to other responses). I’ve only included responses from franchise professionals. So, if you would like to emulate their success in franchising, this might be a good place to start, or at least gain some insight into their way of thinking. Upon reading the same, please share your thoughts about entrepreneurship. Thanks.
How do you define entrepreneurship?
Stan Friedman – My favorite definition has always been as follows: “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people WON’T, so that you can live the rest of your life, like most people CAN’T.”
Ashley Graham – Entrepreneur: Anyone who takes the napkin drawing, turns it into something they are proud of and their business can actually run without them.
JoAnn Lombardi – Someone that is willing to endure risk to take responsibility of their financial future.
MaryAnn O’Connell – A dreamer who is willing to take risks. It has nothing to do with success – that’s an entirely different definition.
Nick Gugliuzza – I love all of the above. But to me it all comes down to money. It’s someone who took a financial risk to run there own business and who gets a well deserved financial reward at the end of the day. It’s the old risk to reward theory. Lets face it that’s what drives entrepreneurs. It’s all about the money. No apology necessary. Lol.
Georgina O’Hara – Money drives some more than others. For many it is the satisfaction of seeing an idea “take hold” and create “value” however that is ultimately defined. That part is more personal. Risk is inherent. Work is necessary. Success. Failure. All elements to be navigated. For some the journey itself is important. For others, yes, it’s just about the money.
MaryAnn O’Connell – (additional comment) There are many entrepreneurs who have tried and failed financially. That does not strip them of the title. And there are many who “deserved” a financial reward, but for many reasons, didn’t get it. Most often, in franchising, the founders were entrepreneurs: they had vision, passion and enough sense to get the business to a level that attracted others. Then great business managers took it over the finish line. So, again, I think we have to separate the idea from the result when defining these terms.
Amy Nichols – Executing your idea!
David Leoncavallo – A person who believes in all things, hopes in all things, bears all things, and endures all things.
Nick Gugliuzza – (additional comment) Again all great answers in response to a thought provoking question. I’m a BIG FAN of Shark Tank which airs on Friday nights. One of the Sharks has a favorite saying. That is “It’s all about the money”. You see an entrepreneur who tries and fails, although admirable, is not called an entrepreneur they’re called BROKE. I know this sounds cold but the point of going into business is to make money. If you don’t do that you’re out of business and again you’re called a failure not an entrepreneur. Any half head can start a business but it takes a true entrepreneur to stay in business. I hope I’m not offending anyone. I’m just sayin.
JoAnn Lombardi – (additional comment) Yes Nick, we don’t like to crush anyone’s hope and dreams. But in my opinion….only. Many people file bankruptcy a few times before they become a success. Look at Donald trump, he failed and failed again and is a success in his own right and he is one of many. Same goes for marriages…and I am not a pro at this topic, but many people fail in marriages but keep looking for their soul mate and someday find it because they believe that opportunity is out there for them to seize and they never give up. I believe it is the will to keep moving and be passionate for what you want to achieve and being resourceful that guides you to success and resembles the character of being an entrepreneur. My two cents…
Nick Gugliuzza – (additional comment) How does that saying go? “If at first you don’t succeed try try again.” When that passionate would be entrepreneur does finally succeed at becoming profitable then I’m willing to award them the crown of entrepreneurship. Before that happens all they have is a hope, a dream and a prayer. Make no mistake I soooo applaud those with the guts to try and I applaud even louder for those who have tried and failed and tried and failed again only to become a success in a future endeavor. I love that spirit. It comes from the deepest depths of their heart’s and souls. How can one not admire that spirit. It’s the American Way. I love this exchange. What a great thread. Thanks Paul Segreto.
JoAnn Lombardi – (additional response) Right on! I’m glad to have participated and be better bonded with my friends. Good night all…Big business day tomorrow…Let’s make some M.O.N.E.Y!
Paul Segreto – Somehow or another we should take into the equation a quote at EvanCarmichael.com – “As entrepreneurs we should be proud of what we create.” – Evan Carmichael – so, how much does “creation” play into entrepreneurship?
Liberty Harper – Creation is the foundation…the Entrepreneur is the creator and the risk taker (not just financially but emotionally, reputation, etc) but the Entrepreneur is also passionate so the the risk is minimized by the passion as their laser focus overcomes perceived obstacles….
Georgina O’Hara – (additional response) Isn’t the “creation” of an enterprise and “creativity” all ways of describing nuances of the same thing? Just as entrepreneur is related, these days to the word enterprise. Isn’t “an enterprising entrepreneur” a redundancy as much as a “creative creation”?
Steven Greenbaum – One day, you wake up after pursuing your passion and vision with little regard for risk or the downside and find that you have built an incredible business. The thought of being an entrepreneur never crossed your mind. The fear of failure, never a consideration. Competition, economic crisis, managing change; all opportunities to compete and improve. You live for this stuff, — you thrive.
Ivan Widjaya – Entrepreneur = someone who is willing to continuously learn for better ways to solve problems.
Lee Plave – Someone with a vision, drive, a willingness to undertake risk, and the passion to see it through.
Greg Krikorian – I enjoyed reading all the meaningful comments. There are words that we always hear when the conversation is about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship (i.e Risk, passion, failure, money etc..) in my opinion we are all born with qualities of undertaking risks, rising from falls and failures, and passion to live and succeed. We all have them in our instincts; I would call it entrepreneurial spirit. All these qualities will come into play when and only: One (an entrepreneur) desires to do something no one else done it before, or a desire to achieve more than others thought possible; by doing a change and playing a game they will love, the business game. And of course the money will come at the end as a reward and the fruit of the hard work. Thanks Paul for sharing.
Tim Tanner – All of these philosophical/high level definitions of entrepreneurship are correct. Entrepreneurship means something different to each and every one of us. After all, no two entrepreneurial journeys are equal. Having worked for myself for 14 years and with a start-up for 5 years prior to that, I’d like to break it down to what entrepreneurship means to the crazy microcosm called my brain. To me, an entrepreneur believes in Possibilities (of something). An entrepreneur has the vision and burning desire to find a need and fill it. An entrepreneur has the cajones to not only talk about it but “just do it”. He/she has the guts to sell himself and his dream. He/she has a real commitment to quality and customer service. A true entrepreneur is money motivated but not money driven, and he/she understands and accepts that he is the last person to get paid at the end of the day. And finally, a true entrepreneur is willing to swallow his/her pride no matter how successful he gets, and constantly listen and learn from others.
Greg Kopchuk – Someone who makes something happen and gets it done, starting with nothing!
Lonnie Helgerson – A clinically insane person with a dose of ADD. Add two parts insecurity, ten parts passion, ten parts creativity. Mix well with five cases of aggression and perseverance. Spice liberally with vision, positive attitude, and a dash of ignorance. Serve on a large platter of hope and courage. Wash down meal with gallons of adrenalin. Repeat recipe.
Lonnie Helgerson – (additional response) It was easy… I just described myself! LOL
Too often than not, franchisees are of the mindset that they’ve bought into a franchise system and just need to sit back and wait for the business to flow through their doors. Sometimes, it’s ignorance and perception that clouds their thoughts. Thinking that the brand name they invested in should be enough for instant business success at their location. But, most of the time, it’s just plain old arrogance that gets in the way. It’s the arrogance of having committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a franchise as being the sole reason for success. It’s also the basis of feeling that with this level of financial commitment, the franchisor should be solely responsible for making sure franchisees succeed. Almost demanding a guarantee of success!
Well, it is not the franchisor’s sole responsibility, under any circumstances, for making sure that franchisees succeed. Sure, the franchisor must provide franchisees with a proven system and field-tested tools, that when utilized diligently and effectively, should provide them with the foundation to succeed. But, it’s just that, a foundation. And, the franchisor should have systems in place to monitor franchisees’ progress, provide additional training and guidance, and further the overall development of the brand which all contributes to solidifying that foundation. But, as detailed and comprehensive as all this sounds, it still is not enough for most franchisees to succeed without their own desire, drive and determination. And, not just words, but actual action.
Failure or Success?
Years ago, I was working with a franchise group on a complex marketing project. The project was ultimately a success and achieved most of the goals and objectives that were established prior to launch. Most of the franchisees embraced the strategy and were extremely instrumental in executing the plan. However, there were five franchisees that just couldn’t get out of their own way to realize the benefits of the plan, and did not realize positive results as their fellow franchisees had.
As with many of my franchise clients, the franchisor requested that I work with these franchisees, ascertain the root of their problems, and develop an aggressive plan of action to move their businesses forward. You see, the franchisor truly wanted to see their franchisees succeed! By the way, these franchisees represented the bottom of the franchise group in average unit sales. Definitely, that was no coincidence. Well, to make a long story short, the obvious problem in each case pointed back to the franchisees working “in” the business, as opposed to “on” the business. Mix in some procrastination, entitlement attitudes, and of course, total denial, and the recipe for total business failure was complete.
I was able to determine that these franchisees were compensating for their path to failure by being at the business location longer hours, spending more and more time taking care of customers, while spending less and less time on anything else. All claimed to be working harder than they had ever worked before. Was it because they had to cut payroll and do the job themselves? Ironically, that was not the case as I found employees standing around while the franchisee did their jobs. Often, I witnessed franchisees literally stepping in front of employees to take care of a customer. When I addressed the same with the franchisees, all were actually preparing for failure but didn’t want to be considered the actual cause of failure. All thought that by being seen at the business long hours every day and working non-stop behind the counter, no one would be able to say they didn’t work hard at making the business a success. Certainly, they wouldn’t be blamed for failure.
Of the five struggling franchisees, all but one was anxious to listen and make firm commitments to improve their situations. The remaining franchisee was thoroughly convinced he would fail and there was nothing he, or anyone else, could do to change the situation. He placed total blame on the franchisor, claiming they didn’t provide support, and strongly professed that he, himself, did everything humanly possible to succeed. When I asked what he was referring to, he pointed to the long hours every day. When I asked about marketing efforts, he claimed he shouldn’t have to do anything in that regard and pointed back to the franchisor. He ranted about how the franchisor should have spent money on his behalf in promoting the business and how he spent over $300K on build-out and equipment and that should have been more than enough to ensure his success. Further, he felt he should be able to open the doors everyday, and if the brand name was strong enough, success would occur in a relative matter of time.
As I indicated, four of the franchisees decided to move forward. Agreeing that failure was not an option, we developed and executed an extremely aggressive, yet cost-effective, plan of action centered around getting outside the business location every day to promote their business wherever and however they could. They all agreed they should have been doing this all along but always seemed to procrastinate in actually getting the job done. They attributed a big part of their procrastination to a strong sense of entitlement that the franchisor should be doing more because they, the franchisees, were the ones that already made an investment to grow the brand. As such, they had convinced themselves that any possibility of failure would fall firmly on the franchisor’s shoulders. In turn, they buried themselves “in” the business and were awaiting the inevitable.
After many hours of discussion and debate about vision, passion, drive and determination, all four franchisees decided to take responsibility for their actions and would hold themselves to a high level of accountability, to their business, employees, family, and themselves. Each was relentless in their quest to turn their businesses around. They spoke to whoever would listen about their products and services. They were tireless in their efforts to discover new groups and organizations that might listen and learn about what their business had to offer. They were almost to the point of being ruthless in their desire to ask for referrals and recommendations. They were all thinking outside the box, always asking themselves, “What more can be done?” and never accepting a “nothing” answer. Needless to say, their new attitudes became contagious and before they knew it, everyone seemed to be spreading the word. Nowadays, we would refer to that as a “viral” effect.
The Final Tally
One franchisee sold his business to an individual he met when spreading the word about his business. The new franchisee became a multi-unit operator and eventually sold the business for a significant profit.
Two franchisees took on partners they met in their efforts within the community. All are now multi-unit operators within several franchise systems.
One franchisee continues to operate her business and although happy to have survived, never had the desire to open additional locations.
And, the franchisee, who said he would fail… was absolutely right!
This post was originally published on this site October 2010
This post was originally published on this site January 2010, but still very relevant today!
I recently came across an interesting discussion in one of the social networking groups that I found quite intriguing, and downright enjoyable to read. It wasn’t about franchising. Nothing about social media. There was no mention of business. Money or finances weren’t a major part of the equation. And, surprisingly, just a few mentions about the poor economy. The discussion was actually about the concept of dreams and goals. It was enlightening that there were over one hundred responses in a relatively short period of time. Definitely a considerable amount when compared to other discussions within the same group. Often, the responses were being posted one right after the other. It seemed like people wanted to talk about their dreams and goals, almost as if they had been prohibited from doing so before.
In light of the economic troubles surrounding us today, it seems the subject of dreams and goals has hibernated like bears for winter. During good times, dreams and goals are out in the open, shared by many. Actually bragged about by some, and the end results, often materialistic, flaunted by others. It’s ironic that we’re taught that in order to achieve a goal, a key element in doing so is to enlist the assistance of people that can help us achieve the goal. Yet, in the current economic climate, discussions about dreams and goals have subsided, and almost disappeared. It’s almost like we feel guilty to have such discussions at this time. Or, that we should just be thankful for what we have and dismiss our dreams and goals as frivolous. What about the dreams and goals that are not financially driven or rewarding? Why have they been put on the back burner? Well, to all of this, I say “enough is enough.” Yes, enough of the poor me attitudes. Enough of the pity parties. And, enough of the social “rubbernecking.” (Social rubbernecking is when people excitedly talk about other people’s miseries – i.e. neighbor lost his job, their house was foreclosed on, he was having an affair – it’s just like slowing down to look at the horrific car wreck!)
NOW is definitely the time to put all the negatives aside and re-ignite the passion behind our dreams. It’s the perfect time to pull out those lists of goals and remember why we wrote them down in the first place. Why they’re important. How they’re important to people close to us. And, how our lives would be positively affected upon achieving our goals and making our dreams come true. Certainly, it’s time to face the realization that it’s up to us to make our dreams and goals a reality. They’re ours. We own them. No one can take them from us. To paraphrase a quote I’ve seen many times (in many different forms) in discussions about success, “There are people that make things happen, some that watch things happen, and others that wonder what the hell happened?” Could you tell which group of people are most successful at achieving their goals and making their dreams come true?