Is NOW a good time to start a business?

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked of late is whether it’s a good time to start a business. I believe there are two answers to this question.

My first response is addressed from the perspective of the person asking the question. It’s actually about asking questions of that person that determines whether business ownership is right for them, regardless of what’s going on in the world at a particular time.

First, I ask about why they’re interested in starting a business. I ask them to share with me their goals, experience and skillset. The next set of questions have to do with the capital they have available, their ability to secure additional capital, their adversity to risk, and of course, whether they’re replacing their primary source of income. I also inquire if they’re going to have a partner.

These are all typical questions to help determine whether the person is right for business ownership and if current timing is right for them based upon their circumstances. This leads us into the current state of the economy and if timing is right to actually start a business today. With the personal aspects determined and understood, the person will be better prepared to comprehend business ownership amidst current financial challenges and economic uncertainty.

To start a business today, there are several things to consider and to keep in mind:

  1. In difficult times, it’s important to understand current problems of the day. Finding solutions to those problems will help identify the type of products and / or services that will help a business thrive. For instance, we’ve recently seen the increasing popularity of take-out and delivery of food, so the timing for a business that focuses accordingly is right. Even more so if the business model includes a twist to ways other businesses haven’t been successful in pivoting toward, or at all.
  2. Simple is best. Optimum efficiency is key. Businesses requiring minimal space with a small staff will go a long way toward profitability, even in the worst of times. A franchise brand I represent, Pepperoni’s in Houston, TX actually opened a location in an old Fotomat. For those not familiar with what I’m referring to, Fotomat was an American retail chain of photo development drive-through kiosks located primarily in shopping center parking lots. This location is all of 800 square feet and has been retrofitted for take-out and delivery only. The revenue and profits are significantly higher than for a full-service pizza business, having realized double-digit year-over-year increases for the past four years.
  3. Understanding the competition is essential in order to find a niche within an industry segment. Customers are already familiar with a particular product or service, so finding a way to produce and deliver the same in a more convenient manner helps to jumpstart the new business. As was the case for Pepperoni’s, as they’ve thrived among popular industry giants such as Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Papa John’s.

Next, let’s look at the current business environment as there are multiple benefits for starting a business when the market is seeing less business openings than during other times.

  1. Starting a business today could be more cost-effective if outfitted with used equipment and furnishings. With a number of businesses closing due to being ill-prepared, under-capitalized or just mismanaged, there are numerous opportunities to secure all that is necessary to start a business. Further, as many businesses have been abandoned or locked out for non-payment of rent, some landlords may lease space fully equipped and furnished. With only a cosmetic facelift required, a business could be up and running quicker and cost-effectively.
  2. Banks and other financial institutions are in the business of lending money and then earning interest off the money they’ve loaned. That means, despite credit criteria being tightened in challenging times, they still need to loan money. Maybe even more so in difficult times as the pool of potential borrowers has been reduced. So, it’s a good time to negotiate for the best of terms. This applies to all financial agreements including credit card processing fees and even equipment leasing. The same is true of investors that may be looking to move money out of the stock market and into business ventures.
  3. Through the popularity of reality TV shows about flipping houses, we’ve become enthralled with the possibilities of purchasing a fixer-upper for X, renovating it for Y, and flipping it for Z. Now, I’m not suggesting starting or buying a business just to flip it, but the likelihood of selling a business after three to five years at a significant return-on-investment is great if the business had been started with a lower-than-normal investment. Or at that point, possibly the business owner has a business that is free and clear, affording the opportunity to explore other possibilities.

Provided the person is right for business ownership, starting a business during challenging times and even during a recession is a good idea provided one proceeds with caution and with diligence.

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Need proof that now is as good a time as ever to launch your business? How about this list of companies that were started during a recession? Microsoft. FedEx. Trader Joe’s. Hyatt. HP. Disney. IBM. And if that’s not enough of a motivator, how about these companies that launched right before very difficult economic times? Salesforce. Google. And Facebook that started just a few years before the Great Recession.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Adapt to Survive. Adapt to Succeed!

Over the weekend, I was reflecting upon how things have changed and disrupted business, and life as we knew it. Buzz words were thrown around, probably more so than for anything else except to give reason to necessary changes; the same changes that were needed to be made in order to adapt to a changing business world.

Ultimately, not adapting was reason for error, and for failure. But to some, it was “okay” because there was [false] justification – the pandemic. At other times, false justification includes a plethora of reasons, well, excuses. Hey, I’ve found myself falling into that trap at times, especially when others get in your ear as a way of justifying their own actions or inactions. Of course, some are just flat-out negative.

Definition of “adapt” – become adjusted to new conditions.

While large numbers of businesses have failed, many entrepreneurs responded to the challenges by adapting, innovating and creating to not only survive but also to thrive. Failure was not an option in their minds. So, why were they able to face the challenges head-on and succeed with their plans when others failed?

I believe the reason is quite simple. First, and possibly foremost, they remained positive and made sure their positivity was felt by their teams, and also their vendors & suppliers and all stakeholders within and around the organization. They made certain to ensure everyone was onboard for rough waters ahead, albeit with confidence being instilled by their leader.

Further, they succeeded because they buckled down on business fundamentals – customer experience, employee experience, and culture. They also tightened up on spending, watching pennies but not to the point of stepping over a dollar to pick up a penny. They were proactive in planning ahead, taking the time to understand and realize trends, affording them the time to negotiate, source elsewhere or to be creative.

They thought outside the box, acted swiftly and decisively, remained open-minded to possibilities and ultimately, not only kept afloat but were able to capitalize on opportunities. At times, they pivoted and created a new box, either as a new direction or as a complementing opportunity.

Essentially, they adapted to the times!

A quote by management guru, Peter Drucker comes to mind:

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

If your business is still chugging along, congratulations are in order as you’ve survived to this point. However, just surviving is not what entrepreneurs work for, right?

With economic uncertainty and a new set of challenges ahead, it’s important, if not vital to be proactive in your actions. Below are 5 tips to help you adapt:

  1. Keep an eye out for changes and be alerted to shifts in market direction whether consumer or supplier centric. Be proactive in thinking about the ‘what ifs’ so that you’re ready to turn on a dime, as necessary.
  2. Accept the idea of change. Embrace change by being ready to act accordingly in a swift, decisive manner. If prepared to do so, any sense of hesitation will be minimized.
  3. Be open to possibilities. This may mean looking at things a bit differently in order to realize options and opportunities. After all, you’re an entrepreneur. Do not stop being one!
  4. Keep an eye on your competition while also keeping an eye on your industry. Know what’s going on in your local market. Be informed. Be aware.
  5. Be conscious of your mental health. Form alliances with fellow entrepreneurs and business owners. Open up to loved ones to ensure they understand what you may be going through. Sometimes a hug can change a mind-consuming burden into a glimmer of hope and optimism, and a clear mind.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

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Weekly Review July 3-9, 2022

Just like an experience at your local cafe, I’ve planned for Acceler8Success Cafe to be conveniently located when and where you desire or need to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and catch up on some time for you. My goal is for Acceler8Success Cafe to be your virtual cafe, a place where you may frequently visit to enjoy a few minutes of leisure time to read, think and reflect about ways to improve and succeed in today’s crazy business world.

I strive for your experience to be memorable by providing learning opportunities, by presenting different perspective & insight, by spurring thought & reflection, by encouraging interaction, and by spotlighting topics that, quite frankly, may not be as front and center as they should or need to be.

Acceler8Success Cafe is open for business seven days a week. For the benefit of current & aspiring entrepreneurs, this daily newsletter is delivered each morning. As a way to jumpstart the week ahead, a weekly review is delivered each Sunday morning listing and linking to the articles you might have missed during the previous week. My objective is to provide an opportunity for you to begin your day and the week ahead informed and with ideas that possibly could accelerate your success.

So, before we jump into this week’s review, how about starting today with a smile? A positive thought? A nice memory? A thankful moment? And what better way than doing so than with the aroma of fresh, hot coffee filling the air from your favorite cup or mug?

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Today’s Weekly Review

Independence Day: It’s all about the U.S., and US!

We started the week with a celebration of our country’s independence. This article discussed what it means to be American, and how to be an American from the American Dream to a Shared Set of Values.

The belief in the American Dream and living by a shared set of values are deeply embedded in the United States culture. Commonly held values help drive what it means to be an American, set a standard of what’s good and fair in society, and are critical to upholding a culture’s shared beliefs. 

While not all Americans share the same views, most Americans share a common set of values. L. Robert Kohls, a renowned author dedicated to research on cultural values, developed a list of 13 commonly held American values which were included in this day’s article.

Surviving Despite Economic Uncertainty: What must be done?

On Tuesday, thinking about what it would take to survive during a time of economic uncertainty I included a powerful story about the power of choices.

After all, we know it’s going to take a great deal of effort, a lot of work, long hours, diligence, and honest evaluation. Of course, that is if we choose to do so.

It will be about making the choice whether to change, or to sit idle and ride out the storm. Choices. Such a simple concept, yet so much riding on whether the right choices are made, or not. At times, we know that by just making a choice, right or wrong is better than remaining undecided.

Building an Online Community with Common Goals and Objectives

Spurred by a high level of interaction by the Acceler8Success Cafe community, Wednesday’s article focused on the optimism shared the day before. Although, I did find the interaction a bit unusual as most of the interaction came directly to me as opposed to being posted as comments.

I strongly believe those that contacted me directly wanted more than to just share their thoughts. They wanted interaction. They also wanted validation their actions were correct. As well, I believe a few wanted a pat on the back and an attaboy! But I felt there was even more to it – they were all excited to share their experience. That, in and of itself, made me proud of the effort being put forward with the Acceler8Success Cafe platform.

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Preparing for War: You vs. Recession

As I sat down to write Thursday’s article, I felt compelled to continue with the discussion about surviving during a period of economic uncertainty. I decided that over the next week or so, I would focus this newsletter on helping individuals prepare for the looming war against recession. I addressed recession as war because it will be a series of battles, it will take varying strategies including when to be on the defensive and when to be on the offensive, and it will mean fighting for small victories in order to survive when the fight is over.

Looking ahead, now is the time to fortify our arsenal, assessing what must be repaired or replaced. We must evaluate our skills, improving as necessary and learning new skills, as well. We must rally our troops and ensure all who will be helping us are properly trained and have the necessary firepower for combat. Essentially, we must plan for the inevitable fight ahead. As such, I began the series by addressing personal branding and its role in the war against the recession.

Recession Prep Question: Are you planning to win, or are you planning not to lose?

The series continued Friday as I talked about the difference between playing to win or playing not to lose. There is a difference, a big difference between the two. How it’s addressed is all in the planning before taking action. However, it’s essential to know the difference and plan accordingly sooner rather than later.

With a nod to the financial professionals who do all they can to keep our businesses within the rails, and especially so during the pandemic, I emphasized the necessity of acting proactively to drive sales. After all, only so much can be done to protect the finances of a business. Without sales, there would be little to nothing left to protect.

Is a 4-day work week realistic, practical, feasible across the board?

On Saturday, I wrapped up the week by sharing my personal perspective on the continuing conversation about a 4-day work week. Although not part of the survival series launched earlier in the week, I know it will be an important topic in addressing labor issues that have been front and center throughout the pandemic – issues that continue to be problematic for many business owners. I’m sure the discussion about a 4-day work week will continue for some time. It will be an interesting one for sure.

On the Lighter Side

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I saw this image pop up in my Facebook Memories this morning and again, I thought it to be a very interesting proposition. If only it were possible, even just one time. Kind of a mulligan in life. If only…

I recall reflecting upon it quite a bit and changing my mind multiple times, mostly depending upon what I thought I would want to discuss. To that end, I had decided to list my desired topics of discussion in seven categories: emotional (family member), interests (sports, cooking, health), spiritual (religious), career (education, networking), business (entrepreneur, founder), motivation & inspiration (most categories above) and fiction (interesting, fantasy).

I have found this exercise to be eye-opening. Especially, as I compared my original list to the list I developed today. Mostly, I believe it has to do with differing thoughts for the times. I can see an article about this in a future edition of Acceler8Success Cafe. In the meantime, who would be on your list today?

Have a great day (and week ahead). Make it happen. Make it count!

Weekly Review June 26-July 2

Sundays are a time for review at Acceler8Success Cafe. With so much going on at Acceler8Success Cafe I know it’s easy to miss a newsletter or two. Possibly the week flew by without you noticing one our daily newsletter that seemingly got lost amongst the busy news feed.

Just like an experience at your local cafe, I really want Acceler8Success Cafe to be conveniently located when you desire or need to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and catch up on some reading. My goal is for Acceler8Success Cafe to be your virtual cafe. A place where you may frequently visit to enjoy a few minutes to yourself.

I’d like the experience to be memorable by providing learning opportunities, by presenting a different perspective & insight, by spurring thought & reflection, by encouraging interaction, and by spotlighting topics that, frankly, may not be as front and center as they should or need to be.

Acceler8Success Cafe is open for business seven days a week. For the benefit of current & aspiring entrepreneurs, this daily newsletter is delivered each morning. As a way to jumpstart the week ahead, a weekly review is delivered each Sunday morning listing and linking to the articles you might have missed during the previous week. My objective is to provide an opportunity for you to begin the new week informed and with ideas that possibly could accelerate your success.

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Welcome to the Sunday ‘Weekly Review Edition’ of Acceler8Success Cafe!

Networking is essential to success. So, why half-ass it?

Networking is your lifeblood for a long-term success. It’s often been said that one’s net worth is their network. Yet, many give it a half-assed attempt. Why do you think that is the case when effective, diligent networking produces positive results? If not immediately, then at some point, for sure.

Are we headed to the Hotel California… or, have we already arrived and cannot leave?

From the late-60s and through the 70s it was a different time for sure, but not really much different than today. War, drugs protests & riots, and recession made the headlines then as they do now. Is it a cycle, or is just a plethora of unsettled business that has lingered on for the past 50 years, a beast raising its ugly head now and again to keep our attention?

Treating Goals Like Utility Bills

Do your goals have due dates? Firm due dates similar to utility bills complete with a termination date, late fees, and disconnection notices? Could doing so create a sense of urgency? How about accountability?

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Top 5 Stories of Q2 at Acceler8Success Cafe

I’ve developed Acceler8Success Cafe to help current and aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. I’m dedicated to entrepreneurial success at all levels. Whether to help others achieve work/life balance or to just be there to help someone pull out of a tailspin, my goal for Acceler8Success Cafe remains… to be a resource, on LinkedIn and across various social media to share information, to educate, and to provide an opportunity for interaction.

Work/Life Balance: Plan Accordingly

A long weekend is the perfect time to reset the clock on work/life balance. It’s a perfect time for some mental health maintenance. It really is a perfect time for new beginnings.

Thinking about investing in a franchise? Do your due diligence!

If you’re thinking about business ownership and considering whether franchising is right for you, the information shared at Acceler8Success Cafe will help you make an informed decision and provide clarity on your entrepreneurial journey.

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Are you ready to own a business?

Are you thinking of business ownership for yourself and learning how the choice of a franchise, startup or acquisition can “jump-start” the process and your earning potential? 

Well, Acceler8Success Group can help. Working with in-house small business professionals you will work one-on-one in determining if you’re right for buying a franchise, starting a new business, or acquiring an established business, and whether business ownership is right for you. 

If you determine that it is a path to consider, you will be introduced to various industry segments and ultimately, brands & companies that could be a “right-fit” option . . . all to help ensure your future success!

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Are franchisees responsible for their own success or failure, and are franchisees entrepreneurs?

A while back I had posted a question on LinkedIn, “Are Franchisees personally responsible for their own success or failure?”

Below please find several of the responses from a cross-section of professionals that I believe provide some very interesting perspectives. Certainly, ones that may be different from franchise professionals that may be too far into the forest to actually see the trees, or of the franchisees that would rather point the finger of blame at someone else rather than at themselves.

As I have done in the past, the names of the responding individuals will be kept confidential. Instead, they will only be identified by their LinkedIn statement or profile.

The president of an HR consulting firm responded, “Franchising quickens the start-up of a new business operation with a systemized model. But in the end, a franchise is a business like any other. Each business owner is responsible for the success of their business. Drive, ambition, courage, determination and a keen focus on sales and marketing is critical. You reap what you sow.”

An operations manager from the telecommunications industry added, “I have the fortune of working with some great franchises in a manner where both the franchisees and the franchise are clients. As others have said, it is a combination of what is provided by the franchise and effort on the side of the franchisee. One could write a series of books on the subject; however, I feel that proper guidance and training are more vital than even advertising when it comes to a good ratio of successful franchisees. Often, I will see even the highest revenue producing franchisee left alienated by a brand, it is not uncommon for some franchisees to not even know who the current regional contact is for their brand until there is a problem. On the other hand, I have seen franchises that provide complete packages for their franchisees including market research, technology like database, PBX, and websites, corporate trainers that are easy to contact and on a first name basis, and most importantly a feeling of partnership where the owner often makes contact for advice, ideas, and information. The right franchise provides two vital resources to a business owner: 1. Instant name recognition and consumer confidence. 2. Tools enough for a business owner to focus on growing his business and not burdened with reinventing solutions to common problems.”

Finally, an expert in the HR field stated, “They are totally responsible for their own success or failure. If the franchiser does not support them, they have to remember they are the ones who made the decision to buy the franchise. They decided who to hire and to approve the location. If the system is not working, then figure out what needs to happen and make it happen. When you buy a franchise, you do not buy a job you buy a business. Would you let your employees blame it on you if they did not produce?”

As I read through the responses, I realized that several were adamant that the fact individuals invested money with a franchisor, they should be guaranteed success. Others pointed toward franchisees being different than entrepreneurs who know there is risk. Does that imply that those investing in a franchise don’t realize there is a risk when investing in any type of business, even if the investment is made by a successful entrepreneur?

And that brings to mind, the off again, on again discussion about whether franchisees are entrepreneurs?

Are Franchisees Entrepreneurs?

In business circles we frequently hear and make reference to “entrepreneurial spirit.” It’s this spirit that drives an individual to taking risks, sometimes calculated, but not always. “Spirit” is often associated with “free.” Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airways fame, among other successful business ventures, would definitely be considered a risk taker, an entrepreneur and free-spirited.

It’s often been said that individuals explore franchising due to it being less risky than starting a business from scratch as the franchise comes complete with a proven business system. The old adage about being in business for yourself, but not by yourself, creates a nice, warm sense of security that a franchise can ultimately provide.

Minimized risk. Proven system. Sense of security. Could you really see Sir Richard as a franchisee? So, if Sir Richard Branson epitomizes the true entrepreneurial spirit, my question is, “Are franchisees entrepreneurs?”

Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the word, “entrepreneur” in a word cloud about franchising… Wait, there it is in tiny print next to the pinky finger!

I’m anxious to hear what franchise professionals, franchisees and others have to say. Please post your comments below. Thanks.

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Weekly Review May 15-21

Sunday at Acceler8Success Cafe is the time for looking back over the past week. It’s a time for review as with so much going on at Acceler8Success Cafe I know it’s easy to miss a newsletter or two. Possibly my Question of the Week slipped by without you noticing, or an announcement I may have made just seemingly got lost amongst the busy news feed.

Just like an experience at your local cafe, I really want Acceler8Success Cafe to be conveniently located when you desire or need to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and catch up on some reading. My goal is for Acceler8Success Cafe to be your virtual cafe. A place where you may frequently visit to enjoy a few minutes to yourself. I’d like the experience to be memorable by providing learning opportunities, by presenting a different perspective & insight, by spurring thought & reflection, by encouraging interaction, and by spotlighting topics that, frankly, may not be as front and center as they should or need to be.

Acceler8Success Cafe is open for business seven days a week. For the benefit of current & aspiring entrepreneurs, this daily newsletter is delivered each morning. As a way to jumpstart the week ahead, a weekly review is delivered each Sunday morning listing the articles you might have missed during the previous week. My goal is to provide an opportunity for you to begin the new week informed and with ideas that possibly could accelerate your success.

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Adapting to Change; a Moving Target

One key to success in a business owner’s life is to learn from mistakes. Although the mistakes may not have been intentional, they’re real, nonetheless.

Overcoming Fear

As Mental Health Awareness Month continues, I wanted to be sure we keep it front and center. As such, I’ve given it some personal thought this morning as I found myself reflecting upon the past few years and where things are today. What should I be doing moving forward? What lessons have I learned? How do I address my own personal fears?

Do Your Homework BEFORE Buying a Franchise!

Ray Kroc once said, “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” But is success guaranteed when buying a franchise? Absolutely not so please do your homework BEFORE buying a franchise.

Poker & Entrepreneurship: Games of Skill?

Thinking about poker and the skills necessary to win – whether in a neighborhood or professional game – has me also thinking about the skills entrepreneurs must develop and hone to succeed in their endeavors.

Question of the Week: What skills are necessary for today’s entrepreneur to succeed, and at a high level?

Franchise Success: It Takes More Than an Investment & Hard Work!

As detailed and comprehensive as a franchise system may be, it still is not enough for most franchisees to succeed without their own desire, drive and determination. And not just words.

Keeping our Servicemen AND Veterans Front of Mind on Armed Forces Day

Servicemen AND Veterans. We must meet our obligations to BOTH groups!

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” – George Washington

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If you’re interested in submitting an article for Acceler8Success Cafe, please let me know. Articles must be about entrepreneurship, franchising, small business ownership or anything related to these general topics. Please reach out to me here on LinkedIn or via email to Thank you!

On the Lighter Side

As Entrepreneurs we tend to want to teach our children the lessons that we have learned. Sometimes this is confusing to them. One entrepreneur sat his four-year-old son down and said: “It’s time for your lesson.” What’s two plus two? The little boy said, “Two plus two is Six.” “No, son,” his father said, two plus two is not six. “Two plus two is four.” “I’m sorry, father,” said the little boy. “I thought we were negotiating.” © Copyright Mark W. Lund 2009

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“Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup, and ride that highway in the sky” America, “Lonely People” Listen at

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Franchise Success: It Takes More Than an Investment & Hard Work!

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!

Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

Do Your Homework BEFORE Buying a Franchise!

The dream of owning your own business is alive and well for most Americans. The only problem is that many people don’t know where to start on the journey to becoming self-sufficient. There are a million different options, but first and foremost each potential entrepreneur must decide if he or she wants to become a franchisee or start a business independently.

Each route has its benefits; therefore, it’s critical to take the time to consider both options before making a decision. What it initially comes down to is asking yourself the following questions:

1. Do you understand every aspect of the business, or do you thrive in one area?

When starting a business from scratch, entrepreneurs should be well versed in every single element of the enterprise. They need to create systems and procedures and test whether these work for that particular business. This process of ironing out the details deters some from choosing to own an independent business but excites and challenges others.

Conversely someone who buys a franchise knows that someone else has already done the “dirty work” and found the most effective systems for that particular business. A franchisee must simply thrive at correctly running the system while adding their own personal management touch. 

2. Are you an expert at making a name for yourself or would you like to be associated with an already strong brand?

When purchasing a franchise, you are also inheriting the reputation of that brand. For example, if you open your own Dunkin’ Donuts shop, you will encounter customers who already recognize the pink and orange logo. Many people will know whether they like the brand and will expect speedy service providing them doughnuts and steaming hot coffee.

On the other hand, those starting a business from scratch have a chance to create a unique brand identity. But consumer trust and awareness don’t come easily; they need to be earned through time, consistency and excellence.

3. Are you the kind of person who likes to go it alone or do you appreciate a sense of community?

Owning a business — whether it’s a franchise or not — can be risky. Some people prefer to be self-reliant and want to manage potential problems using past experiences and premonitions as guides. An entrepreneur must solve the issues that arise.

Others prefer enlisting the support and help of others to ensure that their business runs smoothly. A franchisee has many built-in allies, including the franchisor and other franchisees within the system.

The most important factor for success is making sure that problems are identified, and steps are taken in the right direction.

Is Owning a Franchise in Your Future?

For many individuals that explore franchising as the next step in their career, as a way to control their own destiny or as a way to create a family business understanding the process can be quite overwhelming. Below are several articles by franchise experts I shared on my blog in 2018. Still relevant today, I believe it will help interested parties diligently navigate the process to help create a playing field that is best for them as opposed to seeing themselves aimlessly tiptoe through a minefield consisting of franchising’s good, bad and ugly.

If you’re thinking of becoming a franchisee, how should you prepare yourself?

Buying a franchise can be a great move for a would-be entrepreneur who doesn’t want to create a new business from scratch. In theory, franchisees acquire a model that already works on every level, from branding to pricing to marketing. A ready clientele eagerly spends on Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s and 7-11. The market has tested the best recipes for glazed crullers, Egg McMuffins and the right combo of energy drinks to stock next to the register. But making a go as a successful franchisee can be a lot more complicated than simply finding an appealing brand and plunking down some cash. For a taste of what can go wrong, see Forbes’ piece about the past problems at sandwich franchise Quiznos, which paid $206 million to settle a suit brought by franchisees who claimed the chain had oversold its markets and excessively marked up supplies. Read more.

How to Buy a Franchise

Contrary to popular belief, the process of buying a franchise isn’t really difficult-but it is a process. I’ve found, (through working one-on-one with thousands of potential franchise owners) that it’s really important to tackle a major life decision like the purchase of a franchise business-or any type of business, in a very methodical way. (Even if you’re not a methodical person!)

But you need to realize that buying a franchise is a big deal. It could potentially be life changing. That’s what you want, isn’t it?

After all, you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you wanted to just go out and find a new job -or keep the one you have.

With that in mind, kick off your shoes and grab your favorite beverage. In this article, Joel Libava, The Franchise King shows exactly how to buy a franchise. Read more.

Owning a Franchise Business is Good for Your Family

Many entrepreneurs choose to become small-business owners with an exit strategy of turning over the business to their children one day — a strategy that takes on more importance in an era where young people are struggling to find gainful employment. Children who begin working in the family business at a young age will typically start an ascension into management after college, with an eye on purchasing some or all of the family business as their parents head into retirement. Often, the parents will retain a percentage of the business as a revenue stream in retirement, adding an extra level of responsibility for the child as a steward of their parents’ nest egg.

Even if they don’t stay in the family business, studies show that parental entrepreneurship increases the probability of children’s entrepreneurship by about 60%. Children of entrepreneurial parents have already experienced many of the ebbs and flows of small-business ownership, which helps to mitigate their fears and raise their risk tolerance. Read more

Learning About Franchising

During research for Franchise Bible, 8th Edition, author, Rick Grossman found that the franchise industry had changed in many ways over the years. Technology has had the biggest impact by modifying buying behaviors. Not too many years ago, franchise buyers would find an opportunity in Entrepreneur magazine or by attending a franchise expo in-person. They would then go through the franchisor’s respective step-by-step process to qualify, purchase and launch their franchises. But today, buyers can find a plethora of information online about nearly any franchise they want to learn about. This has leveled the playing field for new innovative companies to compete favorably with the “big boys” in the marketplace. Read more

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Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!

3 Steps Ahead of Business Ownership

Many people have a dream of owning a business. It’s an American Dream!

However, whether doing so as an independent business or as a franchise there are important initial steps to take to ensure their dream-turned-reality starts off on the right foot.

Improve Financial Health

Review and analyze personal finances. As a first step, it’s essential to understand income coming in and expenses going out each and every month of the year. Think ahead to bills that come due quarterly or annually.

Plan a firm budget. The goal is to ensure living expenses are met for a minimum of one year after starting a business. If a vacation is planned during this period, it must be included in the budget. Pay off all short-term debt to the extent it’s possible and practical to do so.

If savings or income from investments are not allocated for living expenses, it’ll be necessary for personal income to continue through year one. Lenders will require a solid plan that is not dependent upon first year income from the new business. This may require a spouse or life partner continuing their employment while the business gets on firm footing.

Review credit reports for accuracy. Challenge all errors and keep records of the same. Organize all financial records including bank statements, investment account records and insurance policies – auto, health & life.

Consider working through the above with an independent financial coach who can provide valuable professional insight and perspective. From a confidential, non-judgmental position they can help resolve some issues requiring attention that may have initially appeared to have been barriers to business ownership.

How to Create a Business Plan

Network as Much as Possible

Meet with members of the local business professional services community – bankers, attorneys, financial planners, accountants, realtors. Share plans to start a business within the community. Develop a network of these professionals and keep them apprised of progress.

Attend and actively participate in networking events well in advance of commencing business operations. Networking provides great benefits from a very early stage including introduction of the business to the community, support from fellow business owners and assurance of a busy grand opening.

From visiting with business professional to attending local chamber meetings to participating in community functions, personal involvement starts to establish a long-term commitment to the community. Owning and operating a business is about establishing and building relationships. Do so as early as possible.

How to Start a Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Be Honest with Yourself

Although working through due diligence is essential it’s important not to over-analyze to the point of procrastination… or even, paralysis. Taking the necessary steps outlined above should set a foundation of being well-informed and yes, a foundation of comfort and confidence, as well.

Nurture Your Business for Optimum Growth

Think of your entrepreneurial journey much like growing a tree. First, you decide what type of tree you’d like to grow. Next, you learn how best to grow it. You then cultivate the soil to provide a firm foundation, but with necessary room to grow. The seeds go into the soil and it’s time to begin growing. Over a relative time, care is provided along with water, fertilizer and other nutrients so the tree not only grows but grows strong.

“Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking.” – Anita Roddick

For a while it’s frustrating as you stare at the dirt wondering when the first signs of growth will penetrate through the surface — a breakthrough of sorts. Then, one day it appears through the surface of the soil and as fragile as it is you wonder how it had the strength to push through. You then care for the tree a bit more, nurturing it along as it grows and grows, branches sprouting out along the way.

At times, it may look a bit unhealthy, so you move it into more direct or less sunlight, maybe increase watering or add some new fertilizer to the soil around it. You may even relocate the tree to a bigger space, a deeper hole to firm up the foundation so it can grow stronger. And then, you see it blossom as it takes a new form with bright flowers, attracting visiting insects from far and wide. It’s beautiful, but you’re cautious as there are predators that may want to feed off your tree, destroying it along the way. So, you protect it with insecticide or even a cage around it to prevent it from being eaten altogether.

Once mature, your tree will only require periodic maintenance. Sometimes it’ll need to be trimmed and pruned to spur new growth, again making it stronger and stronger and more beautiful than ever. You then think, maybe I should plant another one, and then another? Possibly you can grow them to a certain point and then sell them. After all, you know the process. You’ve gone through the learning curve. You most likely still have some or many of the resources you used to grow the first one. There may even be something new that will help it grow faster.

You see, growing a tree is a process. It takes time. It takes perseverance. It takes care and thought at every step. And yes, it takes you staying involved and committed to, not only the process but to the desired results. If you quit or neglect your responsibilities, your dream and business will die, just as the tree would die.

10 Ways to Grow Your Small Business