Strengthen Franchise Relationships by Saying “Thank You”​

To celebrate Franchisees, I cite the lyrics to the Alabama hit song, “Forty Hour Week”. It’s my way of expressing gratitude for the many, many franchisees and their employees that do their parts every day to make, not only their franchise brands run each and every day, but also our great country. We often take so much for granted when things run smoothly, almost seamlessly. Of course, during COVID there were challenges, but many franchisees did what they had to do, and persevered.

And then, it hit me as I reread the last verse of the song…

There are people in this country who work hard every day. Not for fame or fortune do they strive. But the fruits of their labor are worth more than their pay. And it’s time a few of them were recognized.

Wow, how could I miss something that should be standing out front and center? Is it obvious? Do you see it yet?

Okay, let me make it easier to spot. In the verse above, change “people” to “franchisees” – Ah, there it is! There are franchisees in this country…

At times, there is some discourse (maybe more than we’ll admit) today around the franchise relationship and it really doesn’t need to be the case if the focus is clearly on relationship basics, and that starts with appreciation. Remember, many franchise organizations refer to their system as a family. Isn’t being family enough to expect appreciation?

Think about when a franchisee signs their franchise agreement and remits the franchise fee – they’re quickly told, “thank you” and they’re even recognized in the brand’s newsletter and also in press releases announcing them as a new franchisee. Yes, that’s awesome.

Now, ask yourself, is that the last time franchisees are actually thanked or recognized? Most likely that is often the case. But I’m not just referring to systemwide accolades. I’m talking about someone from the brand’s leadership team picking up the phone for a quick call or planning to visit when in the franchisee’s area. Or at the very least sending a hand-written note just to say, “thank you” and that they’re appreciated for their investment in the brand, for how they represent the brand, and for how they’re committed to protecting the brand.

So, why not jumpstart an improvement in your franchise brand’s culture by starting with “thank you” as the norm, rather than as the exception?

There are franchisees in this country who work hard every day. Not for fame or fortune do they strive. But the fruits of their labor are worth more than their pay. And it’s time a few of them were recognized.

Developing and Cultivating the Right Culture

Recently, in a discussion about organizational culture, the exchange was quite robust and included the following statement from a CEO participant who stated, “The challenge becomes determining where and when things might be out of alignment. So, developing the methodology about how to realign must be developed and committed to early on.”

To the CEO’s point, the development and management of organizational culture is much like that of developing and cultivating a brand…

It must be planned.

It must be nurtured.

It must be allowed to grow.

It must be invested in.

It must be protected.

It must be promoted.

It must be cherished.

It must be the center of the universe.

I believe it’s relatively easy to determine when and where things are out of alignment in a franchise organization – disgruntled franchisees, refusal of franchisees to develop additional locations and instead are investing in other brands, frequent franchisor employee turnover… just to name a few that would be very apparent. Obviously, these are the results of, but not the root of the problem that may have caused things to move out of alignment. Mostly the problems occur (and fester) due to poor communications and lack of transparency between franchisor and franchisees. Inconsistent messaging adds fuel to the fire. Basically, similar problems to a marriage or other types of relationships that fail.

As for methodology to realign, that takes full commitment and focus from all parties to the relationship. However, in a franchise relationship it takes the franchisor to take the bull by the horns and lead the charge. The franchisor must spearhead the initiative to create open, honest, transparent communications, and especially through difficult scenarios. Franchisees have made a significant investment in the brand, and they must be kept aware of the good, bad AND ugly. Two precarious points include: How much is too much? Do franchisees need to know everything? Getting back to square one, a benchmark of sorts is critical as emotions running high will dictate more rather than less. Actions must speak louder than words!

At workshops and seminars, as well as within coaching and consulting projects, I talk a great deal about creating and delivering positively memorable experiences at all times. I believe it applies to the franchise relationship as much as it applies to customers & clients. I won’t get too deep here as this past week I shared my thoughts on the topic in this newsletter and in the past in the IFA’s Franchising World magazine. Instead, I will share my thoughts on a guideline that will help monitor the experience factor in any transaction or relationship. This guideline is what I refer to as, “The Emotion Circle”.

The Emotion Circle

There are seven key steps within the circle. Think in terms of a clock with the top being the starting point. This is where the relationship begins. Once something occurs that doesn’t meet expectations the first reaction is surprise. From there, emotions may escalate to the next steps of disappointment and doubt. Or it may not escalate but another “incident” will definitely move the needle along. Sometimes, even an unaddressed issue will move it.

Of course, it is inevitable things happen, and expectations aren’t met or even understood. This is why proactive, open, transparent communications are paramount. If the issues are discussed openly and frankly in a respectful way, the needle can be moved back to the 12 o’clock position with minimal or no chance of fueling a fire. We must keep the emotions within the blue section of the circle. This is key!

However, if issues are not addressed in a timely and respectful manner the fire burns rapidly and on occasion to the point where it flares up and / or quickly burns out of control. And, just like wildfires in the forest, these fires can and will jump across roads from house to house and community to community with devastating results.

If not brought under control in a swift manner, the next emotions are often expressed in rapid order through the pink sections and into the red circle. These include frustration, anger, hostility and yes, remorse (think “buyer’s remorse). Ultimately, the end result is broken trust and as we know, trust is the backbone of ANY relationship. Moving back from the pink section is extremely difficult, but not impossible. However, once emotions escalate into the red section, the possibility of salvaging the relationship is almost impossible. Trust will need to be earned back without any assumption on the part of the offending party that it will.

In order for realignment to occur throughout the emotion circle, issues must be addressed expeditiously. It’s paramount that trust be rebuilt before further escalation of emotions. It’s certainly not easy – but it can and must be done. However, it does take huge, ongoing commitment to be established, to remain in place, and to be built upon.

An important question to ask yourself or of an organization’s leadership – Are we truly committed to our relationships? If the answer is not a resounding yes, rest assured trouble is on the horizon. As such, it’s essential to find out the reason(s) and immediately take action to correct. The foundation of developing and curating the right culture depends on it.

Franchising: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

As I often do on the weekends, I was searching through my personal library seeking out a book or two that might provide me some inspiration for an article or report, and this particular weekend, I came across a business book that was published back in 1979. The book, “Free Yourself in a Business of Your Own” by Byron Lane, caught my eye for reasons I cannot really explain. Obviously, I’ve had it in my possession for many years, yet, never opened it again since I purchased it for $1.29 at Target. It must have been a clearance book as the cover price was $5.95. Anyway, I can’t even recall seeing it when I routinely search through my library. It’s like it suddenly jumped out front and center and said, “Hey, look here!”

Well, I decided to look through the book because the back cover stated, “This book is about freedom. Freedom from an 8 to 5 regimen. Freedom from dehumanizing democracies. Freedom from job boredom. Freedom from the lock-step culture. Freedom to do your work your way.” Hmmm… not much seems to have changed although lock-step culture is not something I’ve heard of before. Lock-step, yes. But not, lock-step culture.

Right away, my thoughts turned to franchising and I began to think about what franchising was like back in 1979. Fortunately, I didn’t have to think very hard, as to my surprise, was a chapter on franchising! It’s placement was to present franchising strictly as an alternative to other forms of business ownership, and in a book with 174 pages, the franchising chapter comprised all of 3 pages. Yes, 3 pages!

Within these pages were a series of bullet points that I found very interesting and it made me wonder how much franchising had actually changed since 1979, and if the changes have improved franchising today. Read the bullet points below and you be the judge.

– While there are no federal laws governing franchising, most states have franchise laws. Get a copy of the law in your state and read it for degree of stringency and coverage. If it is a tough law and a franchising company qualifies to do business in your state, you have one measure of security.

– Don’t believe that acceptance of you by a franchiser means they have evaluated your ability to get the job done. Some franchisers would select a corpse if rigor mortis had not set in and if it clutched in its hand a certified check for the amount of the franchise fee. Do your own introspection and decide if you can handle the franchise.

– Do not deal with profit projections or average profits. Insist on actual financial statements from a cross-section of franchisees. Then, evaluate your expected return on investment.

– Get the financial statement of the parent company and evaluate its ability to provide the services it promises.

– Read the franchise contract. It should be simple, frank, and fair, with complete disclosure, not an instrument of repression. After you think it through with your head, listen to your gut and determine if the contract fits you

– Finally, and perhaps most important of all, is evaluation of the franchiser’s management team. You should do this from two aspects – their management ability and their humanness. If the management does not measure up to good corporate standards, you will not get the profits you seek. You may turn out okay, but they can bring you down.

Here we are 43 years later and as I’m in the midst of wrapping up a few last FDDs to be just in time for annual renewals, I find myself asking the question over and over in mind… How much has franchising changed since 1979, and have the changes been for the better? Ironically, I just saw another article about BurgerIM and thought, maybe we need more changes, or are more changes only necessary because of the few who refused to play by the rules?

5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Franchise

With the Great Resignation still in full swing, a lot of people are choosing to take control of their personal and professional future by exploring entrepreneurship. 

Of those who realize their entrepreneurial potential many choose owning a franchise as the vehicle to take them from employment to entrepreneurship due to the already proven business model and built-in, ongoing support system, among other benefits.

If becoming a franchisee seems like the right path for you, follow the tips below to find the perfect opportunity.

1. Keep an open mind, then focus. No one wakes up and says, “I want to be in the septic tank industry,” but I know someone making a lot of money and meeting his lifestyle goals doing just that. The bottom line is: Don’t rule out a business without learning or seeing what the day-to-day will look like.

It’s important to find a franchise that allows you to reach your desired income, lifestyle, wealth and equity goals. For instance, think about a mom returning to the work force who knows she wants to interact with children on a daily basis. There are hundreds of options that allow her to do just that. Now, she needs to decide if she would like to be hands on as a teacher or if she would rather manage a facility that tutors children in math. Deciding between the two is easy if she considers which day-to-day position she would prefer and how that will impact her other goals.

2. Be proactive with your research. After you’ve determined what role you want in a franchise, it’s important to start scouting different options. Physically visit many different franchise locations to see if there is a void in the marketplace and start thinking strategically about how you could fill it.

Next, browse the web to see what is available in other areas and determine whether or not it will be a fit in your community. For example, if your neighborhood has many well-run restaurants but none dedicated to ethnic food, it may be time to look for Mexican franchise restaurants within your budget. 

3. Make sure the franchisor has experience. Before signing on to a franchise, it is essential to ask the franchisor about the executive team and its past industry experience. A potential franchisee should look for a company that has a corporate store — or better yet several — that have seen success that can be replicated. If this isn’t the case, find out if the company leaders have had significant experience at another franchise and are now applying that knowledge to this concept. 

4. Reach out to other franchisees. When asking other franchisees about their experience, it’s important to take the good with the bad and to examine a large sample size before making a statement about the franchise in general. I call this the “dilution factor.” If one franchisee says they can’t turn a profit at their store, make sure it isn’t because they refuse to clean the bathrooms and their customer service is lacking. By talking to a wide array of people you can get the best feel for the franchise as a whole.

5. Read the franchise disclosure document carefully. The first thing to look at is how much a franchise would cost to purchase. If the money is there, then check out “item 19,” which lays out the financial performance representation. Make sure you have a financial advisor who can look at that item with you and see the type of profit a franchisee can make on average.

Finally, take a look at the post-termination clause in the agreement. I am a big believer in exit strategies, because sometimes you may later find a franchise is not the right fit and sometimes things just happen. In any case, it’s important to protect yourself should there be a situation where you want to disembark from the franchise. 

Author’s Note: If you’ve been thinking about exploring business ownership and live in and around the Orlando area, then you will not want to miss The Great American Franchise Expo March 26-27 at the Orange County Convention Center and April 9-10 in Miami at Miami Airport Convention Center. Learn about future dates at FranExpoUSA.com.

Organizational Skills All Small Business Owners Should Possess

Organizational skillsWho hasn’t seen the phrase “organizational skills” listed as a requirement of a position? It might seem excessive that this vague term is so in demand, but the possession of organizational skills can make or break your career success.

While this is true for any role, it is even more integral for a small business owner.* Because there are so many tasks to juggle on any given day, keeping everything organized is the best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your working hours.

Read on for a look at the essential organizational skills to propel your small business toward success:

Scheduling. More than just scheduling shifts and meetings, as a small business owner you’ll be expected to schedule every aspect that goes into running your business. From scheduling progress check-ins for projects to scheduling incentive programs for sales goals, the ability to create a schedule and stick to it is essential to running your business.

Delegation. It’s impossible for one person to handle everything that needs to happen to keep a business running smoothly—that’s why delegation is key. By delegating, you’re lightening the load on your own shoulders while empowering your team to tackle the difficult tasks.

Time Management. In many jobs, your time is managed for you. You’re provided with small goals on the way to larger accomplishments and project timelines are completed at your own manager’s discretion. However, as a small business owner, those project timelines and daily tasks are set by you.

People Management. Managing is commonly regarded as a “people skill,” but it takes organizational savvy as well. Planning evaluations, building a successful team and orchestrating group meetings may not be the leadership tasks that get all the attention, but they’re just as integral to being a respected and regarded manager.

Preparation. Being prepared is the key to staying on top of your business routine. Whether it’s taking notes before a meeting with your staff, franchisor, or banker or jotting down the next to-do list at the end of the day, starting off on the right foot will keep you from playing catch-up when you should be looking ahead.

*Note: Small business owners include small independent business operators (Mom & Pop), franchisees, restaurant operators, professional services providers (law offices, medical offices) and even solopreneurs with staff.

Visit Acceler8Success Daily at https://paper.li/Acceler8Success-Daily

Visit Acceler8Success Group website at www.Acceler8Success.com

Texas-based Pepperoni’s franchising as a 30-year overnight success!

After many years of building a successful brand, Pepperoni’s Founder & serial restaurateur, Ray Salti developed a more efficient scaled down business model that addressed many of the issues facing restaurant operators today – high real estate costs, escalating labor costs, diminishing workforce pool, quality control and increased demand for take-out & delivery.

Proving the new model for over five years with increasing revenue and profitability, Ray decided to launch the new Pepperoni’s into franchising in mid-2019. To ensure success as a franchise system, significant financial resources were committed to technology integration, modern unit layout & design, operations support & training and a call center.

In addition, construction on a modern corporate office was completed in early-2020. The goal is to have a state-of-the-art facility for the growing Pepperoni’s team with plans to include a test kitchen, training areas and a commissary. Combined with delivery of exceptional New York style pizza, positively memorable customer experiences and excellent unit-economics, Pepperoni’s is well-positioned for franchise success.

Single and Multi-unit Franchise opportunities are available along with Area Development opportunities such as those that recently resulted in several multi-unit development agreements in Greater Houston Area. Short-term growth plans include all major and secondary markets throughout Texas followed by expansion across Southeast U.S. Investment level starting at $153,000.

Interested in owning a Pepperoni’s? Learn more HERE.

#pizza #franchise #lowinvestment #QSR

QSR & Pizza Fueling Franchise Growth

Fast-Food-2Each year the International Franchise Association commissions a study from PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) on the economic impact of franchising in the U.S. Highlights from that study include the following:

  • Taking into account the indirect impact of franchised businesses, business format franchises support more than 13.2 million jobs, $1.6 trillion in economic output for the U.S. economy, and 5.8 percent of the country’s GDP.
  • Franchise businesses provided more jobs in 2016 than wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, nondurable goods manufacturing, and information (including software and print publishing, motion pictures and videos, radio and television broadcasting, and telecommunications carriers and resellers).
  • Quick service restaurants (QSR) is the largest category, representing 25 percent of all franchise establishments and 45.5 percent of all franchise jobs.
  • Jobs supported because of franchise businesses were at least 10 percent of the private sector nonfarm workforce in 33 states, and at least 6 percent in every state.
  • The number of people employed by franchises is greatest in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio.
  • Franchisees own and operate 88 percent of all business format franchise establishments and franchisors own and operate 12 percent.

Read more…

Quick Serve Franchise Sector Continues to Blaze a Trail for Franchising

There is little doubt that the franchise industry is undergoing significant changes fueled in great part by the success of various PE firms that began in the QSR sector. As other franchise sectors are targeted by PE investors, the competitive environment in those sectors will become more challenging. In order to prepare for these challenges, small to medium sized franchises will need to become successful franchise systems that produces sustained system growth, successful franchisees and an efficient operating system.

Multi-unit franchisee ownership that originated in the QSR sector continues to increase as franchisors seek large multi-unit franchisees that can own and operate more franchise units.This ownership model provides organizational stability, ample financial resources, sustained growth and economies of scale to the franchisee operation.

Read more…

Who’s Winning the Pizza Wars?

Welcome to the pizza wars, where brands big and small, quick-service and fast-casual alike face two choices: pick up the pace and earn relevancy through definitive, clear marketplace differentiation or step aside.

Read more…

 

 

Facts & Perspective on the Future of Franchising

franchise imageTwo out of three isn’t bad. In fact, in baseball that would be a phenomenal batting average never even remotely approached. A winning season percentage? Well, it has been done in several professional sports. However, what I’m referring to are leading stories last week (see below) about franchising. Two of three were positive with growth statistics for franchising shared and the power of the franchise model defined. The other presented as somewhat of a negative perspective on family-owned franchises as being less productive than non family-owned businesses.

In any event, I’d love to see more study done on family-owned franchises and how the notion of underperformance may vary from one industry segment to another. My thought on this focuses on the potential differences between multiple generations of families that own Dunkin’ Donuts franchises as opposed to families that may own a non-food brand that may be more inclined to rely on the performance of one, two or several key staff members. I’d also like to explore the difference between single-unit and multi-unit ownership by families. Any takers to start the discussion?

“Regulations have been trimmed, taxes have been cut, and, as a result, the franchise community has continued its economic momentum. As we move into 2018, we expect lawmakers will remain steadfast in their support for a strong business environment,” said Robert Cresanti, IFA President and CEO in a statement.

The franchise industry is set for another year of major growth!

Franchise establishments are set to grow by 1.9 percent to 759,000 locations after increasing 1.6 percent in 2017, while employment will increase 3.7 percent to 8.1 million workers after growing 3.1 percent in 2017. The gross domestic product of the sector is forecast to increase by 6.1 percent to $451 billion, and will contribute approximately 3 percent of U.S. GDP in nominal dollars, according to the report. Franchise business output will also increase 6.2 percent to $757 billion. The forecast follows a year of slower growth in 2017, mirroring trends seen the year prior in terms of employment and output. Read more.

Family-owned franchises underperform, study finds.

A new study that involved a Ball State University researcher found family-owned franchisees post 6.7 percent lower sales per employee than other franchise owners of restaurants and other chain businesses. “It boils down to the fact that often, family-owned franchises have different objectives as compared to their counterparts,” said Srikant Devaraj, a researcher with Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research. Read more.

Will franchise leaders embrace a new future state of franchising?

A relatively misunderstood business model, with a paucity of academic support, franchising is on the precipice of history.  Defined by the Federal Trade Commission as an ongoing commercial relationship that includes a license to a brand, payment of a modest fee and the existence of significant control or support, the average consumer knows it as Subway, McDonald’s or Anytime Fitness.  In layman terms, a chain of businesses that share a common brand and a consistent customer experience owned by a local consumer.  But the traditional methodology of franchising has been supplanted by an ever-growing array of hybrid formulations that increasingly are revealing the real power of this enigmatic model. Read more.

Do Transitioning Corporate Executives [Really] Make Good Franchisees?

This question was discussed on Linkedin approximately a year and a half ago and there were some interesting responses. However, the further we drift from the onslaught of transitioning executives caused by the 2008-2012 economic downturn, maybe we should now pose a different question… How have franchisors fared since awarding focusing on transitioning executives?

We often look at franchise success as up to the franchisor, i.e. it’s the franchisor’s job to be sure franchisees succeed. But of course, we know that not all franchisees, including transitioning executives, are created equal. Some are better than others! People in transition may, in fact, not make very good decisions – maybe they may panic and jump into a franchise too quickly and they don’t do all the homework that’s necessary or possibly don’t ask all the right questions. Some actually have limited skill set to their former job.

It would be interesting for franchisors to reveal how “transitioning executives” have fared, though that’s probably asking a bit too much. Because again, even if the transitioning executives have failed, it doesn’t mean the franchise system is bad. Maybe the system is just not right for certain individuals?

It really doesn’t matter whether a candidate is a transitioning executive or an immigrant national or even a mom exploring business ownership instead of returning to the workforce. What matters is how well prepared a candidate is for franchising (and business ownership) and whether or not the candidate is a right-fit for a particular franchise, and the franchise for him or her. Because we also know that all candidates are not created equal. Nor are franchisors! It’s all the more reason to identify and develop ideal candidate profiles, and keep in mind, there may be several.

Any thoughts?

Fear And Consequences Of Failure: A True Story Retold

I’ve been asked time and again to post the following article that I’ve written about my own personal experience as a multi-unit franchisee where I succeeded at first, only to crash and burn later on. This article has been posted on several of my blogs, and picked up by numerous other blogs and online magazines. I have received numerous comments and inquiries about the article, individuals sharing their personal experiences and requests for assistance. Although I cringe at the thought of any business failing, I admire and respect the fact that franchisees and franchisors alike know when to put their pride aside and ask for assistance, and I look forward to providing my experience and expertise to help determine a practical resolve to their problems.

I’m proud to say this article has been instrumental in helping a number of businesses keep their doors open and work towards recovery. On the other hand, I’m also sad to say several businesses were not as fortunate, but at least the owners were able to exit with dignity and in few cases, with less liability than they previously thought possible. And, in one case, the owner actually exited in the black when we were able to facilitate the sale of her business when she previously thought about just walking away.

Fear and Consequences of Failure

failure-photo

I can personally relate to the trials and tribulations of owning franchise businesses as I have “been there and done that” and have experiences on both ends of the spectrum from achieving overwhelming success to dealing with bitter failure. I have definitely come to understand the fine line between success and failure in trying to nail down the American Dream.

I know it is sometimes counterproductive to even mention failure which is why the subject is always avoided and never discussed. Yet, it’s out there and it’s real. Once franchisees face the possibility of failure and its very real consequences they can be motivated to understand that failure is not an option and commit 100% to a plan that addresses immediate problems and provides solutions accordingly. Even if it’s necessary for the plan to be quite drastic or aggressive due to prevailing circumstances, franchisees that unequivocally realize that failure is not an option are prepared for immediate action.

Let me emphasize one point. Franchisees should not view poor sales and disappointing profits as either potential or immediate failure and stick their heads in the sand. I made that mistake in the past and suffered the consequences. Instead, franchisees should build upon the courage it took to become a franchise business owner and recommit to success as they did when they first took the entrepreneurial plunge.

They need to remember their wishes, hopes and dreams that prompted the decision to own their own business? They need to remember the admiration of family and friends when they heard about the new venture? They need to remember the excitement when they actually signed the franchise agreement?

Unfortunately, there’s a very distinct possibility the root of the problem is embedded in the franchisee’s actions, non-conformity to the franchise system and unwillingness to face reality. However, as there was some shining light evident during the franchise award process, it may not be a totally lost cause if the franchisee is made to completely understand the implications and consequences of failure.

As franchisors are faced with the potential of closed units [during this recession] that may be the result of things out of their control, it’s imperative they don’t lose even a single unit just because a franchisee just flat out needs a snap back to reality. It’s worth the effort.

Let me clarify something. I failed as a franchisee. Not because of anything the franchisor did or didn’t do but because I put and kept my head in the sand and did not face reality. I could go on and make excuses about things that happened around me but at the end of the day I could have turned things around if I got my own head out of the sand, made some difficult decisions and took full, immediate responsibility.

Unfortunately I was scared of failing. I was afraid of what people would think. I was ashamed at what other franchisees, ones I put in business, would think of me. I couldn’t even think of facing my family. All lame excuses for not taking responsibility. Maybe a hard swift kick you-know-where would have helped.

Did I mention that I previously ran the franchise company where I failed as a franchisee? Did I mention I was elected by fellow franchisees, President of the National Advisory Council? Did I mention that I owned and operated five franchise units?

If I had clearly understood the implications and consequences that were looming on the horizon and if I was able to get my big ego out of the way and address things head on, maybe I could have survived. Maybe I could have at least implemented an exit strategy that would have, in some small way, paid back the loyalty and support of my employees, family and friends.

In the end, I may not have survived because it may very well have been too late when and if I finally took action and responsibility. But maybe I could have at least exited with some dignity. Also, I could have saved many innocent people a great deal of hardship, embarrassment, wasted effort and ill-spent resources if I did face reality. This includes my family, my employees and yes, my franchisor; all who believed in me.

Yes, it was a tremendous learning experience but not one I would bestow or wish on anyone. Now, all I can do is to offer my experience to anyone in the franchise industry that needs assistance. As we [prepare to enter 2012] in the realms of economic uncertainty, I’m certain already difficult situations have been compounded but I’m confident a snap back to reality could only help. If just one franchise business is saved from the consequences of failure, then we’ve made progress. Progress we’ll continue to build upon.