Acceler8Success Cafe Daily Thursday 10.29.20

Every Company Needs an Entrepreneur in the C-Suite

Innovation thrives when it has power and status within an organization. To enable real innovative growth — and rapid response in the face of such crises such as Covid-19 — boards and company leaders must structure top organizational roles to give innovative efforts the resources and attention they need. In our work on business model innovation with over 100 large and medium-sized companies, we’ve found that companies looking for transformation have two good options: an entrepreneurial CEO or a powerful chief entrepreneur. Read more here.

7 Entrepreneurship Stages Will Propel You to Where You Need to Go

The road to becoming an entrepreneur is a journey, and it’s not a short trip. In my efforts to assist aspiring business owners like you, I find that too many see it as a short sprint to get over that one hurdle, like finding that innovative idea, or attracting an investor. In reality, I find that there are multiple stages to the process, each requiring a unique mindset and focused effort along the way. I was pleased to find a new book, The Entrepreneur’s Faces, by Johnathan Littman and Susanna Camp, which outlines the key stages and provides examples of real people making the transformation from one stage to the next. Read more here.

If you wouldn’t think about building a house without blueprints, why would you consider building a business without blueprints? Like plans for a home, business blueprints should include each component necessary for long-term benefit. Whether exploring franchise ownership or growing your brand via franchising, Franchise Foundry can help ensure you have the right blueprints specifically for you! Learn more here.

What Restaurant Sectors Thrived During The Pandemic?

Why did some restaurant chains sales thrive so quickly after the pandemic?

This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Lorn Davis, who leads corporate and product strategy at the financial data firm Facteus. The company has been reporting sales using debit card information since the start of the pandemic, and its weekly reports have provided some key insights into the direction of retail and restaurant spending. Davis discusses some of the sectors performing particularly well, such as chicken wings, and those that have a longer runway for improvement, like coffee. He talks about the factors that have influenced the sectors’ success and failure, and he discusses how consumers have changed since the start of the pandemic—and how much of that change could be permanent. Listen to podcast here.

Jersey Mike’s Subs CEO Peter Cancro to join MFHA President Gerry Fernandez to talk about the path to Black restaurant franchise ownership

Peter Cancro, CEO of Jersey Mike’s Subs will be a keynote speaker at Restaurants Rise powered by MUFSO on its final day, Thursday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. EDT, in discussion on the path to Black franchise ownership, brought to you by PepsiCo Foodservice.

Cancro will be joined by Karim Webb, CEO of 4thMVMT and co-founder of PCF Restaurant Management — a franchisee of Buffalo Wild Wings — and Hugh Roth, senior vice president and chief customer and business development officer for PepsiCo’s Global Foodservice Division. The panel will be moderated by Gerry Fernandez, president and founder of the Multicultural Foodservice Hospitality Alliance (MFHA). TIME SENSITIVE: Read more here.

5 Best Business Ideas for 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a flurry of challenges, from finding small business funding, short-term business closures, quarantines, and mask-wearing to sharp declines in storefront traffic and more.  So there is no doubt that many entrepreneurs threw in the towel this year. Despite all of this, the data shows that 2021 will be a great time to go into business for yourself. Let’s take a look at some trends shaping new businesses next year and five of the best entrepreneurial ideas for capitalizing on them. If you’re considering starting a small business in 2021, there are some trends to consider before making your plan. Read more here.

As Small Business Saturday is just around the corner please keep in mind that franchises are also small business. Franchise owners are very much the same as Mom & Pop businesses across America having invested their life savings to achieve the American Dream of owning a business. #ShopSmall and #ShopFranchise on #SmallBusinessSaturday.

3 Steps Ahead of Business Ownership

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

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.

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.

But, only with an honest evaluation that the steps were actually taken and worked through should a final decision be made to move forward.

 

 

 

 

Franchising Not [Completely] Respected by American Express!

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…

Franchising Excluded from AMEX Small Business Saturday Events

Franchises Are Not Small Business?

Franchises Excluded From Small Business Saturday – AMEX Responds!

Was Franchising Slapped in the Face by American Express by Accident?

AMEX Reassessing Policies for Small Business Saturday


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Franchising Excluded from AMEX Small Business Saturday Events!

This Saturday, November 26th is the 2nd Annual American Express Small Business Saturday. Most likely you have seen advertising and promotions for the event. Possibly you’ve seen the event’s Facebook page that has over 2.3 million LIKES. If you spend as much time online as I have you, then you have definitely seen promo after promo mentioning the event.

Well, franchising, supposedly the cornerstone of small business and as many claim, the driving force behind economic recovery in America, has been excluded from the event. Here’s the AMEX notice…

ELIGIBILITY: The Program is only available to independently owned businesses. Small business cannot promote any of the following: pharmaceuticals, drugs, politics, pornography or sexual aids, diet aids, gambling, liquor, tobacco, firearms/weapons, or any sensitive topic with respect to current events, and any such small businesses are not eligible for this Program. Franchisees, national chains and government agencies are not eligible. By participating in this Program, you represent and warrant that (i) your business complies with the requirements set forth herein and (ii) you are the owner of the business and have the right to participate in this Program.

Yet, American Express heavily solicits franchise brands and franchisees to accept the American Express Card. And, as we all know, at a higher rate than that of Visa and MasterCard. Not to mention the fact that American Express typically exhibits at franchise conferences and trade shows where they promote AMEX Merchant Services. Besides, aren’t franchise locations independently owned and operated?

At the very least, franchisees should be able to participate locally even if franchise brands are prohibited from participating at the national level!

So, do you believe American Express was correct in excluding franchise brands and franchisees from Small Business Saturday? What are your thoughts?

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Top Five Social Media Tips For Small Business

The following article was written by Guest Author, Linda Daichendt. Linda is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses, and a Strategic Partner of franchisEssentials. She is a recognized expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Top 5 Social Media Tips for Small Business
by Linda Daichendt
as posted on Marketing With New Technology July 16, 2009
(Please Note: some content in this posting is from an article by Mya Frazier for Bankrate.com)

A few years ago, using the Internet to market a small business simply meant to create a presence online with a simple, informational Web site. Then came the demands of search engine optimization to ensure Google and Yahoo searches yielded top-ranked results for your company. Was your business’s Web site chock full of the key search terms that would bring it to the attention of customers?

social-media-trendsToday, social media is transforming the small-business marketing landscape. Social media are Web- or mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information. It’s not just for seeing who your high school sweetheart married. Businesses can tap into powerful networking sites and other social media to drive customers to their shops or companies.

If done right, small-business owners might even be able to slash their traditional marketing spending to zero. Writing blogs (short for “Web logs”) or on-going online commentary using social-networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, can provide inexpensive but powerful online marketing.

Because it’s free, people think it’s easy to create a social media presence. But this attitude can lead to missteps. So before you dive headlong into social media, take some time to observe the customs and social norms of these new forms of communications, says David Spark, founder of Spark Media Solutions, a San Francisco-based firm that helps companies tell their story through social media. “Also think about your strategy for effectively utilizing social media before you jump in,” says Linda Daichendt, CEO/Managing Consultant of Strategic Growth Concepts. “It’s easier to avoid costly mistakes before you begin than to correct them after they’ve done damage to your company’s reputation.”

New_rules_of_marketing_and_PR“Think of social media as a cocktail party,” says, David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and “World Wide Rave,” books about how to create buzz online. “You don’t go into the cocktail party and go into the middle room and scream at the top of your lungs and say, ‘Buy my products.’ … What works is you have some meaningful conversation first. And that’s just how social media works.”

If you decide to take the social-networking plunge, here are five ways to harness social media to help your business.

1. Use free sites. Use free online services, such as the mobile short-message site Twitter, and popular networking sites Facebook and MySpace, to post significant news, specials or events. For example, you run a small Italian restaurant with a loyal following. You could create a Twitter account and upload the lunch or dinner specials via “tweets,” or short messages of up to 140 characters, daily to customers’ smart phones or to other Web sites.

“All you have to do is give a (Twitter) handle and start a conversation. You could put the Twitter handle on the menu or in the restaurant,” says Chris Abraham, Abraham Harrison LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based digital public relations agency. Granted, social networking sites are still for early adopters. “You aren’t going to get Aunt Matilda to tweet about the experience she had at dinner,” Abraham says.

Abraham considers Twitter one of the easiest ways for a newbie to social media to get started. “It’s more challenging to do Facebook,” Abraham says. “You have to create a personal profile, create a page and so on. With Twitter, if you’re Joe Smith with Motorcycle Emporium, you don’t have to create a page. And you can create Twitter updates via a phone or mobile device easily.”

“Don’t try to reinvent the wheel,” he says. “There are lots of people sold on really expensive solutions, but two of the best investments for reaching out to people and engaging with them are free on Twitter and Facebook.”

2. Shift marketing costs to social media. After learning how social networking operates, use social media to free up traditional marketing dollars for your small business by putting it online. You can quickly learn which of your Facebook or MySpace “friends” or online “group” members received and responded to your message.

Stanya Doty has cut her print marketing budget to zero. As owner of Simple Indulgences, a wine and high-end gift shop in Delaware, Ohio, she began using Facebook in December 2008 to communicate with her brother but quickly realized the online marketing possibilities.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, there are so many people here,’ ” she says. Indeed, Facebook boasts 200 million users worldwide. In April 2009, she began promoting monthly wine tastings via a Facebook page for the shop that quickly attracted 100 members. Combined with an e-newsletter created using the do-it-yourself, e-mail marketing Web site Constant Contact, she keeps enough buzz going about her shop that her advertising budget for local print ads no longer seemed necessary. She usually sends out about 700 e-mails, with the response rate sometimes reaching nearly 50 percent. It sure beats a postal mailing. “If I sent out a postcard with postage and paid for all that, I’d still have no idea who read it and who threw it away,” she says.

Indeed, unlike a print ad, Doty gets instant, measurable results. “On Facebook, you can see who has responded to invites,” she says. “It’s easy, it’s cheap and I’m actually appealing to people that at first know me from the store and then hopefully … pass the word along throughout their networks.”

google-yahoo-thumb23. Do your own social-media optimization project. Learn about the competition in your industry and geographic region that are tapping social networking. Spark recommends starting by researching the competition in the major search engines — Google and Yahoo.

“Type in keywords and phrases that people would use to find you, like ‘plumber’ and ‘San Francisco.’ If you don’t appear in the top percentage of pages, take a look at the Website of those plumbers that do show up,” says Spark. “Look at their pages, and usually they will have a lot of content on their sites.”

To increase a business’s presence on the Internet, Spark advocates companies create blogs, newsletters and other articles on their sites to bolster the number of keywords — terms that search engines recognize — to boost their ranking in all-important Web searches.

“That’s the way people discover you,” he says. “Take that plumber in San Francisco. The right search terms might just be ‘clogged toilet and San Francisco.’” “That tells me I should write … in my blog about how to fix a clogged toilet and mention that I am a plumber in San Francisco,” he says.

4. Take social-network marketing to the next level. Create and post richer content about what your customers would expect from someone in your business. Don’t view social media sites as a place to simply hype your wares. It’s a place for conversation.

“Social media is about earning attention,” says David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and “World Wide Rave,” books about how to create buzz online. “What’s most important is to forget about what your company does. Instead, think about the people who are buying your products. Simply hyping products and services online and in social media sites completely backfires. People are not looking for products but for something fun. They are looking to make connections,” Scott says.

So it’s all about having something interesting to say or show. It could be a blog, or a video on the video-sharing Website YouTube.

For example, if you’re a caterer, instead of talking about your service, create engaging culinary content. Imagine positioning yourself as a gourmet magazine on the Web, complete with links to a video you uploaded to YouTube.

“A caterer could create a blog with information about how to create a fantastic party, and each blog post or YouTube video could be another installment,” Scott says. “On the Web, you are what you publish and being on the Web is about publishing information.”

So back to that plumber faced with the prospect of dropping an expensive Yellow Pages listing but worried about customers not finding him if they have a burst pipe or a misfiring shower head. Scott recommends the plumber post a list of “the 100 home fixes for common plumbing problems.”

“All of a sudden you are going to get indexed very highly in the search engines, and people are going to share that content with their friends,” he says. “When someone puts an update on Facebook asking if anyone knows a good plumber in Boston, a friend might point to your content.”

blogging5. Use blogging to drive search results and help new customers find you. Lately, blogging has gained greater attention, with the advent of “micro-blogging” on Twitter. But consider the time commitment and strategy before launching an account.

Even with the spread of micro-blogging, Abraham remains a big fan of traditional blogs, which are lengthier and show up on Web sites. In general, no matter what form the blog takes, it should be consistent over time.

“If you can’t keep up one (blog) post a day or 12 tweets a day, do one tweet every Thursday. Consistency in blogging or tweeting will create a relationship of trust with your followers or readers. Do it once a week, but for the next two years,” Abraham says.

And don’t spend extra money on blogging software, technical help, or a ghost writer for your blog. To get started, sign up with WordPress.com or Blogger – both are free blogging platforms which are easy to use for beginners.

Additional opportunities within the social media environment include: online radio shows on platforms such as BlogTalkRadio, social networking sites such as LinkedIN, Plaxo, and FriendFeed, and a wide variety of additional tools as well depending on your type of business.

Following these social media basics for small business will get your company started on the right road to gaining new customers and increased revenue via social media.

Startups: Do We Really Need Them?

bonsai-treeI recently responded to a group discussion on LinkedIn where an MBA student asked the question, “Do we need startups?” This student went on to add, ” I just read Digital Darwinism by Evan Schwartz and it led me to wonder, with so many startups I hear about each day, How many actually serve a purpose? How many actually provide a non redundant solution to a problem?” After considerable thought, I responded accordingly…

Interesting thought. “Recycled” businesses instead of closed businesses. If you can’t make it, give someone else a shot. Diversification would be a necessity. Successful business may be worth more.

On the other side of the coin, startups brought us Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford just to name a few. Would they have been as innovative working for a company as opposed to blazing the trails themselves? What would the world have missed without them? Would tomorrow’s Gates, Jobs, Disneys and Fords be left to work “within the box” as opposed to “outside the box?”

I have not even begun to think about the rise of even more powerful companies resulting in massive monopolies. In the end, would we wind up with just a small handful of enormous conglomerates owning and operating every industry? Or, could we end up with only one all powerful entity controlling all industries, and the world?

No startups? I think not! But still an interesting thought to say the least.

So, back to answering your question – I believe they all serve a purpose in lending to innovation and creativity that are vital to our future. Vital to democracy. Vital to free enterprise. Vital to helping third world countries. Vital to making the world a better place for today and tomorrow.

Redundant solutions? Without startups clicking at their heals, would companies continue to improve on solutions they’ve developed or just stop as they developed the solutions and then just sit back and rake in the profits. Afterall, why continue spending millions in improving on your solutions if no one else is working on a more effective solution. In simple terms, if we’ve created a trap that will catch mice, do we really need a better mousetrap? Maybe not from the practical sense. But what if we could catch a mouse a different way and it’s more cost effective? Or, maybe it has less health risks. Or more humane?

Social Networking and Business Growth: A Winning Combination

Social Networking is the perfect answer to growing your business, economic downturn or not.

networking-photosOver time, personal interaction within a social networking environment creates trust. In turn, it develops relationships, shares information, provides two-way communications, and provides points of reference for follow up. It creates a multi-tiered platform of information that benefits both business development and customer generation efforts alike. Often, simultaneously.

How are you using social networking (and Web 2.0 tools) to grow your business? Are you using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to full benefit? Need some questions answered? Post them below and we’ll be sure to answer them. If we don’t have the answers you need, we’ll get them for you as soon as possible.

Will the Economic Stimulus Bill Create New Franchise Opportunities?

The following article was written by Guest Author, Ray Haliber. By accessing his franchise website at www.azfranchises.com, you’ll find Ray offers a resource for entrepreneurs to find and research franchise opportunities for sale from A to Z. Ray has ten years’ experience as a small business broker in Arizona. His small business site may be previewed at www.azbop.comfinancialaid-photo.

Will the Economic Stimulus Bill Create New Franchise Opportunities?
as submitted by Ray Haliber

With the recent passing of the huge economic stimulus package there has been some speculation about whether some of its provisions will create or spur the development of new franchise business opportunities in certain industries like health care or renewable energy. The obvious question is whether major government incentives and investments in these 2 highlighted industry sectors will create sustainable franchise business models after the initial boost from the stimulus spending bill plays out.

In my opinion the answer is that this is a very realistic development given the scope of the stimulus bill and some of stated new policies of the current administration regarding health care and energy. In fact, potential small business opportunities emerging from the stimulus bill are becoming more obvious, (particularly in renewable energy) and appear to have a very good chance to create some viable franchising opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Heath Care: According to what I have read, the economic stimulus package includes nearly $20 billion dollars to help digitize or computerize health and medical records in the United States. I would think this could present some serious potential opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs because obviously private companies will become involved in providing services for this enormous and long term project.

Even with the recent news that Sam’s Club and Dell intend to enter this market by selling software to digitize medical records doesn’t mean there will not be plenty of other niche opportunities and markets available to develop and service. According to recent stats only about 17% of doctors offices are currently digitizing medical records. And with nearly 800,000 active physicians in the United States, many with small to medium size practices, their will undoubtedly be opportunities for smaller players to develop business franchising models that can service business opportunities that emerge from this program.

Renewable Energy: From what I have read and heard nearly $60 billion of the $790 billion stimulus bill will be spent on alternative and clean energy projects and other environmental related projects and research. This includes billions of dollars for greening government buildings, weatherizing homes and businesses, and providing significant tax credits and grants to help fund and subsidize renewable energy applications across the board.

Surely this type of massive government investment will almost certainly spawn a number of new franchising concepts to service the emerging business and consumer needs that will be created by this commitment. This would conceivably include the development of solar power related service franchises that would provide installation of photovoltaic panels for residential and commercial applications. Or green consulting franchises that would provide expertise to commercial businesses on how to “go green” or conserve energy. Or maybe new home improvement related franchise businesses will emerge that specializes in weatherization and residential energy efficiency.

In summary it’s going to be an interesting time to see how the franchising industry will adapt and ultimately capitalize on the potential business opportunities and new markets that will be created and supported by the stimulus bill spending. My guess is that it should ultimately produce some viable and profitable franchise companies that may someday become familiar household names and brands.