franchise recruitment blogging

Wow, we are experiencing some strong building momentum with our Mosquito Squad franchise business, part of Outdoor Living Brands!  Since acquiring the company in the first quarter of 2009 with approximately 17 franchise locations, we will more than double the company by the end of the year – in fact, we are likely to have more than 40 franchise locations at the beginning of 2010. 

Despite the economic climate, 2009 was a very strong season for the Mosquito Squad franchise system and demand is running extremely strong from individuals seeking to join this rapidly growing franchise system.  We are working on finalizing plans for a very large December training class and expect continued rapid expansion in 2010.  It is fun and rewarding to be part of a dynamic growing franchise system that is helping our franchisees to reach their personal and business goals.


Without the risk of failure, many people would likey take more chances in an effort to achieve their personal and business goals. However, unfortunately, eliminating the risk of failing is just not possible.  Failure is a natural part of life.  Everyone fails during their life, sometime many times over. 

However, out of failure comes learning.  Out of failure comes personal growth.  Out of failure comes innovation.  A recent study of large company CEO’s revealed that many had gone through bleak, rough patches in their careers. These leaders didn’t see these experiences as “failures”, rather they saw them as opportunities to learn and get better in their lives and business careers. 

Fear of failure can cause dangerous paralysis – it can lead to inaction and a perpetuation of the status quo.  Feal of failure can lead to inaction which will ensure you don’t achieve the change (for the better) in your life and career.  However, as has been said many times, insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. 

If there are changes you are considering in your career to reach your goals – go for it.  whether it is a new job or investing in a franchise – make it happen.  What do you have to lose except the status quo?  What do you have to lose except the opportunity to reach your goals!

On Tuesday, I met with members of the Virginia congressional delegation about healthcare reform and other issues important to the franchise industry during the International Franchise Association (IFA) 10th Annual Public Affairs Conference held in Washington, D.C. on September 14 – 15, 2009

I joined 450 other franchise leaders from around the country in Washington to urge Congress to consider the impact of healthcare reform on small and franchise businesses. 

We urged congressional leaders to focus on reducing the cost of health care, improving the quality of care and making health insurance affordable for businesses to offer to employees. While the franchise industry supports healthcare reform, now is not the time, during the worst recession since World War II, for substantial new increases in healthcare costs. More consideration for small businesses in the healthcare debate is critical to the future of the franchise industry.

In addition, I highlighted the importance of franchising to the U.S. economy during meetings with Representative Eric Cantor and meetings the legislative staffs of Senator Jim Webb and Senator Mark Warner.  According to a study conducted for the IFA Educational Foundation by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the economic impact of franchising, there are more than 900,000 franchised businesses in operation across the country that provide for 21 million jobs and generate $2.3 trillion in economic output.

However, the tight credit markets are hampering our ability to create new, sustainable jobs. A 40 percent reduction in franchise lending is predicted this year, resulting in the loss of an estimated 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. During these meetings, we urged Congress to promote more lending and less government spending so franchise businesses can provide better jobs that help the economy recover at a faster pace.

Last week, our senior leadership team at Outdoor Living Brands met for two days offsite in a board room at the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University for a strategic planning session.  As the franchisor of Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Mosquito Squad, we are regularly encouraging our franchisees to “work on their business, not just in their business”.  After all, how will any of us reach our business goals if we don’t first spend time to plan our desired future, then actively managing our progress against the key intermediate metrics in our plan? We “preach” this message to our franchisees, but we are also putting it into action in our organization!

We have spent time this year working with the franchise leadership groups in the Archadeck and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Systems to discuss where we want these businesses to be in 3-5 years. As always, we get great ideas from our dedicated franchisees that serve on the front lines of building their companies everyday! Last week, we began to rollup this information into a long-term strategic plan for our entire organization and franchise systems. In addition to building off the input from our franchisees, we involved both our entire senior leadership team and our board of directors/shareholders. Our efforts were guided by an outside expert that has assisted many companies through a strategic planning process.  

Now, the real work starts!  As our facilitator said, success is 1% strategy and 99% execution. As the company’s overall leader, it is my responsibility to make sure we have clear alignment across our leadership team and organization with our business goals. Once we do, based on the talent we have in place, execution will follow. We are now working to clear set the short- and intermediate-term goals in order to stay on track with our longer-term goals.

While our efforts have been at the corporate level, the process applies equally well to one’s personal lives. If you are not where you want to be from a personal, career or financial perspective, have you set short- and intermediate-term goals for yourself?  Can you reach your goals without making changes in your life and career?  As you ask yourself these fundamental questions, I suggest that you explore if investing in a franchise could be a vehicle for you to reach your goals.  Whether it is one of our franchise concepts or not, franchising is a wonderful way to get into business for yourself, but yet have the support of a proven franchisor and network of franchisee peers to improve your chances of success.  If you want to make positive change in your life and take control over your career and future, I urge you to explore franchising.

One of our employees at Outdoor Living Brands said something this morning that made me smile!  In a dialogue with some of our valued franchisees, he pointed out that if we are afraid to fail, we won’t grow. He said we can choose to do nothing and be immune from ever making a mistake (of course we might die from stagnation and/or decline) or we can choose to implement new things.  Sure, new ideas, new services and new programs (or a new career if you are thinking of investing in a franchise), may not be perfect immediately. However, if we make perfection our standard, we’d never move forward. Strive for it, but understand it’s unachievable.

This was pointed out by a member of our team in the IT department. As the overall leader of the business, this is an extremely gratifying sign that we have a team and a culture dedicated to growing and improving our businesses for the benefit of our franchisees. It brought a huge smile to my face and makes me quite proud of him and our team. There is a lesson for all of us in his statement – we must make the changes necessary to create the outcomes we want in our personal and business lives.

As the leader of a multi-branded outdoor living franchise company, I have a lot of demands on my time – setting the corporate culture, guiding operations, strategic planning, franchise recruiting, franchise relations, shareholder and lender relations, employee issues, and, of course, responsibility for the financial performance of the overall enterprise – all of these activities require regular attention.  Most days, there are simply far more demands on my time than I have time!

This can be frustrating at times.  I’m a perfectionist and want to do it all. However, as a leader, I am learning to force myself to allocate time to the activities that will grow our company.  This takes discipline and constant evaluation of whether my activities and time are focused on the “right things” that will drive the long-term growth of this organization.  It is simply too easy to get consumed by the daily operational and administrative demands of the business.  However, leadership means responsibility – to franchisees, employees, lenders and shareholders.  Leadership also means being accountable.  

I’m working to be accountable to myself each day in an analysis of how I spent the day – did I focus on the right activities that will drive this organization forward over the next 5-10 years?  While the discipline can be hard, it’s not a difficult process.  Just stop before you leave the office and think about how you spent the last 10-12 hours.  If it was not on the right things, then re-set the priorities for tomorrow!  Every day bring a fresh opportunity to get it right.

It is also an exercise in trusting the people around me.  We are fortunate to have an exceptionally strong leadership team.  I trust the team to accomplish the operational priorities and try to stay out of their way to let them achieve great things.  It is also necessary from time to time to hold them accountable to solve issues and challenges without having them “bubble up” to me.  If too many issues reach me, I’m placing a constraint on the long-term growth and development of the organization and our people.

As you assess where you are in achieving your personal, financial and career goals, I urge you to do the same thing I do everyday – challenge yourself by asking if you have focused every hour of everyday on doing the things that will allow you to reach your goals.  If not, make the changes in your daily routine that will allow you to successfully reach your goals!

Recently, as the president of a multi-branded outdoor living franchise company, I had the pleasure of receiving a call from one of our franchise owners.  The franchisee was asking questions about the mechanics of selling his franchise business.  He had recently been approached by an interested party about selling the company.  This franchise owner had been one of the very early adopters of the brand and business model and had built an extremely successful operation in his local market – one that attracted attention of a potential suitor.  I offered some advice for the upcoming negotiations and my ongoing support then I wished him good luck!

A short time later, I received another call from the franchisee indicating that the buyer and seller had reached agreement regarding a transaction.  As a leader of a franchise company, there is nothing more gratifying than seeing our franchise owners create significant equity value and reap the rewards of their hard work!  After all, it is these life goals – wealth creation, income, debt reduction and control over their lifestyle – that led them to invest and start a franchise business in the first place.  It is wonderful to see our franchisees come full circle and reach the finish line!

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