Recently, the International Franchise Expo released their monthly report for September. The ADP National Franchise Report (NFR) shows progress for the franchising industry, with more than 15,000 jobs created in September alone. The Franchise Business Index (FBI), which is also used as a snapshot of the franchise industry, was delayed due to the government shutdown earlier this year.
A majority of the job growth was in the restaurant, leisure, professional and personal services, and real estate industries. The growth in September is consistent with the level of growth in job numbers for the past year. As of now, the franchise sector accounts for 8.05 million jobs, with restaurants accounting for roughly 50% of this total.
More information on the September fact sheet released by the IFA can be found here.
Despite the fact that the economy was mired with an economic downtown, FranServe has found itself in a position of continued success.
Recently, Benetrends’ President and CEO Rocco Fiorentino was featured on a panel of experts for “Empowering Entrepreneurs” put out by Media Planet. Fiorentino joined the Benetrends board of directors in 2009, with more than 25 years of franchising experience. Shortly after, in late 2012, he was appointed CEO. For those unaware, Benetrends is a trusted source for small business and franchise financing. Fiorentino has also served as a board member for the International Franchise Association, as well as being a co-chairman of the IFA’s membership committee and chairman for the Multi-Unit Franchise Conference.
Among the many questions asked by Media Planet, one question stuck out to me after reading through the panel’s answers: What are the 3 most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur? There were a variety of answers, including things such as tenacity, adaptability, vision, and luck. But what Mr. Fiorentino had to say struck a chord:
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Fiorentino hit the nail on the head with his answer. When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to have unwavering passion and dedication for your business. Running a business is not easy; stay strong and be a leader for your employees.
Also, having the courage to go from one mistake to the next, taking calculated risks… YES! You’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay, no one is perfect. But an entrepreneur is going to take those mistakes and learn from them, growing their business all the while.
If you’d like to read more from the Empowering Entrepreneurs panel, you can visit Benetrends’ website here.
Other members of the Empowering Entrepreneurs panel include: Lesa Mitchell, VP of the Kauffman Foundation; Mark Quinn, Regional Administrator for the SBA; Matthew O. Brimer, Co-Founder for General Assembly; and Howard Leonhardt, Founder and CEO of Leonhardt Ventures.
Name: Gene Marks @genemarks
Why follow @genemarks? Marks is a writer for the New York Times, Forbes, HuffPo and Phila Magazine. He’s an extremely prolific tweeter with tons of tips and articles for entrepreneurs. Marks also runs a 10-person CRM consulting firm.
Name: Melinda Emerson @SmallBizLady
Why follow @SmallBizLady? Emerson was recently named the #1 Most Influential Woman for Entrepreneurs by Forbes, author of “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months”, and an expert is social media and start-ups.
Name: Eric Knopf @ericknopf
Why follow @ericknopf? Knopf, a “Serial Entrepreneur”, provides lots of solid advice as well as relevant news and commentary on a wide variety of topics including retail, social media, start-ups, and networking.
Name: Brian Moran @brianmoran
Why follow @brianmoran? Moran, a 20-year veteran, works with smallbusinessedge.com and tweets a mix of personal insights and articles providing advice geared toward small business
Name: Dharmesh Shah @dharmesh
Why follow @dharmesh? Shah, a startup and marketing blogger, is most widely know as the Founder and CTO of HubSpot. He tweets on a variety of subjects and links to a mix of articles, personal insights, and retweets from others giving good advice.
Name: Ramon Ray @ramonray
Why follow @ramonray? Marketing and Technology evangelist, Ray is a a published author, event producer, and journalist. Ray provides his followers with a varitey of articles and event listings/opportunities.
Name: Skoll World Forum@SkollWorldForum
Why follow @SkollWorldForum? I can’t say it better than their tag-line: “Accelerating entrepreneurial approaches and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social issues.”
Name: Arianna Huffington @ariannahuff
Why follow @ariannahuff? Co-founder of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington relays many articles from HuffPo, often relating to entrepreneurship and women. She also tweets inspirational quotes and pictures of her adventures around the world.
Name: Startup Princess @startupprincess
Why follow @startupprincess? Consultants for Women Entrepreneurs, Startup Princess provides advice, articles, insights, and retweets.
We recently interviewed Nell Merlino, founder of Count Me In and Take Our Daughters to Work Day. Merlino is on a mission: create a better support system for women entrepreneurs around the United States.
In this interview, we talk to Merlino about her most recent initiative- The Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps or WVEC. The new initiative was designed to help women small business owners (veterans) and spouses/domestic partners of veterans.
Can you give us an overview of the initiative? Why was WVEC originally started?
Merlino: In spite of being well prepared to lead, women veterans report that they face challenges in achieving their entrepreneurial goals and want to learn more about growing their businesses. That’s why Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC) was created — to help by providing coaching, training, and community in the business accelerator program.
WVEC is a three-year business growth initiative developed by Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence (www.countmein.org), the leading non-profit resource for women entrepreneurs interested in growing their micro-businesses into million dollar enterprises. WVEC is designed specifically for women business owners who are veterans or spouses/domestic partners of veterans looking to grow their businesses quickly and sustainably. The program has been made possible with generous support from Capital One Financial Corporation.
What’s one thing everyone should know about WVEC?
Merlino: All of the participants will have a transformational experience! Based on Count Me In’s vast experience in helping thousands of women business owners grow, the program combines a proven mix of confidence building, business coaching, and community support to help these women significantly contribute to the growth of local economies and create new jobs.
WVEC is open to women business owners at the post-start up phase who are prepared to embark on a serious path of learning and capacity building in finance, marketing, hiring, leadership, and more, all focused on significant and sustainable growth for their small businesses.
Where do you see WVEC in 5 to 10 years from now?
Merlino: In 5 to 10 years I want to see Count Me In’s WVEC become a premiere program for military affiliated women (veterans, spouses and daughters) and that those who participate truly become viable businesses that help our economy at-large.
What advice do you have for women entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business in the near future?
Merlino: They must start getting out of their own way. The biggest challenges these women face include getting access to financial capital and time management. Don’t underestimate the power of your focus and discipline to limit your dreams waiting for the “right time.” If you want to start a business, go for it. The time is now!
What was your background before starting WVEC?
Merlino: I am an international expert and advocate for women’s leadership, business growth and empowerment. Prior to Count Me In, I created Take Our Daughters to Work Day, which has mobilized more than 20 million Americans to participate in a day dedicated to giving girls the opportunity to dream bigger about their future. I am also responsible for the generation of over a billion media mentions drawing attention to the accomplishments and challenges faced by women and girls.
I recently launched Feminine Bias, an activist think tank dedicated to meeting economic, social and environmental challenges by building a female value chain and am the author of “Stepping Out of Line: Lessons for Women Who Want it Their Way in Life, in Love, and at Work” from Broadway Books.
WVEC will be held at the Capital One Conference Center in Plano, Texas on November 18-19, 2013. Those participating in the conference will:
Throughout this series we have learned through the advice and experience of 18 US Veterans turned franchise owners. They’ve told us what to expect, what problems we may face, and what tools have been most useful. They also allowed us to become voyeurs into their lives when describing the moment they knew their future was franchising, their proudest moments, and the times when they wanted to give up.
As a parting gift, we have asked them use one word describing their time as a franchise owner and describe why it applies to their experience. Just like a picture can say a thousand words, one word can say so much and hold so much weight. Successful, intense, rewarding and HOOAH, were among the responses. Find out what other words are used to describe this journey into franchising.
The business is doing well. My sales increase every year, and I’m able to make a comfortable living doing this.
Angel Cartegena from Batteries Plus Bulbs
I feel like I’m truly blessed to have this opportunity to do this type of work. The industry is amazing.
Sam Dan from FirstLight HomeCare
You can never take your eye off the ball, you must market, keep clients happy, keep employees happy, watch cost of labor and goods like a hawk.
Dave Duffy from Tropical Smoothie Cafe
This is a constant learning experience – From understanding the best business practices to new painting products and techniques. There is always something new to learn.
Kelly Ross from FreshCoat Painters
I’m loving it! Helping others grow has been my purpose in life, first in the Navy then in the high school system. I see myself in that same roll today, helping a client find their dream vacation. I realize that personal growth that comes from personal travel makes everyone a better person. I see myself in a very important position for individuals and society.
Isaac Ingram from CruiseOne Franchise
It happens fast, so you have to stay sharp and make the best decisions possible while still enjoying every moment as much as you can.
Dave Dequelijoe from Flip Flop Shops
Challenging because your daily schedule is what you make it – not what someone puts on the calendar for you. Challenging because you get paid for the work you find and do. Challenging to go through a lot of work to find paying work. Challenging because; in the military you have a common denominator with everyone else – basic training and military code of conduct. You also have certain reasonable expectations of someone based on their rank and time in service. In the civilian world, you need to treat everyone like a retired general, because someday you just might actually be talking to one (and hopefully they are a client). With that in mind, you have to realize (and be able to forgive) that not everyone has the same integrity and standard as you do (and you have to figure out how you will deal with it while not having UCMJ to refer to). Challenging because of everything needed to make a business work – payroll, bookkeeping, scheduling, work loading, networking, marketing, WORKING – repeat as necessary.
Challenging because YOU are the one needed to make it work – so choose your business wisely.
Ken Duenzi from Caring Transitions
As a young man growing up I had no idea that I would see the things I have seen, experience the experiences I have and help so many people along the way!
Cliff Hudson from FreshCoat Painters
Knowing that I am building equity and ownership with my own talents is a rewarding accomplishment.
Armando Garza from Araya Clean Property Services
It’s been a blast so far. I own my own business. I answer to myself. I’m rewarded for my hard work and sacrifice. Everyday I wake up with a smile.
Greg Steinig from BungoBox
Remuneration has been greater than expected, and business growth has been steady year after year.
Mike Brill from CruiseOne Franchise
We feel as though we impact our clients, our staff and we have grown so much personally.
Andrea & Robert Houk from FirstLight HomeCare
Learning a new business at this point in life has been difficult at times. Training employees and identifying their strengths and weaknesses while learning the ropes ourselves and having a steady stream of business with client’s varying needs is a lot to juggle during the first 75 days of business ownership.
Jerry Bost from Caring Transitions
I’d like to take this moment to thank all 18 of our experts; not just for your insightful and eye-opening advice, but for the time you spent serving our country. It is because of the men and women like you that we are the land of the free. Thank you!
For those who have read the entire 12 part series, what did you think? Tell us in the comments below.
In every field or industry there are tools used to help. Sometimes they’re physical resources, they could be online assets, and sometimes it’s advice. We have gathered advice from our 18 experts to be used as a tool for you. Now it is time to ask them what they find most valuable. What tools helped you achieve success as a franchise owner?
QuickBooks, Google Apps, Contactually.com
Tom Martin, Araya Clean Property Services
The resources available through the franchise are most relevant and helpful with my business – from starting to maintaining. As far as other business resources – different podcasts regarding business and business philosophy, networking groups and other business owners (different businesses in local area and other franchisees).
Ken Duenzl, Caring Transitions
Using the MBA education and analyzing problems for solutions. The leadership skill that I learned as a young officer in leading and communicating with employees.
Cliff Hudson, FreshCoat Painters
I have relied on friends/family with business experience, groups such as the chamber of commerce and books to help me with starting this business.
Dana Litman, Araya Clean Property Services
We used a lot franchise on-line publications and then compared with magazines we found. We also used our local chamber of commerce office to gauge the community and how many competitors might already be there. Of course, the home office staff and the tools they provide are invaluable!
Andrea & Robert Houk, FirstLight HomeCare
The resource I find most helpful is Support Services at Cruiseone, They all know me because I have no problem calling when I am stumped with a reservation or any question for that matter. I also will seek another CruiseOne agent, you would think “it is a dog eat dog world” but the experienced agents are really helpful and want the brand to succeed.
Isaac Ingram, CruiseOne
Picking the brains of other entrepreneurs that have ventured out to start their own business has been really helpful. Most of them are at a different point in their business lifecycle and can relate to situations I am in because they’ve been there before. Araya Clean also offers a great support system and I utilize that whenever I can.
Armando Garza, Araya Clean Property Services
FirstLight corporate has been a great resource. Networking with other veteran business owners has also been key. Even though they might not be in the same industry, as business owners, we’ve all been through similar experiences, especially when you’re starting up.
Sam Dan, FirstLight HomeCare
Every bit of military experience has helped. Without it I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. I also think the decision to go with a military-friendly franchise like Araya Clean made a big difference. They could appreciate the skills I brought to the table and support me where I needed it.
Will Coulter, Araya Clean Property Services
Many of you have done the research and spent a lot of time learning about your specific industries, so what tools of the trade have you gathered? Share with current and future franchisees in the comments! And keep an eye out for the last installment in our veteran franchise owner advice series for their final words of wisdom.
We’ve talked about the bumps in the road and those instances that make giving up an easy option, but now we want to discuss the moments that keep you going. Just like the problems you are bound to face, you are going to have successes. You are going to have moments that make you want to scream, cheer, and jump up and down. Let’s find out what successful moments our franchise owners have encountered throughout their experiences.
With millions of users, Twitter has taken the world by storm with a constant stream of information, flowing at all hours of the day. From celebs to business leaders, almost everyone has a Twitter where they post updates and important information.
Everyone, at some point in their life, wants to quit something. Don’t lie – everyone’s been there. Whether that feeling stems from something minor or life-changing, is the variable in the situation. One of these moments could very well occur when forming or running your own business. It’s a high pressure situation. So did our veterans ever experience such a moment? Did they ever want to wave the white flag? And if so, what kept them going? Find out now!