Relive Francamp

I had a great time at FranCamp last week. It’s always good to be able to get out and actually meet the people you “talk” with through email or social media channels. I don’t do that often enough. Beyond getting a change to put faces with names, there was a ton of great content. If you missed it, you’re in luck. There are plenty of ways to relive FranCamp even if you weren’t there.

If you like video, they Ustreamed the entire program so you can watch all the sessions. I embedded Jack Monson’s presentation on monitoring and leveraging social media programs below to get you started but you can watch all the videos over at the Ustream FranCamp channel. They’re broken up into segments in the tab on the right of the page.

 

Don’t have time to watch the entire session of a video? Todd Leiser wrote a great post wrapping up his session “Building the Perfect Social Media Campaign.” Brooke Howell did an excellent piece summing up Clarissa Windham-Bradstock’s session on cyber-harassment.

Wonder what was happening on social media while this whole thing was going on? This is one of the few events where the organizers of the event will encourage you to use your mobile devices or tweet during actual sessions. As you’re following along you can get a real feel for how the people are experiencing the session.

You can read the entire twitter stream by doing a twitter search on the #francamp hashtag. It’s especially interesting because you can see not only how many people were tweeting, but how many people were including photos and videos in the tweets (like the one below) while the event was going on. This trend is only going to get bigger.


IFA continues to work to improve lending through Credit Access Campaign

 

 

Small Business lending in the United States is beginning to see better days.  CFO online reports that domestic banks and U.S. branches are starting to ease up on terms for commercial and industrial borrowers and banks are relieving some of the terms for who qualifies for credit.  As pressure to maintain job growth has never been greater to the small business community, the IFA is working to strengthen access to credit and improve partnerships with the lending community. 

According to the Fed’s survey, about 58% of the 81 financial institutions surveyed said they cut the spread over cost of funds that they charge borrowers, and 32% said they reduced their use of interest-rate floors. This is a change from January which reported banks lending standards has remained static.  Yet with many uncertainties still contributing to a lending shortfall, the IFA is working through its Credit Access Campaign to improve capital flow to franchise small businesses. 

According to the Small Business Lending Matrix Report prepared by FRANdata for the IFA, even though lending to franchise businesses has improved, we will not meet the demand in 2012 which will result in a projected shortfall of 18.6 percent and nearly 94,000 jobs not created.  The franchise industry in 2012 will create or maintain more than 425,000 jobs with 56.7 billion in economic output, yet the IFA is working to improve the outlook for business loans as the demand for growth increases and boost bank willingness to lend in an economy that is still slowly improving. “In the competition for limited credit, franchise businesses must prove credit worthy by showing a strong system of performance,” says IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. 

As part of the Credit campaign, key policymakers and financial regulators gathered with lenders and borrowers at IFA’s 2nd Small Business Lending Summit, in collaboration with the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL) and the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), to help the small business community recover from the lending crisis and improve the outlook for loans. 

There is a high demand for growth in the franchise industry and the IFA continues to work to improve the lending environment and eliminate the uncertainties that are adding to the shortfall through outreach, advocacy and new tools and solutions. For more information on IFA’s credit access campaign and partnerships visit www.smallbusinesslending.com

Cornering Expansion in a New Market with a New Brand

 

 

For the husband-and-wife team, Glenn and Tina Beattie, a step to broaden their 37 Denny’s restaurants in Western New York and Arizona includes a multi-unit, multi-year deal to open 22 Corner Bakery Cafe locations in New England. Glenn is president and Tina is vice president of Top Line Restaurants, Inc.

The New England market isn’t new to Glenn, who was born and raised in Rhode Island.  His passion for franchising began early: by age 20, he’d moved to Arizona and began working at a franchise company and later started working in the restaurant business.  Ten years ago, Beattie purchased three of his first Denny’s restaurants.  However, his goal was to get back into the New England region.  In February of 2009, they acquired 28 Denny’s restaurants in Upstate New York.  With an exclusive territorial development agreement for the Western New York market, “All of our growth in the last few years and continued growth will be in New York for us on the Denny’s side,” said Beattie.  “The ability to get in with a new brand is something we’ve been focused on for quite some time and just trying to find the right fit.”  They found the right fit with Corner Bakery Cafe and the added plus of being able to expand the New England market.

While the economy is still in recovery, franchisees–who are key players in the health of franchise systems–are moving forward.  The International Franchise Association’s updated economic outlook indicates that the number of franchise establishments in the United States will likely increase by 1.6 percent in 2012.  Employment in franchise establishments was revised up slightly from 2011 (a 2.0 percent gain) to a 2.1 percent gain in 2012.

Beattie points to the strong leadership of their Denny’s stores in Arizona and expects “the growth and development up in the New England-New York region will be very easy for us to manage as well.”  The benefits of the new expansion plan are that it makes sense geographically, they love the fast-casual aspect of Corner Bakery Cafe and that the brand lends itself to the family-focused community, as well as the food, food quality and how it’s prepared. Beattie added that Top Line Restaurants and Corner Bakery Cafe’s cultures were aligned in how they go about doing things, which served as the “biggest and best thing for us.”

As part of their homework before concluding the deal, Beattie said they made their rounds by visiting trade shows and studied concepts as they sought to diversify their businesses “and it was really to broaden us as a restaurant company.”   

As with most franchise businesses, the lending environment was an important consideration as the Beatties sought to expand their franchises.  “We’re very happy that the lending environment is finally opening up a little bit to the franchise community again,” said Beattie. “It was pretty locked down with the recession and all the banking crises that occurred. So that definitely played into our decision that now was the right time to sign a development agreement of this size.”  He added that even through the recession, on the Denny’s side, they found tremendous opportunities for acquiring “Top-A type locations” and the franchise provided the leadership to help them weather the recession.

In addition to the quality of the food and the way it is prepared at Corner Bakery Cafe, Beattie credited the guidance of the company’s Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage Ric Scicchitano and that he did an amazing job.  It turns out that Schicchitano is listed on the company’s website as its first employee.    

Although new to multi-branding, Beattie provided some sage advice to others who might consider this path.  “Focus and narrow your search to something you’re really going to be passionate about and want to get 110 percent behind it.”

Making the decision to open 16 Corner Bakery cafes in Connecticut and six in Rhode Island over the next eight years points to the Beatties’ passion and commitment to fast-casual franchise restaurants.  In addition, it is expected that the new businesses will create 800 more jobs in those markets.

Heading to FranCamp 2012: Franchising Goes Social

I’m actually packing my bags this week to head down to FranCamp 2012 in Atlanta on Friday. In case you hadn’t heard, FranCamp is a one-day event loaded with a fast-paced and aggressive agenda. The goal is for you to get a good education in relevant topics that marketers must understand to make good decisions.

Matt Haller and I are headed down to meet everyone and do a short session. There are a few other interesting sessions I’m looking forward to seeing, including:

  • How To Monitor And Leverage Social Platforms, Jack Monson, VP, Engage121
  • Building The Perfect Social Media Campaign, Todd Leiser, CFE, Director of Franchise Sales, Valpak
  • Roundtable: To “Pin” Or Not To “Pin” (Pinterest),
  • Developing Great Lead Generation Content,
  • Using Social Media For Local Leads Across A Franchise System
  • Local Marketing Rules!, BJ Emerson, VP Technology, Tasti D-lite
  • The Power of Connecting, Marianne Murphy, Director of Operations, Floor Coverings International
  • Build Your Business…Build Your Brand …. Build Your Legacy, Tra Williams, Small Business and Franchise Consultant

You can hop over to their website to get a look at the full agenda. If you’re going to be in the area, let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you at the Thursday night Tweetup.

Private capital leaders descend on Dallas

 

 

The nation’s premier gathering of mid-market capital investors descended on Dallas last week to hunt for prospects, network with colleagues, and announce new tools that show the positive impact of private capital in creating jobs and growing the U.S. economy.

“This is Main Street investing, not Wall Street investing,” said Pam Hendrickson, The Riverside Company’s COO Pam Hendrickson, a leader of the firm that has taken big bets on franchising concepts as diverse as The Dwyer Group and “It’s Just Lunch,” the dating service.

IFA Board member Tabbassum Mumtaz, President & CEO of Apex Restaurant Management, Inc., knew “InterGrowth” – the conference of 2000 investors presented by the Association for Corporate (ACG) — was a good place to be. “You have to stay close to the money,” he said.

“Private capital is investing in local communities and providing local jobs,” said Gary LaBranche, President & CEO of the ACG, which represents 14,000 “mid-market” private equity, corporate growth and M&A professionals. Under LaBranche’s leadership, ACG developed and went live at InterGrowth with a new data resource called “growtheconomy.org,” which maps private capital investment and job creation in communities across America.

“Growtheconomy.org will provide visibility for an industry that has been largely invisible,” LaBranche said, adding that middle-market private capital firms have outpaced other sectors in local investment and U.S. job creation.

Kicking off the conference was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who offered an emotional look back at the days after 9-11 and the nation’s recovery afterward. “The freest nations on earth are the strongest,” she said, in remarks chock full of observations and inside stories related to world events. But Rice said freedom is not enough, criticizing political efforts to pit socio-economic groups against one another. Instead, she said, all Americans should aspire to be their best, without criticizing those who have more or less than they.

Asked about educational standards, Rice emphasized the importance of high-quality teachers. Helping a niece with homework recently, Rice recounted a math exercise in which the young relative advised the Stanford law professor not to worry because, “there are no wrong answers.”

“Oh, yes there are,” Rice told the child. She noted, “If I don’t hold my Stanford students to the highest standards, I find they sink to their lowest standards.”

Brett Palmer, President & CEO of the Small Business Investors Alliance based in Washington, said his members – mostly private equity firms — look for excellence when investing in franchising as part of the SBA’s Small Business Investment Companies program. The program helps leverage private capital into franchising. Unlike the 7(a) and 504 programs, SBIC receives relatively little public attention, despite having played pivotal roles in franchising. “Private equity is essential to job creation, and our investors know that franchising is an attractive option,” Palmer said.

Ellen Moore, ACG’s Vice President of Strategic Development, said connections between private capital and trade associations like IFA are important to facilitate business development by members and to raise awareness about job creation and long-term economic growth.

Moore knows of what she speaks. Before joining ACG, she served in leaderhsip roles with Darden Restaurants, Compass Group North America, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and the Women’s Foodservice Forum. She was also Senior Vice President of the National Restaurant Association’s Education and Certification Services division.

ACG is based in Chicago.

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