On Friday, Feb. 3, Bloomberg TV ran a jobs story “The Big Business of Franchises” featuring two

On Friday, Feb. 3, Bloomberg TV ran a jobs story “The Big Business of Franchises” featuring two IFA member companies, Valpak and Lucille Roberts, a women’s health center franchise. 

The segment, which aired just prior to the release of the Department of Labor monthly jobs report showing the economy created 243,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in years of 8.3 percent, highlights franchising as a bright light in the still-challenging economic recovery. 

The segment summarizes IFA’s 2012 Economic Outlook for Franchise Businesses, which projects that after three years of decline due to the recession, franchise businesses are poised to grow approximately 2 percent in terms of establishments and jobs in 2012. 

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Sr. Director of Communications

House committee hears testimony on the state of American small business


House Committee on Small Business

The House Small Business Committee, led by Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) held a hearing last week entitled “The Path to Job Creation: The State of American Small Businesses”.  Although both Republican and Democratic members of the committee cited contrasting polls on the biggest worries of small business owners, the panel of witnesses came to the conclusion that many small businesses are not hiring due to uncertainty and excessive government regulation.

Among the witnesses was Mr. Peter Ferrara, an expert on entitlements and budget at the Heartland Institute, who testified that the steps the Administration has taken to help the economy recover have been the opposite of those that the Reagan Administration used.  Pro-growth economic policies, Mr. Ferrara stated, will speed up the recovery, improve confidence and increase demand.

Mr. Ferrara was joined on the panel by Dr. Dennis Jacobe of Gallup, and Dr. Martin Neil Baily of The Brookings Institute, other economists who agreed that the burst housing bubble still has a profound impact on small businesses.   Decreased home values, often used as collateral in taking out small business loans, have made many perspective entrepreneurs less attractive candidates for business loans.  Dr. Baily stressed that the government should work with both banks and regulators to create some consistency in lending and to facilitate loans to credit-worthy small business owners as a way to create jobs and help the economy realize its potential to recover.

The hearing was summed up nicely by Mr. Michael Fredrich, a Wisconsin small business owner.  When asked by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) what was going wrong with the economic recovery, Mr. Fredrich explained that the government was adding programs and spending more in a time of recession and massive debt.  Rep. Walsh asked again, “Too much government?”  Mr. Fredrich’s firm reply: “Absolutely.” 

Posted by Kevin Serafino, IFA Government Relations & Public Policy

IFA to Congress: Franchises Offer a Valuable Avenue to Job Creation


Link: IFA to Congress: Franchises Offer a Valuable Avenue to Job Creation

Last week, IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira penned an op-ed in Roll Call, the oldest publication covering Capitol Hill, highlighting several short and long-term policy areas Congress should address right now to accelerate job growth by franchise businesses.

These include eliminating regulations that would help spur access to credit, addressing comprehensive tax reform as well as extending expiring tax extenders critical to small businesses such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and the 15-year depreciation schedule, eliminating the employer mandate provision in the health care law, among others. 

Follow the link above for the full piece or click here to read IFA’s full policy platform delivered to Congress last month. 

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Sr. Director of Communications

VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki Joins National Franchise Business Leaders to Promote Veteran Employment


Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki praised franchise leaders led by Tasti D-Lite Chairman and CEO and former International Franchise Association Chairman Jim Amos, CFE;  and Steve Romaniello, CFE, Roark Capital Group managing director and IFA second Vice Chairman, at a franchise roundtable in Atlanta yesterday for taking the lead on veterans hiring and recruiting initiatives.

 “What you are doing is critically important for our young people returning from service, and for our national economy,” Shinseki told the 30 franchise leaders gathered for the roundtable focused on IFA’s VetFran program. “We’re here to talk about what is working and how we at the VA can support it.”

Executives from Coca-Cola, UPS, The UPS Store, Aaron’s, Arby’s International, InterContinental Hotels Group, NAPA Auto Parts and Cisco Systems thanked the secretary for his leadership and that of White House Joining Forces Initiative Executive Director Brad Cooper (USN). Former Sen. Sam Nunn, who chaired the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, representing the state of Georgia, also attended the meeting.

“One million service members will transition out of the military by the end of 2015 – that’s an incredible number,” said Romaniello. “Because of the need and this opportunity, IFA’s 1,200 franchisor members and 600 supplier members have committed to recruit as franchise business owners and hire as team members 75,000 veterans and military spouses plus 5,000 wounded veterans by the end of 2014 as part of IFA’s Operation Enduring Opportunity. I am proud of the commitment we have made.”

“After Vietnam, there was no plan for transition for veterans,” said Amos, who served two combat tours and was awarded the Purple Heart, among other honors. “I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t even know who I was. And I was an officer.”

Amos said the nation can’t afford to allow the new generation of veterans, who Shinseki said may be the most highly-trained force in U.S. history, to fall into unemployment and other problems. “The most important thing veterans need when they return is a job. If they don’t have a job, nothing we do for veterans is going to work. We as a nation can’t afford to fail at this mission.”

Attendees at the franchise leader’s roundtable included:

  • Secretary Eric Shinseki, Veterans Administration

  • Capt. Brad Cooper, Executive Director, White House Joining Forces Initiative Former Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.)

  • Jim Amos, CFE, (USMC, Ret.), Tasti D-Lite Chairman and CEO, IFA Past Chairman

  • Steve Chambers, Veterans Employment Opportunities, The UPS Store

  • Josh D’Agostino, Director, New Business Development, NAPA Auto Parts

  • Todd Evans, Vice President, Franchise Operations, Aaron’s

  • Jason Farr, Vice President, Talent Acquisition, Coca-Cola Refreshments

  • Arthur Holst, Vice President of Operations, InterContinental Hotels Group

  • Lytana Kids, Global Workforce Planning Manager, The UPS Store

  • Laura Miller, Chief Human Resources Officer, Coca-Cola Refreshments

  • Nils Okeson, General Counsel and Chief Development Officer, Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.,

  • Scott Pressly, CFE, Partner, BIP Opportunities Fund

  • Steve Romaniello, CFE, Managing Director, Roark Capital Group, Chairman FOCUS Brands

  • Jon Rucker, (USAF, Ret.) Military Program Manager, Snap-On Tools

  • Janet Thomas, Director, Organizational Development, NAPA Auto Parts

  • Michael Veysey, Director of Veterans Programs, Cisco Systems

Dina-Dwyer Owens: After Going Undercover


When this CEO of a $750 million in annual sales company went on assignment for a recent episode of CBS’s hit reality show “Undercover Boss,” she got down and dirty.

Dina Dwyer-Owens, CFE, the chairman and CEO of the seven-brand service company The Dwyer Group, learned that her three steps to success she relied on at the start of her leadership of the company would be useful:  Faith, team and systems.  Disguised as “Faith Brown,” Dwyer-Owens spent time with technicians from four of the franchise’s brands:  Mr. Appliance, Mr. Electric and Mr. Rooter and The Grounds Guys.  Trading in the front office, Dwyer-Owens instead rode a lawnmower, unloaded a water heater, installed a commercial exit sign and repaired a stove alongside the technicians, in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. 

If CEOs are sometimes considered as operating at the 30,00-foot level and being out of touch with the organization, which isn’t Dwyer-Owens’ style, undercover duty presented the opportunity to get the “worm’s eye view,” she said.  “I was literally down there in the dirt and got a whole new view of what goes on out there.”

Dwyer-Owens envisioned “going out on the van with some of the franchisee service professionals” and had done so earlier in her career in Waco, Texas, the company’s headquarters.  The undercover assignment gave her a prime opportunity.   Her goals were to better understand the work the technicians provided and to gather ideas from them to provide better service to their customers.  While experiencing the dirty side of the business, Dwyer-Owens’ appreciation of her associates, franchisees and team members only grew.

“I thought what a wonderful time for me to really get an idea of if we’re truly living up to two things:  First, are our company’s Code of Values really penetrating the frontlines?” asked Dwyer-Owens.  “We work hard to train our franchisees to live by the values,” and she added that the second priority was to provide world-class service to their customers.  The franchise’s Code of Values deals with themes of respect, integrity, customer focus and having fun in the process.

She was most surprised and pleased to work with a female technician from Mr. Appliance.  At the end of the program on revealing her identity to the four participants in the show, she invites the technician to help her develop a program to attract more women to the service trades.

The company’s franchise brands include Aire Serv, Glass Doctor, Mr. Appliance, Mr. Electric, Mr. Rooter, Rainbow International and The Grounds Guys. Her franchise network includes more than 1,600 franchises and is responsible for 2 million service calls annually.

Posted by Laura Fenwick, Publishing Manager

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