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New year, new tactics— and plenty of gratitude


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January: The year is shiny and new, and there are endless possibilities to renew yourself, your life, your habits. (I’m a sucker for new and improved. It’s why I start a new organizational system every January 1. Turns out usually by about March, I learn my old way of doings things was just fine.)

It’s another reason why I like the January issue of Franchise Times every year: It features our Fast & Serious list, the ranking of the fastest, smartest growing franchises. I always imagine other franchise operators reading it, learning how these companies manage their own growth and possibly incorporating some of that advice into their plans for the new year.

Take Club Pilates, for instance, which hit No. 1 on our list this year. When they purchased the company from the founder, “We took the first eight months to evaluate what was there and what we would put in place,” Shaun Grove, president, told Franchise Times Editor Laura Michaels. Once they did that, they could make educated decisions on what to do next, including launching an opening support program for franchisees that helps them from site selection through grand opening. And it includes those ever-important membership presales, the lifeblood of every fitness franchise.

9Round Fitness, No. 8 on the ranking, is investing in the people at headquarters, too, so they can shore up that franchisee support. “In 9Round’s case, growing our team has in turn grown our revenue and our production capabilities,” CEO Shannon Hudson reports.

And so it is for No. 7 Blaze Pizza, as well. As a restaurant brand, it’s challenged with carryout and delivery becoming a bigger part of their sales pie. Investment in a support center for franchisees has helped. Blaze will “support franchisees and take them on the journey with us of what does digital mean today,” said CEO Mandy Shaw.

Make no mistake; if you take away a nugget of information from the Fast & Serious (and franchisees can learn a lot, too), we’ve done our job. But we don’t rest on our laurels: We’ve also added two new features to our line up. The Human Element is our new column on how franchisees and franchisors are training and motivating employees—what works, and what doesn’t. The title of that column says it all.

Also, we’ve added The Upstart, which profiles an up-and-coming franchise. What helped their growth? Where were the challenges? We can all learn from someone else’s successes, and their mistakes. I hope you’ll find some ideas to improve your business, even if you’re no longer a start-up.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson

Publisher
Reach Mary Jo at 612-767-3208
or mlarson@franchisetimes.com

We’re also welcoming two new columnists to our lineup: Andrae Marrocco and Alicia Miller. Marrocco is partner and co-chair of the Franchise & Distribution Group in the Toronto office of McMillan LLP. His new column, World View, covers the international side of the franchise world. Miller is a principal at Franchise Performance Group, and is penning our Development Savvy column each month, advising us on how to grow and market a franchise business.

We’d also like to extend our gratitude to two regular columnists who spent years with us sharing their knowledge with our readers. Hats off to Mark Siebert, CEO of iFranchise Group. Mark shared his expertise on all things development in two stints with FT, and I know our readers benefitted.

And cheers to Phil Zeidman, partner with the law firm of DLA Piper. Starting with our inaugural issue, Phil graciously—and uncomplainingly—wrote 200 columns for us over the course of 20 years—unpaid. That’s a lot of expertise and insight. Thank you, Phil, for your assistance in making Franchise Times the top read in the sector.

And while we hate to say good-bye to two of our favorite contributors, there is that bright, shiny world out there with new beginnings for us all.

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