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Wisdom for the ages


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If you are a parent of a teenager, you’ve lived this: From ages 13 to approximately 18, they know everything. It is the arrogance of the young. They can’t help themselves.

My sons Ben and Sam, who are now in their 20s, were no different at the time. I can just see them rolling their eyes when I was orating on the virtues of safe driving, why they really would need algebra some day or why they shouldn’t hang out with that ne’er-do-well, Jack. (Name changed to protect the innocent.)

Eye rolling was only some of it. There were long, exasperated sighs or my personal favorite: “OK, mom. Okaaaaay.” Yes, I’m sure a sharp stick in the eye would have been less painful than some of my lectures.

But interestingly, since they’ve exited the teenage years, I’ve heard both of them repeat something I once said, as if it was good, solid information. They don’t know they are repeating it—they think it is their idea. But as they’ve gotten older, they’ve experienced more and they understand that, well, maybe I was right about Jack. (They WERE listening!)

So it was with a smile that I read Managing Editor Beth Ewen’s cover story about Jeff Platt, CEO of Sky Zone. Part of her interesting coverage of the Fast and Serious, our ranking of the fastest and smartest growing franchisors, Beth interviewed Platt about how he moved the franchise in the right direction. He admitted he had made mistakes as a young executive for the brand his father founded.

“When I was young…I felt like I had to control everything,” he told Beth. “In those early days of running a business, you haven’t learned yet how to lead. There was a level of arrogance that shouldn’t be there, and you learn why it doesn’t work.” You’ll want to read how he changed his leadership style, and how his efforts are paying off.

The Fast and Serious coverage also includes names like Smashburger and Buffalo Wild Wings, to Massage Envy and Anytime Fitness. There’s a lot of advice from the senior executives of these brands you’ll want to apply to your own businesses.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson
Publisher 

Mary Jo can be reached at 
612-767-3200 or at mlarson@franchisetimes.com

Speaking of advice, I’m going to again tout the virtues of our Living Large editorial coverage—the year-long column about three emerging franchisors and how they deal with issues from legal problems to franchise sales (this month’s topic).

My favorite quote is from Tom Lewison of Wild Wing Café, when he’s asked to consider offering incentives to sign a new franchisee. “I’m not a fan of that,” he said. “I hate having to chat with an existing franchisee and explain why I am discounting the new person.” Sounds like a smart man. The other CEOs have interesting perspectives on using brokers or an outside sales force when you are trying to jump-start those first few franchise sales.

We also have an expanded finance focus this month, always important to the growth of franchise brands, as well as stories on an NFL player wanting his slice of the pie, how airports are changing the face of restaurants and retail and what some restaurant concepts are doing to face the challenges of adding calorie counts to their menus. (All I know is I recently turned away from the muffin I wanted at a national coffeeshop chain when I saw the calories. That’s 50 minutes on the elliptical, my friend.)

It’s a great issue, entertaining and informative all around. And you’ll want to listen to me. Sometimes I really DO know what I’m talking about.

 

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