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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Operations and Lending Impact Business Value

As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Operations and Lending Impact Business Value

The last installment of this series is focused on lending and operations, and their importance in driving value in the business. In the first three articles, we focused on the overall value drivers in the business and then broke them down into the first two core value drivers of leadership and relationships. There is no question that leadership and relationships are the most critical value foundation of the business. However, the other two pillars are just as important to driving value in your multi-unit franchise organization:

Lending

Banks are going to want to know how strong your business is before they choose to invest in it (and you). When it comes to banks looking at the value of your franchise operation, they take into consideration subjective conclusions of borrowing capacity based on various criteria, including the three V’s of leadership:

  • Vision – Do you have a clear plan for use of borrowed capital? 
  • Values – Is there a positive impression of core values, character, etc?
  • Victories – Is there a track record of business successes that include borrowing money

It is important to understand that the bank’s impression of the business mission, strategic plan, character, competency, commitment of management and ownership continuity as they generally reflect on the bank’s confidence in your long-term business plan.

 

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As Seen On #AskNCM: What do people want from a leader?

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As Seen in Park Press: Family Dynamics - A Constant Force

As Seen in Park Press: Family Dynamics - A Constant Force

For family business big or small, family dynamics is often their heaviest weight to lift into the next generation. There’s an essay on weightlifting and life by Henry Rollins that’s well known in the fitness community (by folks in my generation, anyway). In it, Rollins talks about how finding weightlifting as a young man helped him build strength both physically and mentally. Rollins affirms that circumstances and people will change throughout life but that, “…two hundred pounds is two hundred pounds”. I think one of his points is that the “iron” is a constant, something that will always challenge him and that will always be there to guide him like a beacon in the night.

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As Seen in Digital Dealer - Increasing Leadership Effectiveness: It’s Simple (But Not Necessarily Easy)!

As Seen in Digital Dealer - Increasing Leadership Effectiveness: It’s Simple (But Not Necessarily Easy)!

Think of the most effective leader you’ve known or read about? What characteristics made that person come to mind? Pick up any magazine, journal, or periodical and you’ll probably find one or more articles that talk about desirable leadership best practices and/or about becoming a better and more effective leader. Most of those articles make leadership sound like a mystical process that blends heart and head into someone who magically morphs into a super powerful, charismatic, influential, and bottom line human being. And the authors sometimes seem more concerned with whether a leader is good or bad than with whether or not the leader actually makes something happen.

Let’s take “good” and “bad” out of the picture for a moment. Instead, let’s focus on effectiveness and ineffectiveness. Can the same leader be effective and ineffective? Does it matter who’s being led? Do skill levels of the followers make a difference? Does individual willingness to follow make a difference?

Well, the answer to all four questions is yes. What comes first, however, is understanding what leaders actually do. In simplest terms, leaders use power and influence to produce results. Period. And everyone leads one or more someones, even if it’s only themselves. When led effectively, people and organizations grow. When led ineffectively, people labor and organizations can feel like a prison.

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Three Relationships That Are Key To Success

As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Three Relationships That Are Key To Success

Value is derived from a variety of areas within the organization. Understanding the value drivers is a critical component of ensuring long-term sustainability and success. The four key areas of focus, as outlined in “Building a Foundation to Weather the Storm” are relationships, lending, operations and leadership. Although leadership is one of the most important categories for long-term success, it is not the only one.

We discussed last time how leadership impacts value in the areas of generational management, recruiting and retention, successor identification, and development. This time, we are going to look at the area of relationships and drill down into how they impact the value of your franchise operations. As with any business operation, relationships are a critical piece of the complex multi-unit franchisee business puzzle. The franchise industry is one that relies on relationships more than many others because of the dependence on brand reputation and product quality.

Although there are a multitude of relationships that have impact on the success of a franchise, there are three that play directly into the value of your organization:

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As Seen On #AskNCM: How Do I Mentor a Family Member Employee?

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Success Requires More Than Operational Knowledge and Capital

As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Success Requires More Than Operational Knowledge and Capital

Driving value in business is dependent on a variety of factors. Previously, we identified four key areas for building tangible and perceived value in a franchise operations:

  • Relationships
  • Lending
  • Operations
  • Leadership

All of these are critical but without strong leadership and operations, the ability to receive lending and build relationships will be impacted.

Leadership in today's organizations is drastically different than in prior generations. No longer can we rely on how it's been done to keep us moving forward into the future. Rather, there needs to be focused intentionality in areas where franchisees have never really had to pay much attention. Here are three areas in which leadership is changing and how you can set your franchise locations up for success.

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As Seen in Digital Dealer - Developing a Dealer-Minded Attitude

As Seen in Digital Dealer - Developing a Dealer-Minded Attitude

It is just too easy to not care. This was the keynote topic at a graduation a colleague of mine recently attended. In reflecting upon the focus on the commencement speech, and the audience – high school seniors, I realized that this is the same theme dealers are struggling with – how to get people to care.

More and more, what we hear from dealers is, “how do I get my people to care about the business as much I do?” Essentially, what they are referring to is, how do they foster a “Dealer/Owner-Minded Attitude” in their dealership.

The reality is it is very easy for today’s employees, and in even in some instances, our future leaders to show ambivalence regarding the impact they have on the organization or their own future. Often the root of ambivalence is fear – fear of failing, not being good enough, and/or not being chosen “seen” as a leader. And unfortunately, this is becoming common in the workplace, in part due to the generational diversity, but also in how culture has created a stigma of everyone gets a trophy. Therefore, this ambivalence, often comes across as a lack of caring – because without care, there is no failure or rejection.

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As Seen On #AskNCM: What's the Difference Between Recruiting and Hiring?

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Building a Strong Foundation to Weather the Storm

As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Building a Strong Foundation to Weather the Storm

In the best of times, it's easy to look forward and have no fear as to what the future is going to bring. It's also easy to forget to take advantage of the good times to build a foundation that can withstand any potential future storm that might hit. In the worst of times, building this foundation can protect all that you have built, and hopefully help you weather the storm. A great example of this is taking a look back into history.

The economy tanked in 2008-2009. The markets affected most were those that not only relied on access to lending, but those that also relied on strong brands to pull them through. If you think back to the automotive manufacturing segment, Ford was the only manufacturer that weathered the storm, practically unscathed. The automotive retail industry, one of the hardest hit, had more than 1,200 dealerships collapse. Many of these were well recognized in their communities and top performers for the manufacturer. The dealerships that survived were able to, in part, thanks to the foundations that had been built long before the storm hit.

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Adriana Puente, MST joins The Rawls Group

Adriana Puente, MST joins The Rawls Group

The Rawls Group, one of the nation’s most respected business succession planning firms, is proud to welcome Adriana Puente as our newest associate planner. Prior to joining The Rawls Group, Adriana received her Masters in the Science of Taxation from the executive program of the University of Illinois in 2009 and has more than 10 years of experience as a tax accountant focused on corporate, partnership, non-profit, high net-worth individuals and estate taxation. She brings to The Rawls Group a unique perspective on sophisticated tax planning techniques and the implications it can have on business profits, estate planning and family harmony.

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Getting Help From Those Who Have Been There

As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Getting Help From Those Who Have Been There

My family and I recently took the plunge into the world of RV’ing. I enjoy operating all kinds of vehicles, so towing our new purchase round trip for the first time did not present too much concern, but I knew I’d have to be on my game. Anything new and different presents learning curves. One of the things I discovered soon, after plunging in, is the need for checklists. There are a variety of procedures and processes that must be in place and carried out for the RV to run properly, and to ensure that I do not kill someone on the roadway.

For instance, some of the procedures I had to learn included hooking up to the truck, unhooking and leveling the RV, putting out the slides and awnings, loading the motorcycles, dealing with the holding tanks and understanding black water, grey water, and fresh water. There is simply too much to do without a checklist, it would be very easy to make a misstep or forget something that could have a detrimental impact. In fact, if you think about it, there are a lot of instances in which checklists help ensure positive outcomes. Examples that come to mind are pilots and the checklists they use prior to flight, or captains of ships before they leave port. Surgeons have checklists to ensure they have all the proper supplies and staff before surgery, and each of your stores likely have opening and closing procedures organized in some sort of checklist. I’m sure you get the point.

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Dr. Merlot’s Perspective: Servant Leadership

The last discussion Loyd and I had revolved around leadership style. Specifically, we discussed the impact of those that manage from a position of power versus those who manage with personal influence. Today, businesses may hire employees, but what both the business and employee wants are to be team members. Therefore, a paradigm shift is taking place as it relates to managing people in a way that motivates and inspires.

In comes the practice of servant leadership. If I was in the grip of the grape with Loyd, I am sure he would tell you that servant leadership is how we work together. He believes very much that I serve him and that he serves me (and no, I am not just talking about the wine here).

Loyd had taken a few days off, which is a very rare occasion, so we took the opportunity to talk some smack on the golf course. On the 18th hole, just as I was taking a few practice swings, Loyd started to comment on my swing. Loyd had been riding my butt all day, so I could not help but look back at him in complete disgust. I was sure he was trying to flub me up because, since Loyd double bogeyed on 17, I was surely going to win by two strokes!

“Whoopsie, my bad,” Loyd let’s out with a devious smirk. I teed off, ball landed perfectly in the fairway and I started walking towards him with a confident swag and my club tightly gripped in my hand. Not knowing yet if I was going to smack him with it or not, he let out the question that was lingering in his mind. He mentioned our past discussions on leadership and wanted to know my perspective on leaders who miss the “servant” nature of leadership. Now I am intrigued.

After a few minutes, I responded to Loyd:

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Using Covenants To Build Teamwork and Performance

As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Using Covenants To Build Teamwork and Performance

Contracts between parties have existed for centuries. Before contracts - there were agreements, or what we also call, covenants. Covenants go back to a time before our language was spoken or before words were printed. Old Testament biblical language showcases the first existence of a covenant between non-equal parties. I don't think anyone would make a case that Abraham and Yahweh were equals. Throughout history, we have seen how covenants have the power to transform. In business today, covenants play critical roles and they are especially powerful in privately owned businesses where relationships with outside influences, such as franchisors, have an impact on your success.

A covenant is an agreement between two parties wherein each agrees to what they are asking for, what they are offering, their commitment to live by their offer, and fulfill what is asked. The reason covenants add extreme value to the operation and growth of multi-unit franchisee businesses is sublimely simple: business leaders, managers, and employees need to make a plethora of decisions in the daily function. Covenants act as the foundation to which decisions are made, making the process simpler in the complex business environment of multi-unit/brand organizations.

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As Seen in Park Press: Hitting the Apex

As Seen in Park Press: Hitting the Apex

In all aspects of life, it is not about the destination, it is about the journey. Racing is a great analogy to this, as well as, to the longevity and sustainability of your business. Like a racer, every race brings with it a different set of challenges, but all races have the same expectation. Winning. Not just winning one race, but winning as many as you can so your reputation is strong to garner sponsorships and your team is committed to helping you win.

A business owner is very much like a racer. You take special care to ensure your business performs well. This means building the foundation of the business, as well as establishing a team to support growth efforts to help your business thrive. How you invest in your team impacts how the business performs and defines how you are able to support your family, your team, and community.

Like that racer, you’ve spent many long days and sleepless nights making improvements, working relentlessly to be the best and to bring out the best in others. Fine tuning things to win, thrive and sustain. Not without sacrifice, your family has felt the struggle while sharing in the success, and failures. Still, there are risks present that whether you are on the racetrack or running the business, being prepared for what may come is critical to protecting all you have worked so hard for. As the business owner, this means not just looking at where you are today, but also looking forward, just as a racer does going in a turn, to ensure you have built a business that will not only be successful today, but for years to come, even if you are no longer involved.

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As Seen in NCM Institute - Think Like an Owner

As Seen in NCM Institute - Think Like an Owner

Ownership, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the state, relation, or fact of being an owner. Often, those who feel ownership of something take special care and feel great responsibility for it. If we dissect the definition of ownership a little more, it does not necessarily mean that one must “own,” but rather, there is a mindset of being or acting like an owner.

This “ownership attitude,” or lack thereof, can be seen in many dealerships. Some leaders may not own stock in the dealership but have ownership in areas of strategic initiatives, team motivation and collaboration, and show emotional investment in the achievement of the dealership’s mission. On the other hand, some leaders show up, fulfill their responsibilities, and get the job done. However, if a better gig presents itself across the street, they don’t hesitate to take the opportunity.

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As Seen in Automotive Buy Sell Report - Fostering an ownership mentality – drinking the organizational Kool-Aide

As Seen in Automotive Buy Sell Report - Fostering an ownership mentality – drinking the organizational Kool-Aide

Owning a business is not a simple task. Financial risks, anxiety over success, ensuring employees are taken care of, and all the tasks that go into leading and running a business are a heavy load for business owners. Add to this the continued rapid pace of change in our political, economic and technological environments creating more challenges, as well as opportunities.

Many entrepreneurs gain energy by taking on risk – it is the challenge that keeps them going, and we see this often with dealer principals. With this comes a very strong entrepreneurial focus – finding ways to revolutionize process and procedures to create more out of less, and taking exceptional care to nurture the appearance and brand of the organization.

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Solving the "Rubik's Cube" of Business

As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Solving the "Rubik's Cube" of Business

Have you ever attempted to solve a Rubik’s Cube? The three-dimensional multi-colored toy invented by Erno Rubick was never intended to be a “toy.” In fact, he developed it for the purpose of teaching students how to solve the structural problem of moving independent parts, without the entire cube falling apart. But the teaching tool became a wildly popular toy.

If you are like me, you have tried it and know that once you get one side right and try to figure out another side, you then have to mess with what you first thought you’d solved. A few know the secret but most, like me, become frustrated. When I ask clients if they’re able to solve it, I get responses such as “Sure, just unpeel the color stickers!”

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As Seen in Digital Dealer - Successors: Getting out of the Middle

As Seen in Digital Dealer - Successors: Getting out of the Middle

With more family businesses then ever seeking succession through the next generation of family leadership, a change to a multigenerational management structure is occurring with regularity all over the country. Owners are counting on the seasoned professionals who have carried the day to day operations of dealership management for the past 20 plus years through a conservative approach. Their experience and reliability are depended on to continue selling cars, maximize margins, and maintain customer relationships. At the same time, many dealers understand the industry is changing and as they groom successors, are capitalizing and embracing a move to a modern approach to dealership management that focuses on innovative selling, advertising, managing and capitalizing on the customer experience.

As this generation of successor candidates emerge, they often find themselves caught in the middle of the “way it has been” and “where we want to go”. It becomes a true challenge of maintaining conservatism and innovation. Who are successors supposed to be as they work to gain respect, earn trust, perform at the top of their class while continuing to be humble. The goal is to be the best so there is no doubt he or she is the next leader of the organization, but the task at hand is to fly under the radar to not step on the toes of those currently in charge. It is a daunting, nearly impossible and often very frustrating task for all involved. Unreasonable expectations accompanied by a general lack of functional and productive communication between the two sides generally leads to extreme frustration.

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As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Soft Skills Win In Work And Life

As Seen in Multi-Unit Franchisee Report - Soft Skills Win In Work And Life

Have you ever wondered where the term "soft skills" came from? Personally, I often find myself curious of its origin because it seems like a contradiction at best, but worse, a poor use of phrasing. By referencing certain leadership/ownership skills as "soft," doesn't it seem we are devaluing them? Because in a complex business like multi-unit/brand franchising, things that are viewed as soft are often skills or attributes that cannot be measured. But soft skills impact the bottom line, growth, and people development - so there is nothing soft about them, right?

While the term's origin lies somewhere in the imprecise world of business tribal speak, its connotation has been around for quite some time. The Harvard Business Review listed concepts like goal-centric thinking, collaboration skills, communication skills, learning skills, troubleshooting, and playfulness as being vital for achieving success. The Cambridge University Press dictionary defines soft skills as, "people's abilities to communicate with each other and work well together." The unfortunate reality is that our team historically has run into multi-unit franchise owners who don't want to invest in something that sounds "soft."

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