Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What do Tom Brady and Jared Fogle have in Common?

What do Tom Brady and Jared Fogle have in common?

No, they are not both NFL players and they are not both pitchmen for Subway. And, NO Tom Brady is not involved in the same egregious acts as Fogle ... although many take a dim view of the allegations against him, compounded by destroying his phone.

But, both individuals represent their respective "franchised" brands and their actions have sullied those brands. In Brady's case, New England fans may argue that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is the culprit, but Brady's challenges have escalated the attention and, some would say, the damage to the brand.

Franchising and brand awareness go hand-in-hand. I have written about the importance of brand enforcement before here and here. But how do you control brand disasters like Fogle ... and to some degree Brady? While there is not a single answer for both situations, there may be individual remedies for these very different scenarios:

  • Fogle and Subway - never get too attached to one "celebrity"; your brand may rise or fall with the actions of that spokesperson. Diversify!
  • Brady and the Patriots - assess whether fighting a "penalty" is worth it. Would Brady and the Patriots be better off if they said "we don't like, we did not do this but in the interest of our fans and the team as a whole we will accept the penalty"? All the attention would be over. And now, does it matter if Brady wins or loses his appeal? The damage is done and has been in the headlines the entire summer! Brady may win the appeal, but he and the Patriots have lost the remaining luster of the brand (some believe it was already tarnished).
So be careful out there - guard your brand and figure out your best damage control strategy when disaster strikes!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Leasing Your Location - Prepare for the Wait

With patience and due diligence it has taken you six month or more to lock-down your franchise. But are you ready for stage two of opening your business?

After discovery days, contract signing, training and other assorted preliminaries, you are eager to set-up shop. The franchisor has given you some guidance and criteria to select a location but now you are on your own. But, before setting you free, the franchisor, as a reminder, pointed out that clause in the franchise agreement requiring you to lease a location within 180 days. At least there is no pressure!

But prepare yourself ... this process of finding the right location, at the right price, and negotiating the lease could take longer than you think - perhaps longer than buying the franchise. I have had a number of clients go through this drill. It is a frustrating process.

So the best thing you can do is prepare yourself in advance that this going to take time and effort OR just wait until you are under the gun and be driven by panic.

But, here is the real dilemma: Do you look for possible lease locations before deciding on a franchise or get the franchise and then start the hunt? (many horse-and-cart and chicken-or-egg cliches could be inserted here but I'll spare you ... or not)

It seems difficult to look for a location before you have the franchise - too many unknowns: what is the business, where is it best located, what does the franchisor require, what territory in the franchise system is open, etc. etc? However, you can scout the potential areas you are interested in before you decide on the right franchise. Educate yourself. Learn the leasing market. Contact a commercial realtor. Develop some idea of the cost and availability.

Although some franchise systems are intensely involved in the selection process, most leave the ultimate responsibility of selection to the franchisee (franchisors disclaim responsibility for the profitability of a location). So get ahead of the curve and bone-up on the leasing market in your areas of interest.

You might even impress the franchisor.