Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today, on Veterans Day, are you Thinking of Franchising?

By: Kim Ryan

Since 1919, Veterans Day has been a day dedicated to honoring those who’ve served in war. In years past, we honored those who served in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Today, we also look to a new generation of military veterans, serving in the first Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq. These veterans are currently returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan with some transitioning from active duty to civilian careers.

As these veterans and retired military service members search for their next career, quite a few are choosing franchising. According to the International Franchise Association, since March of this year, 129 new veteran-franchisees have joined the ranks of small-business owners, using discounts offered by IFA member-companies. This brings the number to almost 1,500 former military personnel who have purchased franchises via IFA’s VetFran Program. And, why not? Many companies offer a 10 to 20 percent discount on the initial franchise fee. Some even offer special financing to help the veteran get started.

These financial incentives are designed to not only help veterans enter franchising, but also express appreciation for their service. It’s similar to a program like a VA loan that helps a veteran purchase a home without the hefty down payment. It’s an added benefit to recognize those who’ve made sacrifices for our great country. With these types of financial incentives offered by many big-brand franchises, as well as emerging franchises, it’s surprising that there aren’t even more military veterans taking advantage of these programs. After all, military veterans typically possess management skills and operational experience that your average entrepreneur may not have. Simply stated, they are well-suited for franchise management.

So, if you are a military veteran, it’s something to seriously consider, particularly if the idea of being your own boss, but being backed by a known, experienced brand, appeals to you. And, if you are a franchisor, particularly one who participates in VetFran or other programs like this, spread the word to veterans everywhere that you offer discounts and other incentives for these men and women in uniform. As a veteran myself, these financial incentives make me pause and wonder if I too should consider a career change to franchise ownership. It’s something to think about today, on this Veteran’s Day, as we pay tribute to all of our honored American heroes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why I love Twitter

By: Chad Cohen

I love Twitter because of the connectivity it has brought me. I am part of a cultural revolution perhaps not seen since the rise of the industrial age. I am able to network on behalf of my agency Fish Consulting, on behalf myself personally and connect with interesting people across the spectrum of life and business.

But what would a technological revolution be without its fair share of just plain ridiculousness. In what is one of the funniest, most creative, yet silliest applications of Twitter in everyday life; I bring you the Twittering Cat Door (via a great South Florida blog Buildings and Food).

In a nut shell, somebody RFID (radio frequency identification) tagged their cat’s collars and wired their cat door to only open for them because of neighborhood strays that were eating their food. Add a camera and an Internet connection and then voilĂ  – Twittering Cat Door.

Maybe there is an application for the franchising community somewhere in there. In the end you never know where ideas come from....