Archive for March, 2012

In Real Life Networking

Real life networking is far too easy to ignore since we live in an active virtual world.

One of my business objectives is to designate time to my calendar each Tuesday to spend time with those that I am connected to virtually. I have a list of franchise and business professionals that I am either connected to or want to meet.  My goal is to schedule appointments, lunch dates, meetings for coffee and actually network in real life!

Mary Kennedy Thompson

Mr. Rooter

I had the honor to meet with Mary Thompson, President, Mr. Rooter(R)  Corporation and Vice President of International Relations, The Dwyer Group(R). Mary and I see other annually at the IFA (International Franchise Association) convention but we never have the time to sit down and chat.

Mary’s bio via The Dwyer Group Website:

Mary became the president of Mr. Rooter® Corporation in 2006.

Mary served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a logistics officer and achieved the rank of captain. She began franchising in 1994 when she opened a Cookies by Design® franchise. By 1997, she opened two additional locations. Mary was promoted to president in 2004. Mary led the company in market penetration and sales, earning awards for Top Performer, Outstanding Customer Service and Masters Award. At the end of her first year as president of Mr. Rooter Corporation, U.S. Business Review selected Mary as one of its 2007 Editor’s Choice Executives of the Year. She is also vice chairman of the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) VetFran Committee and has earned her certified franchise executive designation from the IFA Educational Foundation.

Mr. Rooter is located in Waco, TX which is a three hour drive from my office. I couldn’t have picked a better day to drive to Waco. It is Texas bluebonnet season and with  temperatures in the low 80s made it a perfect day for a scenic and very comfortable  convertible road trip!

Mary gave me a full tour of the Dwyer Group facility, introduced me to co-workers and shared the wonderful history of the company. Dwyer Group is well known for the corporate culture, code of values and family atmosphere. As a visitor I felt right at home in a very caring and warm environment.

Mr. Rooter Wall of Fame

It is evident that Mary is very passionate and proud of the  Mr. Rooter system. One entire wall is dedicated to a “Wall of Fame.”  Proudly displayed are the names of annual award winners in the system: Franchisee of the Year, Women of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Sales Leaders!  Another wall is the Mr. Rooter logo and I couldn’t resist asking Mary to take my picture!

ehAnderson, PR

My afternoon was spent with the wonderful team at e.h. Anderson, Public Relations also located in Waco.

Before the annual IFA convention I received a beautifully wrapped package in the mail from Bage and Liz Anderson. Inside was a invitation to visit their booth at the convention to participate in a video interview with Nancy Weingarter, editor Franchise Times. I thought it was brilliant marketing and enthusiastically accepted the invitation! Their videos of leading franchise professionals can be found:

Bage and Liz bring very different expertise to their agency which was founded in 2002.

Liz is a writing professional and expert at pitching the media. “In 1999, when Liz  was working at a PR firm in Dallas servicing technology clients who expected more than their PR Newswire press release getting picked up and posted by Yahoo! Finance, she found her niche — media pitching. CNET was one of her first big wins.  Unlike her colleagues, she was able to get a reporter on the phone, pitch the client — Rackspace Managed Hosting — and set a face-to-face meeting with the reporter and Rackspace CEO Graham Weston.”

Bage has “years of media experience, his knowledge and news instincts make him a one-of-a-kind PR practitioner. In local television newsrooms across Texas and Georgia and CNN, he shot, edited and produced many of the major news stories during the 1980’s and 1990’s.  If you watched the Davidian compound burn on CNN that windy April day, you watched through the eyes of his camera.”

Deb with Bage and Liz Anderson

I enjoyed getting to know Bage and Liz on a personal level and sharing tips on PR and social media.  We have continued our sharing via email, tweets and Facebook!

If each Tuesday is filled with the excitement and learning  that this Tuesday had, it will be my favorite day of the week!

What is your “in real life networking” strategy?

Three weeks into my launch of Deb Evans Consulting, LLC! Memories of launching my first franchise in 1996  come streaming back. The stress, hard work, roller coaster of emotions and daily challenges.

Launching a new business requires many things. As the weeks turn to months my priorities and strategy will change. For now, I have listed the top 3 things that keep me focused:

  1. Take it slow:  Have a daily plan. I established a business plan,  with goals and objectives when I made the decision to launch my own business. When I walked into my new home office I quickly realized that I needed a daily plan of action.  My business coach suggested that I list 5 things I wanted to accomplish daily. Just 5. No more and no less. Prioritize the 5, then tackle. The list keeps me on track. There have been  days that I completed the list by lunch time and moved on to other tasks or rewarded myself with a personal break. It’s spring in Houston and now I have the luxury to dust off the bike and take a leisure ride. Don’t get me wrong. I exercise each morning by power walking but it has been a real treat to go for an afternoon ride. It’s very easy to hunker down and work from sunup to sundown. That was the corporate me. The new self-employed me wants to enjoy life at a slower pace.
  2. Set realistic expectations: Rome was not built-in a day but I have set revenue goals and objectives that will provide the opportunity for me to take time off to visit friends in Europe later this year. Having realistic expectations and stretch goals give me something to work hard for. I have two major projects I am working on: Developing Peak Performing Franchisees project with Joe Mathews and FranCamp scheduled for May 4th. I came very close to adding a third yesterday and quickly realized that it would not fit into my current routine and would divert my attention from the objectives I established.
  3. Accountability: No longer do I have a corporate team or franchisees to be accountable to. I meet with my business coach, David Handler every other week but I needed accountability partners.  They are Joe Mathews (Founder Franchise Performance Group), Jack Monson (VP, Engage 121) and Thomas Scott (CEO, Brand Journalists).  Joe and I are working closely together via video Skype using Google docs to complete our work on Developing Peak Performing Franchisees. We schedule 90 minute sessions and homework. We are dependent on each other to meet at the scheduled time and complete the work we were assigned. We have a deadline to reach and so far we are right on track to accomplish!

    Video Skype and Google Docs

    Jack, Thomas and I meet via conference calls or Google Hangout to discuss the details of FranCamp. Each of us has different responsibilities to assure FranCamp will be successful.

    So there you are. My top 3 tips for successful business launch. Time and dedication will determine the success.

    What are your tips? Do you have suggestions for me as I move forward?

I am not sure Joe Mathews completely understood what he was getting into when he partnered with me! He was well aware of my social media passion but looked a bit surprised when I told him that we were scheduled for a podcast.

As I explained to Joe, it’s one thing to write about who we are and why we believe our work is important but if we share the information via a podcast we are putting a voice to the message. A podcast allows the audience to hear the inflection of the words. I love that podcasts can be downloaded to any mobile phone, tablet or other devices from anywhere in the world. It’s a great way to reach one-to-many!

So … listen to our broadcast on BlogTalkRadio explaining who we are, why we are so passionate about our book and new educational program.

Soon we will publish videos to share. Just don’t tell Joe!


Link to podcast

Listen to
internet radio with Deb Evans Consulting on Blog Talk Radio

I’m not one to let grass grow under my feet! When I set my goals and objectives, I work hard to accomplish them.

According to my DISC profile I am a high “D” and high “I”.  “Direct, results-oriented, strong-willed, outgoing, enthusiastic and optimistic”… no arguments there!

Monday, March 5th started a new career path for me. Deb Evans Consulting, LLC will incorporate the skills I have developed in franchising and social media.

Authors Deb Evans and Joe Mathews

I spent my first week in business with Joe Mathews, Franchise Performance Group. We diligently worked on our new book “Developing Peak Performing Franchisees” and the companion training program.

Our book and program will enable franchisors to:

  • Build peak performing franchisees.
  • Maximize royalty collections.
  • Drive franchisee productivity throughout the learning curve of their business, from start up through maturity.
  • Achieve outstanding results by managing franchisees’ strengths and shortcomings.
  • Anticipate and prevent franchisees’ performance breakdowns through appropriate interventions.
  • Deliver effective training that imparts knowledge, build skills, and ramp franchisees up faster.
  • Solve problems through results-oriented consulting techniques.
  • Increase franchise sales by creating positive franchisee validation.
  • Strengthen franchisee/franchisor relationships by creating a culture of success and achievement.

Join us on Wednesday, March 14th 9am CT on BlogTalkRadio to learn more about us, our book and our training program!

Transition: movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, concept subject, etc., to another; change.

March 2nd marked my last official day with Computer Explorers and was spent with a transition team setting goals, priorities and strategies for 2012. As I was transitioning out we worked as a team with the incoming president Carol Hadley to transition her in.

Letting go of the emotional attachment to Computer Explorers and the team I have worked with over the years is not easy. I know I will always feel connected to the brand, the franchisees and the corporate team.  As I observed Carol and her participation I witnessed an excitement to learn more and dedication to growing the brand to its full potential.

The day was not intended to be team building but that certainly was the outcome. The transition team consisted of the immediate Computer Explorers corporate team, representation from the UK master license and one of Computer Explorers franchisee leaders, Helen Pinkerton. Everyone was committed to strategies to grow Computer Explorers but deeply committed to welcoming Carol.

Cheers Computer Explorers! I wish you and Carol all the best!

Lorri Wyndham, Deb Evans, Cyndee Perkins and Carol Hadley