Tag Archive: franchising


I am an extrovert!

That statement is not a surprise to those that know me and understand that I am energized when I am around other people. Part of my DNA (Deb Needs Attention) is to engage in conversation rather than holed up in an office working quietly alone. I totally enjoy social situations and would choose a large network gathering over a small intimate one-on-one meeting.

When I made the decision to start Deb Evans Consulting, LLC I did so knowing what my strengths and weaknesses are and the challenges I would have working alone.

Strengths or Weaknesses

  • outgoing
  • hard charging
  • risk-taker
  • task-oriented
  •  results-oriented
  •  will make quick, emotional, instinctual, or gut-based decisions
  •  most often speaks pointedly and directly, telling it like it is
  • possess strong opinions and  often closed to any new facts and information

In my opinion the above describes my personality perfectly and the DISC personality test I took confirms it.  I scored as a high “D” (drive) and high “I” (independence) when I took the test.  I believe that all of the above are my strengths but I’m sure there are some that will argue that a few of my personality traits are a weakness.  Joe Mathews, Founder of Franchise Performance Group describes this personality as an “Action Hero” in our book Developing Peak Performing Franchisees. I don’t see myself as Wonder Woman but I can’t deny that I have the traits listed above.

Interact With The World

To compensate for working alone I interact with the world and technology allows me to do that! I can socially interact and have great conversations via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  I use Skype to work with  Joe several times a week  to edit our book and we often use Video Skype when we need to meet face-to-face. Earlier this month I met with franchise friends Kate Groom of Smart Franchise in Australia and Nick Strong from Services Direct in the UK face-to-face via Video Skype to discuss the differences of social media in our countries.

Google Hangout is another favorite technology tool. This week I reached out to Robin Scott, Computer Explorers franchise owner in North Carolina to help me test one of the hangout features. It wasn’t my intention to test the effects  and wear silly hats but we did and it was fun.

One of my weekly tasks is to leave the computer and meet individuals in the community. Earlier in the week I met with a Houston/Dallas Franchise Area Developer of a large franchise chain to discuss franchising, the IFA annual convention and other ways to get him more involved in the association. I LOVE mentoring and I am pleased that since our meeting he is well on his way to becoming a strong IFA member has enrolled in the Certified Franchise Executive program!

Shiny social technology tools will continue to distract me and because of that I won’t become bored working home alone.

Are you an extrovert or introvert and how do you successfully work from home? I’m open to new ideas and suggestions.

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: http://www.ehandersonpr.com/insights-ifa2012

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?

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!

BlogTalkRadio

Link to podcast

I attended the 14th Annual Leadership Conference, hosted by the IFA’s (International Franchise Association) Women’s Franchise Committee (WFC) in Orlando, Florida.  The WFC is designed to develop relationships with franchising professionals, to address issues, share ideas and offer solutions related to franchising in the local communities.

The conference theme was Dare to be Bold: Taking Risks For Reward – “It’s been said that if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. The great recession caused many organizations to drastically change the way they look and operate.” The Leadership Conference offered the opportunity to listen to top franchise leaders share stories of bold decisions they made that would forever change the shape of their brands.

The guest speaker was Kat Cole, President of Cinnabon; Inc. a division of FOCUS Brands Inc. Cinnabon operates more than 770 franchised locations worldwide. Prior to her role with FOCUS Brands at Cinnabon, Inc., she was VP of Training and Development for Hooters of America, Inc.

Kat shared her story of working as a server at Hooters at the young age of 19 and was handpicked to travel to Sydney Australia to open the country’s first Hooters. Kat had never flown before but she took her mother’s advice and “figured it out and made it happen” flying from Jacksonville, FL to Miami to get her passport and soon after traveling to Australia. By the age of 20, Kat was traveling all over the world to conduct new employee training and opening new locations. When Kat left Hooters in January 2011 she was Vice President of Training and Development.

As Kat told her story there was a recurring message: “figure it out and make it happen.”   We live in a time of change and Kat told us that no amount of change can work without connections and relationships.  She said the people you engage with, the connections you make and the relationships you have are with individuals that can and will be your biggest advocates.

Kat was an excellent presenter and listening to her validated decisions I have made over the last few months. Change is not easy and sometimes in order to change you must take risks. With the risks there is an uncertainty of the future. Getting pass the fear of the unknown and taking the steps to figure it out and “make it happen” is not as hard as I once thought.

Kat’s encouragement to build new relationships comes easy for me. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy attending conferences. I love social media and I have built strong connections using the various platforms but the in-person networking provides the face-to-face experience that I miss in the virtual world.

One of the new friendships that I built at IFA was with Tra Williams. Tra is more than 6’ tall so he is not easily missed in a crowd. But what really stands out is his passion for franchising and entrepreneurship. He exudes a deep commitment to helping others succeed and a strong drive to learn and share as much as possible.

Watch this video of Tra and I am confident you too will want to learn more about him and how you can connect.

Kat was right on the mark for me. I’m more than ready to “Figure it out and make it happen”. And as Dr. Beatrice Berry (author, sociologist, lecturer and educator) said; “When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.”

On March 1st I will leave what I have known and loved (Computer Explorers) for the last 16 years to start a new career as President of Deb Evans Consulting, LLC. I am confident it will be an exciting new adventure filled with new relationships, connections and risks!

There will be several upcoming blog posts with updates regarding the IFA2012 (International Franchise Association) annual convention held in Orlando, FL.

I was honored to be interviewed by Nancy Weingartner, Executive Editor at Franchise Times in the E. H. Anderson, PR booth at the convention.

Deb Evans IFA2012 Insights: Social Networking from E.H. Anderson Public Relations on Vimeo.

Don’t forget to download my new eBook on Social Networking to the right and share the link! It is designed for the franchise industry but can be used by all.

In the last two months I have attended two very different but very inspirational conferences: FranCamp Nashville and Dust or Magic Institute in New Jersey.

Dust or Magic

It was my first attendance and  Cyndee Perkins sixth to the Dust or Magic Institute. The objectives of the eleventh annual Dust or Magic conference were simple:

  • To familiarize ourselves with the key products of the year
  • To familiarize ourselves with some fundamental theories of child development in the context of emerging technologies
  • To help us meet and learn from others who are passionate about creating interactive media for children

After initially being star struck meeting Craig Hickman, Creator of Kid Pix, Don Rawitsch Co-Creator of Oregon Trail and Mark Schlichting Creator, The Living Books I realized that we were all there for the same reason – we value technology education!

Cyndee and I shared our key takeaways on Inside Computer Explorers – Was it Dust or Magic? If you have not listened to the broadcast yet you can find the link here

Do you understand the glue?

 The very popular Angry Birds game is simple enough to understand but complicated enough to be addictive. It’s the glue in gaming that app developers are trying to replicate. Did you know that Angry Birds is used to teach math, history and science? Read this article in iLearn Technology http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=3970

Chip Donohue, Director of Distance Learning, Erikson Institute reminded us that “you don’t have to love technology to understand that we have a responsibility to figure it out for the sake of the children.” Donohue encourages us: to embrace lifelong and life wide learning, create technology tools to play/learn with anyone, anytime, in any place, at your pace, on any device, leverage digital convergence, blatantly connect childhood and creativity, and to keep the child inside you alive!

We live in a world where “touchless is the new black” (Craig Hickman) and “the tablet effect has begun” (Warren Buckleitner).

The why!

Many of the presentations were filmed but there is one in particular that I recommend you carve 33.18 minutes out of your day and watch why Daren Carsten received the first standing ovation in the 11 years at Dust or Magic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llHhhUBMzGQ

Daren shared his secrets to making successful learning apps but his presentation is not just for developers. It’s for all of us. He said we “can’t claim that we make learning fun – learning IS fun! Our job is to reveal the fun in learning!”

Daren’s biggest message was: “Don’t forget about the why (the kids).Hangout with smarter, more creative and more passionate people, preferably children.”

Warren Buckleitner host of Dust of Magic said, “powerful technology + good people = magic”

Cyndee said to me, “You and I came away from Dust or Magic re-inspired by kids and education and making a difference.”

She is correct! I believe, “With hard work, trust in the brand (Computer Explorers), and some creative thinking, we can continue to make a difference and add some magic in 2012. Franchisees joined CE due to their passion for learning and using technology with children. Many things come and go but children, education and technology will always be part of the future. I’m excited to be part of that!” 

I have a strong commitment and belief to technology education and franchising. There is no magic or silver bullet to success. Hard work, dedication and what we believe in will create success.

I attend conferences to learn. I learn so I can teach. I teach because I believe Computer Explorers can be the nations leading technology education franchise!

FranCamp Follow Up

We did it! We held the first FranCamp in Nashville last weekend and it was a success! There are so many things that I learned even as one of the presenters.  I promise to share everything in my book: Franchising Goes Social: Franchise Leadership As A Social Geek!

For now, I have the video below that I recorded this morning on UStream with my key take-aways.

Below are some important links to presentations, tweets, and videos that you missed.

FranCamp site: www.fransocialcamp.com

You can find the Tweets:  here

Live recording archived of all the sessions via  UStream:  here

10 Best Twitter Tactics presentation by Jack Monson, Engage 121:  here

Inspire Change, Engage Your System presentation by Deb Evans:  here

Facebook Strategies presentation by AK Stout, Saying It Social:  here

Blogging for Business presented by Thomas Scott:  here

LinkedIn Strategies presentation by Paul Segreto:  here

BlogTalkRadio -” What Happened At FranCamp”  with guests BJ Emerson, Alissa Ramsay, Stephanie Ramirez, Dana Lopez and Lorri Wyndhamhere

An extra bonus is the Facebook eBook provided by AK Stout can be found here

Don’t forget to take the survey (http://fransocialcamp.com/where-is-the-next-francamp/) and vote for the next city that FranCamp travels to.

Sure you can watch the videos from FranCamp. You can view all the presentations and glean lots of great content from the tweets. But in reality you are missing the great discussions and networking from a group of like minded individuals.

Thomas Scott opened the day explaining that the FranCamp committee put the event together so that we could “give the recipe away and provide tactics and strategies that can be used immediately!” A bond was formed and new friendships and business relationships were made.

Please join our circle and register for the next FranCamp, volunteer to be a speaker or sponsor!

Preparing for FranCamp

We are just a few weeks away from FranCamp! There is a great deal going on behind the scenes to make this event one of the best in franchising.

Watch this video to find out who should attend

Learn more

Visit our Website http://fransocialcamp.com/

Be a FranCamp Groupie –  link here We are collecting suggestions for our sessions. We will also use LinkedIn to continue the discussion after the event.

BYOD

Bring Your Own Device! Smartphone, iPad, Laptop, Video Camera, Digital Camera…. This is a working event so have your power device with you and ready to test and use! Want to learn more about using video for marketing? There is a session for that.  Want to know how to conduct location based marketing? There is a session for that! What in the world do you do with QR codes and how do you design and read them? Guess what?! There is a session that too! Be prepared during the roundtables to whip out your devices and learn what to do with them!

Apps to download prior to arriving in Nashville

Foursquare, SCVNGR,  QR code reader and LinkedIn

Twitter

Follow our tweets!  #FranCamp

Did someone say TweetUp? A social media event is not complete unless there is a TweetUp! Join us at Tasti D-Lite in Nashville on Friday October 21st.

Start preparing now! Don’t hesitate to contact me or Thomas Scott with questions.

Jennifer MacDonald provided this little teaser video for her upcoming FranCamp session!

To learn more about the sessions at FranCamp visit this link: http://fransocialcamp.com/sessions/