Tag Archive: networking

My Tuesday “In Real Life” networking took me to a new location for the franchise, Nothing Bundt Cakes. Owner Josh Green was a pleasure to meet and shared his franchising story of how he and his parents moved from Dallas to open the Houston location. It was a “sweet” visit and I totally enjoyed their featured flavor: chocolate turtle!

Nothing Bundt Cakes was founded by two friends, Dena Tripp and Debbie Schwetz in 1997 in Las Vegas. Watch this great interview of Debbie and Dena (in 2008) where they share their passion and how their franchise began!

Dena and Debbie are extremely involved with IFA (International Franchise Association) and  it is  always  rewarding to work with them on committees. They share their delicious bundt cakes but more importantly they share their excitement and passion for franchising and business!

During the February IFA (International Franchise Association) convention Debbie told me that Nothing Bundt Cakes opened a new location in Houston.  I couldn’t wait to visit and introduce myself to the new franchise owners. I asked friend and  franchise peer, Kathy Muller to take a drive with me so I could introduce her to the delicious cakes. Kathy is now a raving fan of the product!

My real life networking ended yesterday with a small gathering of franchise friends with the local chapter of  the Women Franchising Network at the Brix Wine Cellar in support of the organization “Dress for Success”. Our donations of professional attire will assist the local chapter to provide a foundation for a professional wardrobe.

I had the opportunity to get to know the new Computer Explorers President, Carol Hadley and network with Camille Hamilton, a local CM IT Solutions franchisees as well as network with existing franchise friends.

My calendar is marked each Tuesday to step away from the computer and network face-to-face! I have some fun trips and exciting people to meet. I am open to suggestions and introductions!

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?

Wendy and Alan Crocker

COMPUTER EXPLORERS graduated another training class this week, Alan and Wendy Crocker of the UK. Prior to their arrival to their training in Texas they completed a pre-training with their corporate office and worked through a pre-training checklist we provide.

Buying a new franchise involves a great deal of investigating, planning and financial commitment. In my experience each new franchisee that arrives for training is filled with  excitement. On the very first day I watch reality set in when it’s time to execute. Excitement turns to nervousness and fear as the franchisees move from the exhilaration of “Wow, I bought a franchise” to “OMG, I bought a franchise!”

Each training group is different with unique personalities and previous work experiences. I am not alone when I say that in deed this training group was unique. Alan and Wendy came to us with a determination to be successful. This is not to say that previous new franchisees didn’t have the same determination but the Crocker’s went over and beyond their assigned pre-training requirements. They starting networking with other franchisees by observing classes, learning about the operation and anticipating training expectations. They worked through the pre-training assignments and learned as much as they could about the software and hardware that would be part of the offerings.

Our training includes the fundamentals of social technology. Our Operations Manager, Lorri Wyndham needed to revamp that session since the Crocker’s were tweeting about their purchase.Follow: @Croxuk Alan and I connected via LinkedIn and he  established a business Facebook prior to arriving! Please visit their page and “like” it. Linked here

It was wonderful to have new franchisees who did their due diligence by investigating, planning and making a strong commitment to be successful from day one.

Welcome Alan and Wendy Crocker to the franchise family!