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Archive for February, 2011

Tips For The Franchise Front Line and Beyond

February 24th, 2011 Comments off

Opening and sustaining a successful franchise is hard work.  Keeping a positive attitude and being thoroughly prepared can alleviate quite a bit of frustration for a new business.  A lack of coping skills can wear you down, and developing a proper support system is critical.  A franchise support system can include the franchisor’s Field Support Representative, other franchisees, other local business owners that you meet through networking, EO (Entrepreneurs Organization), or a business coach.

There will be bumps in the road during your franchise journey.  The most important rule to follow is this:  When you see a problem, find an answer immediately.  If you ignore it, it will get worse.  The worst thing you can do is nothing.  Do something; you may be right, you may not but at least you will learn from the experience.  Ask your franchise corporate support team as well as other franchisees about how they handle critical issues and maintain a happy franchisee balance.  They probably have experienced your concern and can provide quality advice and counsel.  Here are some additional suggestions:

  • Be sure to talk regularly with your front line, keeping in mind that you may yourself be the front line in many cases.  You and your front line team should notice if traffic in your business changes dramatically, quickly, or if there is a rise in customer complaints, negative feedback or quality issues.
  • Watch the numbers. If you are not seeing positive cash flow coming into your franchise, be sure to consult with your franchisor and a respected accountant (preferably one that knows your brand or industry).
  • Foster a culture of openness so your staff feels that they can come to you problems.  If there is an issue, you may be able to catch something early before it deteriorates into a disaster.
  • Establish a culture of creativity.  Have a system for solving problems. Stay in touch with your franchise corporate team and other franchisees for support. Your franchisor may conduct on-site visits. These are extremely valuable in helping catch problems early so they do not grow into fatal errors that could put your Franchise Agreement at risk.

Entrepreneur Joe Barbat has been referred to as one of the industries thought leaders in his effort to revolutize the wireless retail industry.  Established in 1998, Southfield, Michigan-based Wireless Toyz has experienced exceptional growth since its founding, largely due to the innovative business model designed by CEO and Chairman Joe Barbat.

With 100 stores located throughout the country, including in Michigan, Texas, Arizona, California, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and other states, Wireless Toyz has achieved success stemming from its consumer friendly retail model. Independent cellular stores that have converted to Joe Barbat’s Wireless Toyz model experience operating a much more efficient business. Wireless Toyz’ marketplace growth has been carried by dozens of content franchisees.

Franchisee’s Can Stay Happy With The Right Staff

February 24th, 2011 Comments off

Joe Barbat CEO of Wireless ToyzBy Joe Barbat

One place that it pays to spend money when operating a franchise is on your staff.  Just because unemployment is at alltime highs, doesn’t mean you will get a quality workforce on the cheap.   Instead, think about the time and expense it takes to hire someone that can contribute to your organization.  It will cost much less and benefit you more in the long run if you find someone worth keeping and pay them more, than if you try to get great help for absolutely nothing.

If you have a great performer, reward that person generously and they will be less likely to leave you.  If you have an average performer, pay should be commensurate with the level of their skill.  Be prepared to let the under-achievers go, even if it’s a family member.

If your business model is based on having a quality team, you will fail if you do not hire the right team.  Don’t be “quick to hire,” or “slow to fire.”  It is far better to be slow to hire and quick to fire than end up with the wrong people on your team.

Remember that your first employee in your company is you.  With this in mind ask yourself, “What kind of employee would I like to have in my business?” and be the employee you would want to hire.  Remember to ask your franchisor for their guidance in hiring personnel that are the best fit for your company and franchise type.

About The Author

Wireless Toyz is the largest independently owned chain of cellular superstores.  Each Wireless Toyz outlet brings together cellular phones, accessories and service plans from multiple carriers, including Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Metro PCS, Cricket, Boost, as well as satellite TV offerings from industry-leading DirecTV. This broad selection simplifies shopping for consumers by eliminating visits to multiple stores.  The company is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, opened in 1996, and began franchising in 2001.  The company had only nine locations that year, and today, 11 years later, it operates 95 stores in 12 states.

Founder Joe Barbat took a hiatus from the business in December 2007, selling off some of his shares and retaining his position as chairman of the board. In October 2009, Barbat returned as major shareholder and put together a new team to enhance the success of Wireless Toyz.

Franchisee Due Diligence Tips

February 22nd, 2011 Comments off

Joe Barbat CEO of Wireless ToyzSigning a Franchise Agreement is a BIG commitment.  Be sure you do your research.  The more up-front research you do, the more informed you will be.  The more informed you are, the fewer surprises you’ll encounter.

The process should go something like this:

1. Research.

2. Set Goals.

3. Plan.

4. Decide.

5. Take Action.

When you are researching franchise brands, DO NOT SKIP THESE STEPS:

  • Ask the franchisor’s representative specific questions about the business.
  • Thoroughly read the Franchise Disclosure Document (The FDD is the information that the franchisor is legally obligated to provide prior to the signing of a franchise agreement. The structure is dictated by the Federal Trade Commission to ensure uniformity.)
  • Talk to current franchisees (They are listed in Item 20 of the FDD.)
  • Talk to former franchisees (They are listed in Item 20 of the FDD.)
  • Visit as many current franchise locations as possible
  • Read articles in business publications about the franchise, the franchisor and its franchisees.
  • If the franchise is publicly traded, review the annual report.
  • Check to see if the franchise has been reviewed by a third party, such as Crain’s Detroit, Ernst & Young, FranSurvey, Franchise Business Review , Inc Magazine‟s Inc 500.

You want to make an informed business decision. Your research will help you calculate your opportunity cost: the risk you take with your investment capital, your time, and your potential to derive an income from another job or business.  Not only that, you want to secure the value of your assets for the time in the future when you may wish to sell the business.

Even after your initial contact with representatives from the franchisor, you may still have lots of questions.  To help you gain adequate understanding of the business model and relationship you are about to enter, be sure to get sufficient answers to these questions:

  • Can the franchisor provide industry trends data reports? How does the franchisor use these reports to plan their marketing and franchise growth strategies?
  • What is this franchisor’s unique position in the industry? How do they assist their franchisees with competing for market share and attracting new customers? Who are their biggest competitors?
  • What is the competitive advantage this franchisor has in their industry that I can capitalize on for my success? Who are their customers and what makes their consumer offering stand out?
  • How does the franchisor handle catastrophic events, for example, what happens if the franchisee becomes disabled or otherwise unable to run the business?
  • How many franchisees were added in the past 12 months? How does franchising fit in with their overall business growth strategy? Where do you see the business model in 10 years?
  • What are the values of the brand? What is the culture of the brand? What are the expectations for the franchisee to carry these out?
  • Describe what a day in the life of a successful franchisee looks like.

Now, there is much more that goes into evaluating a franchise opportunity.  However, these are good starting points for anyone that is considering pursuing a career as a franchise owner.  I encourage you to reach out and contact me with your experiences and feedback on the Ask Joe section of the website.

About Joe Barbat

Entrepreneur Joe Barbat has been referred to as one of the industries thought leaders in his effort to revolutize the wireless retail industry.  Established in 1998, Southfield, Michigan-based Wireless Toyz has experienced exceptional growth since its founding, largely due to the innovative business model designed by CEO and Chairman Joe Barbat.

Categories: Joe Barbat Wireless Toyz Tags:

Epic 4G Is One Hot Wireless Toy

February 18th, 2011 Comments off
Joe Barbat Recommends Samsung Epic 4G

Courtesy of androidauthority.com

By Joe Barbat

The Samsung Epic 4G for Sprint is an Android 2.1, Samsung Galaxy S Smartphone.   Here is how I think it measures up to the competition.

First, I was amazed with how thin and lightweight it was.  Second, I was surprised by how familiar it looked.   The design is actually very iPhone 3GS-like with an all black, glossy plastic body and minimal buttons on the phone’s face.   It is thinner than both the EVO 4G and the Droid X measuring 0.39-inches thick, but slightly beefier than the ultra-slim 0.37-inch iPhone 4.  It is the lightest of the bunch, weighing a scant 4.2 ounces.

The thin touch screen conserves battery power, while offering a near-HD display at 100 times the contrast quality of other leading phones.  The Super AMOLED is fantastic; you really have to see it up close and in person to experience it because the colors jump out of the display and animations appeared lively and smooth.

The 5 megapixel camera and adaptive VGA camera can record HD video where you can upload to the web, and share wirelessly various devices (including HD TVs).  You can also video chat, try live video sharing, and I understand soon, get access to Samsung Media Hub, a multimedia library. This device can connect  up to 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices to the internet and it also has GPS and real time mapping.

A quick connect slide out keyboard, virtual keyboard with SWYPE or the hands-free calling options are available.  Combining the 4″ display and connection which is up to 10 times faster than 3G, makes the Epic 4G a fully integrated super force choice of a Smartphone.

For more information on industry reviews of the hottest tech gadgets, visit Joe Barbat’s gadget recommendations.

Wireless Toyz and CEO Joe Barbat Prevail in Frivolous Franchise Law Suit

February 16th, 2011 Comments off

Wireless ToyzJustice has prevailed.  Wireless Toyz, Joe Barbat its founder and CEO, Richard Simtob and Jack Barbat have prevailed in a frivolous lawsuit filed by a disgruntled franchisee.  After a four week trial last year before the Oakland County Circuit Court, the jury found no cause of action on eight of the nine counts alleged.  Earlier this week, the honorable Judge Shalina D. Kumar granted judgment in favor of Wireless Toyz and its aforementioned executives vindicating them from all charges.  Judge Kumar held that plaintiffs’ claims were barred as a matter of law, and further ruled that:

  • Defendants correctly argue that the evidence adduced at trial established that Plaintiffs were not defrauded or mislead regarding the extent of their franchise.
  • The Court finds that the evidence shows that Defendants did not conceal the existence, nature, uncertainties or financial effects of the franchise opportunity.
  • The Court finds that under Michigan law, the merger/integration clauses and signed acknowledgements are valid, binding and enforceable, and bar Plaintiffs’ claim, which is based upon alleged extra-contractual and oral misrepresentations and omissions, as a matter of law.

“This ruling speaks to the true ethics and moral principles of how Wireless Toyz operates and was founded,” states, Barbat.  “My objective was to see justice prevail, although it was a long and costly road, I was confidant that in the end justice would indeed prevail,”

Brian Witus of the law firm, Cohen, Lerner, Rabinovitz & Witus, P.C., states, “The jury verdict and Judge Kumar’s ruling constitute a complete vindication of Wireless Toyz.  Wireless Toyz, Joe Barbat, Richard Simtob and Jack Barbat have vigorously defended this lawsuit in order to protect the name, integrity and reputation of Wireless Toyz, its exceptional franchisees and its valued customers.”

In October of 2009, Barbat re-acquired the company he founded.  Since then, the company has experienced positive momentum with increased same store sales in 2010.  Barbat is focusing his time and effort on enhancing Wireless Toyz’s business model.  “We have hired a new operations manager, an accountant and will be opening new stores in 2011 and 2012. I am glad to put this chapter behind us and am committed to focusing on building the business by creating jobs and strengthening our already proven concept in the wireless industry.” said Barbat.  This only goes to show that with Barbat back at the helm, Wireless Toyz is looking forward to continued success in the future.

About Wireless Toyz

Wireless Toyz is the largest independently owned chain of cellular superstores.  Each Wireless Toyz outlet brings together cellular phones, accessories and service plans from multiple carriers, including Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Metro PCS, Cricket, Boost, as well as satellite TV offerings from industry-leading DirecTV. This broad selection simplifies shopping for consumers by eliminating visits to multiple stores.  The company is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, opened in 1996, and began franchising in 2001.  The company had only nine locations that year, and today, 11 years later, it operates 95 stores in 12 states.

Founder Joe Barbat took a hiatus from the business in December 2007, selling off some of his shares and retaining his position as chairman of the board. In October 2009, Barbat returned as major shareholder and put together a new team to enhance the success of Wireless Toyz.