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January 14, 2009 


For those of you who follow the tech scene, we invite you to our Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze:  "Federal IT Trends in the Obama Era: What's Hot and What's Not." All-star panel of top government contractor CEOs and agency CIOs, Tower Club, breakfast, Thursday, January 22.  Sign up! 


The International Franchise Association has members everywhere, representing 1300 franchisors (think Roto-Rooter plumbing), and franchisees (think Joe the Plumber). Heck, we even wrote this story sitting in Caribou Coffee, a franchise. On Wednesday, we caught CEO Matt Shay just after they released the ’09 economic outlook, despite which he didn’t appear to be crying.


Sure, that Golden Arch is the most recognizable, but Matt says franchises cover a lot more, including dining, hospitality, automotive, tech, real estate, B to B, and lodging. Even better, they’re buoyed by a bad economy as laid-off workers are forced to innovate and become owners and entrepreneurs. Recently, IFA invested heavily in research (“in the millions of dollars”) from PricewaterhouseCoopers and has stats to prove that, as in ’01, franchises will drive the return of the economy. Matt says IFA’s been effective bringing those numbers to policy leaders like Hank Paulson, Barney Frank, and the SBA. And, as they did Wednesday, presenting them to journalists via webinar, using ReadyTalk.com.


Last year, IFA launched a massive public awareness campaign, using paid and free media, such as the ad behind Matt featuring Dunkin’ Donuts. (Dunkin’ is franchised? Raise your hand if you thought the “It’s time to make the donuts” guy owned ‘em all.) They used the ads to reframe opinion—franchises are locally-owned, efficient business models, and community partners—then unveiled concise legislative goals. It’s a cliché, but their plan has five points, including increased access to capital through changes to SBA loan programs, more affordable small business health insurance, and supporting veterans as small business owners.


Don’t upset Matt or he takes his toys and goes home. (They’re actually gifts for his three kids from ServiceMaster’s Mike Isakson, past Board president.) Here’s a few takeaways: Franchises create 21M jobs (12% of private workforce) and $2 trillion in economic output. Just consider their presence during a typical vacation: You book a cruise (Expedia CruiseShipCenters); board the dog (Camp Bow Wow); set the alarm (SightMind, Inc.); buy a GPS (RadioShack); and when you realize you forgot to water your daffodils . . .TruGreen.

Association writer Curtis Raye already franchised himself. No branches in DC, but he’s quite popular in the heartland. Send  story ideas to Curtis@Bisnow.com

Arent Fox

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