Bisio on Gaining Independence and Building Confidence

Most of you know that I feel strongly about setting a positive, independent example for our children.  This month, in an attempt to get our mind off the Corona Virus, I would like to discuss why.

A little history.  Growing up I had a father who owned his own business.  At the dinner table we discussed staffing issues. Monday evenings dad was in his office doing payroll.  On Saturdays I helped at the business cleaning floors, folding towels and making coffee.  This was all I knew growing up.  It was my reality.  My father never came home and said, ‘I may be downsized’ or ‘We may have to relocate to a new city’.  He never worried about what his ‘boss’ was thinking.  He never had to deal with office politics or angle for a promotion.  Of course, some years were better than others but I always knew the buck stopped with my dad.  This is my image of a ‘Dad’.  Even though my father did not do this by design, his choice regarding lifestyle and actions created a very independent, confident young man.  I always knew that one day the buck would stop with me – just as it did with my dad.

A number of years ago my wife and I decided that we wanted to set the same example for our children.  We want them to grow up independent and confident.  As a result, my wife and I both have our own businesses.  Both of our high school age children understand the importance of self determination and strength regardless of what the world trows at us.   Of course, nobody really knows what the future holds for our children.  The most we can hope for is that by setting the right example, we will be able to provide a reservoir of strength that our children can tap into as adults.

I find the children don’t always listen to what you say, however, they closely watch what you do.  As you set your own path, remember that your children, and possibly grandchildren, are watching.  The positive, independent example you set for your children is the single most important gift you can give.

– Rick Bisio

7 Reasons Why Your Salaried Job Is Like Crack Cocaine


Rick Bisio

From time to time, as a franchise coach, I work with individuals who are perfectly positioned to become business owners.They have lots of money, no debt, great skill sets, likable personalities and a true desire to break out of the employee mentality.

However, at the end of the coaching process, some still decide to return to their jobs. And, of course, for anyone who is a business owner, this is exceptionally hard to understand. Why would anyone spend his or her life preparing for freedom, yet once that opportunity arose, return to a salaried job?

There is only one reason that I can think of: Salaried jobs are like crack cocaine. Okay, I may sound like I’m a bit off my rocker, but stay with me. What is it like to be addicted to a drug like crack cocaine? Recently, when I read about drug addiction and discussed it with a drug-counselor friend, I learned a few things. And here’s my bottom line: You will be amazed at the similarities between a salaried job and drug addiction.

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Start your own business…or buy a franchised business?

Someone recently posted on my Facebook page:

“Start your own dream dont live off someone elses”


While this is perfectly reasonable as a sentiment, it assumes that everyone’s “dream” is the same. For many people, the “dream” is to have the independence and long term security of business ownership without so many of the associated risks and responsibilities that usually come with that ownership. For those people franchising is the perfect business ownership choice.

Below are just a few of the many advantages to franchise ownership:


The Cost of Vision

When you start up an independent business, you need more that the dream. You need a vision…and a hope that customers understand and need your product and services. Your business, no matter how brilliantly conceived, will have to connect with consumers in a way that makes financial sense to them. Even if you are successful, that may take more time and more money than you ever ever expected.

With a franchise, the founder of the franchise has spent his time and money crafting his vision into something that consumers need or desire and are willing to buy.  That is time and money that you, as a franchisee, do not have to spend. It usually takes a business 7-10 years before it is successful enough to be franchised. That’s often what it takes to perfect a business model.


Buying Power

As a new independent business owner, your business costs are based on the buying power of your one small business.

With a franchise, the franchise has negotiated lower prices based on the buying power of 50 or 500, or 1,000 of its franchises. Those savings are passed down to you.


 Research and Development

As an independent business owner, your ability to keep up with competitors and to research trends and develop new profit centers is limited.

Most franchises have research and development departments that are designed to take advantage of the latest trends and to ensure that your franchise gets innovation into the market before your competitors do.



As an independent business owner, you may have a network of other business owners to discuss your business problems with, but it is unlikely that those owners will be in your industry. If you are a dry cleaner and you are having a business problem, you cannot call the dry cleaner down the street to ask for advice: He is your competitor.

With a franchise, you will get to know dozens or hundreds of other franchisees that are in the exact same business as you and who actually have an interest in your success. You will be constantly sharing best practices one on one, or at company meetings. In other words, you are never alone.


The goals of independent ownership and franchise ownership are very similar: independence, security, growth control of your own destiny. But, Franchise businesses offer a much higher chance of success, with less risk and less responsibility. For some people that is “the dream.”

 If your dream is to minimize your risk while achieving long term security, buying a franchise might be a good move. If you want more information on the advantages of franchise ownership, feel free to call or email OnlyFranchises.

The Perils of Choosing the Wrong Franchise

You may be asking yourself “Why do I need a Franchise Consultant?”  The interview below is from the February 2017 issue of Business
This article is not as much about Stone Cold Creamery as it is about choosing the wrong franchise the wrong way. Many people are successful with Stone Cold, but this couple had no idea what they were getting into. They bought the franchise for the worst possible reason (they liked the product), and they failed to do the proper research into the way the company operates because, frankly, they didn’t know where to look.
Committing your hard earned money to a franchise is a serious business. Why wouldn’t you want the guidance and advice of someone who understands the industry, the process, the players and especially the mistakes that can cost you big money?

What’s it really like to own a Cold Stone Creamery Franchise?

Self Interview from former owner of a Cold Stone Creamery Franchise – Laurie Bennett

What type of experience did you need to start your Cold Stone Creamery Franchise?

I had a college degree in business and I had owned a clothing store for 5+ years when I had my first taste of Cold Stone with my husband. We loved it! My husband really wanted to go into business for himself and we felt Cold Stone Creamery was perfect. I already had a lot of business experience so it was an easy decision for us to make.

 How much capital was required for the total business and how much cash did you need?

We were told (in 1998) the cost to build a store was $185,000 in the FDD and by Doug Ducey the Cold Stone President.  However, we later learned those were outdated numbers. In actuality, it cost upwards of $325,000 to open a store and we had to learn that from the other franchisee’s that were in the system, opening stores and were finding out themselves. It was a scary time for all of us. Honestly, if we had known the true costs in advance, we would not have gone forward with a franchise. We simply could not have afforded it.

We ended up getting half way though our build-out and learned from the actual invoices and existing franchisee’s that the actual costs were $325,000+. My husband and I were scared to death. We had a 2 year old and a new born, my husband was still working full time, I was running my clothing boutique and we were in the process of building our Cold Stone. I kid you not – we had to quickly sell our house to get enough money to finish the store. Honestly, I learned then and there the importance of doing a TON of due diligence when you buy into a franchise BEFORE you agree to invest.

 Did you have to get financing?

The franchise was so new back then and we talked to a few banks but no one would finance that concept. We had $200,000 cash so we really thought we had plenty of capital since the FDD listed the high side of the cost to get a store open as $185,000. Turned out the actual cost was much higher and Cold Stone knew that – they just never told us.

 What other franchises did you look at before deciding on the one?

Honestly, none. I had never really considered a franchise before. But I loved the Cold Stone product, environment and vibe and so did my husband. We stumbled onto it, loved it and went for it. We honestly thought we were getting in on the ground floor of something amazing. A few years later, after we knew everything there was to know about Corporate Cold Stone, we decided we needed to leave the system.

 What was your worst customer experience?

We didn’t have too many but I remember one from the day we opened. One of our first customers came in and we were giving out free ice cream the first hour as a promotion. Yes…it was FREE and this lady still was complaining. My husband made her a super duper ice cream treat and mixed in her favoring things (according to her specifications). She took one bite and just about spat it in his face. She yelled out that she hated it. We went on to sell more than $5,000 of ice cream that day but it was a horrible way to start our first day in business. Of course we laugh about that now but that day it literally broke our hearts.

 What was your relationship like with the Corporate Franchise?

It started out really good but unfortunately, it turned downward after the first year. We had a very high volume store as we were in a very nice outdoor mall location. Because our traffic and sales (and rent) were greater than many other stores, our needs were very different. We needed to be highly efficient and that is how I like to work anyway. The franchise did not agree with us however. I would ask them for things like franchise approved ice cream cake boxes or to-go lids for the ice cream – which seemed like must have items to me. Cold Stone Corporate would respond to my requests by saying things like, “well no one else needs those things so you can’t have them.” It was an absurd way to run a business.

I already owned a clothing store so I knew that when I had a business problem, I found a solution to fix it immediately.  Cold Stone’s philosophy was the opposite and that would have been nice to know before going into it. They down right refused to spend the energy or look into products the higher volume stores could use to bring up our efficiency and lower our cost of goods. But they had no trouble finding the time and energy to harass us and tell us we could not use “non” corporate approved products or help us fix the problems we were experiencing. Eventually corporate would agree to let us use lids on to-to items but can you imagine having to argue with a franchise for such a simple thing you had requests for hundreds of times a day? I often told them they should be asking the busy locations for input on how to get better and not trying to threaten us for solving problems in the franchise. The whole thing was very upside down.    

 Do you have any regrets?

It was a heck of a learning experience but knowing what I do now, I would not have opened a Cold Stone Creamery. My husband and I both had to work a million hours a week to keep it going. I had to neglect my clothing store (which provided us our livelihood) and I missed out on so much with my babies those first few years. The franchise had alluded to the fact that we would be hiring a manager to run the show for us and we would be overseeing things.  Trouble was we didn’t feel we made enough money to pay a full time manager. My husband and I both worked 65+ hours a week and we were exhausted all the time. We were open 12 hours a day plus one hour of prep and one hour of cleaning. We hand made the ice cream, brownies and cones so it was extremely labor intensive.  Just thinking about it now gives me the willies.

 How many other franchisees did you speak to before buying in and do you think they were honest with you?

That is where I feel we really went wrong. I only spoke to 3 franchisees and one had not opened their store yet so they didn’t really count. The other 2 were vague and a bit strange and I could not seem to get straight answers from them. Turns out I was asking all the wrong questions. I honestly believed they were trying to keep new people out of the system because it was so great and they didn’t want to share the territory. Realistically, I had already made up my mind that I was going to open a store and so was not really listening. HUGE MISTAKE! Later, after I opened my store, they told me they had tried to warn me but I refused to hear them. They were right. I took what they said and twisted it to suit my needs. Turns out they were actually leveling with me the entire time.

What was the most difficult part of the business?

At one point we had 22 employees all under the age of 17. For them, work was not a priority. It came after homework, school, football, cheerleading, prom, spring break, parties, movies, travel etc. The kids were great but they were young and Cold Stone Creamery is hard work. Our turnover was very high and we were constantly hiring and training. That for me was extremely difficult.

What do you wish that you knew before buying in – that you do know now?

As I said, if we had known the true cost, more about the corporate dynamic and the atrocious work load – we would not have gone through with it. But…we live and we learn and boy did we learn!

What did you like about the franchise?  

I loved the ice cream – it was delicious. At our store we worked hard to make sure the quality was second to none and were very proud of that. I also really enjoyed the other franchisees. Most of them were terrific people and we were all in the same boat. We had no choice but to work together to find solutions, cut costs and grow sales.  One time, after we had been open approximately six months, another franchisee sent 4 of their BEST crew members to our store to work so my husband and I could go eat dinner together. It was one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for us. It was an amazing gesture and we so appreciated it. Dave and Howie if you are out there somewhere – thank you so very much from the bottom of our hearts.

 Would you tell someone else to open one?

I could not in clear conscience tell someone to open a Cold Stone Store. I know there was a class action lawsuit at one point and many franchisees sued the franchise as they felt they had been misled. That was years after we owned our store so we were not a party to that.

Hopeful franchisees would call our store on a daily basis and ask us if we “like the franchise.” We had to be careful of what we said, and not make corporate mad, as they would retaliate on franchisees who did. Still, we needed to be honest with people so we had a saying, “it is the hardest work we have ever done in our lives for the least amount of money.” It was the truth. I’m sure we scared people off but we just wanted them to know the truth. If that still sounded good to them, then by all means open a store. If not, they could move on.

How much work was required of you per week on average?

It never ended. I had someone watch my kids during the day almost every day. Then my mother and my husband’s mother would alternate evenings watching our children until 1am when we got home after cleaning up and closing. On weekends, my husband had to go back at 4am to start making more ice cream as our equipment and systems were inadequate for our volume. It was a tremendous work load.

Any words of advice to prospective franchisees looking into any franchise brand?    

I am definitely not saying all franchises are bad. I am sure there are hundreds, if not thousands that are great. I just want people to know that when you buy into a franchise, you are buying their system, culture and integrity.  If they are honest and forthright and the business model works, as long as you follow the system you should do great. However, if they are a misleading bunch and their business model does not fit your lifestyle (e.g. working 70+ hours a week) you need to ask enough questions in the due diligence process to discern that too. Remember…you get the truth from the existing franchisees NOT the franchise itself.


The Benefits of Using a Franchise Broker

By Suzanne Musial

Franchise brokers: Who are they, and do you need one?

The best travel agents ask a lot of questions of their clients before planning a trip. The more they know, the more they can match the right experience to the client. Good franchise brokers are the same way. Their job is to learn all they can about a franchise candidate and then match that candidate to a franchise, based on their deep knowledge of the vast franchise landscape.

Using a franchise broker

Sometimes called “business coaches,” “advisors,” “referral sources” or “franchise consultants,” franchise brokers can be an invaluable asset when hacking through the franchise jungle. According to Linda Menter, vice president of business development at FranChoice, a franchise consultancy, it’s about minimizing risk and saving time.

“There are more than 3,000 franchises out there to consider,” Menter said. “The broker’s role is to help screen through the opportunities, narrow down the choices and help the candidates avoid mistakes that come when a prospective franchisee falls in love with a widget.”

Falling for a certain franchise concept isn’t necessarily a mistake, but it can blind the prospective franchisee to key questions he should be asking. Often, the broker is there to help protect the franchisee from himself.

“That widget the candidate falls in love with might be good or it might not,” Menter said. “A good broker will help guide you to study the business, the ownership and study yourself to make sure it is a good fit.”

Buying a franchise: How do brokers match you up?

Like any investment, buying a franchise business carries risk. Using a franchise broker does not remove all the risk, but it can help minimize it. However, it is important for someone buying a franchise to be as diligent about the broker he works with as he is about exploring franchise opportunities. There are brokers out there who will represent any franchisor willing to pay them a commission for a sale.

“Unfortunately, there are no barriers to entry in becoming a broker,” Menter said. “Anyone can hang out a shingle, and there are some bad apples out there. A candidate really must investigate a broker’s experience in franchising and in business. Check their references.” Once you’ve completed your due diligence and you connect with a franchise broker whose experience and reputation checks out, the information gathering process begins.

“It’s exhaustive, to say the least,” Menter said. “We spend hours and hours before we even think about suggesting a franchise. We want to know goals, motivations. We want them to understand the pros and cons of franchise ownership. How committed are they to devoting their lives to the business? Are they good managers? Do they work well with employees? All of these things help us match their characteristics to the characteristics of the franchise.”

Who pays the broker for all of this work?

Those buying a franchise business do not pay the franchise brokers. Franchisors do, viewing brokers as a marketing expense in order to get qualified candidates.

Part of your due diligence in choosing a broker should include understanding how the broker gets paid. Some get a flat rate regardless of the price of the franchise they sell. Others earn a commission based on the cost of the franchise, an arrangement that could motivate a broker to suggest more expensive franchises to candidates. It’s your obligation as a candidate to sniff out a broker’s intentions.

It’s worth noting that a broker who brings franchisors unqualified leads or candidates who are not a good match will not last long as a broker. “We are valued by franchisors for one thing—because we introduce them to qualified candidates,” Menter said.

By that measure, a franchise broker with an established record and a long history is a fairly sure bet.

Pros and cons of working with a broker.

Time savings is one of the best reasons to use a broker. There are literally hundreds of thousands of pages of information and data to wade through if you were to dutifully examine all the franchise choices out there. A broker cuts through the clutter to point you in the direction of the handful of opportunities that could be a good fit.

Money savings can be substantial if a broker steers you away from a franchise concept that would have been a disastrous match. That alone can be a compelling reason to use a broker for some candidates. Those who are completely new to franchising are also typically grateful to have the broker’s expertise in their corner.

Ratios of success must also be considered as a positive attribute of using a proven franchise broker. “As a franchise consultant, naturally I feel we are very successful,” Menter said. “But truthfully it is a complicated dance, and there are no objective measurements. However, when we speak with the franchisors with whom we work, it’s common for them to tell us the franchise candidates we bring to them usually end up being their rookies of the year.”

The greatest “con” of using a broker, as Menter pointed out earlier, is the absence of a barrier to entry. You have to be alert to avoid the unscrupulous actors whose only motivation is to collect the commission on the sale. Verify their credentials, scrutinize their track record. And even if you are certain you have a great broker, don’t rely solely on the information he or she supplies. Check and double check sources, earnings claims, and talk to existing franchisees. Additionally, your accountant, your attorney and trusted family and associates should review all documents.

So what’s the takeaway? Don’t settle.

Buying a business is a huge decision and typically filled with emotion and stress. A franchise broker can be a beneficial ally in easing the indecision and anxiety and helping guide you to your ideal fit.

“It is quite common for candidates to look at franchise companies and see a lot that they like and see things they don’t, and they feel they have to settle,” Menter said. “However, if you have done your due diligence and have a clear vision of what it is you want, you should not have to settle. A good, solid franchise broker will eventually bring the perfect match to you.”

Find a franchise broker to help you get started today.

Are You Afraid?

images-1Let’s face it leaving the security of your job to go into business for yourself can be downright scary. In fact, it can be scarier than that first time you took your parents car out of the driveway without a co-pilot. But whether you are buying a business or taking that first solo foray onto the freeway, once the fear is dealt with, the risks soon begin to diminish in your mind.

“Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” —Dale Carnegie

 Too often, we allow fear to justify the inaction that eliminates risk. Risk can be managed to produce results. Inaction can never produce results. So how does one, when making important decisions, overcome the natural tendency toward fear?

I have always thought that, in business, there are three types of fear that get in the way of decision making: Fear of Change, Fear of Failure, and Fear of Self.

UnknownFear of change. It’s the fear of that first cold shock as you dive into a swimming pool. Before you get in, you might walk around the pool several times testing the water with your hand. Next you sit down at the edge of the pool and first you put one toe in and then your foot and after a few minutes you drop in up to your waste. The minor discomfort of adjusting to the water temperature prevents you doing what you actually WANT to do!  You fear only the change, not the result. Meanwhile everyone else just dives in and the shock is over with in a blink.

If you are considering change, you have reasons. Those reasons are compelling, or you wouldn’t be considering the change. Focus on your desire to change. Don’t succumb to fear and fall back into indecision.

“By changing nothing, nothing changes.”-Tony Robbins


CEvIUcoWYAAfBxLFear of Failure. It always amazes me that most people think of failure as something soul crushing and life ending. Anyone who is successful will tell you that the key to success is …failure! It’s true.  An old proverb says:

“Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.”

You will fail in business. You will fail during the first transaction. But it will be the last time that you fail at that. And you will go on to fail again and again, all the while building an inventory of practices that have been perfected by failure.

 If you are afraid to fail, your successes will be few, common, and unmemorable. Lorii Myers


Fear of Self. The thought that it takes someone better than you to succeed is completely self-defeating. Before General US Grant’s first Civil War battle, he found himself terrified of meeting the enemy. But as he approached the enemy’s location, he found it had been abandoned. Grant realized that Confederate Colonel Thomas Harris was “as afraid of me as I was of him.” Grant would write later, “From that event to the close of the war, I never experienced trepidation upon confronting an enemy.… I never forgot that he had as much reason to fear my forces as I had his.”

41-300x200Don’t sell yourself short. Others do not possess mysterious powers that you lack. If you have a track record of success in your career or in life, you are just as likely to succeed at starting up a business as the successful entrepreneurs that you hope to emulate.

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” ― Vincent van Gogh


Fear is real, but it is merely an obstacle to be overcome. Change is destiny, failure builds strength and you have the power to succeed.



Video: Resell your clothes in Columbia!


OnlyFranchises. com client Suzanne Delica talks about her Clothes Mentor Franchise on Baltimore’s WBAL TV.