January 2015

How to Optimize Your Network

Franchisees, just like all entrepreneurs, rely on networks to succeed. Relationship capital is crucial in the business world, and the right connections can dramatically boost your entrepreneurial success. How can you take your ordinary network and make it highly effective? Take a look at these tips and tricks.

Curate. Do you meticulously save every single business card that comes your way? If you answered yes, you need to stop doing so. Accumulating masses of business cards isn’t helping you to expand your network in any kind of meaningful way. In fact, it’s probably just creating unnecessarily clutter. A good general rule of thumb is to only keep a business card from someone who can help you solve a problem. In general, it’s a good idea to focus on the influencers in your niche, or those people who have influence over the market and consumer behavior. The bottom line? Keep your network lean. It’s all about quality, not quantity.

Diversify, diversify, diversify. The best, most robust networks are diverse networks, ones that include a range of different influencers from your own niche as well as one from related niches. Ideally you want a network that includes individuals of a range of experience levels and expertise.

Find bridges. One of the keys to successful networking is to find bridges, or those individuals who have their own powerful, well-leveraged networks. A connection with one bridge can lead to a whole new wealth of contacts.

Nurture connections with your most valuable clients. Think of your most valuable clients as your brand’s MVPs. These clients will advocate and promote your brand, so it is in your best interest to give them extra attention and keep them especially happy. Always be aware of clients who are the most enthused and engaged, even if they aren’t your biggest buyers.

Engage. You don’t just need to build a network. You need to maintain it. This requires engagement. In other words, don’t let your network languish. Don’t just take from your contacts — be prepared to give. Offer guidance and advice, and always, always say thank you for any kind of help you receive. Remember, a bit of gratitude can go a long way. Last but not least, never be afraid to reach out with a phone call, email, or quick bite to eat.




Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete.com. ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him onTwitter for latest updates.

Chipotle Suspends Purchases from Major Pork Supplier

If you would like a pork burrito from Chipotle anytime soon, you just might be out of luck. Last Tuesday, the popular franchise announced that it had temporarily stopped serving pork at approximately one-third of its 1,700 restaurants. What’s the reason behind the pork shortage? Chipotle evidently suspended purchases from one of its major pork suppliers, as the supplier had failed to meet Chipotle’s strict animal welfare standards.

“This is fundamentally an animal welfare decision, and is rooted in our unwillingness to compromise our standards where animal welfare is concerned,” said Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold.

Fast Food Franchises & Meat Suppliers: A Troubled History

This certainly isn’t the first time an animal welfare scandal has rocked the food franchise industry. A Domino’s supplier was found to be brutally abusing cows at a New Mexico dairy farm, while a Chinese meat supplier that supplied meat to major brands like McDonald’s, Yum Brands, Starbucks, and Burger King was found to be selling expired meat. All in all, many contend that supplier scandals are far too common in the industry.

However, Chipotle is known for its emphasis on responsibly raised meat. It requires that all pigs be raised with outdoor access or deep-bedded pens, a much higher standard than the majority of other franchises in the food industry employ. Furthermore, it requires all animals to be raised without the use of antibiotics. Many Chipotle consumers appreciate the company’s emphasis on such ethically sound farming practices. Should its image of environmental consciousness and concern for animal welfare be damaged, it could potentially taint its reputation and cut into profits. Luckily, it was a Chipotle audit that revealed the troublesome practices of the supplier, as opposed to a journalist or activist, which would have likely generated a PR nightmare for the company.

When Will Pork Be Back on the Menu?

Customers across the country are wondering when pork will be back at the menu at all Chipotle locations. While there is no definitive answer to that question, the company is actively working to address the situation. Chipotle may work to find new pork suppliers, or, alternatively, it could also use additional cuts of meat or purchase more pork from existing suppliers.

The company also said that if the supplier were to address the issue, Chipotle would resume pork purchases. “We believe that these are good people who are trying to do the right thing, and if they bring their protocols into [compliance] with our standards, we’d certainly consider having them back as part of our supply network,” Arnold said.





Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete.com. ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him on Twitter for latest updates.