Guest Post

Find The Nerve

by Deb Evans

When the economy is down it affects all of us, including franchise owners that deliver technology education. Motivating franchisees and franchise corporate employees during a recession is no small task especially if you are working from a smaller budget, reduced work force and shorter work week! Keeping panic, fear and/or despair to a minimum while setting real expectations is a challenge all leaders are facing today. Franchisees are suffering from parents and school decision makers with less discretionary spending which means less franchise service fees sent to the corporate office. Passion and enthusiasm have always been prevalent in our franchise. It is found in every corporate team member, franchisee, employee and student. What we are lacking is the large budget to spend on marketing, search engine optimization and public relations. As a leader it was time to change my outlook and create new and innovative ways to build our brand awareness nationally through social media. I habitually focus on the positive aspects of any situation and de-emphasize the negative. I perceive daily challenges as opportunities and not as intrusions that distract me or my team from our work. I read and adapted the idea of A World Wide Rave (by David Meerman Scott). I looked at the strengths in our corporate team and added exciting new job responsibilities for team members. Our Operations Manager incorporated a viral marketing campaign creating videos to post on our YouTube channel. She found a free diagnostic tool to measure the marketing effectiveness of our web site. She built a corporate Facebook page and encourages franchisees, customers and friends to become fans. Through social media our Curriculum and Program Development Director seeks advice implementing new programs and receives suggestions from education industry experts on curriculum development. I have used social media to make contacts with others that I might never have found in the real world. I have received opportunities for speaking engagements and added value and credibility to our brand. I enjoy meeting and learning through all the sources of social networking. I want to absorb as much information as possible and constantly strive to make our brand more practical and valuable. Steve McKee says "that no matter what's going on outside an enterprise, it's what's inside that counts" in his book When Growth Stalls. I couldn't agree more. The recession may have dampened the spirits within our franchise organization but it certainly did not kill the spunk that each of us possess. I believe that what we are doing is important. I feel good about our work and approach it with determination. My franchisees and corporate employees can count on me to provide clear direction and purpose and not to retreat when confronted with tough decisions. I lead an innovative team that is responsible for seeking new and creative ways to do things, improving processes, designing new services or simply making suggestions!

Deb Evans is President & CEO of COMPUTER EXPLORERS, the nations leading technology education franchise.

  1. Deb, awesome post!

    Certainly, it’s difficult motivating franchisees during an economic downturn which of course ultimately affects our own self-motivation. Instead of focusing on the gloom and doom perspective, it’s essential to focus on the things that can be controlled and on the things that can be done to make a difference. I know that’s exactly what you’ve done at Computer Explorers over the past year. New Vet programs. Extensive exposure on internet radio. Tweetups. Franchise meetings. And, much more. You’ve kept the ball rolling and in a straight line!

    Having been around your staff and franchisees on a couple of occasions this year, one would never know that the outside world was threatening. Your staff and franchisees exhibit such positive attitudes that I can only credit the leader at the top… you!

    Comment by Paul Segreto — 11/19/2009 @ 10:46 AM

  2. Your positive outlook and continued determination to improve our business and brand awareness can only help to effect your franchisees in a positive way (myself included). In these trying times the continued enthusiasm and support of yourself and your staff can only help to minimize the negative as much as possible!

    Comment by Robin Scott — 11/19/2009 @ 12:17 PM

  3. Great post Deb.
    I believe that in this current economic climate, that one of the worst things effecting small business owners across the board is the feeling that they are alone in the melee. Working together with your team, be it at a corporate level, within a franchise system or with your social media network, we can encourge each other, and brainstorm outside the box thinking to keep moving forward with a postive attitude and come out of this leaner, stronger and more successful than we were when we went in.

    Comment by Lorri Wyndham — 11/19/2009 @ 12:31 PM

  4. Thanks Deb & CE Team!

    It’s good to know as a franchise owner that the CE Team continues to look for new ways to promote COMPUTER EXPLORERS. No matter what the economy is doing, technology skills are important to our children throughout their education years.

    Keep up the Good Work Team!!

    Comment by Darlene Calhoun — 11/19/2009 @ 12:58 PM

  5. Deb,
    Your post is spot on! It is so important to be looking positively forward both in good times and in bad, and the CE leadership team is always enthusiastic, professional and forward thinking. It’s an honor to be part of the Computer Explorers Franchise organization.

    Comment by Jen Morack — 11/19/2009 @ 2:04 PM

  6. Deb, you demonstrate true leadership each and every day! We all thank you for who you are and what you do for COMPUTER EXPLORERS. You set a great example!

    Comment by Kris Sabo — 11/19/2009 @ 11:40 PM

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