Former franchisee and franchisor, Dr. John P. Hayes is the Titus Chair for Franchise Leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. His program teaches students that persistence and servant leadership bode well for franchisors and franchisees.
Company founders are among the most fascinating people in franchising, or at least that’s been my experience since meeting my first founder in 1979. Since then, I’ve worked with a long list of founders and I’ve written books with several of them. I’ve learned key lessons from every founder and especially from these two: Bill Rosenberg and Don Dwyer.
I met the late Bill Rosenberg after he had retired from Dunkin Donuts. He needed my help with a couple of projects for the International Franchise Association (IFA), which he had also founded. Every time I saw Bill he would ask, “What can I do for you?” It took me a while to realize he wasn’t just being polite. On more than one occasion he helped me solve huge challenges in my business.
Bill extended help to nearly everyone who came into his realm. After accomplishing almost every goal he had set for himself, including beating cancer more than once, it seemed that Bill existed to be of service. That may not always have been his primary purpose, but I cherish that part of his legacy.
Don Dwyer, the late founder of the amazing Dwyer Group, taught me many lessons, but none was more important than persistence. Don was an ideas guy and I spent many days running into roadblocks for Don’s nearly impossible ideas. Giving up was never an option, and thanks to Don, today more than 6,500 U.S. veterans have become franchise owners through VetFran, an idea that Don handed to me in 1991 and said, “Set it up in the next 30 days.”
Imagine getting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Small Business Administration, IFA leadership, and a few dozen franchise founders all to agree to help veterans returning from the Gulf War to become franchisees. At first, each declined to cooperate, but Don just never gave up until we brought them together. The project, now spearheaded by IFA, required months of organizational work, not 30 days, but today more than 650 franchise brands voluntarily offer financial discounts to veterans who want to become franchisees. God bless Rosenberg and Dwyer and give us more franchise leaders who cherish persistence and servant leadership!
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