Opinion: Why Trump should be huge for the franchise industry

Originally posted on Crain’s Chicago Business, January 5, 2017

Opinion: Why Trump should be huge for the franchise industry

Whether or not you like him, are comfortable with his character, or agree with his stance on international trade, immigration, gun control and a host of social issues, President-elect Donald Trump almost certainly will be good for franchising.

The franchise industry as a whole continued to thrive during Barack Obama’s presidency, with average annual job growth of 2.6 percent over the last five years—nearly 20 percent higher than for all businesses, according to the International Franchise Association. Today, the nation’s almost 800,000 franchisees employ 9.1 million people, the association says. In Illinois alone, there are 29,000 franchised establishments with a total of 321,000 workers.

But the industry did so while overcoming some of the most significant obstacles that franchisers have faced since the Franchise Rule was instituted in 1979. In recent years, both franchisers and franchisees have been hampered by changes in the rules for overtime pay, the definition of joint employment, burdensome regulations and requirements for health insurance that could substantially alter their business economics.

Perhaps the biggest concern in the franchise community has been the National Labor Relation Board’s recent departure from the traditional interpretation of joint employment. Under the Obama administration, the NLRB broke from long-established precedent and ruled that a franchiser could be a “joint employer” of its franchisees’ employees even if it did not control their conditions of employment.

This move created fear in the franchise community, as it could impact the potential liability of franchisers for the actions of their independent contractor franchisees and their franchisees’ employees. Meanwhile, franchisees worried that their “joint employer” franchisers would exercise control over day-to-day operations and perhaps be forced to the union bargaining table—potentially compelling these formerly independent businesses to adopt wages and benefits they did not bargain for—putting them at a competitive disadvantage against their nonfranchised competitors.

As Trump begins replacing the NLRB’s members and its general counsel, we can anticipate a return to the more rational standard of “actual control” that previously existed, greatly reducing these concerns.


Trump’s nomination of Andy Puzder as secretary of labor will further boost franchise growth. As chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which franchises most of its Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. outlets, Puzder intimately understands the franchise business model and how issues such as joint employment, the new overtime threshold—the rule, put on hold by a federal judge, would require overtime pay to full-timers earning less than $47,476 a year—have hindered its growth. If confirmed, Puzder will work to roll back these ill-conceived initiatives.

Trump’s pick of Linda McMahon to head the overly bureaucratic Small Business Administration and its $124 billion loan portfolio is another encouraging sign, as the SBA has become increasingly difficult for franchisees to deal with in recent years. As former CEO of pro-wrestling’s WWE, an international licenser that started as a true small business, McMahon is well-suited to bring a much-needed streamlining to this organization.

Additionally, while it is too early to speculate on what modifications in the tax code and changes to the (un)Affordable Care Act will look like under President Trump, both should fuel significant expansion in franchising and small business more generally.

Ultimately, the best solution for higher wages is more jobs. As demand for employees rise, so too will the competition for the best employees. By eliminating the barriers faced by our country’s businesses, America’s greatest job creator will continue to drive job growth in 2017 and beyond.

Mark Siebert is CEO of iFranchise Group, a franchise consulting firm in Homewood.


Why a franchisor would make a good president | Employment relationships in franchising (radio interviews)

Mark Siebert joins Jim Blasingame to explain why a franchisor entrepreneur would naturally have the kinds of traits that would make that person a great president:


Here they discuss employment relationships in the franchising industry.

Mistakes Entrepreneurs Can Avoid (radio interview)

Mark Siebert talked to WTMJ radio’s Derrell Connor about how entrepreneurs can grow their business without spending their own money.

“For a lot of people, getting a franchise is sort of the American dream,” Siebert said. “They dream about owning their own business but they don’t want to go into business by themselves. If you’ve got a business and it’s successful and you’re looking to expand, franchising is the way to do it.”

Click here to listen to the whole interview.

Want To Franchise Your Business? There’s a Book for That. (radio interview)

In this radio interview with Steve Pomeranz of On the Money! Radio, Mark Siebert discusses his new book Franchise Your Business: The Guide to Employing the Greatest Growth Strategy Ever. As an expert in the business of franchising, Mark’s book lays down the strategy for determining if a particular company has what it takes to enter into the franchising arena.

Click here to read about and listen to the entire interview.

iFranchise Group Founder Shares Expertise in New Franchising Guide

Author and franchise consultant Mark Siebert explains the how-to’s of successful franchising in Franchise Your Business

HOMEWOOD, IL — Jan. 22, 2016 — iFranchise Group founder and CEO Mark Siebert knows a thing or two about business franchising, having worked with more than 500 startup franchises in his over 30-year career in franchising.

Now, he’s sharing his expertise with the world.

“I’ve spent a good portion of my career giving franchise advice to people, and learning from colleagues who are some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry. I have had a long standing goal to compile all that knowledge into one, convenient package – a guide of sorts to franchising,” Siebert said. “This book explores the opportunities and issues business owners should expect when contemplating franchising, as they start to franchise, and provides tips on what steps to take, how to get through inherent challenges, and come out on top.”

Already a well-published author of articles, whitepapers, and other industry informational pieces, Siebert has now written his first full-length book, Franchise Your Business: The Guide to Employing the Greatest Growth Strategy Ever (Entrepreneur Press 2016). It details what to expect in the franchise industry, how to be prepared for the franchising journey, and explains how to avoid costly mistakes.

As he imparts decades of experience, insight, and practical advice to new and even established franchisors, Siebert also presents a self-evaluation guide for companies to know if they are ready to take the steps toward becoming a franchise.

“Franchising is not an appropriate strategy for every business. There are questions every business owner should answer before making the decision to franchise,” Siebert said. “Not all companies can or should make that leap into franchising. Every year, the iFranchise Group receives over 4,000 inquiries from companies that want to franchise, but works with only about 40 start-up franchise operations – and advises many of those inquiries not to franchise.

“But for those companies that do franchise,” continued Siebert, “they are able to harness the power of a growth vehicle unlike any other – one that allows them to grow much faster, and with much less time and capital invested, than if they did it themselves through corporate-owned locations.”

It’s for these reasons that studies demonstrate that franchised businesses continue to make an important impact in the overall economy – with more franchises added to the marketplace each year, and franchising consistently outpacing overall economic growth in the U.S.

Franchise Your Business (Entrepreneur Press 2016) is now available on Amazon.com and all fine book and ebook retailers.

For a free excerpt of Franchise Your Business — The Guide to Employing the Greatest Growth Strategy Ever click here.


About the Author:

Mark Siebert is the founder and CEO of iFranchise Group, a franchise consulting organization developed in 1998. He is an expert in evaluating company franchisability, structuring franchise offerings and developing franchise programs domestically and internationally. Siebert has personally assisted more than 30 Fortune 2000 companies and more than 500 startup franchisors in his 30 years in the industry.

About iFranchise Group:

iFranchiseGroup is a leading franchise consulting firm that offers the skills of the nation’s top professionals in franchise strategic planning, operations training and documentation, and franchise marketing and sales for emerging and established franchise companies worldwide. For more information, call (708) 957-2300 or email [email protected].