Interview with Lew Bayer of Civility Experts
1. Tell us about the In Good Company concept.
In Good Company Etiquette Academy& Finishing School was officially launched as a Business Opportunityconcept in 2014. In Good Company is the children, youth, and teens trainingdivision of Civility Experts Worldwide. Civility Experts are internationallyrecognized leaders in the field- there are 65 current Licensees of CivilityExperts Worldwide in 23 countries around the world. These affiliates focus onbusiness etiquette and civility training. To meet the growing demands ofparents, teachers and caregivers- a License to use the validated, provenCivility Experts model and training materials, In Good Company was created forpeople who want to deliver essential social skills training to children, youth,and teens. (Ages 4-18)
2. How and when did you become involved with (In Good Company)?
In 1999 I left a secure job asDirector of Operations for a hotel chain and started a business (we were calledEtiquette Ladies at the time) with a business partner. When we ended ourpartnership in 2009, I took on sole ownership of the company and we are nowCivility Experts Worldwide. We have maintained recognition as the leadingexperts on civility in North America for more than 14 years.
3. What was your background prior to joining (In Good Company )?
After completing my degree aMcGill University, I moved to Winnipeg to pursue a Masters Degree and over theyears have held a range of positions. I’ve always had an interest in Social andOrganizational Psychology but learned about business by making my way throughthe ranks in the Hospitality industry. I’ve done everything from clearingtables to designing restaurants, from teaching Courtesy Camp to writingcurriculum for delivery in university settings, and from being project managerfor large training projects to delivering an average of 150 corporate trainingevents annually.
4. What are some of the advantages in being a (In Good Company) franchisee?
Wow, the advantages are many:
-You get to see the “spark”- that moment when a child realizes his/herpower to manage him/herself, to impact others, and to choose how to be in theworld- this never gets old.
-You get to be your own boss- can be hard work, but there is a tremendoussense of accomplishment when you see something grow from just an idea to aviable, sustainable business.
-You can make unlimited amounts of money- you have the power to decidehow hard you want to work.
-There is always something new- something to learn, a new technique, anew audience, this work enables you to stretch and become your best self.
-You’re never alone. One of the challenges for entrepreneurs is sometimesfeeling like no one “gets it”. Well, we get it. The IGC Franchise team isalways available to help. We have ongoing training, you get access to a mentorand all kinds of invaluable supports.
5. Who is your ideal franchisee?
We are looking for Licensees who are truly interested in bettering thelives- and increasing success, for children, youth, and teens. To be successfulin this business you have to be a bit of a risk-taker, you have to be unafraidto try approaches and strategies that others might not try, you have to be acontinuous learner, and you have to be willing to trust the process, trustyourself, and just take the first step. One of the reasons we need civilitytraining so badly in the world today is because things all around us areconstantly changing. Resilience, change readiness, open-mindedness andcommitment- I’d say these are the qualities we are looking for. Plus- you can’tbe afraid to make money. Some people hesitate to earn an income from civility-but you can’t lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day you areproviding a service- parents will pay $35 for a pizza without blinking, why isit unreasonable to expect that they should pay for expertise and social skillstraining that could make a lasting positive impact in their child’s life.
6. Tell us a little about the Industry?
According to market researchcompleted by GrowThink, the segment of the education/training sector thatincludes etiquette training generates (in the US alone) 4.3 billion dollarsannually. With the economy bouncing back, and considering increases indiversity in schools and communities, and considering the heightenedcompetitiveness (e.g., to get into university, to get good jobs) due to worldmarkets, Civility Experts suggests the demand for social skills training willcontinue to increase.
7. What are some of the greatest lessons you’velearned in growing this franchise?
We learned though our work withexisting Civility Experts (business and corporate training Licensees) welearned 2 key lessons that we’ve incorporated into the In Good Company BusinessOpportunity:
Lesson 1: that people needoptions- every market and every entrepreneur has different needs, e.g., somehave existing businesses that they’ve built from the ground up and don’t wantto lose; some have no experience at all and want to duplicate our brandexactly. And so, with In Good Company, we offer Licenses with optional brandingclauses. And we encourage Licensees to use the resources provided, but also tothink about what is best for them. If they want to use the copyright materialsbut keep their own established brand, we are happy to work with them to makethis happen.
Lesson 2: that true entrepreneursdon’t want to have to constantly report to someone, they don’t want to have tojustify every action, they don’t want to deal with the paperwork and mentalwork of daily, weekly, monthly calculation of fees- and so, we are not atypical franchise in that there are no ongoing fees. You buy the License- it’sgood for 3 years. You can renew at 10% fee after 3 years- and beyond that, youkeep your money!
8. Do you have a mentor and is this someone you usefor inspiration?
You know, I don’t have just one.When it comes to civility specifically- I really admire Dr. P. Forni- out ofJohns Hopkins, and I follow his work and theory pretty closely. For day to daybusiness I am a huge fan of Brendan Bouchard- our Australia affiliateintroduced me to his work about 6 years ago and I am completely engrossed inhis work and message. In terms of personal mentors, I’ve had many. My dad. Andsome older and wiser women who taught me about character and courage: Edith Houston,Freda Reeve, Mariette Bayer, Rose Rudko, Cathy Shaver.
9. What advice do you have for someone looking toacquire a Franchise?
I would say just start…trust yourgut. Just take the first step – believe in yourself and your power to besuccessful and things will define themselves. If you wait for everything to beperfect, you may never actually do anything. In Good Company Franchises are notexpensive, and you can make payments, we guide you every step of the way. In aslittle as 90 days you can be up and running and generating revenue. It reallyisn’t complicated. Just get started.
10. In your opinion, why do you think that (In Good Company ) would be a greatopportunity for someone?
I’ve always said that “Civilityis its own reward” and I’ve found this to be true. If you can invest a smallamount of money and then earn a good living AND live your values AND offerchildren and youth and teens invaluable skills to help them be confident andsuccessful as they find their way in the world- how could you NOT feel goodabout getting up every day to do this work?