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Interview with Mark Siebert - CEO, iFranchise Group

CEOof iFranchise Group, Mark C. Siebert has been consulting to franchisors since1985, and has worked with some of the most successful franchisors in the world,including Ace Hardware, Bridgestone/Firestone, Chem-Dry, Chevron, HoneyBakedHam, McDonald’s, Tribune Companies, and many others.  For nearly three decades, Siebert acted asconsultant to over 30 Fortune 2000companies and well over 500 start-up franchisors.  In 2002, Siebert was named to the prestigious“20 to Watch” issue of Franchise Times.He is a former board member of the American Association of Franchisees andDealers, and is active in the International Franchise Association and itsFranchise Relations Committee. Siebert has received three major awards for hisfranchise related activities, is widely quoted in the business press. Siebertis the author of dozens of articles on franchising, as well as the book, Franchise Your Business, The Guide toEmploying the Greatest Growth Strategy Ever.

Franchise Expo:  Tellus about the iFranchise Group concept?

Mark C. Siebert: iFranchise Group is a leading franchise consulting firm that offers  the skills of the nation’s top professionalsin franchise strategic planning, operations training and documentation,franchise marketing and sales,advertising fund management, anddevelopment of digitalapplications for emerging and established franchise companies worldwide.

FE:  Howand when did you become involved with  iFranchise Group?

MS: I founded the iFranchise Group in1998.

FE: Whatwas your background prior to founding iFranchise Group?

MS: I have been in franchise consultingfor over 30 years.

FE:  Tellus a little about the franchise consulting industry?

MS: Franchising in the Information Age enablesbusiness owners to grow innovative concepts into viable businesses, introducenew products and services with lightning speed, and transform dynamic,growth-oriented companies into regional, national and internationalpowerhouses.

Franchise consulting services run the gamut,and can be tailored to three markets: companies seeking to franchise abusiness, companies who are already franchising, and manufacturers sellingthrough dealers or distributors.

Services that iFranchise Group offers tothese various franchisor or business profiles include:

  • Franchise Feasibility Assessment & Market Studies
  • Franchise Development for New Franchise Programs
  • Strategic Planning for Franchise Growth
  • Franchise Operations & Training Documentation
  • Franchisee Recruitment Marketing Strategies
  • Franchise Sales Brochures
  • Franchise Sales Training
  • Franchise Implementation & Compliance Training
  • Website Content & Optimization
  • Franchise Sales and Training Videos
  • Implementation Consulting & Assistance
  • Franchise Organizational or Sales & Marketing Audits
  • Franchise System Best Practices and Benchmarking
  • Advertising Fund Consulting and Administration
  • Improved Franchisee Relations and Communications
  • Refinement of Franchisee Support Systems
  • Franchisee Relations and Franchisee Council Development
  • International Expansion Planning & Market Analysis
  • Dealer Conversion Assistance 
  • Franchise Implementation Plans
  • Non-Franchising Expansion Strategies
  • Business Plans for Fundraising
  • Prototype Development Consulting
  • Name Selection & Logo Design
  • Expert Witness Consulting & Testimony
  • Due Diligence Assistance for Mergers & Acquisitions

FE: Whatadvice do you have for someone looking to franchise a business?

MS: An appropriate first step in the decision tofranchise is an examination of the question of whether or not a businessconcept is actually “franchisable.” Any organization seriously consideringfranchising should undertake this analysis before implementing a franchisestrategy. While it is impossible to determine the franchisability of a businessconcept without a significant amount of analysis, the iFranchise Group hasidentified a  serious of predictive criteria that assess thereadiness of a company for franchising and the likelihood that it will achievesuccess as a franchisor, including: company credibility, differentiation,adaptability, documented systems, an established prototype, adequate ROI, andmore.

FE: In your opinion, why do you thinkthat franchising  would be a great opportunity for a business owner?

MS: While franchising provides franchisees with aproven system and the support of a much larger organization, the  advantages of the franchisor are even moresignificant, including:
  • Use of Others’ Capital & Higher Return on Investment
  • Risk Reduction
  • Limited Contingent Liability & Reduced Vicarious Liability
  • Increased Speed of Growth
  • Reduced Role in Day-to-Day Operations
  • Highly Motivated, Longer-Term Management
  • Better Unit Performance & Quality Control
  • Leaner Structure
  • Effective Brand Building & Advertising
  • International Expansion Potential

Joe DePinto of 7-Eleven

Joe DePinto is president and CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc., the premier company in convenience retailing. Globally, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 61,000 7 Eleven stores, including more than 10,900 stores in North America.

Dan Steward of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors

Dan Steward joined Pillar To Post as President in 2004. The success of every Pillar To Post franchisee lies at the core of the past, present and future for Pillar To Post.