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Street Smart Franchising

Book Information: 

Franchising represents more than 10% of the private sector economy and 14% of the jobs

If you’re looking to have your own fast food franchise, here’s a typical scenario. You will have to have $175,000 that isn’t borrowed, provide 40% of the funds (also not borrowed) it takes to open the restaurant which can range from $400,000 to $750,000, and find a profitable location. Due to the complication of the franchise game, Joe Mathews, Don DeBolt and Deb Percival pulled their expertise in their new book, Street Smart Franchising (Entrepreneur Press, July 2006). It does what other franchising books won’t-it reveals the challenges within the franchise game using rare stories taken straight from the trenches.

In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 2000 different franchisors as well as more than 770,000 retail outlets. These retail outlets employ over 8 million people, and account for more than 1 trillion dollars in annual sales. Mathews, DeBolt and Percival offer an in-depth look into what happens during the investigation and ramp up of a franchise business as well as “real world” tactics and strategies for succeeding in franchising. They also demonstrate how humanity impacts franchising. For instance, most entrepreneurs naturally resist external controls and systems, meaning the people most likely to purchase a franchise are least likely to follow the system they just invested in.

What makes Street Smart Franchising most unique is the fact that it offers “street smarts” as opposed to “book smarts.” Mathews and DeBolt realize that what’s taught in the classroom doesn’t always work in real life. Case studies can’t help a franchisee when they awaken at 1 o’clock in the morning for the third sleepless night in a row because they are consumed by the stress of a start up business. However, a franchisee can pick up Street Smart Franchising and discover high stress and loss of sleep is normal and temporary in the start up stage of the life cycle of their business as well as find successful strategies for managing stress during this critical stage and how to successfully navigate towards the next stage.

Joe Mathews has worked as a franchising manager for Subway, Blimpie, Motophoto, and Entrepreneur Source. In 2002, Mathews founded the Franchise Performance Group and became a consultant, helping franchise companies excel in the business of franchising. Mathews resides in Connecticut with his wife and three children. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Connecticut.

Don DeBolt is former president of the International Franchise Association (IFA), one of the world’s oldest and largest trade associations representing the franchise community. He has served as a member of the Committee of 100 and the Public Affairs Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; a member of the Department of Commerce's Industry Sector Advisory Committee on Wholesaling and Retailing for Trade Policy Matters; sat on the board of directors of the Small Business Legislative Council and the National Cooperative Bank's Retail Finance Corporation; and was a member of the National Congress for Community Economic Development Advisory Council.

Deb Percival works in franchise development and has an extensive background in writing. Before joining the world of franchising she worked in marketing for 20 years, owning her own public relations firm for 12 of those years. Her clients have included national and international corporations and her writing has received numerous awards for content, clarity and originality.

For more information, check out To schedule an interview, please contact Erika Sumner, PR by the Book, (281) 895-7190,

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Ray Borradale's picture

I cannot find any additional

I cannot find any additional information on this case. What happened? Out of Court settlement?

Mufflerman's picture

One book to read....

The Franchise Fraud, by Robert Purvin would be at or near the top of the list, but the premise that you're only going to read one book is inherently flawed.

If, in fact, you are only going to read one book before getting into a franchise system it might best be the Bible because a prayer might be all you have of success...

Ray Borradale's picture

The next stage

"a franchisee can pick up Street Smart Franchising and discover high stress and loss of sleep is normal and temporary in the start up stage of the life cycle of their business as well as find successful strategies for managing stress during this critical stage and how to successfully navigate towards the next stage."  Now class; the next stage with a scumbag franchisor is where things get worse - we call that Chapter 11 - you don't sleep ever. 

Street smart franchising is where you collar the zor before you sign and tell him if he ends up being a thief you gunna 'tell everyone'. 

FuwaFuwaUsagi's picture

a good read is...

For a simple read, I still recommend Robert Ringer's classic  "Looking out for #1" or "Winning through Intimidation" these are not franchise books, but a doubt anyone who adopts Ringer's philosophy is going to get taken to the cleaners by a zor. 

As a disclaimer, I cut my business teeth on Ringer's book and he has been a guest on a radio show I co-host. 


The one book to read

If you were only going to read one book on what it takes to win in franchising, this book is it.

question to the forum, what is your vote for the best book on franchising?

FuwaFuwaUsagi's picture

on the other hand...

It was written:

Why? Often it's because people are people and important human characteristics critical to success are left undiscovered in the sales process until it's too late-the candidates are now franchisees.

My reply: 

Then again it could be that the franchise or person actually has very little to do with overall success and the economic cycle, lease terms, financing and location account for the majority of the success or failure.

But that does not paint a real compelling story to sell does it? 


"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers."

michael webster's picture

Reading the Book

I have read the book; your analysis is far superior.

Michael Webster PhD LLB

Franchise News

RichardSolomon's picture

Differential Analysis 101

I am in Wal Mart this afternoon buying two new garbage cans - the kind with locking lids and wheels. The express line is about 45 people long and only one cashier is at work because, no doubt, the express line isn't supposed to be that long at that hour on Friday in West Houston.

Right behnd me is a very pissed off and large man who came in to buy chewing gum and who is in one hell of a hurry. He is fuming and cusssin, muttering all sorts of terroristics things sorta but not entirely under his breath. Finally, he says in plain English loud enough for everyone to hear - So this is how the world's largest retailer works. I wonder how the hell they got to be the world's largest retailer.

Unable to resist such an opening, I said to him "It's because they are so much smarter than you and I are". He glowered and balled up his fists, trying to decide  whether he could take me or not, and said "What the f---k you talkin bout, mot---- fuc----er?" So I told him " We are here standing in their line. They aren't in our store standing on our line."

It took a minute and then the light went on in his head, and he said "Damn. You right. Sumbitch!"

All street smarts is about is just recognition of what is before you in simple terms. The essence of everything is always simple. You just have to sift out the crap to see it.

There. Now you have read the book.

Richard Solomon

Great people in proven franchises fail every day?

Great people in proven franchises fail every day but I might suggest that since it is the franchisee who does the failing and carries the 100% risk, the franchisee does his best to succeed and not to fail, often working 11 and 12 hour days with no pay and no profits.

If all of the important human characteristics critical to success are PRESENT and the franchisee is working with a flawed and unviable business plan that has been presented as "Proven" under a government UFOC, there is going to be an ABSENCE of success.

Oh NO! Another Book on Franchising ---Another Cloud!

Another book on franchising that I'm sure will not even mention that it is a good idea to try to determine how many of the first-generation frnchisees have survived, and for how long? and how many have failed, and how long did it take them to fail? Will this book advise that prospective franchisees must interview each and every reference in Item 20 with only the hope that they will be able to weigh these interviews to determine the actual material risk of the investment in the franchise?

I'm sure this book is a good read and true but it will protect the "dirty little secret" of overseeding and churning and turning, enabled by Item 20 of the UFOC, that is a management tool for so many networks, even those with famous brand names.

Will the failure of franchisees, as always, be primarily layed at the feet of the franchisees and there will be no discussion or mention of flawed or unviable "proven" plans with high failure rastes and calculated faulty start-up estimates? Will there be no discussion of those franchisors who prove their business plans and assure their profits on the backs of failed first-generation franchisees whose assets continue to serve them after the first-generation fails under second-generation ownership?

I think all of these books should recommend Richard Solomons's $1,000 negative franchise due diligence consult if they push franchising while obscuring the risk and blaming failures only on the franchisee and the franchisor-franchisee relationship.

Great read...

As someone who has worked on both sides of the franchisee / franchisor world... I highly recommend SSF to others. Joe tells excellent stories and helps others by offering real world examples.

Geoff Wilkinson

I agree...

Street Smart Franchising is an excellent toll for those looking into a franchise as well as franchise execs that need to understand the buyers pov. I suggest it to many of my clients.

Street Smart Franchising a must read

Street Smart Franchising offers valuable practical information, insight and advice based on real life franchise experience. The authors clearly address the human condition as it relates to success in franchising with wit and a direct style that makes their information memorable and useful.

Obviously putting high-caliber people and successful business systems isn’t enough. Great people in proven franchises fail every day. Why? Often it's because people are people and important human characteristics critical to success are left undiscovered in the sales process until it's too late-the candidates are now franchisees.

Street Smart Franchising is the first book I’ve read that explores in depth the critical elements of attitudes and behavior that are fundamental indicators of under-performance, failure or success. It’s a must read for prospective and existing franchisees and franchisors.

Dan Green
Area President

About Laura Barganier

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Franchise Consultant