Restaurant Broker Robin Gagnon of We Sell Restaurants recently served as the moderator for the Women's Franchise Network (WFN) event held in Atlanta on Tuesday, July 21. The topic of the discussion was "Taking your Franchise to the Next Level." The event offered a chance for networking and knowledge building among new and existing franchisors as well as those interested in entering the busines. Industry professional in attendance included well known names in the Atlanta franchise industry.
The Small Business Development Center or SBDC formed part of the panel for the night's discussion. Jeff Paterson and Ted Beveridge discussed the resources of the SBDC which include free business consulting services available to help established and emerging businesses thrive. According to the two, "assistance can take the form of helping on business plans; marketing strategies; financial analysis; management structure and access to capital." Christy James from JP Morgan Chase Bank weighed in on the lender side of the equation and discussed the significance of a well written business plan when applying for financing. Franchisors asked the panel questions related to how they might qualify for Minority Owned Business initiatives and support for franchisees that need a "outside resource" to assist in looking at franchisee financial performance.
The event was held at the former Georgia Pacific Building which is now part of Georgia State University's campus. Atlanta franchisor, Atlanta Bread Company served an extensive menu to the attendees and served as a major sponsor along with Shipe Dosik Law firm, a well known franchise attorney group in the marketplace.
The Women's Franchise Network - Atlanta Chapter is part of a network of local chapters that are designed to develop relationships with women franchising professionals and to address issues, share ideas and offer solutions related to franchising. The initiative exists under the umbrella of the International Franchising Association or IFA. The first chapter was launched in May, 2002 in Denver and now includes nearly 20 active markets including Atlanta.
The panelists for the event included:
Jeffrey Patterson - SBDC
Jeff has extensive financial industry experience that includes leadership roles in credit administration, commercial lending, operations management, regulatory compliance, and audit administration. His expertise includes loan proposal and business plan preparation, cash flow management, budgeting, and customer satisfaction. He also has brokerage and financial planning training as well as his Commercial Lending Diploma from RMA.
Christy James: JP Morgan Chase Bank
Christy has worked 17 years in the banking industry which includes managing a team of banking professionals, business banking, lending and community involvement. She has expertise in leading corporate initiatives within the branch, providing quality leadership, analyzing data, relationship acquisition, making product recommendations and evaluating credit. During Christy's career, she has earned many awards and received recognition for outstanding performance.
TED BEVERIDGE - SBDC
Mr. Beveridge spent six years as a successful small business owner prior to joining the Georgia SBDC Network. He has experience in every facet of small business operations and has developed specific expertise in the food and retail sectors. Mr. Beveridge also spent several years in corporate financial roles and is well-versed in quantitative functions like budgeting, financial planning, pricing, and cash-flow forecasting. Additionally, he spent four years conducting search-and-rescue operations in the United States Coast Guard.
The Executive Leadership Team of the Women's Franchise Network, Atlanta Chapter Include:
As the CEO of Any Lab Test Now, Clarissa Bradstock is proud to lead the franchisees in their goal of providing an exceptional experience for our customers interested in clinical, toxicology and DNA testing. In addition, Clarissa is the Vice Chair for the Southeastern Franchise Forum, and on the IFA Women's Franchise Network committee, and the Chair for the Atlanta Chapter of the Women's Franchise Network.
LAUREN FERNANDEZLauren E. Fernandez is the founder and principal of The Fernandez Company, a consulting & law practice specializing in all aspects of restaurant and franchise development, consumer product development, and brand licensing. She works with companies in developing new revenue streams in regulated industries, particularly in areas such as franchising, food and drug. Before forming her own company, she served as the General Counsel for FOCUS Brands, parent company six brands including Cinnabon®, Moe's Southwest Grill® and Auntie Anne's® Pretzels
Ellen Bookman is President of Bookman Public Relations, an independent consulting practice, which officially opened in May 2004. A 20+ PR year PR veteran. Ellen's experience is vast, yet over the last several years has been completely focused on the franchising industry where she is seasoned in multiple disciplines, including brand building, media relations, franchise recruitment and new store openings, presentation development and implementation, strategic consulting, collateral material development, event management, client relations and employee relations. Ellen serves on the leadership team for the Women's Franchise Network Atlanta Chapter.
Diann Cattani has been a Supplier to the Franchise Community for years and has vast experience in Franchise initiatives such as Royalty Fee Revenue Assessments, Compliance Audits, Guest Experience Feedback Programs, Market Research, and Online or Digital Marketing Strategies. Currently Diann is an Independent Consultant working with Franchisors to assess needs in specific areas and then incorporating the results into working with Franchisor and Franchisee Clients in developing and implementing sustainable programs designed to drive customers to their business and measure their experience