For many years I’ve participated in numerous events sponsored by the International Franchise Association (IFA), the world’s premier organization for franchisors, franchisees and industry suppliers. It’s been an honor, as well as an education, to meet the brightest people in franchising through the IFA, and now I’ve been given an opportunity to work with the IFA at the highest possible level as a member of its board of directors. I’m humbled by the recent decision of IFA’s leadership to appoint me to the board beginning in February 2016. Continue reading “An opportunity to advance franchising worldwide”
I recently participated in an event that was not only inspiring but also left me excited about the future of business, in general, and specifically franchising.
As a founding sponsor of the International Franchise Association’sNextGen program, I was invited to join several of my colleagues on a panel in which I was able to share my experiences in building Edible Arrangements with a group of about 40 young entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs were winners of the IFA’s Young Entrepreneurs in Franchising Competition and were selected from more than 450 applicants across 44 countries who submitted ideas for franchiseable businesses.
I was encouraged to find that many of the ideas reflected social responsibility within the business opportunity, such as alternative energy refill stations from South Africa and fresh drinking water systems from Uganda. This new generation truly understands the importance of being a contributing member of their community.
What excited me most, however, was the vision these young men and women have for the future of franchising.
While those numbers are impressive and reflect the critical role that franchising plays in the economy, I’ve always felt that we are just scratching the surface when it comes to realizing the true potential of this amazing business model.
Advances in technology have given us opportunities not available even a few years ago to build dynamic franchise systems that go well beyond a chain of shops offering the same products or services.
We have the opportunity to create our own ecosystems in which we can control almost every part of the process — from production of the resources needed to create a product all the way to how the product or service is purchased — thus guaranteeing a universal experience.
What I discovered in visiting with these young men and women is that they “Get It!” They are a generation raised in a global economy and in a time in which companies such as Apple and a few others are redefining the way businesses serve their many markets. Their ideas for how to launch and grow their businesses reflected this more global way of thinking.
As a result, I truly believe they understand that franchising can be much more than it is today.
I am excited to see where this new generation takes us. Wherever it is, I am confident it will bring the type of new thinking and innovation needed to inspire all of us in franchising to rethink the way we do business and bring us closer to reaching our full potential.
From the day I opened my first flower shop as a teenager, technology has played a major role in the success of my businesses. Even at an early age I recognized that unleashing the power of technology could significantly enhance my marketing capabilities, streamline my operations and provide the means to drive sales like few other tools. When I couldn’t find the proper solution to a problem, I created my own, often reselling my customized solutions to other small businesses with the same needs.
This understanding and use of the power of technology was critical as we grew Edible Arrangements into a global icon. Our constantly evolving proprietary software solutions, created by my technology company Netsolace, have given Edible Arrangements and our franchisees a significant competitive advantage and, in my opinion, is a major reason for our success.
Interestingly enough, I have found that even today there are many that still don’t embrace technology and understand the true impact that it can have on their business. In part, this is understandable, as keeping up with advances in technology can be overwhelming and even a little scary. I was lucky enough to have become a “technophile” early in life, but I completely understand the “technophobes” among us.
That is why I am so excited about my latest business venture, Naranga, a new technology company designed to help franchise companies and small businesses take advantage of emerging technologies to integrate their sales, operations and marketing activities.
Earlier this year I acquired proven franchise solutions provider eMaximation. It has been rebranded under the name Naranga, and we have focused over the past few months on improving existing systems as well as expanding the suite of products and services.
Naranga’s products will allow franchise chains to take control of their brand with simple, flexible tools that drive sales, improve operational efficiency, and allow them to easily connect with their franchisees.
In addition to previous products available through eMax, we have added new solutions that can be customized to meet the specific requirements of a franchise chain and eliminate the need to use multiple resources to meet all the technology needs.
The bottom line is that we are making it as easy as possible for others to take advantage of the latest advances in technology in order to become even more competitive in the marketplace.
In addition, all applications are developed with a mobile-first approach. To meet the needs of today’s highly mobile professional, it is critical to design for mobile tools such as smart phones and tablets first, then apply those applications to more traditional formats. This allows us to produce innovative experiences that unlock new ways for franchisors to interact with their customers and their franchisees without having to become experts in technology!
I hope you will visit our website at naranga.com to learn more about this exciting new company or call 800-900-8321 and our experienced and talented team will be happy to discuss your needs and how we can help.
Among the many worthwhile causes that the Tariq Farid Foundation supports, some are more personal than others. A recent $10,000 contribution to the Life Foundation in Pakistan really hit close to home.
When I learned that support was needed to develop an app that could save thousands of lives every year by creating a system for safe blood donations and transfusions, I did not hesitate.
In Pakistan, blood transfusions can be costly. If someone cannot afford the cost they are unlikely to receive a transfusion, even in a life or death situation. It is estimated that as many as 12,000 to 15,000 people die each year in Pakistan that might have been saved had they had access to a blood transfusion.
Even in those situations when a family can afford a transfusion for their loved one, it is not guaranteed to be safe due to the potential for improper handling and storage.
A transfusion can result in shock or death, as I learned firsthand recently during a trip back to my native country.
Some of my family members had been involved in a terrible car accident in which two people died. One woman survived but was in critical condition when I went to visit her. She received a blood transfusion, but was given blood that had been improperly stored. She went into shock and almost died.
During this time I met Javaid Awan, a beloved local professor. Awan is battling cancer and has personally experienced the difficulty in securing blood for the transfusions during his treatment. He told me about a system he had developed through which mass emails and social media alerts would notify registered donors when a certain blood type was needed. Donors would then go to the hospital to donate blood which could then be transferred directly to the person in need.
When we talked, Awan already had hundreds of students from his university signed up as potential donors and he had created an NGO called the Life Foundation.
He says the contribution from the Tariq Farid Foundation truly is a lifesaver with global implications because this is not a problem limited to Pakistan. Many other countries face similar problems with blood storage and transfusions.
A majority of the gift to the Life Foundation will be used to develop an app for use on mobile devices and to recruit more volunteers and hospitals into the blood donation network.
The work has just begun, but I am very excited about the potential. Thanks to people like Awan, the citizens of Pakistan and other countries may soon have access to safe, untainted blood, and the unnecessary loss of life may soon become a thing of the past.