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Key Idea: Hire Experts

Auntie Anne's consulted experts to guide them in creating a franchise opportunity that attracts people from all walks of life, like this CPA, to start their own business.

Key Question:


Find people who had done what you want to do and hire them.

Q: How can a small business afford all the experts and consultants who are available to offer advice on every topic imaginable?

A: Most don't. Although, carefully chosen experts can save time and heartache. If you use Anne's rule of thumb, you hire experts when you arrive at a place you've never been before that seems to be confusing and perhaps fraught with potential legal problems. While Anne didn't hire a consultant to evaluate her pretzels, she did hire the well-known company, FranCorp to answer the question: Is franchising a good idea for Auntie Anne's?

When the answer to that question turned out to be yes, Anne hired the firm to put the documentation in place so that Auntie Anne's would be positioned properly for long-term success.

So much about building a business is a "do it yourself" project. But, when you begin to form financial partnerships, it is wise to have the contracts and supporting paperwork put in place by people who know the ropes. Even though there are dollars out up front, it is more cost-effective to pay professionals at the beginning than when a problem arises that could have been prevented. Rule: It is cheaper to have attorneys at the beginning of a relationship that at the end of it.

One mentor told me, "If you are a capitalist, you will be sued." Everyone who has run a business for any amount of time knows what I am talking about. Anne was smart and is smart about all the legalities. Don't be cheap or naive when you come to a crossroads. Hire someone who has a map.

Think about it

Are you over your head when it comes to technology? Would a human resource consultant be able to improve or create an employee manual for you? Might there be an insurance expert who could save you dollars? If your team isn't working smoothly, should you hire someone to lead an in-house seminar or help you figure out who needs to be fired?

Clip from: Auntie Annes Pretzels

Anne Beiler says that everyone is teachable and lovable.

Gap, Pennsylvania:   An angel investor stood by her while bank after bank turned her down because the purpose of this business was to make money then give it away.

Meet Anne Beiler, founder f Auntie Anne's Pretzels.  Anne's generous spirit is infused throughout this company and it is their secret ingredient.  Anne has proven that her franchisees want to run a business built on love. While most franchise companies have to market to find new owners, Anne has to turn away hundreds who want to buy into her concept. Products topped with her love of people make Anne Beiler a leadership example to follow.

In 1988 Anne Beiler turned a mistake into a new product. Today, Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels are baked fresh in over 800 locations and are the perfect high carbohydrate, low-fat, back-to-the-basics snack so many people crave. Customers will part with over $500 million a year to enjoy this hot treat.

So now, we travel out to Gap in Pennsylvania's Amish Country; it is a simpler place. And though it may be an unlikely place to be running a fast-growing business, maybe there are lessons here for all of us in these hostile times.  This business is based on love and on giving. This is the American Dream. It has come alive for all the right reasons.

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Auntie Anne's Inc.

Anne Beiler, Founder

160-A Route 41
Gap, PA 17527

Visit our web site:

Office: 717-435-1610

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1988

Hire Experts

Young employee: Hot tray coming out.
ANNE: To really structure what we wanted to do was something that I didn't know how to do. So we had to go outside. And first of all, my youngest brother had actually gone to business school, and so he came in and really helped departmentalize the organization, and from there, we went to Francorp, which was a company based out of Chicago, Illinois. They are a franchise consulting company. And they helped us with--they took our licensing agreement to an official franchise agreement, which was a great help, which you really need that. If you're going to franchise, you really need to have the documentation in place, and you need to have an agreement that is good for you and it's good for the customers, for the franchisee. And in this agreement, you need to make sure that you're protected, but you also need to make sure that the franchisee is protected from the franchisor. Because it's really a two-way street. And so if you understand franchising, a good way to understand it is to see it as a partnership for the rest of your life, more like a marriage.

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