Surviving Outside Sales

Embracing Change: Keys to going ALL IN & the future of Surviving Outside Sales | SOS Ep.

October 02, 2023 Mike O'Kelly Season 1 Episode 359
Surviving Outside Sales
Embracing Change: Keys to going ALL IN & the future of Surviving Outside Sales | SOS Ep.
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Ever felt like you've bitten off more than you can chew? 

Well, brace yourselves as I take you through my taxing adventure of investing in franchises, opening a new store, and enduring the challenging journey of outside sales. From the complexities of real estate to the arduous legal aspects of the franchise process, it's a wild ride that has taught me invaluable lessons. 

Peek through the keyhole as I wrestle with lease negotiations, taps into the role of an architect firm, and grapple with the SBA process. This tumultuous journey culminates in hiring a general manager, kickstarting construction, and of course, coming to terms with the harsh realities of outside sales. Expect a raw, honest, and enlightening exploration as I share my experiences of dealing with the loss of my dear father, the chaos of September, and the dilemma of juggling too many tasks at once. 

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If you are in outside sales and have had any of the following:

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- Experienced, but have lacked training and business development
- Seasoned but feel like you have hit your ceiling and need a reboot

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Speaker 1:

The Surviving Outside Sales podcast, hosted by Mike O'Kelly, presented by Sales Builder Academy. The goal is to survive and thrive all phases of outside sales, whether you're getting in, dominating or getting out. Surviving Outside Sales. Now on with the show. Welcome to the Surviving Outside Sales podcast. I'm your host, mike O'Kelly. I hope everybody's having a fantastic start to Q4. This is the playoffs when it comes to sales. I hope everybody had a great September. My September was interesting. It was chaotic, it was hectic, stressful. It was a lot. Started off at the beach, ended it Having the funeral service for my father the military service at Quantico in Northern Virginia last week, which was good it was if you follow the podcast. My father, who was in sales, passed away in July. We finally, as a family, had closure and it was everything that my dad wanted. He had military funeral. He is now. His ashes are now laid to rest with his brothers in arms and I say brothers because back then there were not, if any, women in the military so the people that he served with people of his generation. He was a Vietnam veteran, he was an officer in the military. It's funny that the place that he is surrounded right now he has got some pretty heavy hitters. I don't know a lot about the rankings, but he has a lot of people of much higher rankings that are around him. It's everything that my dad wanted, so it's great to have that closure. I know that he is smiling upon me, my family. He's smiling upon us in heaven right now. So September was always the month that was going to happen, and so September was one of those months where you just kind of you look forward to it, but you also wanted to enjoy it. I had two conferences, one on a family vacation in September. I put way too much on my plate and also came out of September with a lot of clarity. So I'm going to unpack it real quick, because it has a lot to do with you, the audience, and some of the changes that are going to happen. First of all, no matter who you are, no matter what you are doing, everyone is fallible. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone will fall short of expectations that others put upon them or you put upon yourself, and that's the first thing. I talked to all my students about that and it gives them a sigh of relief because they believe everybody is perfect and they're following people on social media and they're seeing other people's wins and nobody is posting their L's, their losses. Since the beginning, I've mentioned that I always will be transparent with my wins and losses, because I believe that's the best way I can serve an audience. If all you do is just hear the wins and then you think to yourself, well, I'm not having these wins right now, I must be doing something wrong. I'm going to quit. No, if you understand that, people are going to run into challenges, people are going to fail. Okay, I went to a conference two weeks ago and it was all small business owners. It was called the Badass Business Summit. It was in Fort Worth, texas. There was about 100 to 120 business owners there small business owners, solopreneurs and everybody was talking about their failures. And yet these are some of the most successful people. There were people that have million-dollar businesses and they were talking about struggling with failure and it's so cathartic. It's such a relief to hear that other people are struggling with the same things that you might be struggling with, and it's not posted enough on social media, it's not talked about enough on podcasts. From the beginning, I always wanted to be real indifferent. I've wanted this to be real indifferent, to be a resource of success and failures. So right off the bat I can tell you that I have failed, and I failed big time. I took on way too much under my plate. I got very excited and I spread myself too thin. So all this kind of came to a head at the Badass Business Summit and that's the reason why there were no posts, there were no podcast episodes last week and a lot of the podcast episodes had been rebroadcasts in the month of September and but I'll come back to that. So, beginning of the month, preparing for closing our loan for the Restore Hyperwomeness store that we're building in Rock Hill Construction started two weeks ago hired a general manager, hired an assistant general manager and marketing manager. It's becoming the real deal. If you've listened to the podcast before, you mentioned or you knew that I've mentioned my wife and I invested in some franchises. At the time that we invested in them, we were kind of under the impression that it was going to be more of an investment, whereas you hire good people and you kind of oversee it. The amount of work involved has been harder than anything that I have ever done before in my life and if anybody has ever done a franchise, they just they're laughing, they're like of course it is. One of the reasons why is because there is one thing that always happens and this is what you need to think about if you are in sales or business you're listening right now and that is variable change and change in general. You have to account for variable change. Okay, when things change in any type of system, you have to account for that. You can't just say, well, I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, even though there's been this seismic shift that's happened in one area or one market, et cetera. You have to account for it and that means you have to change your process. You have to change your systems, your mindset. Everything has to change and coming into September, my mindset had not changed. That is where I failed. Now it's not a failure of catastrophic levels, but it is a failure of preparation. When we signed up, my wife and I bought two franchises, the rights to build two franchises, to own two franchises and restore hyper wellness. This was back in January of 22. Okay, we were talking about it more than a year and a half ago and it took us a really long time to find real estate and, in that time, the corporate office, the support structure that we thought we were getting. They changed it as well, and the reason why they changed it was because the economy slowed, corporate real estate slowed, commercial real estate slowed, there were issues in supply chains. So, as a business, they were not running the same type of business. They were running 16, 17 months ago. That change should have necessitated a change on my part, but it did not. I just kept plugging along doing what I was doing podcast episodes, thinking that I was going to do five a week in perpetuity, and I was going to do the Thursday business of sales live webinars and nothing was going to change. How wrong was I? So just to give you a heads up of what we've had to do in the last several months besides, well, actually, I'll just go through it right now. Okay, you're going to learn what it's like to have to go through the franchise process. Okay, I wasn't planning on talking about this right now, but I think it's a great time to run through it for you, and this is why it's extremely difficult and this is the reason why it takes guidance to get there. All right, so you go through the whole process of buying a franchise. Okay, you've done your investigation. Usually the company will have some sort of process procedure to bring you in on to the corporate office to kind of talk about it. For restore, that's called dial-in day. You know, we went to Austin Texas. We talked to all the department heads. There's no hard pitch, it's basically a here's what we got. Go home, think about it. If you really want to do this, give us a call and let's discuss further. We did that. They agreed. Yes, we like you Mike, we like Sarah, we like the O'Kelly's, we want to be in business with the O'Kelly's. So you sign your paperwork. You've got to get lawyers to check over the paperwork to make sure that everything is legally you know, in your state everything is good legally. Then you pay the franchise fee. Franchise fee could be five figures, it could be six figures, it just depends on what you're doing. Okay, so that's your first capital outlay. Okay, so, right off the bat we paid five figures, mid five figures, 16, 17 months ago and we still haven't opened our doors. It's okay, we're not going to open doors. So you do that. And then you start to look for real estate. Okay, so you hire a broker to help you and you start to look for real estate and usually every brand has guidelines size, space, location, et cetera and you have to adhere to those. It's not like just going out and picking whatever you want. Usually the franchise has specific real estate parameters. Then, once you find a location, you have to put in an LOI letter of intent. Now the letter of intent basically just says that we kind of it's like a letter of interest, it's like an offer letter. If you get a job, it's not your contract, it's not what you actually signed, it's just your offer letter. Here's our offer sheet. This is what we're willing to do, this is what we're willing to present and if we move forward through the lease process, this is what we're going to do. You work with your broker. You work with the person at the corporate office to make sure everything looks good. Usually your companies have LOI templates, so you're not having to create that on your own. You get the LOI signed, you send it over to the broker who's representing the landlord, the commercial space. They review it with the landlord and if they agree to move forward with the LOI, they'll sign it and send it back. Then you start engaging in lease negotiations. Now lease negotiations can take anywhere from three to five months. Once you do that, again you got to get a lawyer. That is almost five figures. And then you got to get a lawyer. A lawyer comes through it. They go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, making sure that it is really beneficial to both sides. But the landlord wants to have something that's profitable for the landlord, but the lawyer you have should make sure that you're protected. Then, once you sign the lease, you're locked in. Now leases can be 10 years plus a couple of five-year terms added onto that. So you're locked in for 10 years minimum Usually. Sometimes it's five. Then, once you go through that part so you've gone through the negotiations it's every day coming back and forth. Hey, what does this look like? It's hopping on zooms, et cetera. Then you start engaging an architect firm to draw up your designs. Now the architect has to do your floor plan, it has to do your electrical, it has to do everything that's designed perfectly, so that then you can hand it over to the landlord, to a construction team. So that process can take two to three months, depending on how quickly it is, how adept you are as an owner on how you go through that. So after you get your architect drawings. Then after the architect drawings you submit them, obviously, to the corporate office. Sometimes corporate office handle that, but restored didn't. They're like nope, you guys engage. We used a architect firm that has done restores before, so at least there was familiarity. But up to this point it's almost like child's play. You're probably spending five to 10 hours a week on this. Not a big deal. It's a lot of time. It's 20 to 25% of your week, your work week, but you're still. It's nothing compared to when you really get going. And I had kind of heard it's one of those things. Just as I became a father, all my buddies that had kids said just wait, you think you're prepared, you think you know what it's going to be like to be a dad and you think you know what it's going to be like to have an infant, a newborn, an infant, a toddler. You have no idea. And how true was that? You just don't know. You can't prepare until you're actually in it. It's the exact same thing of opening a brick and mortar store or buying a franchise. You think you know, you think you're prepared, but you're really not and you just have to get through it the best you can and just keep moving forward and don't look back and say I wish I would have done this, which one had done that Great. Do that on your second, go around, your third go around whatever, but your first just get advice, talk to people who have been there, done that, and then keep moving forward. So then, after the so, you got your LOI, you got your space, which, by the way, for us, we had to go to an entirely new city. So we had to exercise our second option city, which is Rock Hill, south Carolina, because we could not find real estate. We searched for real estate for 12 months in Southwest Charlotte and we could not find anything that fit what we were trying to do. Real estate was very slim to none and there was none. There was nothing the size we needed, the specs we needed, location we needed. So we moved to Rock Hill and we tried to search there and we found something. And so this. So South Carolina was our second choice to start, or that was going to be our second or our second store to open. But this now it's the first. Again, you have to pivot and you have to adjust. That is probably the best thing that we did was we just sat there and said, look, we can't find anything in southwest Charlotte and Steel Creek area, let's go to Rock Hill and let's try to find something there. And Then we found something within a couple months. Maybe it was like six weeks, less than six weeks, we found something. And you just have to do that sometimes in business. Okay, you can't just keep Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and it's gonna all of a sudden Work one day, okay. So once you get through your, we'll go back. Okay, you find real estate, you get it approved, you do an LOI and during the LOI there are forms upon forms upon forms. The landlord wants to know all of your personal information, your net worth, how much money you have, your liquidity, your bank accounts. They're gonna run a soft pull on your credit. They want to know who you are. Okay, so this is not like renting an apartment. Okay, they're in business with you for a really long time. Now I know if you're thinking. Well, you know we've gone through that when we did a house. I have purchased two properties. My wife has purchased two properties. One of the properties is joint, but we've done that before. The mortgage process is a piece of cake. The mortgage process is a walk in the park compared to what we've had to do for the small business loan. And that's one thing I forgot about is the SBA loan. We're going through that, we went through and we closed. That was a financial audit and the amount of paperwork, the amount of emails, the amount of stuff that went into it was astronomical, was astronomical. And Everybody said the FBA, the SBA, is great for what it allows you to do, but it is a process. Oh my gosh, was it a process? It's like 25 things that you have to do and in order to do each one of those 25, it's probably about four to ten hours. Five to ten hours of work that goes into that and which is okay. I mean, we had a, we had almost had almost a year and a half to do that. So this is all running concurrently. We're going through the SBA process. We're having zoom meeting after zoom meeting with the bank, we're sending over documents left and right, we're talking with lawyers, we're getting licenses, we're getting insurance, we're working with architects and simultaneously, I'm doing my coaching business. My wife is a full-time job. I'm doing five podcasts a week, I'm doing the the Thursday and Behind the scenes. I'm like a duck, who's just, you know, on top of the water. It looked all cool, calm and collected, but underneath my feet are kicking and All right. So now you get to the Build out. Okay, oh forgot. After you get the lease, then you start hiring a general contractor. Okay, then you got to put in. You got a request, bids, and that process usually takes about six to eight weeks. You reach out to two firms. You tell them what the build is and then they come back with what they think the costs are going to be. So they reach out to subcontractors, they reach out to superintendents, they send back a quote to you and then you talk about the quote and you talk to the first the To you think you're gonna go with, and you ask them questions and follow up. There's a lot of back and forth and there's a lot of review that goes into it. So just going through the general contractor process was at least 10 hours, maybe 20. So that's almost a half a week of work just going through that little process. And then, once you hire them, then you start going to permit. And Well, permit is I'm sorry, permit is running concurrently. So after the plans are done. The firm will then submit to the city for permitting and then you're trying to get permit. Before work can happen, before Construction can happen on the space, you have to have your permits. So that's all running concurrently. So Probably I mean at this point now this is August we're having 10 hours a week of meetings, zoom meetings with different groups. We're also putting in For employees. So I'm also posting jobs on. We use this company called career plug. I'm hiring a general manager. So then we're doing interviews, phone screens, interviews, preparing for our family vacation, you know, going through the process of my father just passing plus just general summer, having two toddlers, two kids and Once you get to but that's not important right now, I'm just talking about this franchise process. I have to remind myself. I'm just talking about this. So then you're concurrently getting your payroll set up. You're concurrently getting your resale taxes Licenses from the state. You're still making sure you're good to go with the state. Your architecture firm is probably is still working on the permitting. You're hiring a GC. You're hiring a general manager to run the store. Once it's open You're putting out post for jobs and then, once you get the GC signed, ready to go, you have a start date and then you're trying to work to get permits done by the start date because they have promised people work, those Subcontractors, those people are gonna do the job They've promised them work and you've got a timeline that you're gonna build. Then, when that happens, you're gonna start your marketing, you're gonna start your social media, you're gonna start getting your insurance ready to go, and All of this is happening and you so. Right now we are two and a half weeks into build. We have a general manager hired and our assistant GM starts next week. We have a soft opening date of November 20th, which is six weeks away. Seven weeks away. It's pretty quick. So if you were exhausted just hearing me tell that story, imagine going through that Now. I would not have wanted it any other way. I can't tell you how fortunate I am that we have an opportunity to bring restore to Rock Hill, south Carolina, and we are going to build out something new. I'm a builder. I mean shoot. I just I've named my training company after it Sales Builder Academy. I'm a builder, I love doing it. The change that happened was the amount of support that Restore Corporate was offering, and I get it. Things change. When we signed up. It was more of a done for you, where they kind of they had tons of people working at the corporate office, tons of people working at the corporate office that were going to do everything. They're going to do pre-sales over the phone. They were going to handle all the stuff on the back end. They were going to create everything, but it wasn't sustainable. The economy hit and the amount of people they had to let a lot of people go. It happens in business and it happens everywhere. This is normal. Companies expand too quickly because times are great, and so what happens is you have to support when times are great, but then when times flip very quickly and they flipped very quickly from 2021 to 2022, the economy flipped really fast. Inflation skyrocketed. When that happens, you have to make change and you have to adjust. So, as I mentioned, I didn't adjust fast enough. What I should have done was I should have come in, probably in July and had this conversation and shared with the audience that the Surviving Outside Sales podcast is going to look a lot different. There's 350 plus episodes in and I thank every single person who has listened. The Surviving Outside Sales podcast will not be five days a week moving forward. I don't know if it's going to be one day a week moving forward. What I can tell you is there's a new normal in my life. There's a new normal. There's no two quarters of the same. At least what I'm telling you has come true no two quarters are the same. So Q1 of 2023 and Q4 of 2023 are not the same, and Q4 of 2022 and Q4 of 2023 are not the same. It's okay. What you have to do, though, is you have to focus on what you can control and the decisions you can make whenever there is variable change. So I don't know what's going to happen with the Surviving Outside Sales podcast. I'm going to try to do more episodes because I have things to share and I have things to talk about. I don't make any money off the podcast. I'm not trying to monetize it. This has been a labor of love for an industry that has given me so much. The outside sales world, outside sales professionals, sales in general has given me so much. It's given my family so much. So the Surviving Outside Sales podcast was a resource, a tool for those who are still in the fight. You know you're going out there and you're talking to accounts. You're knocking on doors. You're trying to gain business. You're driving around, you're putting miles on your car, miles on your body, you're having to stay in hotels, you're away from your loved ones. That's who I'm fighting for. I'm fighting for you and that's what I have done. The fight is not going away. I'm just always going to be honest and transparent. I don't want to be like some of those. I'm not going to say which podcast it was, but there was a podcast I absolutely loved. I listened to it all the time. I listened to when episodes were released, but the show would just go on hiatuses. And I'd look on social media and I listened to every episode and I heard nothing and it went on like a six month hiatus. And you know, you kind of sit there and you're like what are you doing? People are listening to you and you're just the guy just decided he didn't want to do it for a while, he just want to take a break. Well, that's great, I love it. Just tell people, keep people informed. So that's what I'm doing right now. I had a hectic September. Two sales conferences Came back from the beach. I was on stage at the biz at the bad ass business summit. I gave a talk. I have not watched the video yet. I have not watched the video. I changed my speech about two hours before I was going to go live. I completely just dismissed the speech that I had prepared and then I just went with a new one and I learned a lot and this episode kind of got off the rails a little bit. But if you're listening to the show you know that kind of happens. I wanted to talk about kind of the key takeaways from the business summit and I started talking about franchising and I hope that you kind of understand why I'm kind of dumping right now, because I don't know when I'm going to get back to be able to do another episode. I am going all in on restore hyper wellness right now. In fact, I have coaching students right now that are going to continue to continue to work with them until they're done, until they're good, until they're ready to go. They've been, the plan has been fulfilled. I'm not taking any more clients at this time. I'm not taking any more coaching students at this time. I don't know when I'm going to in the future. I'm not doing any more meet and greets either. So I hate to not do that or I hate to do that. I hate to not talk to sales pros, but I have to go all in. You know, my family, my wife and I have invested way too much and this is way too important to try to straddle the fence. And sometimes in life you have to go. You have to go all in and you have to be okay with the ramifications of what that means. It means that people are going to be hurt. It means that others are going to be frustrated upset. Some people might say you're a hypocrite. Sometimes you just got to do what you got to do. I don't know Again what is going to happen in the surviving outside sales podcast. I will try to do it, but I owe it to myself, I owe it to my wife, I owe it to my family to go all in and to live, eat, breathe, sleep, restore hyper-wellness so effective, immediately. Everything is going to change. You're gonna notice the changes on LinkedIn. There is no more Thursday. There is not gonna be any more business of sales live on Thursdays. I still love the business of sales live. It is just not something that I'm gonna have time for. And one of the things that I learned at the business summit there was this great guy, jerry McNamara, if you wanna follow him on LinkedIn. He said he talked about the mafia offer and he said the mafia offer is you have to be twice as good or half the price, twice as good or half the price. Here's the hint. You don't wanna be half the price, so, whatever you are doing, you need to be twice as good. Now, what does that mean? If you are the same as your competitor through the same price as your competitor, what do you offer? That is, twice as good is what the competition can offer. Okay, what is it? If you don't know what that is, you need to examine it. So, for instance, it's you, it's your service, it's your followup, it's your sense of community, it's your process, it's your training. If somebody is selling a product and they're not offering post-sale training, offer post-sale training for free. Sell it as a perk. Create a VIP program. Have an event for your top clients every quarter, use some of your budget, invite them to a happy hour or a dinner or whatever, and thank them for their business and ask them who they need to talk to. Is there anybody in your world, or is anybody in their world that they can connect you with? That is being twice as good, cause there's a lot of people out there that all they do is they're nine to five sales pros and the minute that it hits five o'clock they don't care. They're just there to get their sales or they get their money. They could care less about those clients. That is where you create your mafia offer. I want you to think about it. What's my mafia offer? Think about it today. Ask yourself today what is my mafia offer and how can I translate that? How can I communicate that with my buyers? Right now, in Q4, you have an opportunity to change your world forever. What's your mafia offer? Stop focusing on price. I will tell you this people do not real business owners do not make decisions solely based on price. They think about how easy is this company or person to work with? Do I wanna have a relationship with this person? Period, full stop. Create your mafia offer. Okay, be twice as good. The rest will fall into place. Stop focusing on price. People want to spend money, but they want tremendous value. If people find tremendous value in what you're doing, the price is not really going to matter. 50 to 60% of the time, you're calling on business owners that have money. They know how to get access to money. What they're looking for is a return on their investment. The mafia offer fits perfectly into the PPF method. They want a better future state. Show them how they're gonna get there and show them the fun, the excitement that it's gonna be to partner with you along the way. I want to thank every single person who's been listening over the last two years. I don't know again. I don't know the next time there's going to be a new surviving outside sales podcast episode. I don't want the momentum, I don't want this to die, I don't want this to end, but I also have to go all in and I do feel like in my past life, in my past careers, I've always had something going on on the side and I really thought to myself. You know, when I was at that conference and I was on the plane flying out there leaving my family for a week, I was thinking to myself what would happen if I went all in? I mean, even with my coaching, even with the things I've been doing for the last couple years, I haven't been all in, because the moment we signed that paperwork in January or, I'm sorry, february, was it January? I think it was January, february of 22. Since beginning of last year the Restore Hyperwoundess has always been hanging over our head. So I've never really been able to go all in on my coaching. I've never been able to go all in on speaking. So even that, even the podcast, I didn't get a chance to because we were Using money for Restore. I didn't have a chance to expand the podcast like I wanted, to build out the podcast studio. I've kind of done a makeshift studio in my, in my bonus room. I call it the man Cove because it's not quite a man cave, because I have a little nook that I think is about. You know, six by six, I have 36 square feet, maybe a little bit more, maybe 60 square feet up here of room where I have my stuff. But it's time for me to go all in. And that's another thing for you. Are you, are you all in on your business? Are you all in on your business? Are you bringing value? And that's really the key thing. I don't believe I'm bringing the same type of value. So I'm spread too thin, I've got too many distractions and I kind of I need this time to re center myself and reestablish my DNA of who I am as a sales pro, as a business owner, as a business professional. So I need, this time as well, to focus on one thing and one thing only to absolutely crush it. It's what I, it's what I preach to my students, it's what I've preached I hate to use the word preach, but it's what I've talked about. It's what I talked about. My students Be all in, be present, focus. And now it's time for me to take my own advice. I will tell you this when I have new episodes of the Surviving Outside Sales podcast. Whenever it may be, it is going to bring tremendous value. It is not going to be fluff. It is going to be actionable things. It's going to be stories that are going to be relatable to what people are struggling with in real time and sometimes, I believe, doing it every day. I had plenty of topics, but some of the episodes kind of fell flat. So, without further ado, I really do appreciate it. I hope every single person crushes it. I hope every single person crushes it for Q4. Go after it. Focus, focus, focus, focus on the 25 to 50 accounts that you can make immediate change in three months. In other words, you can close them in three months. You don't want to be focusing on people that are going to take a year to close them. You can start laying the groundwork, but you need to focus on the people that you think are going to close and move forward in the next 90 days. There's 25 to 50 accounts out there. No matter who you are, close them. Be twice as good. Provide twice as much value as a competitor you have, whether that is another person, another company, another product or, if it's the status quo, provide twice the value. Talk about the future state. Talk about the future state and show them that you are going to be there for the long haul. If you do those three things, you're going to crush it in Q4. Thank you so much. I really do appreciate it and for now, signing off, this has been Surviving Outside Sales Mike O'Kelly Cheers.

Surviving Outside Sales, Learning From Failure
The Challenges of Opening a Franchise
The Franchise Process and Adaptation
Surviving Outside Sales and Going All-In
Focus on Immediate Account Closure