I recently attended a Meet the Lender's Networking Reception hosted by the recently launched Philadelphia Chapter of the International Franchise Association's Women's Franchise Network

The reception was designed to help franchisors and franchisees build connections with regional lenders and stay updated on the industry. The first event of the Philadelphia Chapter WFN was a relaxed way to mingle with fellow IFA members, franchisors and suppliers as well as obtain updates on the lending industry from Ronald A. Feldman of Franchise America Finance and Michael Lefkowitz of the Benjamin Ross Group.  Each provided a brief overview on the state of the lending market. 

According to Feldman and Lefkowitz, lending conditions are improving but are still difficult for start-up franchise systems and new franchisees.  Lenders look for industry experience and historical trends. Such requsts typically run counter to a franchisor's desire to recruit franchisees new to a particular market.   SBA lending was still described as one of the best options for new franchisees.  The speakers also provided a short summary on the likely impact that current legislation would have on small businesses, particularly franchisees.

Michael Lefkowitz noted in particular, "The main reason 80% of business do not sell is that fact that it is not really a business, it is a job. If the owner is the main “technician” in any business, it will not sell. Most franchisors have guidelines on the proper structure to grow and successfully run a franchise. Not only will these guidelines assist in making the business more saleable but it will increase the profits along the way. The owner should work on the business not in the business."

The newly appointed co-chairs of the Philadelphia Chapter of the IFA WFN, Cynthia Gartman, President and Managing Director at Ikor, and our own Elizabeth D. Sigety, Esq., Co-Chair of the Franchising and Licensing Distribution Practice Group at Fox Rothschild were enthusiastic in letting attendees know their commitment to assuring that the Philadelphia Chapter WFN continues to provides a range of franchise events for area IFA members and franchise professionals in the future.