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A Conversation With: Lt. Col. Waldo Waldman, CEO of The Wingman Foundation

Nick Powills and Charles Internicola are joined by The Wingman Foundation CEO Waldo Waldman to discuss how the franchise industry is tackling issues during this difficult time.

The coronavirus continues to have dire effects on businesses across the country, and the franchise industry is no exception. Franchisors across segments are strategizing new ways to support their franchisees, keep customers satisfied, help local communities and come out stronger on the other side of this crisis.

To that end, 1851 Franchise publisher Nick Powills and Charles Internicola, founder and partner of the Internicola Law* Firm, are covering the coronavirus and its impact on businesses through our A Conversation With webinar series.

In today’s afternoon webinar, Powills and Internicola spoke with American author, motivational speaker and leadership consultant, and founder of The Wingman Foundation, Waldo Waldman, about how the franchising industry is responding to the crisis.

Here are some of the key insights from their discussion.

Never Fly Solo

Executives and franchise owners who are frustrated and distracted need to lean on the experts who can give insight and bring them back on track. The relationships we have and the people we can call on are more important than ever. 

Business owners need to get back to the fundamentals, reinforce their model and reevaluate value propositions. If business owners haven’t already done the work to cultivate meaningful relationships and solidify core values, it is going to be harder than ever to do so, but if you aren’t prepared now, you will be next time.

Refuel and refresh. In addition to reestablishing fundamentals, business owners can’t be scared to get uncomfortable when it comes to leveraging unfamiliar tools and technology to prepare for the new paradigm. 

For those that don’t already have relationships to lean on, start planting the seeds now by extending a helping hand to others.

Building Great Teams

Building cultures of teamwork, courage and resilience, will better position businesses in the long run. Preparing prior to the mission is the key to success. When business owners are operating under pressure, they don’t have time to press pause on engagement and develop their mission. Confidence must be built on the ground.

The most important words in business are, “I need help.” When leaders allow for an environment where team members aren’t afraid to ask for help, it creates better systems and stronger relationships within the culture. It is always better for the franchisee to embarass themselves in front of the franchisor as opposed to the customer. To cultivate this environment, leaders need to share their vulnerabilities and be transparent about their mistakes.

Many people need others to call their bluff and give them feedback when it comes to creating a better business. Business owners have to be innovators and thought leaders, emulating their core values in daily life. 

Leaders need to set the tone for their team amid this new reality. If we resist these changes and refuse to acknowledge and overcome the challenges we face right now, we will fall behind. Envision success.

Coming Back Stronger

We all have an opportunity to come back stronger than ever. The companies who are giving back are the ones that will succeed. Instead of gouging prices, business owners have a chance to come up with new ways to help those in need. Margins may shrink, but when the storms clear, customers will remember the businesses that were compassionate. 

Value propositions need to evolve. Business owners need to ask themselves what they can do to serve customers. Listen to clients — their needs are changing every day. For example, many fitness brands can’t deliver their value propositions in the studio anymore, so they are providing virtual workouts. 

We need to be on a constant personal growth continuum. Tap into your heart to find the mission for your business. 

When meaningful connections are made and values are aligned, industries shift for the better. Innovation starts with conversations — that is how we will move forward.

Text “WINGMAN” to 44222 or head over to to download Waldo’s New York Times bestseller audiobook, Never Fly Solo, for free.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.