Kay Ainsley and Michael Seid explain what separates MSA from the competition
What makes a franchise advisory firm stand out as one of the best in the world? For MSA Worldwide managing directors Michael Seid and Kay Ainsley, it is their passion and pride that are most noticeable the second they begin to talk about the business.
“Much has been written about MSA Worldwide’s work and our reputation in franchising; we are the leading strategic and tactical advisory firm in franchising according to the International Franchise Association,” said Seid. “We pride ourselves on our celebrated history and the recognition we have garnered for creating many of franchising’s best practices and innovations that have enhanced our client’s franchise offerings, their franchisee relations and the value of their companies and those of their franchisees.”
Besides pride in their stellar reputation, though, Ainsley and Seid are even more proud and passionate about the unique corporate culture that helped get them to this point—even if that culture may be odd to those outside the firm.
“My favorite thing about MSA is how our company’s culture has allowed us to become effective advisors to our clients,” noted Seid. “Our corporate culture can often seem challenging to outsiders and may be a bit alarming to new clients, as we have a deep distain for fungible ‘best practice’ solutions... we routinely disagree with each other and our team will frequently debate differing approaches in front of and with our clients.”
Ainsley also points out that MSA boasts great variety in the clients they work with, something that not only makes working at MSA a fun challenge, but also allows the firm to continue growing and learning to better serve their clients.
“Specific to MSA is the variety of work that we do,” said Ainsley. “Each client is different and has different needs, and I enjoy helping them overcome challenges and grow and manage their systems.”
And clearly, MSA is doing something right with its clients, as they continue to see incredible praise and referrals from their satisfied customers.
“I would like to think that we are viewed as part of their team,” said Ainsley. “Over 85 percent of our business comes from referrals and I believe that is a testament to the work we do and the way we take care of our clients.”
Bill DiPaola, president and chief operating officer of Dat Dog Enterprises, has worked with MSA for over two years now and says that their commitment and the quality of the people they have working with them are unmatched in the industry.
“Simply put, working with MSA has been nothing but a success,” said DiPaola. “We have gotten efficient, succinct communication, clear understandings of responsibilities and a solid step-by-step process for making us the best we can be.”
Ainsley and Seid admit that the franchising industry they serve so well might look different over time as regulations and the overall landscape change with the years. However, the same company culture and commitment to their clients will keep MSA growing alongside the shifting sands of the industry.
Said Ainsley, “Of course franchising will continue to evolve and change. Franchising will continue to mature and multi-unit franchisees and the number of portfolio companies owning multiple brands will continue to expand. There will be more franchise regulation; some will be challenging to what we view as important to franchising as we know it and some will improve how we actually perform.”
“MSA will continue to adapt our approach to creating solutions for our clients,” added Seid. “We will continue to grow as franchising grows and we will stay focused on quality.”
That focus on growth and quality should continue to win over clients, even those such as DiPaola that describe themselves as difficult to please.
“I would tell anyone else thinking about partnering with MSA that each and every person that is part of the team has as much passion and knowledge as Michael Seid, their founder, does,” said DiPaola. “They love what they do and they are dedicated to your business; they proved that with me, and I'm damn hard to please.”