From the March 2000 issue of Entrepreneur

When MassMutual asked a focus group of franchisees what they most cared about, employee retention was found to be a major concern. Consequently, the life-insurance company based in Springfield, Massachusetts, created

Franchise Partners, a program that educates franchisees on employee retention as well as disability, retirement and estate planning. "These issues are especially critical to franchisees who have multiple units," says William D. Griffin Jr., MassMutual's director of franchise partners marketing. Franchise Partners also helps franchisees create integrated personal and business plans and holds seminars to educate franchisees about their core products: life and disability insurance, and annuities and mutual funds.

Before helping prospective and existing franchisees, MassMutual first studies their franchise systems; looks over their franchise agreements; implements plans to attract and retain employees; and addresses topics such as business succession, retirement, estate taxes and the possible impact of any unexpected events. Says Griffin, "We just want to make sure [our franchisees] have all their ducks in order."