Airborne Intelligence

Know who keeps up with the goings-on of a franchise? The advisory council.
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This story appears in the October 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

What's one of the best things you can do if you join a relatively small system? Sign up for the franchise advisory council. When Arnie Klingenberg joined Worldwide Express in 1996, he was one of the company's first franchisees, so joining the franchisee advisory council was pretty easy. "At that point, you could pretty much ask; now it takes a nomination and a vote," the Edgemont, Pennsylvania, franchisee explains. "The first year, there were only 10 [franchisees], and five of us were on [the advisory council]."

Joining the council was important to Klingenberg, 36, because it gave him the ability to have a say in decisions that affect the entire franchise, which sells Airborne Express overnight shipping services. "It keeps me much more in the loop," he says. "Considering we only sell Airborne Express, the way we deal with them, the rates, service and level of communication with the local stations and personnel are huge issues, and I want to be involved."

In January, Klingenberg became even more involved when he was elected president of the council, a move he feels will further benefit his franchise. "I've stayed very close to the people handling the training and the negotiations with Airborne, so I have a much better grasp of what's going on within our system," Klingenberg says. "That helps when you're making decisions on a local level. You know what's coming down the pipe, in areas where other franchisees might not be paying attention."

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