Boardroom briefing: best franchises to buy, declutter your day and zombie firms


Forbes has released its Best Franchises to Buy list, five ways to deal with multitasking and distractions, and the rise of zombie firms. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Top 10 high-investment franchises

Forbes has released its list of Best Franchises to Buy. The annual report developed in conjunction with research firm FRANdata highlights the best (and worst) US franchise opportunities for investors.

This year Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers tops the high-investment category. The Kansas-based franchised has more than 340 locations in the US and is set to open its first international locations in Dubai this year. Freddy’s entire chain generated US$474.7 million (K1,607 billion) in sales last year.  Looking for a potential investment? The top 10 high-investment franchises are:

  1. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
  2. Christian Brothers Automotive
  3. Culver’s ButterBurgers & Frozen Custard
  4. Zaxby’s
  5. Primrose Schools
  6. Planet Fitness
  7. Kiddie Academy
  8. Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa
  9. 9 TownePlace Suites by Marriot
  10. Panera Bread Bakery Café

The top spot in the medium-investment list went to Nothing Bundt Cakes and the first spot in the low-investment list went to BrightStar Care. And just in case you were wondering, some of the worse franchises to buy include Thrifty Car Rental and Dollar Rent A Car. Check out the list here.

Time poor? Declutter your day

Distraction and multitasking are part of our lives. Learning to deal with them and use them to our advantage to become perhaps more productive—or find fewer stressors—is basically up to us. According to Entrepreneur Asia Pacific’s Sayem Hossain, these five strategies can help declutter days and gain precious minutes to complete tasks quickly and efficiently.

Story continues after advertisment...
  1. Strategic time blocking. The term popularised by best-selling author Robin Sharma, suggests planning tasks and ranking them in order of priority, allocating time slots to complete each one of them. The key is to create a ‘distraction-free bubble’ to focus on the task until it is completed.
  2. Chose tools that will facilitate your day. For example, use Hootsuite to stay on top of social media and analytics, and find a good management system to help keep track of each task.
  3. Eliminate stressors. Sounds easy, right? Well, this one may take more time but stopping and identifying what causes stresses is fundamental to declutter our busy days. It will be easier to eliminate stressors—or find a way to deal with those that will always be there but can be ameliorated—if you know what they are.
  4. Take a break. Mental exhaustion? Yes, that is real. Taking time off usually renews energy level and makes people more productive in the long run. Take a day off to go to the movies, play with your kids at the park, drive to the nearest beach or simply stay home.
  5. Find your Menlo Park. Thomas Edison laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, was a peaceful space that allowed him to focus on his inventions—and there he developed the phonograph, among other things. So, why not find your Menlo Park, a place to work, plan and achieve? Sometimes the only thing needed to declutter days and become more productive is a distraction-free place.


The number of zombie companies is on the rise (LHS, red, percentage of zombie companies; RHS, blue, percentage probability of remaining a zombie). Source: BIS

Zombie firms—listed companies that are unable to cover debt servicing costs from current profits over an extended period—are on the rise, according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

‘This increase is linked to reduced financial pressure, which in turn seems to reflect in part the effects of lower interest rates,’ the BIS comments.

‘Zombies weigh on economic performance because they are less productive and because their presence lowers investment in, and employment at, more productive firms.’

Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimated in 2018 that 13 per cent of all public companies cannot cover their interest payments.

Leave a Reply