Business Progress (or lack thereof)

Things have been going a bit slowly for a variety of reasons. One of the things I need to do for the business formation is to deposit a minimum amount of capital into the business account. Because I’m a foreigner, this capital can only be wired in from overseas, despite having enough in my personal account here. (Crazy but true: my accountant suggested wiring the funds from my local account to my US account and then back again. Besides being stupid, about 2% will be lost due to fees and exchange spread.)

So planning ahead, at the beginning of February I asked my broker to send a check to my Dad’s address and he would take care of depositing it. After not hearing anything for a week, I contacted my broker again and he found out that they sent the check to my address in Santa Clara and not my Dad. So he ordered up another check sent out to my Dad and told me it would be sent by next-day service. Turns out it was sent by regular mail. Rather than resend it again we waited a couple more days for it to turn up in the regular mail. Then I find out it’s less than what I’d requested, so another check is cut and sent out.

To wrap up that part of the story, the second check didn’t make it into my US account until last Friday. Hopefully it’ll only take a few business days to clear and I’ll be able to wire the funds and get the receipts into my accountant’s hands before I leave on Thursday, but it could end up being tight.

The next part of the aggravation has been with the store design. Normally this is supposed to take a few days of back and forth and consulting with the local development agent. This time things have been backed up, and the designer working on it isn’t familiar with typical local designs. The local agent sent the first plan straight back without even showing it to me first because it was so bad. The second one was a bit better, but still had some pretty strange design choices. The main concern is that both plans had relatively little customer seating compared to other Subways here of similar size.

The local agent I’ve been working with so far had to leave on a business trip this week so he passed me off to a different agent to finish up this stage of things. Normally the pass off is supposed to occur after the design has been finalized to blueprint, but because of the scheduling problems this was done earlier. The new agent was busy working on a new store opening on Friday and Saturday so today was the first chance we got to get together.

We hit it off pretty well. He’s another former Silicon Valley techie so we had a lot in common. He has two Subways in Taiwan, so he’s pretty familiar with the process of store design and we were able to come up with a lot of good ideas fairly quickly. He’s gonna talk to the designer tonight to work out those details. I had a feeling that progress is being made again after a lot of stalls.

It’s still a bit frustrating though. I pushed back my training dates by two weeks because I was hoping to get things under way so that the business formation, equipment delivery and remodeling would happen while I was away, and I could come back with things almost ready. Maggie can probably help things move along while I’m gone, but with all the delays it’s still gonna be end of March before things are close to completion. It probably would have been better if I’d stuck to the original training dates.

In other news, I’m starting to get into the Subway system now. I’ve started receiving the newsletters (I was listed in the February 2006 edition as a new franchisee), and today I got the Operations Manual. Subway really gives their franchisees a lot of information on operations and marketing which is nice.

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