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Dunkin' Donuts products are displayed Wednesday, July 27, 2011 in Montpelier, Vt. (Toby Talbot/AP)
Dunkin' Donuts products are displayed Wednesday, July 27, 2011 in Montpelier, Vt. (Toby Talbot/AP)

Small Business Briefing

What's the secret to Dunkin's success? Add to ...

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What's the secret to Dunkin's success?

Dunkin' Brands may not have much brand currency in Canada; and a 2012 court battle with Quebec franchisees certainly didn’t help matters. But south of the border, the restaurant franchisor, known for its marquee businesses Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, is on a tear.

Since its return to public markets in 2011, Dunkin' shares have spiked nearly 30 per cent, leaving all of its heavyweight competitors - including Starbucks, McDonald's, Yum Brands, Chipotle and Panera Bread - in its wake, according to an article in Forbes.

So as companies, including Tim Horton's, continue to struggle, what makes a company - that's been around for more than 50 years - so resilient? Its competitive advantage, according to CEO Nigel Travis, lies in its asset-light platform that empowers franchisee entrepreneurs.

The company works closely with franchisees, offering them a starting point for attacking certain problems, whether it be streamlining operations, minimizing in-house resources, working on brand marketing strategies and focusing on unit economics.

As Dunkin’ continues its plans to expand across the U.S. and abroad, its franchisee-friendly business model could mean all the difference.

Startup on track to make self-publishing 'easy and inexpensive'

Wundr is a new digital publishing platform that aims to make self-publishing "simple, uncomplicated and inexpensive," according to a recent post in Techvibes. It's designed with two goals in mind: creating an eBook, which is currently very difficult, and distributing the finished product, which can be even more frustrating.

But whether its service will deliver is another question. The publishing industry has not traditionally been a growth area for businesses, despite the emergence of the eBook which has piqued the curiosity of venture capitalists. Several startups - including interest Studios, Orson & Co., Bookboard, Oyster and Blurb - are already working to making publishing and enhancing eBooks easier for everyone.

One thing that Wundr does have, however, is financial backing. Frustrated by the process of publishing his own book, founder Ryan Vetter, took his idea to investors and secured  including Series A financing in 2012. He also managed to put together an A-list team of engineers and designers from Nokia, EA Games, Plentyoffish. He's also got the designer of Apple's iconic logo, Rob Janoff, on his crew.

"There’s turmoil and opportunities in this time of change," says Mr. Vetter. "I think everyone has been looking for ‘the’ solution in this industry. And after struggling to self-publish my own eBook, I just had to do something about it."

So what makes Wundr stand out? While the buzz is big, their website remains quite sparse. All will be revealed, apparently, when it unveils its digital publishing platform at an event in downtown Vancouver on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.

 

KEY EVENTS AND DATES

Business Innovation Summit

On Feb. 19 and 20, the Conference Board will bring together Canada’s innovation leaders and experts to discuss the latest research findings and share insights from other jurisdictions. It will explore the real-life challenges and opportunities of innovation within firms - and feature tangible solutions that work. For details, click here.

Inc.'s 30 Under 30 competition

Are you, or do you know, an under-30 superstar entrepreneur whom we should consider for this year's 30 Under 30 Coolest Entrepreneurs list? Inc.com is calling for nominations from all industries to create a diverse list of companies led by young entrepreneurs. Learn more here.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Want an awesome company? Set the tone from the top

No matter what the size or complexity of your business, every aspect of it is a reflection of you, and on you.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

There's so much social media. Where do I start?

Figuring out which social platform to use and the types of content that will engage audiences is tough, but the investment of time, money and energy can pay off.

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