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EASTON, Conn., September 21, 2006 -– As the saying goes, some of life's best lessons are those that are learned the hard way. Same goes for lessons learned in business – which is the premise for Wes Tyler's contribution to the newly published book by Jan Norman titled What No One Ever Tells You About Franchising. Principal of Old Oak Partners, LLC, a business advisory and investment firm in Easton, Conn., Tyler is featured as one of 101 experts who offer “real life” advice with respect to franchising.

From Tyler's input, readers learn the valuable lesson that franchising is not for every company. "Not every business can or should grow using the franchising concept of tapping other people's money, time and effort," Norman writes in her chapter about Tyler.

Tyler's advice stems from his experience in the early 1990s when he was president of GCS Service, Inc., the nation’s largest independent servicer of commercial food equipment. The company was successfully growing with $50 million in sales and 18 locations around the country. Having identified ten additional markets that could be successful using GCS's brand name and systems, Tyler turned to franchising. His intention was to attract professional managers to run the business in GCS’ targeted growth markets. The managers did not need to be technically adept; they just needed to work well managing people.

Much to Tyler’s surprise, however, franchising GCS was "a complete failure," he told Norman. Potential franchisees were fearful of supervising technical workers. Additionally, GCS was competing against other franchisors that promised low initial investments. "People would look at a printing franchise and knew at the end of the day they could run the copy machine if they couldn't find and keep technicians," Tyler explained.

Tyler's tough lesson ended with GCS eventually buying back its one franchise and getting out of franchising entirely. In 1998 GCS sold to a Fortune 500 company. Tyler moved on to found Old Oak Partners in 1999. Old Oak has since provided financing for start-ups, acquisitions and real estate development. Tyler serves on the board of several companies including Butler International (BUTL.PK).

"I'm honored to recall my unfortunate and expensive franchising lesson for Norman’s readers," Tyler said. "As unpleasant as it was for me to learn it, I’m glad it might spare other eager and potential franchisors the same challenges."

Old Oak Partners, LLC, is a business advisory and investment firm specializing in publicly and privately held micro-cap companies. It is located in Easton, Conn. For more information, visit

What No One Ever Tells You About Franchising was released in 2006 by Kaplan Publishing. Its author, Jan Norman, writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column, "It's Your Business," that explores the challenges and problems business owners encounter when launching and running their companies. She has written more than 900 columns for the Orange County Register, and her work is syndicated internationally by Knight Ridder/Tribune Media Services. An authoritative voice on entrepreneurship, she regularly contributes to magazines and Web sites, including Self-Employed magazine.