Over the course of a 30-day period back in August/September, there were announcements from the White House on three separate peace agreements: Israel and the United Arab Emirates; Serbia and Kosovo; and lastly Bahrain and Israel. Without invoking any kind of political opinions in this presidential election year, these agreements are significant milestones on the journey to a more peaceful world.

At the same time, they are also a testament to resilience, to having the determination and commitment necessary to see something through to its conclusion, regardless of how long or challenging the task might be. It is the reward that comes from, if you will, ‘stick-to-it-iveness’.

In modern history, Kosovo was claimed as a province of Serbia with the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 80s, leading the two communities into a full-fledged war from 1998-1999. That was over three decades ago. With the determination of their leaders and the helping hand of the United States, they will now have full diplomatic relations and economic interaction. They were in it for the long haul.

More stark examples book-end the Kosovo-Serbia agreement. Israel was recognized as an independent state back in 1948 and has been at odds with most of its Arab neighbor nations ever since. Over the course of its 70-year history, only two Arab nations have reached peace agreements with Israel (Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994), but they’ve been in it for the long haul.

For its part, the United States epitomizes the commitment necessary to see things through their desired conclusion. Over the course of 70-plus years since the recognition of Israel, U.S. Presidents from both parties have sought to broker peace agreements amongst Middle Eastern countries. As a nation, we too have very much been in it for the long haul.

That same determination, that same resilience, and that same ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ is evident every day in the life of the small business owner. The desire to build a successful business drives that man or woman to focus on the end result, deal with the distractions and the setbacks as they come, but stay on track over the long haul.

From my perspective, that drive is nowhere more prevalent than in the community of Dunkin’ franchises. There have been more than a few different owners since Bill Rosenberg opened the first store in Quincy in 1950. Each has brought their own idea of what would work best for their end goal. Likewise, each owner has brought in their own corporate leaders to build Dunkin’ in their vision of what the brand should be. Each of those executives issued their own sets of edicts, mandates and changes to the operation of a Dunkin’ shop. Throughout all those changes and challenges, there has been one consistent and integral component to the success of the brand: the franchisee.

It is that person who has weathered the storms and implemented the change, all the while staying focused on the end result. The franchisee has taken the chances as corporate has dabbled in new menus, new offerings and new identities. The franchisee has flattened the volatility curve that inevitably comes with change.

And now, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, it is again the franchisee who’s weathered the storm. It is the franchisee who has kept their eye on the end result. It is the franchisee who has taken the brunt of the economic downturn and it is the franchisee who has shouldered the burden of keeping the business operating.

Yet, even in these most unusual circumstances, it is the franchisee who continues to keep their eye on the prize. The franchisee is in it for the long haul because he and she invested their life’s savings – and their life’s work – into achieving the end result and following it through to its logical conclusion.

Compared to Middle East peace agreements, building a successful Dunkin’ network pales. Still, we should not overlook how great achievements are often the end result of the very same determination, resilience and ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ that comes from being in it for the long haul.

Ed Shanahan
DDIFO Executive Director