Category Archives: The Franchise Market

How You Can Contribute to Fostering Global Business Confidence

Confidence is an elusive concept, yet it defines how we move forward and by how much, doesn’t it? Being a specialist in the field of “small business” which is what franchising is at the end of the day – I am fascinated to see the very real link between how a country moves on from a recession/hard times and the health of small businesses. Unsurprisingly there is a strong correlation (and you may agree or disagree on this)…because, at the end of the day, our economic world as we know it revolves around people…their perceptions and their experience of the world. Is it as simple as that? Yes, I think it is.

It is my (perhaps naive) thought that if everyone decided tomorrow that they are going to get up, go to work and do what needs doing to get to their next phase of growth or development – the economy would start to balance out. Which means:

  • make that stationery order that you need, to print off the handouts for that course that you want to run;
  • hire that extra member of staff you need to relieve you to go out and get more business;
  • get that bigger office you have needed for the last 18months and make sure your staff are comfortable and you have the extra space for that new staff member;
  • go on that course you know will give you the knowledge or skills to pump back into your business.

There is only so long that you can sit waiting for the Economic Gods to turn around and annoint you “able to get on with business”. I realise there are some very real issues for people at the moment around cashflow and the inability of bank managers to actually deal with good customers the way they should be – and I can appreciate that – but there are little ways that you can start to get money moving in the economy again – and…that stationery order could just be it.

Here are some thought provoking elements for you to consider:

A. Good CEO’s Think Before They Spend

But – they do spend. They realise that they can only move forward by investing in tomorrow. They properly weigh up what needs doing, what needs investing in, prioritise it…and then DO IT. Are you a good CEO?

B. EMPLOYMENT IS DOWN WITH START-UPS

I read an article recently about how the trend over the last decade has been that on average a small business does not hire more than 5 people – whereas years gone by it used to be an average of 7. That has a massive impact globally – meaning that there will have to be many more start-ups before they can actually contribute signiifantly to reducing unemployment. My point – if you know damn well you need that extra member of staff – don’t hold out – hire them. Your business and country will be better for it.

Techonology has played a big part in this to be fair (i.e. you can do more with less nowadays), so big business needs to pull rank on helping more in the employment %.

PS – Don’t hire indiscriminately! There is an important element of still identifying the real need for extra skills/helps which will make a big impact to the business.

C. YOUR SPOUSE IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT INVESTOR

In tougher times, this can’t be stressed more. If you do not have the support at home to get up every day and keep at it – you will burn out and lose the plot altogether. So, if you want to boost your own confidence in your business, maybe start at home – take your partner out for a nice meal and a bottle of wine and give them an insight into how the “dullness” of the confidence in the economy is affecting you as a business owner and that you want to make stand and not “go with the flow”. You might be surpised how this can help turn things around.

D. DO NOT NEGLECT THE “BRAIN” IN YOUR BUSINESS

Without harping on about this one – because you do know it all – your brain in the business is the reason you are in it. Your Business Plan. Now this could be a flowchart on your wall; a 10 page structured document; or a simple collage of things on your notice board. Whatever that brain looks like for you – make sure that you have revisited it to check where you are, so that you can adjust if need be and you’re not pushing dung (yucky business you’d rather not be doing) up a hill for a client that doesn’t actually need it. In short: make sure you are deliveirng what your customers want and will pay money for it…and that you are paying your bills. Simple as that.

Now – go forth and knock the negativity on the head and start to share good things, freely give positive support for your fellow business owners and let’s just crack on out of this economic puddle of poo (sorry – had to carry the dung beetle metaphor forward here!)

Please comment below and share any thoughts you have on how we can all collectively bring our powers together to lift things into a new, more vibrant year next year. I’d love to hear from you!

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3 Ways to Build Your Business to Franchise It

If there is anything that this recession has taught me as a franchise consultant – its that if people were afraid to grow before, they are damn near petrified to do it during a recession. Its such a pity – although you can understand when part (or two thirds) of the recession is based on the bank’s poor management or utilisation of financial tools. The small entrepreneur doesn’t have the support or resource of funding from a “trustworthy” institution to help spur and encourage his growth.

So, after reading a blog article about the ways to build your business on a budget, I thought that after the year I have had on the consulting front – it wouldn’t hurt to put together my Top 3 Tips on how to build you business towards franchising…so that you can do it in the next 2 years and not wait for the banks to sort themselves out.

TIP 1: PROVE AND DOCUMENT THE MODEL

Everything you are doing now is fantastic, but want I’d like you to think about is actually taking it a step further. Take an extra 30mins to an hour a day to reflect on the system or process that you enacted or initiated in that day – map it out and put it to one side.

At the end of the month – pull out the maps you have done through the month and stick them on your wall so you can stand back and look at them. This is a nifty way of trying to “third” position your business and pretend you are looking purely at the flow of actions. Do they make sense? When did you last update them? What is the most effective way to do something? What obstacles have you overcome?

These elements are the bits that will heighten your value to a prospective franchisee.

TIP 2:  PRICING FOR PROFIT

We all know that when we first start out in business, we don’t actually know how to price our services and proucts. Make a concerted effort to really make sure that your pricing:

  • Includes a true reflection of the time and effort you put in to market and deliver the service/product
  • Covers all costs incurred to put that service or product together (don’t forget delivery and collation where applicable)
  • Includes a good margin for profit (anywhere between 15% and 30%) – don’t forget that this is why you are in business

If you haven’t done a good competitor litmus test on pricing – make sure you take the opportunity to …and compare like for like. Pricing is big hurdle for newbies to business – but having this sorted for a franchisee and having proof that the product/service sells (well) at those prices – that’s a big PLUS.

TIP 3: PUT IT IN A PRETTY DRESS

We all know that it takes a lot of hard work to make a business successful and there are no “real” easy fixes, however…we also know that if we love what we do …the degree of “hard” diminishes. If you are thinking of growing your business and want to consider franchising…make sure you make the proposition attractive enough to get the deserving interest.

I’m not saying lie about what the business entails – I mean make sure that you build in the elements that would make the business look exciting and enticing to join (look at elements of branding, support, tools, alternative avenues for revenue, etc). A pretty dress attracts the interest, but its the person (or business) wearing it that will retain the attention – if that makes sense at all!

So – take those three tips and build your business towards the opportunity of growth (while we wait for the dearly mis-directed banks to get their act together and see that businesses need them to help them grow and pick the economy up!)

If you have any comments. questions or feedback you would like to give about your experiences of trying to grow in this environment – please share them with me below!

Celebrity Franchisees: Opportunity or Challenge?

I read a recent post in Advertising Age which talked about how there is a big trend for celebrities buying into franchises in the USA. At first I was quite taken aback and thought – what on earth? One major thing that jumped up for me:  How to Manage Them as Personalities!

As any franchisor will tell you, one of the big things you have to keep in mind when you recruit franchisees – its that you need to be looking for the personalities who are motivated, enthusiastic and cash liquid….but only semi-entrepreneurial. What I mean by this is you want franchisees who will take on all the responsibility for being a business owner…but be happy to toe the line (accept that the bigger decisions are really the franchisor’s to make).

Now, from what we know about celebrities – once they achieve a certain amount of success they don’t really like being told what to do (I accept that that is a very general comment to make of course, but bear with me). However, while I read further in this post from Advertising Age I couldn’t believe how many US celebrities (particular sporting celebrities) are ‘collecting’ investments in franchises!

I think this is a fantastic boost for the model, because with these kinds of people (who have a lot of money to look after) to find franchises as viable investment routes…that says a lot for the brands they buy, as well as the franchise business model as a whole. Obviously these guys choose models where they would hire teams that would manage the operations, so I guess my worry about managing personalities wouldn’t probably be a big problem in the practical day-to-day sense.

What I have tended to forget is the amount of social influence these celebrities have, especially when they have come from some tough backgrounds and many of them see investing back into their communities as ‘giving back’ and providing employment opportunities. The brands are clever about it too – they will approach celebrities who have a particular pull for a specific demographic that fits in with where they are trying to expand. Nothing wrong with that – as long as everyone wins in the end I say.

In closing I thought you may be interested in this list of franchises and their corresponding investor celebs (perhaps the UK could learn from this tactic?):

Have you come  across any celebrity investors that you could add to that list above? I’d love to hear from you….please pop a comment on this blog post or share it with me on my Facebook Page here.

Find Your Pizzazz Magnet

If there is anything that the economic climate over the last few years has taught us – its that you have to hold on to the people who are incremental to keeping your business going. Problem is…which business owners are mature enough to identify that they are nothing without the team behind, alongside and in front of them? Well…the answer is very few.

The franchising world is not different by any means – a franchisor is nothing without his franchisor team nor his network of franchisees. So, action must be taken to identify what your PIZZAZZ is…capture it, protect it and nurture it. Now, you’ll be asking yourself – what on earth is she on about?

Well, one of the success factors in businesses that consistently grow and improve their profits year on year – is EMPLOYEE LOYALTY. If your team love the work they do, enjoy the environment they are in and more importantly are supported in moving forwards in their careers – you are more likely to have a business that is growing naturally and encourages profits to steadily increase.

One of the biggest elements I bring home to any prospective franchisor I work with is that if you create a business that is motivating, sustainable and full of potential…that in itself will attract fantastic franchisees your way. It costs time and money to recruit franchisees – so once you have brought one into the fold – the last thing you want is for them to leave.  In my strategic planning phase of work with a new franchise client – we map out the franchisee’s life span over 10 years (preferably covering two franchise terms approximately) – and plan for their growth as a franchisee and as a business owner. This way you can already have the right things in place to cater for the way the franchisee will mature and change…and as a result…their comfort needs will change. By pre-empting these need changes as a franchisor, you will give the impression of being emotionally intelligent, engaged in your business, supportive and more specificially…a franchisor worth staying with!

If you know what your Pizzazzz is in your business (i.e. the MAIN thing that attracts people to you/your business) – then make very very sure that you know how to maintain it and infiltrate it into your business model. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing your very own employees, associates or franchiseees (in a franchise case) “sell” you and/or your business to everyone they see and come into contact with. That in itself is priceless.

In the world of social sharing that we are in – you need to maximise the loyalty you have in your team, feed it, nuture it and then turn it outwards into the digital world – because that’s where your Pizzazz becomes viral and magnetises you as a brand and a business that people want to buy from, work for and buy into.

I’m interested to know what your Pizzazz is? Let me know by commenting on this post and please do share it with your colleagues, business contacts and your own readers – it would be really great to hear from as many people as possible!

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Find out more about social media engagement by checking out my other business called Social Intelligence….we teach you how to engage ‘intelligently’ and how to engage your team to use social media as a megaphone to shout about your brand and draw business to you. You can have a look at the website here, find us on Facebook here or follow us on Twitter here.

Franchising Going Digital?

I knew it would come, in fact, I was waiting for one of my news feeds to have brought me a story about it a long time ago. An American serial entrepreneur, Jim Piccolo, has not only jumped into the world of franchising (for what seems the first time), but he has also leaped into the ‘new’ fandango world of digital marketing. Digital marketing is a relatively new field which has grown off the back of the rise of social media and all the channels that it opens up for business owners in marketing their businesses online.

Piccolo reportedly expects to invest $45million in starting the BizziBiz Franchise business, with the franchisee paying $18,000 for  a franchise with two employees and $25,000 for a franchise with unlimited employees. The franchisee will in essence be selling localised digital marketing – i.e. encompassing social media, search marketing, free and paid media, and blogging.

As ever, I am more than pleased to hear of new and innovative franchise models, but I do still hope that certain rock solution keystones are in place:

  • The Franchisor can recoop what he has invested in building the model
  • The franchise model is sustainable long term
  • The Franchisee can recoop his investment within a relatively GOOD period of time
  • The franchisee’s profitability is secured (i.e. the model isn’t based on a loose wing and a prayer)…obviously matched with a hardworking, amibitious franchisee!
  • The Franchisor makes money in the long term success of the franchisee (and not in the upfront fees and/or a wish for a quick exit at a high return)

So, I wish Piccolo the  best – its great to see a digital marketing franchise take to the stage – I will be very interested to watch how it progresses and grows over the next year.

21st Century Franchising

Although I am an advocate for keeping business simple and always stick to the basics to keep your business model solid and sustainable – there is one more thing I definitely am an avid fan of: TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION.

These are two areas where I really do feel that Franchisors have to step up. When I work with prospective Franchisors who are planning their ‘start-up’ three years as a new Franchisor, we spend a lot of time making sure we have not only highlighted what kinds of support and tools he/she will be providing the franchisee, but we back that up with a sustainable plan about how the Franchisor will offer that support or tool.

Now, in the world we live in today, this does not mean the Franchisor would have to set-up a big office, hire lots of staff and work tirelessly to try and break even, much less enjoy the growth path! My advice is to look at what is important in the delivery of the support/tool and how or what is the best way to deliver it that is not only cost effective, but promises to be personalised and professional.

This is the fun part of the Franchisor drawing board for me. We start to do some research on who is out there in the market in terms of being good at creating, developing and delivering the support service or tool that  we want for the franchisees. Partnering up with specially selected (and qualified) providers can really help a start-up Franchisor be able to hit the ground running and deliver the business support promised from the word go. There are some fantastic outsource providers you can use to provide professional support to your franchisees – just be open to looking for them and finding them! Some suggestions on the support side:

a) Personalised Virtual Assistants to take care of administration, call answering, customer care/follow-up, etc (carefully chosen – recruit the business as you would a staff member)

b) Business mentors/coaches – again select as you would any staff member you would normally employ. By getting these guys on board you are providing your franchisees with professionals who are proficient in their subject and will make the world of difference

c) Franchisee Incentives. Find a business that will help monitor the great performance and also manage incentive /loyalty/ performance plans – so that good franchisees feel appreciated and ‘not so great’ franchisees are picked up on and perhaps then highlighted for more support or training (or at worst – disciplining)

Also, there is a huge amount technology out there (some free) that you can build into your franchise model to ease the day to day management of the network (as well as for the franchisee’s day to day business).

By being open to technology and innovation, you will be better placed to keep creating systems that not only work very well and are cost effective, but they also don’t depend on you (the Franchisor) having your hands on everything all the time.

GTH56P4TNB9S

Family Franchise Businesses

More and more the trend nowadays is for a family to come together to make a business work.

Through a survey I did towards the end of 2009  – I’ve found that the growing trend is that people are pushed out of employment and into self-employment for a variety of reasons. Some of these are:

1) Dissatisfaction with the quality of management within their current job

2) No incentive provided in the workplace for any initiative or true involvement in the business (in fact any ideas are squashed before they are even heard), and most of all…

3) No real financial reward (vs the time and effort put into the job) that matches expectation (this includes time in lieu of many hours of overtime above and beyond the call of duty).

So, what does this mean? Well, you will probably be so unhappy that your family around you may well say ‘Hey, why don’t we just do something for ourselves?’. This is why franchising then becomes an attractive idea – because:

  • There is a lower risk at start-up (especially with established franchise models with proven statistics and performance from current franchisees)
  • Any money invested upfront is going towards business support, set-up etc – and this has all been worked out for you
  • Working with people you know and trust (your family) helps to eliminate the worry of employing unreliable staff

Now, of course, we could have a whole discussion on the dangers of going into business with family – but there are more than enough families out there making a go of it than you think!

The top tips for making a family run franchise business work?

  • Everyone needs to have their own roles very clear from the outset
  • Someone is elected as the Boss (end of story)
  • Someone is elected as the Organised One (every business needs one of these) – to whom everyone needs to listen to in order to be efficient and cost effective
  • Someone is elected as the Finance Person (every business needs one of these – this maybe outside of the business)
  • Everyone needs to be earning a salary (or at least agree what that WILL be in the future…give a date…if there is a consensus to hold off for the first few months)
  • A Team meeting needs to happen at least every two weeks to have a talk around the table to clear any issues, or PAT anyone on the back for a job well done

Respect who you are working with and they will respect you – this goes DOUBLE for family run businesses. Mom, Dad, Daughter, Son, Aunty, Uncle….those titles are not relevant during the work day.

Have you had any experiences working in family-run business? Please do let me know about it in the comments box below! I want to hear good and bad stories!