Tag Archives: community building

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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Millennials – A Potential Pot of Gold for Franchisors

I never really understood the term ‘millennials’ until I read this BNET (The CBS Interactive Business Network) blog article from Andrew Tilin aptly titled “What is a Millennial?”. Now, with his thoughts on what a cultural shift the emerging millennials will bring matched with the talent drain from the retiring Baby Boomers – its got me thinking!

If you are thinking of growing your business in the future, you need to seriously read this article and take heed of the global picture of what this cultural shift means for business in general. As a Franchisor, this will affect how you plan to market to prospective franchisees going forward – i.e. will you need to start some more community initiatives to grab a younger audience that will grow to be your perfect franchisee?

Andrew writes in his article that millennials have grown up in an environemnt which understands workloads, appreciates being appreciated, and thrives on technology – so they are confident in time scheduling, taking directions and are really comfortable with the online world (especially social networking). As a Franchisor, I would hope that you are ensuring that you are thinking really carefully about where you will find your new franchisees of the future, because it won’t be as easy as sticking an advert somewhere – the world is changing.

However – there is one main positive aspect which I really liked in this article and that is that this generation of “millennials” or Generation Y are a confident lot…we (because I am one) are happy to work hard, but we are only motivated to work for people in authority who deserve the respect and mentor us. To me, those characteristics are a great foundation for any franchisee.

Upon reading the comments that readers have also posted on this subject, I have to also point out that there are a lot of Baby Boomers who will not just disappear into blissful retirement. A lot of them still like working, even if in a more flexible manner – and this, to be honest, opens up another pool for Franchisors to delve into for prospective franchisees. These guys have life experience and have collected skills which are another goldmine for you – so don’t knock them out of the game just yet.

My message? Get more flamboyant with how you recruit franchisees – but also – think of the global trend of the age we now find ourselves in (the “Information Age”)…we have moved on significantly from the Industrial Age

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.

Social Media: Branding and Franchise Recruiting Tool?

A good social media campaign will act as a very powerful brand building and recruitment tool for start-up franchisors (or those thinking of franchising their businesses in the next year or so).

One of the first things I look at when a prospective franchisor approaches me is a good brand image (or at least the beginnings of one). The next thing I look at or question is its impact on the customer target market (is it well understood; is it well respected; is it something they will tell their friends about; etc).

For any small business trying to build a brand, it is very clear from the outset that very few can afford to spend a ton of money on marketing and advertising to get their brand in the forefront of the consumer’s mind. Now, with the advent of social media and its prevalence in the new generation of consumer – growing a brand couldn’t be easier. Of course it still takes careful planning, design and message architecture, so please don’t minimise the importance of that!

Now – where do you start? What kinds of social media should you be using? Well – it does depend a bit on what your target audience is:

1) As a franchisor
(i.e. which prospective franchisees do you want to attract), and

2) As a business
(i.e. the target customer of the product or service).

The things I would suggest you look into are:

BLOGGING: This is an often misunderstood platform and a lot of people fear it because they think that they have to be writers to do it. Not so. I mean – yes its important to not make huge grammatical and spelling errors because this will lead to an unprofessional reflection on you and your business by default. The thing about blogging is h however two-fold: the number of blogger readers in the world is staggering (we are talking in the 100’s of millions) and Google loves the constantly changing and rich content.  For some blogging tips have a read of this article – Top Ten Easy Steps to Starting a Business Blog – by Denise Wiseman.

Denise rightly says : ” Blogging should be one of the cores of your business. It should be right in the middle of your social media mix—the bulls-eye, the main target.”

FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE: This is VERY important to set up and I mean VERY important. If you don’t already have a presence on Facebook, then I strongly suggest you get started today. Again – please pay attention to your brand, your message and what you want to get out of the exercise. If you want to know more about what Facebook is about have a listen to my podcast here and it you need tips on how to get started on Facebook, think about buying some very easy to understand guides by Kirsty Wilson of Interim Business Solutions…click here.

Through this Facebook Business (Fan) Page you will be able to engage with an audience, find out what people think about your brand, and run recruitment campaigns for new franchisees! Never minimise the importance of creating (and sustaining) a buzz about your brand or business culture.

I think to start, these two major platforms are good to go with, I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much in one go! As a business you will also need to look into Twitter and some of the social news bookmark mediums – but we’ll save that for another time!

Do let me know how you get on!


A ‘FAN’ yet of my Expert Franchise Guide page on Facebook?
Go to: www.facebook.com/expertfranchiseguide

Social Media – The Business Case

The scary term is “Social Media” – the actual meaning for me is “Community Building and Trust”.

If, like many people you have been dodging the SocMed bullet, I’m here to help you understand it, dispel the mystery and urge you to look seriously at the huge potential this phenomenon has for you as a business owner.

Let’s think back to basic historic business and remember what it used to be called: TRADE. If I wanted meat, I could trade my cabbages for your lamb chops. Business was simple – it was about (a) your word; (b) whether you arrived on time for the trade; and (c) whether your goods were “of quality” to ensure future trade. The things that could potentially scupper trade however was rumour; reputation and remissiveness (if that is a word!) By this I mean that your return business depended on happy returning customers and them referring you on to others.

This dependence forms the foundation of creating a community of people who love you and your business…and are happy to steer more ‘fans’ your way which in turn means more trade for you. Does that make sense? Yes! We have lost sight of how easy it can be to engage customers with truth; vitality; enthusiasm for our business; and the belief (and proof) that we can offer something great to them.

This, my readers, is the basic tenet of community building, a.k.a. Social Networking. The premise of Social Networking is that it is only one small part of a Social Media Strategy…which in turn is part and parcel of your overall marketing plan. Business planning can be complicated however it can also be pretty simple – if you don’t lose yourself in all the jargon. Stick to what our forefathers used to cherish as rudimentary to being thought highly of in their social and business communities: “Attract good customers, be good to them and deliver what you promise when you say you will.”

By sitting down and ‘listening’ to what Social Media has to offer – you will soon learn that it is in essence a FREE and hugely comprehensive business attraction tool that can mean a boost to your business’ bottom line. Please do take heart and know that I wouldn’t support this if I didn’t believe it works, but I am very strict about also advising that social networking and community building has to be done responsibly and with a clear focus on message, audience and content. No-one wants to collect more spam – so don’t be a spam spewer!

For franchised and non-franchised businesses Social Media represents an ideal way to not only build a national brand and listening for your product/service; but also an opportunity to connect with the local (and international) community and drive customers to your website and/or business door.

With Twitter, you attract ‘followers’ and with Facebook Pages you attract ‘fans’ – these people become your prospective lead generators and/or customers. Consider that each fan or friend you attract may have 200 to 300 friends (on average) and if they like what you have to say they will very easily pass a link on to their friend base. It is obvious what the ramifications are: exponential exposure to an ever growing audience.

Be smart: review your offering, see where you can take advantage of having a captive audience and tap into this new way of doing business – which isn’t really very NEW, so much as the re-invention of an old lamb vs. cabbage trade situation…but online.

If you would like to have your finger on what is going on in the world of Social Media, here are some resources you may find useful to follow:  Social Media ExaminerMashable