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Browse our selection of franchise articles and features to help further your knowledge in opening and operating a franchise business. Our exclusive features cover the , , , , , , and site of the franchise business. Written by the editorial team that produces Franchise Update Magazine and Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine, the franchise industries premier magazines.

Feature Story:

5 Ways To Ensure Your Marketing Video Will Suck »

By Jennifer Santoro

Online video marketing has become a staple, with 81 percent of companies producing video content for their websites and 69 percent producing it for social media, according to the 2014 Online Video Production Trends Report.

There are loads of marketing videos on the web now, some extremely effective, but there are plenty that just don't work. I've noticed common themes among the latter group. Based on those, here are five ways to ensure your marketing video will suck.

1. The video takes too long to get to the point.In the age of the tweet, marketers have only a few seconds to capture a viewer's attention. To get the viewer to engage, a marketer must put serious thought into what the main point of the video is, and then clearly communicate that message as quickly as possible...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: September 23, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Local Search: Tips on Increasing Your Online Presence...
Customers are turning more and more to mobile search, making high visibility in local search results a critical ingredient in a business's marketing mix. The toolkit for businesses that want to rule local search results is already rich, and continues to deepen. Citations in sites such as Yelp, Superpages, Angie's List, and others are invaluable. Use of Google+ Local Page Optimization gives businesses higher ranking in Local Pack Results, inclusion in the Local Carousel, and having a Pin in the Local Pack Map. Encouraging reviews on a Google Local Page is another powerful way to get better local search results. Writing on Search Engine Journal, Kelsey Jones provides helpful infographics detailing do's, don'ts, and tips in 5 areas: Google+ local page optimization; citations; reviews; on-site optimization; and inbound link profile...

Feature Story:

7 Tips For Managing Your Banker »

By Steve LeFever

Banking basics for tough times
In these challenging times, it pays to be as prepared as possible. Here are some suggestions from the banker's side of the desk that will help increase your chances of success when it comes time to renew or renegotiate your current loan structure.
First, it's no secret that the banking industry has taken a hit over the past 48 months. Bank performance (or lack thereof) has been front-page news for some time. Here's an overview of what's happened, where we are, and what it means to you.
A generally robust economy since 2003 lulled banks into more of a "sales" mentality and less of a "credit analysis" mentality. As a result, credit standards were lowered, documentation pared down, and the loan decision process watered down...

Feature Story:

Claiming Your Share: Popeyes' Turnaround In A No-Growth World »

By Jack Mackey

Growing franchisee profitability usually requires growing the top line, as well as controlling costs. With no rising economic tide to lift all boats, the way to grow sales is to take share from the competition.
This makes sense because most people you think of as "your" customers are also customers of your competitors. If you are franchising restaurants, "your" customers' total spend on eating out is much more than their total spend on eating out with your franchisees. You just get a very small sliver of the customer pie.
But you can increase your share by being different, better, and more desirable to customers. To put a finer point on that growth formula, it looks like this:
Unique offerings + marketing and design that distinguish the brand + guest-focused operations = a growing brand that creates legions of loyalists and generates great wealth...

Feature Story:

Any Meal, Any Time: Keeping Core Values Intact During A Brand Refresh »

Franchise Update

Change in a franchise system is inevitable. All franchise brands across all segments--food, home services, health and wellness, B2B, and others--eventually come to a point in their growth where the choice is clear: either change and continue to grow, or remain stale and gradually fade away as more progressive competitors pass you by.
Having been in the restaurant industry since age 14, I've seen my fair share of "change gone good" and "change gone bad" situations. Some of the most expensive events are when change isn't handled correctly. I've learned that whether it's small tweaks to a menu or entire system-wide rebranding programs, in a primarily franchised system the deciding factor of the success or failure of change and of enlisting the support of the franchise partners has been, and always will be, trust...

Feature Story:

Workplace Communication: Where Has All The Candor Gone? »

By Gregory Ciotti

Candor among talented teams is no small feat, but executives across industries will tell you that it is the universal gold standard.

Feature Story:

Franchise Ownership By Hispanic Americans Will Continue To Grow »

By Sebastian Aroca

U.S. Census numbers show that Latinos are the nation's largest minority: the Hispanic American population in 2012 had reached 53 million and is expected to grow to 128 million by 2060. By sheer numbers alone, this group is set to influence the way companies do business in the U.S. for years to come - which is why companies that expand through franchising are seeking creative ways to attract Latino entrepreneurs.

Today, Hispanic Americans own only 5.2 percent of American franchise businesses, according to a report published by the IFA. Here are some key explanations for low Hispanic American entrance into franchise businesses; reasons that diversity in franchise businesses is desirable; and examples of franchise companies that actively court Hispanic American entrepreneurs...

Feature Story:

Flight Path: Air Force Couple Splits Time Between Flying And Operating Mosquito Joe Franchise »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Jeff Deiters, 50, is a Chicago-native who has been flying planes for as long as he can remember and spends a bulk of his time up in the sky. He and his wife, Annette, met at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, and are both veterans. After 22 years of flying for the United States Air Force out of Andrews Air Force base in Maryland - including flying Air Force One and many senator and cabinet members - Jeff is now a corporate pilot, flying for brands such as Under Armour and Choice Hotels. Annette flies Boeing 767s internationally out of Washington-Dulles airport for United Airlines.
While the couple still flies extensively, they wanted to fill their time on the ground with a supplemental business opportunity and started exploring new ventures for ownership...

Feature Story:

Businesses Unite!: Three Ways To "Share Local" And Make Your Business Stronger »

By Eric Groves

Local businesses are stronger together than alone. Your competitive advantage is derived from the local and industry knowledge you possess along with the market power (resources that enable you to attract and retain customers) built. As you forge relationships with other local businesses, you all grow stronger by gaining access to the collective knowledge and power of each other.
One of the simplest ways to demonstrate support for local business, while encouraging other local businesses to lend support back to you, is to "Share Local."
Share Local is the simple act of sharing something another local business is doing with residents. Successful local businesses have resources (typically email lists or Facebook followings) for sharing interesting content with customers...

Feature Story:

Building A Great Franchise Sales Team: Fierce Brands »

By Kerry Pipes

We asked Jason Mattes, chief development officer at Fierce Brands (franchisor of Retro Fitness and Let's Yo! Yogurt), what he looks for in a salesperson, and what the critical elements are in building a great sales and development team. Here's what he had to say.

David Sandler, who was one of the brightest and most gifted sales trainers of his time, once said, "Selling is a Broadway play performed by a psychiatrist." This novel, yet profound, idea formulated many moons ago, has helped shaped the way I defined my role when making my bones in franchise sales, and it still provides a GPS of sorts when comparing and contrasting the skill sets of folks I interview today.

Obviously, there are a handful of qualities that most successful sales professionals possess to some degree: integrity, accountability, high energy level, self-image of success, drive to excel, and persistently determined...

Feature Story:

The 10 Commandments Of Explosive Sales Growth »

By Steve Olson

1. Successful brands sell during boom and bust times. Whether it was the Gulf War, dot.com bomb, Katrina, or Great Recession, veteran brands know that change is constant, and that long-term growth is the ability to re-evaluate, adapt, and tackle economic storms. "Waiting for things to get better" is the road to brand erosion. You can't change the economy, but you can change yourself. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, "The times they are always a-changin'."

2. Satisfied, profitable franchisees drive recruitment. More than 100 franchise brands confirmed that strong growth is the direct result of satisfied franchisees making money, according to Franchise Update's 2014 Annual Franchise Development Survey. The study further notes that franchise concepts without compelling FPRs in their FDDs are losing out...

Feature Story:

Raising The Service Ante: Location Analytics Validates A Wow Experience »

By Jack Mackey

Customer expectations today are dramatically higher, thanks to the likes of Amazon, Zappos, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Ritz-Carlton, and Chick-fil-A, to name just a few of today's customer experience leaders. Once your customers have exceptional experiences dealing with companies like these, their expectations are permanently raised. This means your business is evaluated in the customer's mind in comparison with the best businesses in the world. If you deliver just an ordinary customer experience, rather than a highly satisfying (wow) experience, your business is just average in the customer's mind. And your customer's repeat visit behavior will reflect that judgment.
SMG recently demonstrated how much more effective highly satisfying customer experiences are in driving return visits by using location analytics...

Feature Story:

2014 Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference: A Look Back, Part 2 »

By Kerry Pipes & Eddy Goldberg

Last issue we reviewed the first two days of the 2014 Franchise Consumer Marketing Conference, held this past June in Atlanta. This issue covers Thursday and Friday.

Disruption and the economy
Wednesday began with breakfast in the Networking Gallery, followed by the day's keynote speaker, Luke Williams, who delivered a wide-ranging discussion on the importance of innovation in business success. Williams, professor of innovation at NYU's Stern School of Business, is the author of the best-selling book Disrupt. "If you're interested in growth, you must be interested in innovation," he said. "Ideas are the recipes for increasing returns."

His overall message was not to become complacent with success. "The pace of disruptive change is accelerating in every industry," he cautioned...

Feature Story:

Implementing The Affordable Care Act »

By Benjamin Geyerhahn

What franchisees need to know about the ACA rollout

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has introduced widespread changes to the healthcare landscape. It has increased the availability, quality, and affordability of health insurance for the general population, regardless of age, gender, or pre-existing medical conditions.
The ACA has also altered the guidelines for employer-sponsored insurance, which has thrown many small- and mid-sized businesses for a loop.
In 2015, the ACA employer mandate will require employers with 50 or more full-time employees (defined as an average of 30-plus hours per week) to offer a minimum coverage health plan at affordable rates (less than 9.5 percent of an employee's household income).
Additionally, companies with 200 or more employees are required to automatically enroll employees in employer-sponsored insurance with a waiting period of no more than 90 days...

Feature Story:

Guest Data - The Most Important Thing Your Restaurant Doesn't Have »

By Vikram Rao & Francesca's Restaurant Group

In this age of big data, the restaurant industry trails behind all other major industries in data collection and analysis. Most restaurants collect feedback and contact information from fewer than 2 percent of their guests, leaving them unable to understand their guests' preferences and ultimately leaving them unable to get back in touch with their guests. This striking data gap has resulted in the birth of a new restaurant technology industry called guest relationship management (GRM) technology. This industry aims to solve this data shortage by combining feedback, guest communications, and loyalty into one "smart" system. Restaurants across the country are starting to use these systems and, based on initial results, it appears these systems could soon take the restaurant industry by storm...

Feature Story:

Goals And Visions: Survey Says Business Owners Should Take Risks, Earn Respect, And Inspire Action »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Accomplishing goals is the most essential function of running a company, according to 46 percent of entrepreneurs polled by The Alternative Board (TAB). By comparison, 38 percent place more importance on providing a vision for their business. Despite acknowledging how crucial that vision is to the company's success, most leaders need help communicating it: participants averaged just 7.1 out of 10 when grading themselves on how effectively they expressed their vision to their team.
"It's important that the leader establishes and communicates a vision. But it's even more important that they accomplish goals," says David Scarola, vice president of TAB. "One without the other has little value."
After surveying 336 small business owners and CEOs worldwide (roughly 70 percent of whom have companies earning over $1 million a year), a common profile of the modern business leader emerged from TAB's study...

Feature Story:

Brand Builder: Big Expansion Plans Ahead For Multi-State Operator »

By Debbie Selinsky

Larry Lee had a built-in advantage when he leveraged his career in real estate and shopping center development to include franchising.
"Great locations will offset everything else," says the Texan, who has 16 McAlister's deli locations open, with plans to add two dozen more by 2015 as he expands beyond his base in Texas and New Mexico. Lee first ate in a McAlister's at one of his San Antonio shopping centers. "No matter how great your marketing is, you can't market your way out of a bad location," he says.
Lee says his learning curve as he entered franchising was relatively easy. "Franchising was a little new, but I knew about the real estate, of course, and the financing requirements. Dealing with a franchisor was a little different but that's gone well, too," he says...

Feature Story:

3 Keys For Effective Customer Loyalty And Reward Programs »

By Plante Moran

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a presentation on "Understanding Customer Loyalty and Designing Effective Reward Programs," by Clay Voorhees, assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University. The informative session discussed how organizations can develop effective reward and loyalty programs to increase customer spending. Here are a few of the key takeaways and examples from that session.

1. When setting up a rewards program, the goal should be to convert "good" customers to "elite" ones. Most loyalty programs are some variation on the "buy x, get 1 free" method, but that isn't necessarily the best way to go. It may not take a good customer to that next level where they're truly loyal to your company. Additionally, these coupon-type rewards programs provide little useful data analytics and often cost more money than they actually bring in...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: September 9, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Yelp Trends: 132 Million Users Can Tell You What's Hot
Yelp, the social review platform, provides a searchable database of 57 million reviews. The Yelp Trends service allows users to track trends over time and break the results down by individual markets. For businesses wishing to develop new products or services, or learn more about local markets for their existing ones, the data Yelp offers will be invaluable, according to the editors at Restaurant Hospitality. Two caveats: the data is based on keywords in Yelp reviews, and has no context information about customer actions. Also, since many more people use Yelp than contribute reviews, the data may not accurately reflect the views and opinions of the majority of customers.

Pinterest Update: Category Pages Allow Mobile, Web Users To Follow Topics
Pinterest category pages bundle pins devoted to specific subject matter so users can easily discover and follow material relating to their interests while avoiding pins that don't engage them...

Feature Story:

Going Global - Socially: Social Media Use Varies By Country »

By William and Heather Edwards

Increasingly, U.S. franchisors are using social media sites to build brand awareness, attract new customers, focus marketing on their ideal customer demographic, and even to recruit new franchisees. In the U.S., the primary social media platforms used for these purposes are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Foursquare. Some of these sites are also important marketing opportunities in other countries. This is especially true in emerging markets with fast-growing numbers of middle-class consumers who we want to be customers at our franchise outlets in their countries.
This article examines social media use by the franchise sector in the U.S. and in other countries where U.S. franchises are growing. We will see some major differences in social media use outside the U...



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