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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:

The Maids: The Brand Culture Starts At The Top »

By Amy Olson

We asked Amy Olson, vice president of customer experience/marketing for The Maids about the role that the brand's culture plays in creating, framing, and developing its brand message/image to customers. Here's what she had to say.

The Maids has more than 30 years of experience in the highly competitive residential cleaning industry. We know well the importance and challenges of differentiating our brand in the market, and how important culture is in conveying and creating a positive overall brand experience. Personifying the brand culture starts at the top through executive and franchisee leadership.

The personalities of the brand we strive to convey through our culture are professionalism and being detail-oriented, friendly, and considerate...

Feature Story:

10 Must-Read Books For Leaders, Part 1 »

By Paul Jun

The Roman philosopher Epictetus once said, "Books are the training weights of the mind." Seneca, Roman statesman and philosopher, opined that, "The most important knowledge is that which guides the way you lead your life."

Combine these two pieces of wisdom and you have an undeniable truth: reading is an exercise that enriches our minds and our lives and the way we think, feel, and behave. It allows us to gather an assortment of dots, but more important, to connect those dots to expand our knowledge.

It's easy to gravitate toward the comfortable, familiar reads. Reading is an exercise in thinking and to get better at it, it's important we go beyond our comfort zone and tackle more difficult subjects that seemingly have no relevance...

Feature Story:

Coping With Difficult Coworkers »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Coworkers must work together to be as productive as possible. It can be difficult at times. Here, Geoffrey James, author of Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know, outlines 10 different types of coworkers and explains how they can keep the peace and work better together "It's not difficult once you've spotted the behaviors," he explains.
Here are 10 of the most difficult coworkers and how to deal with them:

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: November 11, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Ello!
Ello is the hot new, invitation-only social media network that went public in August. It's free for now, but will eventually adopt a freemium model, adding new features that users will find useful and fun enough to pay for upgrades. Ello has no advertising, no suggested posts, doesn't track your every move, and won't spam your address book. As with Twitter, once you've joined Ello, it may not be immediately obvious what you should do. You'll need to follow some people and post some content to get started. Ello has been getting 34,000 requests an hour for invitations, so you won't lack company for long.

LinkedIn: No More Connecting through Groups
A useful feature of Group membership on LinkedIn has been dropped by the business social media giant...

Feature Story:

People Centered: Guests And Staff Both Reap The Rewards »

By Debbie Selinsky

Craig Joy, who works side by side with employees on the sandwich line at his Checkers restaurants in Florida, is known for his people-driven approach to business and the high retention rate of what he calls his "incredible team."
"We're lucky to have him," says Checkers Vice President for Franchise Development Jennifer Durham. "Crew members look to him as an inspirational leader. He gives them an opportunity to grow more than the average fast-food job. He cares about his people and really gives them an opportunity to grow professionally."
And it's clear that Joy, Checkers' 2013 Franchisee of the Year, takes pleasure in new, more efficient ways to operate his six restaurants in the Tampa area. For example, Checkers has a "Peak 150" strategy, meaning the time between order and food delivery is 150 seconds...

Feature Story:

Leading By Example: Partners Care For Employees And Community »

By Debbie Selinsky

Checkers co-franchisees Bruce Keehn and Andrew Lynn don't seek photo ops or newspaper articles about all the good they do in their communities. But their actions speak volumes.
In 1996, when race riots ensued after a white police officer shot a 28-year-old black man in Paterson, N.J., news footage showed Checkers bags atop police cars, where Keehn and his people had placed them. In 2012, when Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey, their staff could be found everywhere giving away free Checkers food, even though one of their own restaurants had been hit hard.
"Everything that has happened in this area in the past 20 years, we've been there," says Keehn, who spent years at Burger King corporate before becoming a Checkers franchisee...

Feature Story:

3 Benefits Of Franchising Potential Owners Often Forget »

By Todd Wolfenbarger

Editor's Note: For seasoned franchise sales pros, it can be easy to overlook the most obvious benefits of franchising, or take them for granted - which is not the case for prospects and candidates new to franchising. Reminding them of these three basic benefits during the sales process can go a long way to keep them moving ahead. Take a moment to step out of your sales shoes to refresh your memory of what it's like on "the other side": the world your successful candidates are about to enter.

When you're the owner of a franchise, you carry the title of "chief problem solver." Having worked with hundreds of franchise owners over the past decade, I've observed three key advantages that potential owners often overlook.

1...

Feature Story:

Employees Show Customers They Care »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Caring about customers is one of the best ways to differentiate your business and gain long-term consumer loyalty. But how can employers operationalize such a "soft" skill?
"Your best strategy is to teach your employees what caring about customers looks like in action," says Jon Gordon, best-selling author and speaker. "Suggest specific tactics they can employ. When they see how good it feels to care--and how good caring is for business--you'll receive your team's buy-in and continued participation."
Gordon notes that most of the tips he shares can also apply internally.
"Employees can apply these principles to their interactions with each other, too," he says. "How you treat your coworkers is how you'll treat customers--you can't separate the two!"
Here, Gordon shares 11 strategies employees can use to show customers (and each other) that they care:

Be present...

Feature Story:

Why Your Franchise Sales Process Is A Disaster, Part 3 »

By Joe Mathews

Feature Story:

6 Takeaways For Stay-at-Home Business Operators »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Being young and inexperienced can be intimidating for stay-at-home entrepreneurs, but it doesn't mean you're making mistakes, says veteran businesswoman Renae Christine.
Fresh out of college at 23, she thought she'd done something wrong when the wholesaler for her stationery company assigned her a personal representative.
"In reality I was doing so much business with them that they wanted to ensure my satisfaction," says Christine, a serial entrepreneur who has created dozens of successful home-based businesses for herself and others. She shares practical how-to advice in her new book, Home Business Startup Bible, (http://richmombusiness.com/).
She was the busy mother of a 2-year-old and she'd just returned home - to the mess left in the wake of last-minute packing -- when the rep showed up, she says...

Feature Story:

Doing Well By Doing Good: Meeting Community Needs Pays Off In Houston  »

By Debbie Selinsky

Chris Moore, a multi-unit Watermill Express franchisee, is in the enviable position of knowing exactly who his customers are, what they want, and why—and where—they want it. This has allowed him not only to become a successful franchisee with 92 water purification vending kiosks across the Houston area, but also to contribute to the community in an unusual way.
“Our freestanding structures, often in the middle of a parking lot at a shopping center, allow people to get purified water gallons at a time and 24 hours a day. This works especially well in Sun Belt states, like Texas, Florida, and California,” he says.
“Our primary customer is a person from another country who didn’t trust the water system where they grew up and so always had to drink purified water...

Feature Story:

5 Tips For Improving Franchise Marketing System-Wide »

By Corey O'Donnel

Franchises are different. They are not like the monolithic enterprise businesses with centralized decision-making and abundant resources, nor are they a series of related small businesses. In a franchise business, the decisions, financing, and implementation of business decisions are shared or distributed between the members of the network. To function effectively, franchisors and franchisees must collaborate, but facilitating this communication between franchisors and franchisees presents a major challenge. It's the space between the franchisor and franchisees - the communication, data, and decision-making gap - that must be overcome for a franchise to succeed.

When it comes to marketing, this is further complicated by the addition of dozens of new channels, technologies, and tactics...

Feature Story:

Recruiting New Franchisees: 3 Key Selling Skills, Part 3 »

By Steve Olson

Key #3: Effective Closing Skills
In the two previous newsletters, I discussed Selling Skill #1 ("Follow a successful sales process") and Selling Skill #2 ("Strong relationship-building skills").

This time I go into the third key selling skill: Effective closing skills. These three skills, essential for making new franchise sales, are part of my book, Grow to Greatness: How to build a world class franchise system faster - and are appropriate for both new and emerging franchisors, as well as experienced sales pros seeking to brush up on their skills and/or improve the performance of their sales staff.

Effective closing skills
In working with a quality candidate, your franchise recruitment builds to a crescendo signaling the final step in the process -- when the buyer must make the life-changing move, cash out bank accounts, and leap into your franchise world placing total faith and trust in your hands...

Feature Story:

End Of The Bond Bull?: How To Manage The Nearing Possibility »

By Carol M. Schleif

For the past 30 years, the U.S. has experienced the longest bull market on record for fixed-income securities. As interest rates declined, investors in bonds benefited. Fixed-income returns have been far above historical norms, even outperforming stocks during crucial periods, and investors have poured billions into them. The seemingly inevitable end of this run has many investors uncertain about the future.
There has been a great deal of debate recently regarding the notion that interest rates, which are hovering near all-time lows, may be set to increase, particularly as a result of the massive amounts of stimulus provided by central banks worldwide in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. What about the Fed's balance sheet? What will the impact be if quantitative easing continues? What are the ripple effects that may be caused if investors create a disorderly exit? Given the complexity of the issues, we can touch only on a few points here...

Feature Story:

5 Things A CMO Should Know (But Often Doesn't) »

By Bob Scaglione

You've put in your time, worked hard and you're now a CMO. Good for you, now get to work. No, seriously, get to work! Your plate is already full.

Back in the day, a CMO was responsible for things like brand identity, brand awareness, and corporate marketing, but today's CMO is responsible for a great deal more. Things like growth, top-line revenue, CRM, and profit are now your responsibilities as well, and experts say your responsibilities will only increase. So get to it, and while you're doing all this new stuff, make sure you stay up to date on all of the ways consumer marketing is changing. Make sure you're an expert on all things digital, have a deep understanding of social media, and know exactly how each of your consumers wants to be spoken to...

Feature Story:

Report: Small Businesses Avoid Digital, Social Marketing »

By Brandmuscle

Social media and digital marketing are receiving considerable attention and visibility as highly effective, must-have marketing tactics, particularly for larger enterprises. However, a report from Brandmuscle reveals that many smaller local affiliates are slow to adopt social and digital media because of concerns about complexity. Instead, they are favoring some (but not all) of the more established marketing tactics (e.g., local events, direct mail, and coupons).

The report surveyed hundreds of local dealers, agents, and franchisees across a wide range of industries and asked them to share insights on their local marketing experiences. Brandmuscle, a local marketing automation platform provider, compared the results to those identified by tracking more than $2 billion in co-op and channel investments made by Brandmuscle clients over the past 3 years...

Feature Story:

Multi-Unit Master Franchisee Bill Sole »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Bill Sole has been an Anago Cleaning Systems master franchisee for nine years. He opened his first franchise in 2005 in the Bay Area of Northern California, and today his commercial cleaning operation consists of 70 unit franchisees servicing more than 350 facilities in the Bay Area. The Anago Cleaning Systems is a commercial cleaning franchise brand that supports more than 35 master franchises and 2,400 unit franchisees throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Sole has just become the master franchisee for the Inland Empire area where he will service the counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ontario. His blend of strong business acumen and years of running successful Anago Master Franchises in San Jose and Greater Oakland in the Bay Area have created the foundation to drive new business ventures in this market...

Feature Story:

Financial Advisors Should Work In Harmony »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Individuals and families with large estates have enough to worry about - they shouldn't have to wonder whether the advisors they depend upon have their best interests at heart, says financial advisor Matthew T. Shafer.
"Many don't realize that wealthy people are targets for criminals and opportunistic people; that's why an estate should have a good team of professionals who work well with each other," says Shafer, author of The Future of Your Wealth, (http://mattshafer.us/).
"Wealthy families - and many middle-class families - have multiple advisors who specialize in different disciplines, including attorneys, tax specialists, insurance agents and the like. A family could find the best specialist in each field, but if these experts do not work in harmony, the results can be dreadful...

Feature Story:

5 Ways To Stop Sabotaging Your Content Marketing »

By Ellen Gomes

Today, marketers create, launch, and leverage content faster than ever. But to stay at the top of their game they juggle many moving pieces, while working to avoid the common pitfalls that plague content creation. We've identified five common issues that sabotage a content marketer's efforts to create content that delivers value and supports the reader in their buying lifecycle. Avoid the following to secure your content's success.

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: October 28, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Marketers: You Think You're Funny? Use It!
Is comedy right for your brand? This piece by Larry Kim, founder of WordStream, makes a case for humor in marketing. While he reminds aspiring comedy creators they need to be careful, as it's easy to cross the line, he comes down on the side of adding some laughs to your marketing. Marketers with not-very-sexy products can benefit from lightening up their pitch a bit... or a lot. The results can be dramatic: nobody ever thought insurance was cute before a certain gecko arrived on the scene.

10 Tips for Optimizing Mobile Websites
We all know the importance of mobile for today's marketing. This blog by Rocco Baldassarre on Search Engine Journal rounds up 10 must-have practices for optimizing your mobile website...



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