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Franchise Articles

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:

On A Mission: Michael Kulp Takes Care Of Business And His People »

By Debbie Selinsky

Michael Kulp thinks big. While some business executives are looking at what to cut because of rising payroll and healthcare costs, Kulp, president and CEO of KBP Foods, a $250 million restaurant company with units in nine states, is taking an "inverse" approach.
"We're using our growth as a vehicle to handle costs rather than shrinking the business down," says the 38-year-old Colorado native. "We're making sure that our growth and cash flow outpace the costs of healthcare and payroll." This approach illustrates what Kulp finds most rewarding about his job, he says. "Our mission is to develop our people personally, professionally, and financially."
With that goal in mind, KBP Foods, which includes nearly 300 KFCs, Taco Bells, and Long John Silver's, took another major step...

Feature Story:

Come Together: CEO Shares Tips For Turning Wasted Meetings Into Fruitful Gatherings »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

In survey after survey company meetings get knocked by everyone from employees to senior executives as being among the biggest waste of work hours.
In one poll, by Office Team, 45 percent of senior executives said their firms would be more productive if they banned all meetings at least one day a week!
"The problem that often occurs - beyond the obvious, like lacking a clear agenda - is the underlying current of competition that each person brings to the table," says Berny Dohrmann, chairman and founder of CEO Space International, and author of Redemption: The Cooperation Revolution.
"Competition pulls people apart; cooperation brings them together. Signs that competition is causing unproductive meetings include one or two people dominating the floor; individuals touting their achievements; people consistently failing to contribute their ideas because they fear being criticized or ridiculed," he says...

Feature Story:

Why Franchisors Fail - And How To Help Them Succeed, Part 5 »

By Joe Mathews and Thomas Scott

This is part 5 of a 6-part series on why new and emerging franchise brands fail. In the first two parts, we discussed 8 reasons they fail. Part 3 began our discussion on how franchisors can get it right. The remaining installments dig further into what they can do to succeed.

Financing: Isn't there a better way?
Private equity has entered franchising in a big way. If you are an emerging growth franchisor who has not attained royalty self-sufficiency, chances are your brand has little book value because you haven't profitably monetized your intellectual property.

The franchise may not yet be creditworthy, lacking normal credit lines or access to commercial loans to fund growth. Or it still may be worth less than the franchisor has already invested, since a franchisor's book value is determined by 1) its assets (and many franchisors don't have many hard assets), 2) EBITDA (emerging growth franchisors typically won't have strong EBITDA), and 3) long-term predictability of their royalty streams (franchisee fee revenue is a "one-time hit" and not sustainable, so private equity firms will often discount the value of the franchise fee revenue the same way they would discount a one-time tax rebate; they will, however, assign some value to the predictable royalty revenue of new franchisees who are not open yet)...

Feature Story:

The Six Steps To Selling Success: Summary »

By Steve Olson

In previous issues of this newsletter, we've covered many components and aspects of The Six Steps to Selling Success from Steve Olson's best-selling book "Grow to Greatness," a guide to building and sustaining a successful franchise brand. Amidst the daily grind and necessary tasks involved in franchise sales and development, it's easy to lose touch with the big picture. That's why this week we present a summary overview of those steps. Pin a copy to your wall, keep one in your wallet, make it your home screen. However you do it, remember it's always wise to take a step back to broaden your perspective, and that there's always room to fine-tune your franchise sales process and improve the skills of your team.

The Six Steps to Selling Success

Feature Story:

Big Operator, Bigger Heart: Family, Philanthropy, Diversity, And Drive »

By Debbie Selinsky

Tony Lutfi, who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, is one of the most successful QSR franchisees in the country, rapidly growing his five food brands to market domination and record revenues.
Lutfi, who first ventured into franchise ownership in the early 1990s as a franchisee of Arby’s and Long John Silver’s in Northern California, now owns a whopping 130-plus restaurants in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Missouri.
No one-trick pony, in 2011 began diversifying his portfolio beyond food, and just 3 years later operates a total of 29 Sears retail stores: 17 Sears Home Appliance Showrooms, 3 Sears Appliance & Hardware stores, and 9 Sears Outlet stores.
His MarLu Investment Group was able to accomplish such rapid growth across brands because, he says, “We keep the same focus on culture that has kept us in business and away from trouble...

Feature Story:

Any Portal In A Storm?: Re-evaluating Portals As Lead Generators »

By Marc Kiekenapp

The Internet portals continue to be one of the most successful inquiry generators for franchise sales. Like all of our businesses, the portals have gone through a transformation and are making many positive changes so they can continue to provide us with good inquiries.
Like a ship on the sea, your brand needs to find the right port (or portals!) to dock. And, just as ships are not all the same size or docking at the same ports, all brands are not created equal. Bigger ships are more expensive and need deeper ports, while smaller ships have many ports to choose from. Think of your brand as a ship and find the ports that fit you best.
The key to finding the right portal for your brand is not just a matter of calling up a provider, but knowing what you are looking for, who you are looking for, and where you are looking for franchise candidates...

Feature Story:

Renaissance Man: Paul Hitzelberger Draws On A Broad Base Of Knowledge, Skills, And Experience »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The list of accomplishments is long for Paul Hitzelberger. He was a senior officer with General Mills, part of the Coast to Coast franchise, turned Osco Drug Stores in the Central Illinois region from worst of 13 to best in less than two years, was selected for the company's Hall of Fame, and went on to engineer 15 years of consecutive same-store sales increases at Del Taco. To use a sports metaphor, Hitzelberger is an All Star.
For the past three decades, he's been on both sides of the business, as franchisor and franchisee, playing a leading role in helping the Del Taco brand grow to more than 540 restaurants in 17 states.
After serving 15 years as chief marketing officer for Del Taco, he retired, but it didn't stick. In 2001, the Chicago-born entrepreneur started a new career as a franchisee, buying eight Del Taco locations in Utah...

Feature Story:

High Return Rate: Avoiding The Most Common Mistakes That Cause Employees To Leave »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Employment rates in the United States are steadily increasing, meaning businesses are growing and, as a result, seeking the right talent to fit their teams. With all the positive growth, one thing business owners have to be cognizant of is the danger of employee turnover.
Terry Powell, founder of AdviCoach, a national provider of business coaching and advisory services customized for small- to mid-size businesses, says that "identifying the type of employee you want and how to reach that talent may be one of the hardest parts of the hiring process. However, once you know who you want to hire, it's important to have the systems in place to keep that employee happy to avoid costly 'repairs' down the line."
On average, turnover costs U...

Feature Story:

Healthy Choices?: Franchisees Have Only 6 Months To Comply With The ACA »

By Kerry Pipes

It's mid-2014 and nearly every American is required by the government to have health insurance coverage as outlined under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, multi-unit franchisees, who have been anxiously tracking the ACA, were granted a temporary reprieve and are not required to offer full-time employees insurance coverage until January 1, 2015.
But that's not stopping some franchisees from taking a proactive approach, offering their full-time employees coverage now. Others are taking a wait-until-it's-required approach. They both have compelling reasons.

Just the facts
The ACA was passed on March 23, 2010, upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012, and has been through more than 50 votes in the House to repeal, change, or otherwise weaken it...

Feature Story:

Revolutionary Marketing: Schlotzsky's Brand And Sales Revolve Around Its Guests »

By Kerry Pipes

As 2014 dawned, Mark Mears stepped into the C-suite at Austin-based Schlotzsky's to lead the brand's marketing initiatives. By all indications, it's been a great move.
As CMO, Mears oversees the direction of the brand's marketing division, including the strategic management of Schlotzsky's marketing and creative services departments, along with directing brand promotions, advertising, creative design, menu tests, and other initiatives.
Mears, with nearly three decades of experience in QSR, fast casual, casual, and premium casual, is a visionary business leader with a track record of building system value and driving innovation at high-profile brands.
He came to Schlotzsky's from Mimi's Cafe, where as president and chief concept officer he led the brand through a repositioning strategy, related menu optimization, and new concept development...

Feature Story:

Lifelong Learner: Leading By Example At Goddard Systems »

By Kerry Pipes

Joseph Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems and its 410 locations, traces his franchising career back to 1977 at Maaco. Founded by his brother-in-law Tony Martino (recently inducted into the IFA's Hall of Fame), Maaco was a good fit for Schumacher, who was making a good living and enjoying the work. A few years into it, Schumacher noticed that certain legal ramifications could determine system and franchisee success or failure and made a career-changing decision: while still working at Maaco corporate, he began attending law school at night.
"My last few years at Maaco I was director of legal administration," says the 59-year-old. "It was a great role, and I enjoyed it so much that I left the brand to go into private law practice, where I provided outside counsel to Maaco and other franchise brands...

Feature Story:

Corporate Culture Rules: The Right Culture Fosters Engagement, Loyalty, And Productivity »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Corporate Culture Rules: The Right Culture Fosters Engagement, Loyalty, And Productivity

If you're the CEO of a company, the realization that much of what you do can be copied by your competitors may be distressing, but veteran sales manager, consultant, and business speaker Jack Daly says not so fast.
"Sure your competition copy what they can, but there are two things they can't: your people and your culture," says Daly, author of Hyper Sales Growth, (www.jackdaly.net).
"I specialize in corporate coaching and sales, the latter of which really counts on the talent and sustained motivation of the sales force. Even your best salesperson needs that extra shot from time to time, and the best way to ensure a driven team is to create a culture that fosters the results you want," he says...

Feature Story:

Negotiating Success: 6 Tactics To Becoming A Better Negotiator »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

If you think negotiating is about winning or losing, you have already lost and should keep reading.
Negotiating is about striking the best possible deal between parties without short-changing any party involved in the transaction. However, many negotiators disregard the goals of the process and allow their emotions to take hold of them. This could crash a productive or profitable deal.
To avoid simple mishaps, Jenny Q. Ta, entrepreneur, author and CEO of Sqeeqee.com, the first-of-its-kind social "networthing" site, offers six strategies to follow that will help you become a better negotiator:

1) Plan Ahead:
Make a list of meeting goals and items that should be discussed, as well as a list of possible outcomes...

Feature Story:

Smokin' The Competition: Dickey's Barbecue Pit Preps For Growth With A New CBO »

By Kerry Pipes

Texas-born and bred Dickey's Barbecue Pit is looking to expand. That's partly why executives of the family-owned brand recently created a new position - chief brand officer - and called on a fellow Texan to market that message and help build greater brand awareness nationwide.

Christie Finley brings vision, drive, and creativity to the nation's largest barbecue brand, which has more than 400 locations in 42 states. Finley says she's focused on "the basics done right," and on promoting the brand's core values of heritage, innovation, and craftmasnship.

As chief brand officer, Finley oversees all traditional marketing efforts of the brand, which is well-known in Texas for its big, bright yellow cups and savory, smoky barbecue...

Feature Story:

How Summer-Only Kidcam Camps Targets Customers »

Franchise Update

We asked Melissa Conner, who leads marketing and operations at Kidcam Camps, how she identifies ideal customers - and how she targets them effectively with marketing initiatives. Here's what she had to say.

Kidcam Camp Franchises has 17 company-owned and franchised summer camp locations for children ages 3-13. Although we plan for our summer business year-round, we market heavily to our prospective customers for only about 5 months. Each location is treated a little differently, but there are few initiatives we have found effective regardless of the location.

Even though our business is all children, it's the parents making the decisions, and we know our customers choose us based primarily on location: How close are we to their home or work? In our off-season we look at a lot of reports telling us where our campers attend school, where they live, and how they found out about us...

Feature Story:

SEO Refresher: 6 Experts Offer Advice »

By Eddy Goldberg

"SEO, SEO, SEO" has become the online equivalent of "location, location, location." So many articles, so many years of expert advice, and so many case studies, success stories, best practices... Perhaps it's time to take a step back from rearranging the keywords, worrying about your rankings, and trying to decipher the latest tweaks to Google's algorithms, and take fresh look at what your brand is been doing with SEO.

There's lots of "expert" help out there, and more every day. Here's another, an ebook from HubSpot called "Learning SEO from the Experts." Okay, more experts, advice, and how-to's. But these six authors provide a healthy overview of SEO, along with practical how-to tips and additional references to help your brand tune up and make sense of what you're doing with SEO to attract customers...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: July 22, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Online Search Ads: Worth It or Worthless?
It turns out online advertising suffers the same problems as other kinds of advertising: reliably separating correlation from causation, as in, Would that purchase have happened anyway, or did our online ad trigger the behavior? A 2013 study by a group of economists working with eBay's internal research lab concluded that, at least for large, well-known brands, search ads are probably not worth the money. It may be that search ads for smaller company's products and services are more effective. A problem for them, of course, is that their ads normally don't rank as high as those from major brands with massive PPC budgets, so they won't be seen nearly as often. Jordan Weissman, writing on Slate, puts the study in perspective...

Feature Story:

2014 MVP Awards: Honoring Outstanding Multi-Unit Performers »

By Kerry Pipes & Eddy Goldberg

The best franchisees are some of the hardest-working and kindest people around. They provide customers with consistent products and services, give back to their communities, and provide jobs for thousands of employees. Each year we recognize outstanding multi-unit franchisees with our MVP (Most Valuable Performer) Awards. We thank Comcast Business Services for sponsoring the awards. Here's a preview of this year's winners.

Noble Cause Award
Sam Anabi was a police officer before becoming a franchisee. He now has 200 gas stations and 23 restaurants (Del Taco and Subway). His people-centered approach shows in how he cares for his employees, customers, and the needy in the communities where he operates.

American Dream Award
Nachhattar Chandi has come a long way from walking 3 miles to school on India's dirt roads...

Feature Story:

Running A Business: Overcoming Life Challenges To Succeed In Franchising »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Natalie Ehrlich knows what it's like to overcome difficult times in her life. One of the most challenging periods she ever faced was when she was a single mother studying to earn her Ph.D. while raising her son at the same time. She says it was a tough time that taught her the importance of hard work and dedication and ultimately helped shape the person she is today.
As we continue to interview and profile franchisees who think outside the brick and mortar box, we checked in with Ehrlich, an Oxi Fresh franchisee who recently ran 42 marathons in just 12 months. Here's more about her.

Name: Natalie Jo Ehrlich
Title: President and Owner
Company: Oxi Fresh of Phoenix, East Valley, and Northern Arizona
No...

Feature Story:

Neo Guerilla: 4 Fresh And Novel Approaches To Guerilla Marketing »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The continuing evolution of media consumption has made it increasingly challenging for an advertiser to both capture and hold an audience's attention.
"A decade or two ago, media was relatively consolidated; advertisers knew they could reach a significant segment of their targeted audience via newspapers and television commercials, which almost seems quaint today," says advertising entrepreneur Patrick Walsh. "We live in what academics call the Age of Choice, where reaching a broad audience and funneling their attention to a business has become trickier than ever."
In the past, guerilla marketing - the unconventional and creative use of traditional marketing tools like stickers, print ads, and billboards - has been an effective means of jolting public awareness...



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