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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 Six Steps To Selling Success: Step 6, Awarding The Franchise, Part 3 »

By Steve Olson

Objective: Grant the franchise to qualified buyers on Discovery Day or soon after
Length of meeting: 30 minutes to 2 hours

Timeline for selling process
Twelve weeks is the average length of time in awarding a franchise, according to franchise companies surveyed in Franchise Update's Annual Franchise Development Report. Selling hotel franchises and other million-dollar- plus concepts certainly takes much longer. On the lower investment end, some franchises costing less than $100,000 can close in 6 to 8 weeks.

Legitimate time-robbers delaying franchise signings include life's realities of family vacations, sickness, dealing with partnerships, legal and CPA reviews of franchise agreements, or scheduling conflicts with Discovery Days...

Feature Story:

Social Media Tweaking: 3 Ways To Benefit From Paid Ads And Boosted Posts On Facebook »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Social Media Tweaking: 3 ways to Benefit From Paid Ads and Boosted Posts on Facebook

It seems nothing changes faster than the big social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. No sooner do marketers figure out how to best promote a product or business than they change the rules!
That's been especially true for Facebook, which had to find new ways to make money after going public two years ago. Twitter has also been making changes since its IPO in November, but most of them - including a visual redesign, tagging people, and uploading multiple photos - are geared toward user friendliness. Even Google+, owned by Google, which went public way back in 2004, is constantly tweaking.
But the tweaks bringing the most squeals of protest are those being made by Facebook...

Feature Story:

Breaking Through The Clutter: Get Your Customers From Where They Are To Where You'd Like Them »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

There's a lot of competition out there. As the economy continues to show signs of improvement, new franchises are entering the marketplace while existing brands open new stores or add new service providers.
While this growth is certainly positive, many of us are noting an almost opposite trend in our customers. We may be giving them more options, but their waning attention spans and "get-it-now" mentalities make it even more challenging for us to actually get their business.
How do you break through the competitive clutter with your advertising message? Reach your customers where they are - and inspire them to move to where you'd like them to be.

Location, Location, Location
Many successful businesses use geo-targeting to deliver promotional messages that resonate with their unique demographic niches...

Feature Story:

Targeting Customers Effectively At Liberty Tax Service »

Franchise Update

We asked Martha O'Gorman, Chief Marketing Officer at Liberty Tax Service, how she identifies Liberty's ideal customers - and how she targets them effectively with marketing initiatives. Here's what she had to say.

The one thing I have learned through my years of experience in marketing is that the ideal customer is identified best by modeling them after a real person. I spend a lot of time watching and listening to our customers in person and through social media channels to get a sense of who they are and what they are looking for in a tax preparer. In many ways, that expectation is all over the board, but there is one constant that rings true throughout our customer base: they want to be treated with respect by a friendly person who makes them feel good about their experience with us...

Feature Story:

IT Speaks: Building Technology Solutions That Marketers Love »

By Johnny Cheng

Note: This article originally appeared on the Marketo Marketing Blog.

Back when I was in IT, my biggest fear was implementing a solution that no one liked -or worse, that they didn't end up using. Being at a startup tech company, my IT budget was minuscule. This meant that aligning with other "well-funded" departments in my company, such as the marketing team, was always a challenge.

If I'd had an unlimited budget, I would have always implemented complete turnkey solutions (for those not in IT, these are "off the shelf," ready-to-go solutions), with 1,000 professional services hours and 24/7 live support. I wouldn't have worried about learning the solution or onboarding my users. Crazy, I know... but everybody has to dream...

Feature Story:

5 Reasons To Use Cartoon Animation In Online Marketing »

By Toonimo

The past few years have seen an increased use of animated cartoon by sponsors at Franchise Update Media conferences. Whether aimed at franchisees, franchisees, or marketers, these presentations are not only a departure from "standard" promotional and marketing videos, but judging by audience reaction, they also seem to draw more eyeballs (as well as a few smiles) - despite clearly being marketing pieces pitched to sales and marketing pros. Toonimo, a company that produces animated cartoons, presents their top five reasons to consider incorporating moving pictures into your brand's online marketing mix. Below are some edited excerpts.

From the intro
Cartoon animations can be a powerful marketing tool for online marketers...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: July 8, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman

Mary Meeker's 2014 Internet Trends
Kleiner Perkins venture capitalist Mary Meeker gives out a valuable presentation about Internet trends every spring. It's widely considered a sort of "State of the Internet" address. Here are the data-packed slides from her 2014 presentation. Key insight: The Internet is still growing fast worldwide and mobile is growing even faster.

Twitter Interactive Guide for Small Businesses
Want to get started with Twitter and don't know how or where? Or maybe you're already using Twitter and want to take your activity to the next level. The popular social media giant (255 million monthly active users) has put together an interactive guide to help your business reach its goals, whatever your experience level...

Feature Story:

Women At The Top: Julia Stewart »

Franchise Update

Julia Stewart
CEO, DineEquity
System revenue: $7.2 billion (Applebee's $4.2 billion, IHOP $2.7 billion, company units $292 million)
No. of units: 3,612 (2,010 Applebee's, 1,602 IHOPs)
Public or private: Public
Growth plans: Build on the iconic status of our brands through our culture, brand equity, and positioning, providing quality to our guests, and development. One of the tenets of our plan for continued growth is innovation--in our menu, guest experience, and our restaurants, domestically and abroad.
Year founded: IHOP 1958, Applebee's 1980 (Following the acquisition of Applebee's in November 2007, the name was changed to DineEquity, Inc., effective June 2, 2008.)
Began franchising: IHOP 1960, Applebee's 1985
Years with company: 15 years in the Applebee's and IHOP brands, the past 12 as CEO of IHOP/DineEquity
Years in franchising: 30-plus
Number of international locations: Applebee's, 150; IHOP, 51

Questions

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?My very first experience in the restaurant industry was a job as a server at my local IHOP, which began a lifelong love affair with the restaurant industry...

Feature Story:

Total Support: Awarding Qualified Franchises Is A Team Effort »

By Marc Kiekenapp

Building a strong franchise system through unit growth is a team effort requiring participation from the entire organization. To succeed more often in attracting and capturing the best possible candidates for your system, it is essential that all departments contribute.
Most franchisors don't take the time to educate and involve all their key department heads in the development process. But without this interaction, conflicts can arise about the capabilities of new franchisees, with blame for any failures placed on the franchise development department--even though operations didn't want to be involved in the selection process. These conflicts usually occur when a new franchisee is struggling after a few months and the discussions start focusing on whether the franchise was granted to the right person...

Feature Story:

Keep On Truckin': David Griffin And His Family Persevere And Prosper »

By Kerry Pipes

Four years ago David Griffin had just purchased 25 Jiffy Lube stores in Colorado. The stores were underperforming, some were dilapidated, and the U.S. economy still at one of its all-time lows. Those factors created a perfect storm for Griffin to expand--but it wasn't a walk in the park.
"We've spent the last three years reviving those units, and it has been a monumental task," says the 56-year-old today. Griffin says it took millions of dollars to turn around those 25 struggling locations--and the process tested both the company and his family, which is deeply involved in the business. "I'm still working right alongside my wife Joye and my three sons," he says. "We are today's family farm."
The effort paid off, says Griffin. "Sales at those 25 stores had been in a double-digit dive prior to us taking them over...

Feature Story:

Retail Traffic Reports: Interpreting The Indicator Data With A Grain Of Salt »

By Mark Ryski

Retail traffic is an important indicator of shopper behavior and a bellwether for retail sales results. If more people are visiting stores, there are more opportunities for retailers to convert shoppers into sales. When traffic is down, retailers have fewer opportunities, thus, typically, fewer sales. More traffic doesn't guarantee more sales, but store traffic and sales are correlated.
But traffic is notoriously difficult to measure. If you scanned the headlines about retail traffic during this past holiday season, you would likely have been more confused than enlightened. Depending upon which index you referred to, retail traffic was either significantly down, somewhat down, or up.
Why are there such discrepancies in these indexes - and whom should you believe?

Is retail traffic up or down?
The answer depends on where your numbers come from...

Feature Story:

How To Know When It's Time To Go International »

By Jim

Every successful franchisor reaches a certain point where they must decide what the next step will be in expanding their business. Growing the franchise locally, then nationally, is the logical progression for domestic growth. But to fully capitalize on potential growth options, and to avoid over-saturating domestic markets, franchisors may want to think about international expansion.

The growth of a brand at an international level can pay huge long-term dividends to the franchisees, the franchisor, and shareholders alike. Global brand recognition, increased brand footprint, and global accounts programs all benefit the business. Revenue streams from new franchise sales will combine with ongoing royalties for the franchisor, and all of these factors build a larger family of satisfied franchisees...

Feature Story:

Why Franchisors Fail - And How To Help Them Succeed, Part 3 »

By Joe Mathews and Thomas Scott

This is Part 3 of a series on why new and emerging franchise brands fail. In the first two parts, we discussed 8 reasons they fail. The remaining installments will cover what they can do to succeed.


Doing It Right from Day One

During a recent IFA convention, we approached several franchisors in different industries that survived the start-up phase and had growing franchise systems with happy and profitable franchisees. They had all crossed the threshold where they were royalty-sufficient, meaning their existing royalty stream sustained the business. Their business could sustain itself if they failed to recruit another franchisee.

We asked them, "Knowing what you know now, if you wanted to launch your concept right and not be undercapitalized, how much should you have started with?" Their answers were consistently between $1 million and $2 million...

Feature Story:

How A Franchisor Can Use Outside Counsel To Save Legal Fees! »

By Carl Khalil and Sada Sheldon

We live in a world where law firms commonly have billable hourly quotas that their attorneys must meet, and substantial hourly rates as well. Yet, franchisors have a goal seemingly inconsistent with this framework: to minimize outside counsel fees. Can these seemingly opposite purposes be reconciled? Yes, and the way to do so is for franchisors to ask outside counsel to assist them in those areas that can competently be handled by the client after being set up by outside counsel. Here are some of those areas.

• Ask counsel for the templates to do the Michigan and Utah annual filings.
Perhaps it makes good sense for outside counsel to file the annual Michigan and Utah Notices the first time a franchisor intends to offer or sell franchises in those states...

Feature Story:

The Six Steps To Selling Success: Step 6, Awarding The Franchise, Part 2 »

By Steve Olson

Objective: Grant the franchise to qualified buyers on Discovery Day or soon after
Length of meeting: 30 minutes to 2 hours



Overcoming buyers' cold feet

Feeling butterflies in personally uncomfortable situations is a human condition. We all know and have experienced this. It means we care and really want to do something right - whether it's our first step on stage in a community performance, preparing for the city league tennis championship, addressing an audience of 500 people, moving to a new city, taking on a new job... or getting Discovery Day approval to buy a franchise business!

Why am I bringing this up now? Because when closing time starts "closing in," reality hits some buyers like a sledgehammer...

Feature Story:

A New Shade: John Sullivan Finds Flexibility And Success In ProTect Painters Franchise »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

John Sullivan is a Midwesterner with a background in retail and corporate America. He moved to St. Louis following college and began his career with Macy's department stores. He went on to work in the plastics industry for companies like Dow Chemical and Rohm and Hass over the next 12 years. But it was when his executive level position required extensive travel that he began to reassess his career. He began looking for a way he could be at home more with his family. Franchising proved to be the perfect solution.
Three years ago Sullivan became a ProTect Painters franchisee and has loved every minute of it. He says he has a much more flexible schedule and that much of what he learned in the corporate world has helped him become a successful franchisee...

Feature Story:

Fair Wage War: IFA Takes Its Minimum Wage Battle To Chicago »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Fast on the heels of its recent legal challenge to a new minimum wage law passed in Seattle, the International Franchise Association (IFA) has now set its sights on the city of Chicago.
Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of the IFA, wrote a letter to the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel last week urging them to remove a provision in a bill to raise the minimum wage that would discriminate against franchisees.
Caldeira and the IFA have been clear in their assertion that franchisees are locally owned, small businesses and not large, national businesses as the legislation suggests. Giving non-franchise small businesses extra time to increase their wages, but forcing franchisees to raise their wages along with large companies is unfair and unconstitutional, says Caldeira...

Feature Story:

Customer Service: Empower Employees To Go Beyond The Rules »

By John Tschohl

There are rules for a reason: they work for most people most of the time. Often, scientific evidence backs them up. But as with almost any other endeavor in society that doesn't involve criminal activity, rules can sometime be broken - or at least bent - without the world coming to an end.

This is especially true in business. Company owners and top executives give a lot of thought to winning and keeping customers, and they spend a lot of time and money on things like PR, leadership training, social media campaigns etc. But the real front lines of building a business are in the daily interactions employees have with customers.

One of the major roadblocks to customer service excellence are the policies and procedures most companies have in place to make sure that 1 percent of their customers don't take advantage of them...

Feature Story:

Store Analytics: Franchise Networks Should Act More Like Chains »

By Mark Ryski

The benefits of tracking traffic and measuring conversion rates in retail stores have long been established and are now widely considered fundamental in retailing. Not only have retailers been doing it for decades, but the retailers who leverage the insights effectively have an "insight edge," and consequently a competitive advantage over retailers who do not.

Over the course of the last 10 years, I have worked with a multitude of franchise and dealer networks including those in wireless, general merchandise, electronics, home improvement, and automotive segments. Regardless of the type of franchise network, I see a consistent disconnect between franchisors and franchisees when it comes to analytics, especially store traffic and conversion analytics...

Feature Story:

Buyer Personas: Do You Know Who Your Customers Are? »

By Eddy Goldberg

Every marketer thinks about their ideal customer - where they live, what they like, what they buy, where they buy it, and why. Creating a picture of that perfect customer goes a long way in helping consumer marketers determine where to spend their own money. A free, customizable template from HubSpot, "How To Create Buyer Personas for Your Business," provides a way to answer those critical questions about your ideal customer.

The report is divided into five sections, including a set of blank PowerPoint templates to create three customized buyer personas for your business. Here's an overview of what's inside, with excerpts from the report:

1) What are buyer personas?
"Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers...



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