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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:

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, (
"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, 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

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...

Feature Story:

Schlotzsky's: How Marketing Supports Franchisee Recruitment »

By Kerry Pipes

As CMO at Austin-based Schlotzsky's since January 2014, Mark Mears oversees the direction of the brand's marketing division, including the strategic management of its marketing and creative services departments, along with directing brand promotions, advertising, creative design, menu tests, and other initiatives. With nearly three decades of experience in QSR, fast casual, casual, and premium casual, he has a track record of building system value and driving innovation at high-profile brands. Schlotzsky's now has more than 350 locations worldwide, with plans for aggressive growth this year and beyond.

Describe your role as CMO. I am the steward of the Schlotzsky's brand, a passionate advocate for the brand in relation to everything that touches our guests - including high-level strategic thought leadership, marketing calendar development/execution, culinary/menu research and development, mass/micro media, digital/social media and web/mobile interactivity, publicity/corporate communication, franchise and guest relations, and local restaurant/field marketing activities...

Feature Story:

Profiling For Success Using Personality Types »

Franchise Update

With dozens of locations and hundreds, or even thousands, of employees to hire, train, manage and retain, multi-unit franchisees need tools that are effective, economical, and simple to use. Eighty-nine percent of Fortune 100 companies make use of the Jung/Myers model of personality type to help them address these challenges.

Personality type is the most popular model in the world for understanding people. It enables recruiters, managers, and coaches to understand what makes each individual tick, and provides them with keen insights and simple, practical, proven strategies for achieving their various goals. In conjunction with MSA Worldwide, our company has developed the following suite of tools designed to meet the unique needs of multi-unit franchisees...

Feature Story:

Why Franchisors Fail - And How To Help Them Succeed, Part 4 »

By Joe Mathews and Thomas Scott

This is Part 4 of a series on why new and emerging franchise brands fail. In the first two parts, we discussed 8 reasons they fail. Part 3 began the discussion on how franchisors can get it right. The remaining installments will cover what they can do to succeed.

Investing your first million
Your first $150,000 to $250,000 should be used to surround yourself with smart people to make sure your systems are tight and franchise-ready. Then allocate $250,000 for advertising for franchisees and a highly experienced franchisee recruiter. This $250,000 should come back in the form of franchise fee revenues, and the department should run at breakeven within a year. Expect no deals for 4 to 6 months, and anticipate 6 to 12 franchisees over the next 6 months...

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


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...

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