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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:

Local Digital Marketing: Franchisor Or Franchisee Responsibility? »

By Gary Ritkes

For franchisors that want to rapidly expand their franchise systems, the local digital marketing imperative is clear. A recent survey of 437 service industry franchisees found that 58% view online marketing as "very important" or "important" to the success of their business. Nine out of 10 (89%) respondents also said that corporate online marketing is an important factor in choosing a franchisor.

It is clear that franchisees recognize the double imperative of corporate-level online marketing and their own local online marketing. So how are franchisors addressing this double imperative?

The survey also found that two out of three respondents (64%) are "somewhat disappointed" with the level and quality of support they actually receive from franchisors...

Feature Story:

50 Customer Retention Resources! »

By Gregory Ciotti

Looking for help retaining customers? Creating loyal customers? Who isn't? Here's a collection of 50 favorite reads on the subject from Help Scout Customer Champion Gregory Ciotti. The list is divided into three categories: Customer Loyalty and Happiness, Retention and Onboarding, and Churn and Customer Success. While Ciotti says this collection is biased toward online business, particularly SaaS and e-commerce, there have to be some useful insights and tips in there for franchise consumer marketing professionals. It's worth a look! At the very least, you'll discover a rich set of digital marketing resources you may not have known about.

(Bonus: He also includes a link to 75 customer loyalty facts, quotes, and statistics on why customer retention matters...

Feature Story:

Social Media Roundup: May 13, 2014 »

By Daniel Lieberman


Using Social Media Photos To Develop Online Marketing Strategies
A high-tech startup that analyzes photos shared on social media has been hired by Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to help with its social media marketing outreach. Ditto Labs, based in Cambridge, Mass., analyzes photos people post on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram to find logos and products belonging to the companies it works for. The goal is to help the brand know more about its fans, what they like, how they use it, and what other brands are competitive. The technology the company uses for image recognition is derived from systems developed for federal investigators looking for obscene photographs on the Internet some years ago.

8 Ways To Get Noticed on Facebook's News Feed
As Facebook changes its algorithms and emphasizes paid content more, it pays to rethink your Facebook practices...

Feature Story:

Brandmaster Jack: Food Court Pioneer Juggles Multiple Brands Masterfully »

By Debbie Selinsky

In 1996, Jack Hough was trying to figure out which restaurants to place where in a somewhat limited space at the North Georgia Premium Outlets mall.
"It was our first outlet, and space for everything was an issue," says the Alabama native. "So I said, 'Why can't we run nine separate concepts out of the same kitchen with one GM?' A few of my franchise friends had a fit because it had never been done before, but after I explained that it would not interfere with their menus and concepts, we were able to get it done."
Over the years, Hough has extended that consolidated food court model into 14 airports, outlet malls, universities, and other "non-traditional" settings across 12 states. Today his company, MSE Branded Foods, represents more than a dozen national franchise brands, including Arby's, Sbarro, Subway, Steak 'n Shake, and signature concepts such as JJ's Sports Bar & Grill and the Buckhead Grill...

Feature Story:

Women At The Top: Danna Caldwell »

Franchise Update

Feature Story:

Lights, Camera, Action: First-ever Multi-Unit Franchising Conference Video Collection »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

This 2014 first-ever Multi-Unit Franchising Conference Video collection includes 11 key featured sessions and over 12 hours of video. You can bring the conference home with you and enjoy these educational programs anytime, anywhere as it is cloud-based.

Cameras were on the scene at this year's Multi-Unit Franchising Conference April 23-25 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. That's because Franchise Update's Franchise Learning Academy was documenting the educational sessions throughout the event.
The Franchise Learning Academy, which was launched last fall, is developing a series of instructional and informational video programs about all aspects of building and operating a franchise business.
Therese Thilgen, Franchise Update's CEO says, "With the development of the Franchise Learning Academy, attendees and non-attendees of our events can take the conferences back to their office and share the information and presentations with their staff, while possessing access to the speakers and materials from the conference...

Feature Story:

Multi-Unit Franchising Conference: Las Vegas Plays Host To Another Winning Conference »

Multi-Unit Franchisee


Franchise Update's Multi-Unit Franchising Conference just wrapped another winning event that attracted record numbers and offered another stellar lineup of keynote speakers and industry titans. This year's conference theme was "Planning For Growth: Your Pathways To Success." The event took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, April 23 - 25.
Attendance figures reached new heights of almost 1,400 this year, with more than 550 of those being franchisees representing more than 400 franchisee enterprises. The franchisees in attendance accounted for more than 10,000 operating units, more than $10 billion in annual system-wide revenue, and they provide jobs for more than 200,000 employees. More than two-thirds of the franchisees attending indicated they were searching for additional brands...

Feature Story:

In-House Or Out?: Focus On Your Best And Outsource The Rest »

By Eddy Goldberg

Franchising is all about outsourcing. Someone comes up with a great concept and essentially outsources its growth to franchisees so corporate can focus on its core task of system development. Why not take that idea and apply it to your own multi-unit organization? After all, if the prevailing wisdom at larger companies is to focus on their core competencies and outsource the rest, why should it be any different for you?
"The important thing to remember is to take on the responsibility for the things you do best. Outsource the things that are time-consuming or a challenge for you, so that you can focus on strategy and growth," says Sean Falk, a multi-unit franchisee with 12 units in the food sector.
Key questions in making a decision to outsource include: What are your core competencies? Can you afford it at this stage of development, or are you still feeling you have to keep doing it yourself? What should you outsource, when, and for how long? And perhaps most important: Can you let go?
Smaller and younger companies often don't have the $150,000 to $175,000 to hire an in-house CFO, or an in-house sales person at $60,000 to $80,000 a year plus 5 percent of sales...

Feature Story:

SEO: "If You're Not On Page One Of Search Results, You Don't Exist" »

By Eddy Goldberg

How's your SEO effort going? You're measuring everything, have a clear idea of the ROI, and your company always comes up near the top of page one, right? Right.

However, if you're like many of the 442 marketing and sales decision-makers and practitioners worldwide who responded to a recent survey, you still have plenty of room for improvement. The "SEO Marketing Benchmark Summary Report" from Ascend2 and its research partners (April 2014), asked 9 questions about the most challenging obstacles to SEO success in the year ahead and how those marketers plan to overcome them.

According to the report, here's one important reason to take SEO seriously: "If you're not on page one of search results, you don't exist." Since most purchase decisions - whether by consumers or franchisee candidates - begin with an online search, the report continues, this is why the C-suite is paying so much attention to their organization's natural search rankings...

Feature Story:

Minimize Risks From Franchisee Email And Social Media »

By Cheng Cohen

Email is dominating business communications, and social media is replacing much of what previously was done through print advertising. By all appearances, these and other electronic communication tools will increase in both usage and importance.

As a result, franchisors should consider if, to what extent, and how they should control the use of these mediums by those associated with the brand. It is not uncommon, for instance, for franchisors to assign email addresses to their franchisees and require that those email accounts be used in the operation of the franchised unit. Franchisors may also permit or encourage franchisees to use social media in connection with the promotion and operation of their businesses.

But control or oversight over franchisees' assigned email accounts and social media communications can expose franchisors to liability...

Feature Story:

Are Portals Back? Re-Evaluating Portals For Lead Generation »

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:

The Six Steps To Selling Success: Step 5 - Discovery Day: Preparation »

By Steve Olson

Objective: Attend Discovery Day at your headquarters for executive approval of the franchise

Companies schedule Discovery Days in different ways: once a month, once a week, or anytime a candidate can make it! As your system grows, you'll be forced to schedule more frequent and specific dates so you don't overtax your home office resources. But sooner is better. Like a cold steak, your opportunity can lose its sizzle the longer the wait for Discovery Day. Unexpected events in your prospect's world may postpone or kill the event entirely.

Discovery Day is show time, so the better prepared you and your candidate are, the more successful the results will be. Get affirmation that they are ready to join your franchise if accepted, barring any unforeseen circumstances...

Feature Story:

A Balanced Approach: Fundamentals And Feelings Can Co-Exist »

By Carol Schleif

If the nation hadn't been in the midst of a government shutdown and debt ceiling debate, last year's Nobel Prize winners in economics probably would have received more attention and commentary. Two of the three winners--Eugene Fama of the University of Chicago and Yale's Robert Shiller--are as different as Tea Party Republicans and Democrats in their theories about the rise and fall of stock prices and other assets. Investors can learn a lot from both.
To Fama, markets are efficient systems where relevant information is immediately and rationally reflected in stock prices. So, for the most widely researched portions of the market, such as domestic U.S. large cap stocks, that means active management is nearly impossible.
Numerous studies show just how difficult it is for active managers to consistently outperform the market when operating in the most efficient and liquid asset classes, since thousands of other individuals are able to simultaneously adjust to each bit of information just as quickly...

Feature Story:

CMO Roundtable: The Role Of Diversity Inside Your Marketing Department »

Franchise Update

Discuss the role of diversity inside your marketing department and in your marketing strategies.

Annica Kreider
VP of Brand Development
Mellow Mushroom
Marketing to a diverse consumer base is something that we not only discuss often among our team, but that we also embrace internally from a talent management standpoint. From a leadership perspective I’m a huge believer in having a very diverse team in terms of demographics, psychographics, and lifestyle. If everyone on a team looks alike, dresses alike, and does the same things on the weekend I think you’re really missing the boat in terms of creativity and brand advancement.
With most elements of our creative we like to push the envelope and be as provocative, interesting, and engaging as we can...

Feature Story:

Fully Inspected: From Fortune 500 To Top AmeriSpec Franchisee »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Tom Sutko spent three decades in leadership roles with a Fortune 500 company. The years taught him a lot about management and operations. When his position was eliminated four years ago he went searching for new opportunities and franchising topped the list. His due diligence led him to AmeriSpec, the home inspection service franchise that works with homebuyers, sellers, and real estate professionals.
Sutko says he loves his new career and his results have shown it. He has been racking up the awards, including finishing 2013 as the system's top franchisee. He's also active within his community and makes philanthropy a major part of his operations.
Here's more of what we found out about Sutko.

Name: Tom Sutko
Title: Owner/President, AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service, Omaha, Nebraska
No...

Feature Story:

Creativity Under Pressure: 4 Ways To Come Up With Brilliant Ideas When The Pressure's On »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Here's an intriguing idea from New York Times best-selling author and writing coach Michael Levin, "Creativity is a muscle; use it or lose it."
Levin says anyone can grow their creativity just like any other muscle. "I define creativity as 'the ability to develop great ideas while under pressure,'" he says. "Pressure creates diamonds, so why shouldn't it also create great ideas?"
But sometimes, pressure paralyzes creativity.?"I've experienced it when writing under deadline pressure and writing under the pressure of my own high expectations," he says. "Over time, I've developed several tricks to stimulate my creative muscle and help me come up with great ideas for whatever challenge I face - whether it's writing or figuring out how to arrange a busy family weekend schedule so that everyone's needs are met...

Feature Story:

Loyalty Deserves Rewards: Create A Rewards Program That Suits You (And The Customer!) »

By Jack Mackey

The best loyalty programs do four things:

Feature Story:

Branching Out: Young Operator Adds Sears To His Two Food Brands »

By Debbie Selinsky

Conventional wisdom says it makes sense for multi-unit franchisees with food brands to stick with food as they expand. Ahmed El-Hawary doesn't see it that way.
El-Hawary, who worked in his family's restaurant as a youth, operates four Firehouse Subs. When he opened his first 12 years ago, he was the brand's youngest franchisee. Last December, he opened his first Golden Corral restaurant, a $3.5 million project built from the ground up.
But when the 34-year-old--who also worked in his father's business selling glass doors, screens, and garage doors--had the opportunity to acquire eight Sears Outlets stores, he didn't hesitate.
"It was an opportunistic choice. We're the third franchisees to come in and do the Sears Outlets, which are now outside the Sears brand but still have that strong name behind them," he says...

Feature Story:

Women At The Top: Dina Dwyer-Owens »

Franchise Update

Feature Story:

Brain Power: Five Ways Brain Science Can Help To Build A Better Business »

By Michael Vaughan

Business owners and managers today face a myriad of challenges--a tight market with strong competition, workforce issues, slimming margins, and the need to keep pace with technological advancements to name a few. Add to these a rapidly changing environment and a barrage of noise generated from the Internet, smartphones, television, and other media.
How do owners and managers stay in step with daily competing priorities and deadlines, filter out the noise, and keep their businesses on the fast track to productivity and profitability? The answers can be found in neural leadership.
Neural leadership is part of brain science, which studies how the brain works and how business leaders can leverage brain function in themselves and their teams to create a more robust work environment...



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