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Feature Story:

Mid-sized And Growing: A Stellar Leadership Team Can Take Your Operation To The Next Level »

By Robert Sher

Successfully operating a multi-unit franchise--typically generating millions of dollars in revenue from many locations--requires a keen awareness that leading multiple units is fundamentally different than leading a small operation. Unfortunately, too many multi-unit franchisees rely on the leadership approach they used when they were a small business, running the business themselves or promoting from within without the proper training. The result? Derailed profitability, stunted growth, and high management turnover.
The only way for mid-sized multi-unit franchisees to grow and prosper is to plan for and invest in a trustworthy and competent leadership team. As proven time and again, the bigger the investment in leadership, the bigger the potential return...

Feature Story:

Added Value: Is Your Leadership Personality Helping Or Hurting Your Business? »

By Sally Hogshead

As an entrepreneur, you're often the face of your company, and your ability to capture attention, to fascinate others--clients, employees, strategic partners, influencers--can make or break a business. Every time you communicate, you're doing one of two things:

Feature Story:

Retirement Planning: Knowing When It's OK To Play It Safe And When It's Not »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

As people get closer to the age when they hope to retire, traditional wisdom calls for moving into more conservative - safer - investments, such as Treasury bonds and many fixed-income mutual funds.
"The problem is, what is 'safe' for one person may not be 'safe' for another, given the amount of money in their portfolios, how their investments are allocated, and what their retirement lifestyle goals are," says financial advisor Haitham "Hutch" Ashoo, co-founder with advisor Chris Snyder of Pillar Wealth Management, LLC.
"Some investors believe Certificates of Deposit and U.S. Treasury bonds are safe investments because of their backing, but the income they generate is so low, they may not be safe in terms of producing the income you need for 30 years of retirement...

Feature Story:

Businesses Unite!: Three Ways To "Share Local" And Make Your Business Stronger »

By Eric Groves

Local businesses are stronger together than alone. Your competitive advantage is derived from the local and industry knowledge you possess along with the market power (resources that enable you to attract and retain customers) built. As you forge relationships with other local businesses, you all grow stronger by gaining access to the collective knowledge and power of each other.
One of the simplest ways to demonstrate support for local business, while encouraging other local businesses to lend support back to you, is to "Share Local."
Share Local is the simple act of sharing something another local business is doing with residents. Successful local businesses have resources (typically email lists or Facebook followings) for sharing interesting content with customers...

Feature Story:

Raising The Service Ante: Location Analytics Validates A Wow Experience »

By Jack Mackey

Customer expectations today are dramatically higher, thanks to the likes of Amazon, Zappos, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Ritz-Carlton, and Chick-fil-A, to name just a few of today's customer experience leaders. Once your customers have exceptional experiences dealing with companies like these, their expectations are permanently raised. This means your business is evaluated in the customer's mind in comparison with the best businesses in the world. If you deliver just an ordinary customer experience, rather than a highly satisfying (wow) experience, your business is just average in the customer's mind. And your customer's repeat visit behavior will reflect that judgment.
SMG recently demonstrated how much more effective highly satisfying customer experiences are in driving return visits by using location analytics...

Feature Story:

Implementing The Affordable Care Act »

By Benjamin Geyerhahn

What franchisees need to know about the ACA rollout

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has introduced widespread changes to the healthcare landscape. It has increased the availability, quality, and affordability of health insurance for the general population, regardless of age, gender, or pre-existing medical conditions.
The ACA has also altered the guidelines for employer-sponsored insurance, which has thrown many small- and mid-sized businesses for a loop.
In 2015, the ACA employer mandate will require employers with 50 or more full-time employees (defined as an average of 30-plus hours per week) to offer a minimum coverage health plan at affordable rates (less than 9.5 percent of an employee's household income).
Additionally, companies with 200 or more employees are required to automatically enroll employees in employer-sponsored insurance with a waiting period of no more than 90 days...

Feature Story:

Goals And Visions: Survey Says Business Owners Should Take Risks, Earn Respect, And Inspire Action »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Accomplishing goals is the most essential function of running a company, according to 46 percent of entrepreneurs polled by The Alternative Board (TAB). By comparison, 38 percent place more importance on providing a vision for their business. Despite acknowledging how crucial that vision is to the company's success, most leaders need help communicating it: participants averaged just 7.1 out of 10 when grading themselves on how effectively they expressed their vision to their team.
"It's important that the leader establishes and communicates a vision. But it's even more important that they accomplish goals," says David Scarola, vice president of TAB. "One without the other has little value."
After surveying 336 small business owners and CEOs worldwide (roughly 70 percent of whom have companies earning over $1 million a year), a common profile of the modern business leader emerged from TAB's study...

Feature Story:

Emotional Rescue: Understanding Relationship Dynamics In The Family Business »

By Jeff Faulkner

Recently one of my partners and I were facilitating a meeting between a father and his daughter to work through some mismatched expectations between them in the family business. We had already had several prep meetings laying the groundwork for aligning their expectations, which were all positive and headed in the right direction. They were both excited that we were going to be able to help them get some things out on the table, as they typically would avoid one another and leave issues unresolved.
However, once the meeting started, the dad took the opportunity to unleash on his daughter with unanswerable questions and acted like a prosecuting attorney trying to corner the defendant into a guilty plea. My partner and I were completely unprepared for this, and of course, the daughter was equally caught off guard...

Feature Story:

Partners In Arms: IFA Teams Up With Job Creations Network To Defend Franchising »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Franchising is fighting back.
Organized labor and activist groups have been hammering away at the franchise business way of life. But now the International Franchise Association (IFA) and Job Creations Network, an advocacy organization dedicated to educating employees about government policies that negatively impact their business, have formed a dynamic duo to help defend franchising.
The new partnership will provide IFA and its membership non-partisan education tools about how existing and prospective government policies affect their workplace, now and in the future.
"Millions of jobs and small businesses are now at risk due to the unprecedented nature of the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that franchisors and franchisees can be designated as joint-employers," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE...

Feature Story:

For Sale!: Ensuring A Successful Business Or Property Sale »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Corporations are holding record levels of cash, interest rates are low and the housing market is rebounding. The result? Merger and acquisitions professionals are buying more businesses and high-end homes are selling faster - Silicon Valley had a 26 percent increase in sales of $1.5 million-and-up houses in the first half of last year.
If you're considering selling a business or property in 2014 - while business is good and before mortgage rates climb - keep in mind: Focusing only on the price can short-change you in the long run. "A lot of sellers are rushing to close the deal because they're worried about what may be around the corner," says attorney John Hartog of Hartog & Baer Trust and Estate Law. "My first rule: Sell smart, not fast...

Feature Story:

Positional Power: 5 Ways To Find Common Ground With Your Business Partners »

By Dan Schneider

If you happen to be an active majority partner in a business, you may sometimes find yourself struggling for alignment with your minority partner or partners, especially if the minority partners are also involved in the business. They assume because they have some percentage of ownership that they may have the positional power to make unilateral decisions that move the business in a direction that suits their liking. In short, they throw their "weight" around; and they pay little attention to the unintended consequences of doing so.
If you currently find yourself in this position, here are some approaches that many have used successfully to get everyone moving in the same direction again. Your success with them will depend largely on how strongly you believe and how well you remember that the deceptive or coercive use of these principles can further complicate the situation...

Feature Story:

Phishing - Don't Get Hooked!: The Basics On Avoiding This Old-School Scam »

By David Ellis

Phishing may be old news, but it still works. Ongoing education about phishing scams is essential for anyone who uses your system. It doesn't matter if you have the most secure security system in the world. It only takes one untrained employee to be fooled by a phishing attack and give away the data you've worked so hard to protect.
As part of your security awareness program (PCI requirement 12.6.1), your personnel should be trained at least annually on phishing. I recommend sending monthly memos, or displaying a poster outlining the telltale signs of a phishing attempt. (You can also hang this article in your break room!)
Phishing continues to remain a lucrative criminal profession in our email-packed world. Hackers send out more than 150 million fraudulent emails daily, hoping just a few will click on attached links, documents, or pictures (80,000 people fall victim to these scams each day)...

Feature Story:

Anger Management: Handling Irate Customers And Difficult Situations  »

By John Tschohl

It's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it.
Facing off with a screaming, unreasonable, irrational customer represents the ultimate test of any employee's service skills. It can take you to your breaking point if you are not aware and careful. Staying grounded and above the fray requires you to find inner strength, and persevere beyond the initial difficulties.
With many employees a screaming irate customer will ruin their day. It's hard to keep motivated when 20 minutes into your shift a customer lets you have it. The bad news is most employees have never been trained to successfully handle these customers. Their ego gets in the way. They call management for support. In some call centers the employee just hangs up thinking no one will know...

Feature Story:

Recruiting And Hiring: Experts Offer 6 Ways To Use "Inboarding" To Improve Employee Productivity »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Four out of five companies can testify that onboarding new hires leads to such positives as higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater commitment to the organization, and stress reduction. According to the author of a new book on business trends, many companies are now doing the same for existing employees, a process called "inboarding."
"Inboarding is really just an extension of the idea of onboarding. There is no reason to think that it is too late for the rest of the roster who arrived after onboarding began or have already gone through onboarding," says Dana Borowka, co-editor along with Ellen Borowka of the new anthology Cracking the Business Code.
According to Larry Cassidy, a contributor to the new book, the purpose of inboarding is to set existing, rather than new, employees up for greater success...

Feature Story:

Talent Management: Hiring, Training, And Retaining Great Employees »

By Eddy Goldberg

The benefits of having employees who are better trained, more engaged, and who stay longer are clear. You might even call it the Holy Grail of HR. What's not so clear is exactly how to achieve that cherished goal. Some multi-unit operators rely on their franchisor-provided training, but that primarily teaches new hires about the brand and how to perform their job. Others supplement this with their own programs, adding training and education in customer service skills, teamwork, coaching, and their organization's values and culture. But not everyone has the resources--or the know-how--to do that.
One basic choice in how to hire, train, and retain top-performing employees is whether to do it in-house, or to outsource parts (or all) of their employee and management training...

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:

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:

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...



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